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Please like us on Facebook and send stories or photos you want published to: jay_nelson_72443@yahoo.com. The magazine has been updated weekly since January of 2013. For the current magazine, go to “Current Issue” at the top of this page. We hope you enjoy our magazine of encouragement.  Sincerely, John H. Nelson, editor. Interveiw requests or need a paid advertisement? Call: (870) 353-8201.

The following stories are examples of feature writing done by author and editor John Hancock Nelson. We hope there is something that you will enjoy. Please email us if you have written a feature you would also like to see published here. You will get a byline and probably provide us with yet another good read.

Auction set

for Sept. 30

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
The Gurdon Chamber of Commerce and the Gurdon Rotary Club will host their annual silent auction/dinner at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 30 in the GHS cafeteria.
Anita Cabe, spokeswoman for the two groups, said Gurdon Head Football Coach Kyle Jackson will donate a 2014 team signed football helmet to be auctioned off and there will sports memorabilia from college teams as well.
“We hope the sports fans will join us and bid as high as they can,” she said. “This is our annual big fund raiser and is used for such things as scholarships, sponsoring the Close-Up kids at the high school, helping with the CADC pancake breakfast at the Forest Festival Saturday, Oct. 25 and so much more.”
Cabe Land Office personnel provided the Tailgate News with a list of top items to be auctioned off. Top items include: Razorback tickets to the Little Rock verses Georgia game, jewelry; including a valuable Nikki Lisson coin bracelet, plus men’s and women’s Razorback watches; a hand crafted quilt; autographed items, Craig O’neill sneakers anf a Frank Broyles football; a handcrafted Go-Devil park bench; tools, racing box tickets, home decor, children’s baskets, an oil painting, restaurant certificates and much more.

The evening will begin with a silent auction at 6 p.m., dinner at 6:30 p.m. and the live auction at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets are $15 to attend. Come on out and enjoy a wonderful evening. Tickets are available at the First State Bank, the Gurdon US Bank and the Cabe Land Office. Questions? Call: 870-353-2063.

Memorable Moments:

The day my daughter

won at chess…

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
I have two biological daughters. They are Erin Anne and Kelley Marie. One is nearly a stranger these days. One is a dear friend and the mother of my three wonderful grandchildren.
I had quite a bit to do with the raising of Kelley Marie. I have told my ex-wife Doris I did it all. Obviously, or at least I hope it was, I was joking. But I did have some influence on my daughter and to this day she calls me, lets me keep my grand kids for a weekend once a month and is someone I am very proud to know.
When Kelley was little, I shared a part of myself that I rarely share. I shared my love for the game of chess. I still have a chess set and play by myself on the back porch now and then. It is much more fun when you play with a partner. Kelley, for years, was that partner.
I always thought she liked it. But she played for a long time, finally beat me, and quit. Now some might think that was a drag. I know I did at the time. I wanted to see who would then win best three out of five etc. It was not to be. She had beaten her Daddy and that was good enough for her. So be it.
But thinking back on what I taught her about how to win was worth her leaving the nest. Chess is a battle game. But it is a game of chivalry. The object of the game is to trap the king. You are not to kill the king, simply trap him to where he has no feasible move. When you accomplish that, you have won the game.
I was playing chess with myself last weekend, between energy spurts I was using to mow my yard. I think I smelled too much rag weed out there because my eyes have been watering all week. Still yet, I can see and I thank God for that. But as I sat there playing chess, I thought back on Kelley’s facial expressions as she thought the 10 to 20 moves in advance I told her about in order to win the game.
I realized her style of thought was much different than mine.
But I was never easy on her. For her 6 moves ahead, I thought 10. You have to realize I used to play the third best chess player in the United States back in 1980. I beat him eight out of 10 games. To explain, I had a lot of time to play chess as a child growing up alone. And I was on the high school chess team, never losing a game.
These are not brags. I simply had a good record. At 55, I am sure there are better chess players out there than me. I even found one 10 years ago. Stan could beat me three out of five, and then some. I felt lucky when I won a game with him. You never know in life who you will run into in the world of chess. But in my day, I was one of the best in my area.
I told the guy at Ball State University, with those third best in the nation credentials, that I won over him because I played with my guts and emotions and he played like a computer. Sometimes in chess, as in life, you have to take a wild chance that is unexpected. Wow did that make the chess master upset. Oh well, as my grandfather used to say, that is the way it goes, first your money, then your clothes… That was an old Swedish expression designed to convey the message that many times the good stuff will cost you.
We can not help what we are or what we are not. But other than Stan, I have never ran into a chess player that could hold a candle to my farm boy, self-taught chess technique. Never that is, until the day Kelley got one over on me. I believe had she continued, she could have beat me consistently. That is the way it should be. Our kids should improve on the talents we have mastered.
So even though I wanted my child to continue playing chess with me, I was still very proud when she beat me fair and square. God bless her for it. Chess teaches patience, integrity, honesty and chivalry. It is an old tool that teaches these ancient values in a world gone crazy by way of lies and deceit.
So you guessed it. That day that Kelley said “Checkmate” to her Daddy, and beat me fair and square, all was right with my world. It was yet another “Memorable Moment.”

Coach Jackson has

high hopes of upsetting

the Dierks Outlaws

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
The mighty Go-Devils of Gurdon came out Friday night and showed a huge home crowd they are indeed a team to be reckoned with!
They came away with a hard-fought victory of 27-14 over the Glen Rose Beavers.
The game was actually closer than this writer had predicted, but thanks to an interception at just the right time by #11 Adam Cooper, the touchdowns rolled our way.
Coach Kyle Jackson said Tuesday the offensive player of the week was Jackie Harvell, #3, with 221 yards of rushing on 20 runs and 2 touchdowns.
On defense, the MVP was #12 Hunter Rowe, with 7 tackles. Coach Jackson said Rowe “did what he ought to do.”
Dewayne Marlow, #4, kicked well and returned a kick for 25 yards.
David Sims, #2, made the first touchdown. Then Glen Rose scored in the second quarter and the teams were tied up 7-7 at halftime.
“Jackson Kirkpatrick, Adam Cooper and Alunzo Leeper all three had big interceptions,” Coach Jackson said.
“All 23 Go-Devils should be healthy enough to play against Dierks Friday night. It will be our first game of the season with all 23 of them out there.”
Jackson complemented Glen Rose on having a good team, siting the fact that they competed in the 3A state playoffs. Even without their seniors from last year, “the Beavers played us a tough game.”
He said it was good to see the Go-Devils score first and to come back in the second half with a fever to win.
“The victory feels good to me and to the team,” he said. “We’ve had a tough non-conference start.”
The Go-Devils are now 1-2 overall going into conference play tonight against the Dierks Outlaws.
Coach Jackson said the boys will be up against the same size of players as Gurdon has, but the game will be tough because Dierks is the defending conference champion.
“We will have to play our tails off, but we are full staffed and I believe the team has incentive,” Coach Jackson said. “You see some of us feel that should have been our conference championship last year and the Outlaws took it away from us.
“In addition to the vengeance motivation, we are playing them on our turf. There is something about playing a team at your own stadium that seems to help you win.”
Coach Jackson said Dierks came out 11-1 for the season last year and they currently hold a 3-0 record.
“They have a big running back and a huge offensive line,” he said. “We will have to stop them defensively.”
Jackson said he believes the Go-Devils can measure up with their passing game, “but we need to do everything right and get past their defense to win.”
Offensively, Coach Jackson said the Go-Devils will have to bring the ball around the edge.
“We have some skilled kids,” he said. “We just have to get them where they can run. If we can do that early, it will be all right.”
Coach Jackson said he wants his team to have pride in their abilities when the go out there. Win or lose, a healthy belief in the possibility that hard work can result in a win is what is needed.
He said focus from each of his players is the main thing. Coach Jackson is expecting a tough battle and wants the 23-man “Go-Devil machine” to give it all they have got.
Coach Jackson complemented the Dierks Coach Bennett, saying “he does a good job.”
“We have the attitude that we are going to play our tails off the whole game. That will help us. I also encourage the boys to stay healthy if possible.”
Coach Jackson said homecoming this year will be on Friday, Oct. 24 with Lafayette County as the opponent.
After Dierks, the Go-Devils will be on the road Oct. 3 against Mineral Springs. Then Oct. 10, they will come home to play Murfreesboro. The coach said the Junior Go-Devils are 2-1. He is encouraged by the number of boys who are out for football; 27 ninth graders and 38 in junior high school football all together. He said some of the better players may be called upon to help the senior high team on special Friday nights.
“We have some boys on the junior high school level that are really showing us some good skills,” the coach said.”We like to see a new quarterback talent every year and Thomas Muldrew is showing us a playing style similar to AK (Austin Kirkpatrick, last year’s star quarterback).

 

Coach Jackson predicts

Go-Devils will beat Beavers

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
The Gurdon Go-Devils are 0-2 as they face the Glen Rose Beavers at home tonight.
New Head Coach Kyle Jackson blames injuries and exhaustion from playing two opening teams with two and three times the number of kids out for football as reasons for the record. Gurdon has 23 players.
Prescott and Smackover have at least twice that many out, allowing for fresh bodies in all four quarters. But Gurdon Go-Devils, Jackson said, are showing improvement “and we have a lot of talent that will secure us a lot of wins this year against schools in our conference who have our number of players – if we can just get healthy and stay healthy.”
The first two games of the season resulted in a Prescott win over Gurdon of 47-14 and a Smackover win over the Go-Devils of 41-18.
As for the Prescott Curley Wolves, Coach Jackson said he is glad it is over with. While the Go-Devils showed that spirit of Greatness that he teaches, in that they did not give up, injuries to Adam Cooper and Jackson Kirkpatrick were extensive enough that they did not play against Smackover.
Jackson said Cooper and Kirkpatrick should both be on the field tonight against Glen Rose.
“Glen Rose has lost a lot of good players and just came off of losing to Malvern 39-0, but we still can not take it for granted that we will win. We still have to concentrate and not assume anything.”
Coach Jackson said the Sept. 12 away game against Smackover should have probably gone more in favor of the Gurdon Go-Devils.
As for the Go-Devils, #3 Jackie Harvell made the first touchdown in the second quarter, but the extra point was no good.
Coach Jackson said Harvell ran in an interception in the third quarter for yet another Go-Devil touchdown, making up 12 of Gurdon’s 18-point total.
Quarterback Parker Whitson, #8, made the final touchdown for the Go-Devils in the fourth quarter by throwing a successful pass to the running in part of that touchdown, Alunzo Leeper, #21.
“The score may have been 41-18, but there was a surprise to me at the half,” Jackson said. “We had a little drive going and I thought we would go into half time at 7-7.
“They intercepted the ball and scored. That halftime score ended up being 29-6 Smackover.”
However, Jackson said he was a lot more pleased with the overall performance of the Go-Devils against Smackover than he was when they faced Prescott.
“We played our tails off against Smackover,” he said.
Diondre McCoy, #55, was injured and will be out against Glen Rose, but is expected to return to playing next week.
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Coach Jackson said Quarterback Parker Whitson was offensive player of the week, with a tie between John Clemons and Baylee Hughes for defensive player. Jackie Harvell received the special team mate of the week award for his touchdowns and interceptions. See www.go-devilsfootball.com for more details.

Safe House
You said something
that struck a heart chord.
I do not know how
it came about,
but when I heard you say it,
my spirit began to shout.

You talked of coming home,
Just like I did back then.
You talked of living always
in my house where
we can laugh and grin.

Sometimes we need
a safe house son, people
like you and me. Somehow
we know where our house is,
between the sky and sea.

Yours is where I live,
you are welcome anytime.
Mine is gone from earth now,
it is only in my mind.

But we both have a
safe house,
mine on an Indiana farm
where I lived without a care.
Yours is right before me,
my space with you I’ll share.

And so when times get hard,
as they surely will,
just come on home son,
your mountains of stress will
become tiny mole hills.

Your thoughts will turn
to catching lizards, your
old pals outside this house.
Or you can always pet Charlie the cat
as he curls up
for comfort like he was
pouncing on a mouse.

Or you can let Gidget
the dog in from
the front porch,
with a treat hid in your hand
to give a good dog her
just reward – from
Grandpa’s little man.

By JOHN NELSON
Gurdon

 

 

Gurdon School Board

accepts special education

policy to increase security

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
The Gurdon School Board heard an update on the district’s special education program Tuesday, Sept. 16 and then approved and adopted state agency procedural safeguards and protections for special education students while they are in the care of teachers and principals.
One area of discussion involved the possibility of a challenged and/or disabled child panicking and running off from school.
School Board member Bernard Hatley asked what the school’s role would be in the case of a run-away disabled child?
Superintendent Allen Blackwell said the flight instances typically do not happen until the older age brackets of the disabled children.
“If a child gets away from a principal and teacher, the next step is to see if they have a home address and go there,” Blackwell said.
Hatley asked about parental contacts on file and the like? Blackwell said that is usually the case, and efforts are made to contact a parent or guardian, but by passing the state of Arkansas Assurances and Agreements School Age Services for 2014-2015, this district has a firm guideline designed to keep challenged students safe and in an educational environment where maximum learning can occur, given their individual set of circumstances.
“I recommend you pass this state special education set of rules for the protection of the children and the good of our district as well,” he said.
The School Board passed the state policies. Blackwell said special education students may also need identification so they can be recognized in the community should they take flight from the school.
The board recognized there might be extenuating circumstances where the state policy rules would have to be altered in the Gurdon School District to fit a unique situation, but the School Board adopted the Assurances and Agreements for the Gurdon District. Blackwell stressed these were policies, not laws.
The School Board also passed a request from special education teacher Letha Duke that Title 6 federal funding be used by the special education department.
In other business, Superintendent Blackwell told the group the Casey Pye proposed transfer to Arkadelphia was now a mute point, as the family is satisfied with the Gurdon School District’s after school care.
Moreover, the School Board discussed ways of attracting a higher percentage of minority teachers to the Gurdon District.
Jeremy Bell, the school’s instructional facilitator, said Gurdon has five African American teachers out of 73 and needs more to satisfy percentage goals required by the government.
Bell said talking with graduating seniors at colleges, Gurdon is known as a good place to teach. Blackwell said Gurdon “has the highest salary base from Hope to Glen Rose.”
“Getting more minority teachers here is something we will have to concentrate on to accomplish,” Blackwell said.
He said the goal is to have the same percentage of minority teachers as Gurdon does minority students, 27.46 percent.
Ideas on how to accomplish this are to participate in the Arkansas Department of Education’s Career Fair and Career Fairs at a variety of Arkansas colleges, and give qualified minority applicants preference when positions become available.
The district could also advertise statewide when teaching and administrative positions are open.
In conclusion, Blackwell outlined some meetings in Malvern and other places where School Board members can complete required training.
The board will meet again in September on Tuesday, Sept. 23, at 7 p.m. to approve the 2014-15 budget and ACSIP plan.
Board member Hatley said he has received complaints about bullying and is beginning to believe it may be happening because he has received three similar complaints.
The principal involved said he would check into the allegation and thanked Hatley for telling him.

 

 

 

Sherry Kelley offers

herself as a stable

and enthusiastic Gurdon mayor

Sherry Kelley, Clark County Justice of the Peace for District 10, announces her candidacy for Mayor of the City of Gurdon.
“My four years of experience serving as a JP on the Quorum Court overseeing Clark County Government, my real life experience as an economic developer, grant writer, project director, event organizer and human resources manager as well as my solid relationships with other leaders throughout the county and state have prepared me to be an effective mayor and qualified leader for the City of Gurdon,” Kelley said.
As Justice of the Peace, Kelley controls the purse strings and sets the policy for Clark County.
“In my past four years as JP I have worked successfully on the county’s revenue, budget, ordinances, taxes, resolutions, services and safety. Fiscal responsibility is important to me. On a daily basis I have dealt with the issues and concerns of the more than 2,000 people I represent in District 10,” Kelley said.
As an economic developer, Sherry Kelley served as a founding member of the Economic Development Corporation of Clark County. She helped set the guidelines that govern the ½ cent tax incentive for economic growth. While serving on the Economic Development Corporation of Clark County Board, Kelley received an extensive education of all aspects of economic development including classes and training from Del Boyette, the former Executive Director of the Arkansas Industrial Council. While serving on the board Kelley helped create and sustain 100’s of jobs.
Sherry Kelley currently continues her work in economic development as a board member of the Clark County Industrial Council.
“Because I understand the complexities of job growth, retention and development I believe that now is an exciting time for the City of Gurdon. Now more than ever, it is imperative that we have an experienced, qualified, strong and stable leader at the helm.
“I am working closely with Stephen Bell, the Chief Executive Officer of the Economic Development Corporation of Clark County and my peers in economic development in Clark County and at the Capitol,” she said.
Sherry Kelley furthered her education while attending and graduating from the rigorous Leadership Arkansas, which she attended on a full scholarship. This nine month course is Arkansas’ premier program for economic developers and leaders who study the economic and political challenges that face the State of Arkansas and expands their impact on their communities.
“The challenges and the education that I experienced while examining and traveling all the areas of Arkansas and working at the State Capitol strengthened my knowledge and capabilities and increased my passion to serve and develop my community.”
She also graduated from Leadership Clark County, the inaugural class and attended on a scholarship.
Sherry Kelley is a grant writer and project director who is directly responsible for bringing more than a quarter of a million dollars of improvements to her District 10 communities of Curtis, Okolona and Gurdon through her grants.
“Grant writing can be extremely difficult,” said Kelley who is no stranger to challenges. “For instance, The Market on Main is a United States Department Agriculture Rural Business Enterprise Grant that took more than six months of very intensive labor and research to complete. The grant has been awarded and the project is ongoing. By its completion in early 2015, I will have invested more than a year and a half of work. I write all of my grants and direct all of my projects as a volunteer. I receive absolutely no compensation for my efforts.”
Sherry Kelley’s grants serve a wide range of needs and include: the demolition and removal of the Old Okolona High School to eliminate a health and safety hazard and create more room for the Okolona City Park and campers and horses during the Okolona Spring and Fall Trail Ride, a grant for reflective address markers for rural residents of her district to insure prompt assistance from first responders during emergencies, a grant for raised dog beds at the Gurdon Animal Shelter to reduce stress and improve health and appearance of dogs while they are waiting to be adopted, several grants for the Gurdon Pee Wee Football Team for uniforms and equipment so that all children regardless of their ability to pay may participate on the team, a grant for rubber mulch for the Okolona City Park to improve the appearance and safety of the playground, a grant to purchase the paint for the Gurdon Mural to increase community pride and improve the appearance of our gateway, a grant for the Main Street benches to provide a place for people to rest and to linger longer in the downtown district, a grant for the planters and flowers to create a positive atmosphere for people who visit, live in and travel through Gurdon, a grant for façade improvements to transform deteriorating store-fronts into pleasing signage and a grant for the banner poles and banners on Main Street to create changing Gurdon specific outdoor identifiers that reflect Gurdon’s history, pride and heritage.
Kelley also enlisted the help of Mark Hunt at Entergy to have the deteriorating and peeling gray paint on all the downtown street lamps repainted in black. She orchestrated a land swap to create the Plaza, a park that is being developed in front of the Gurdon Mural. David Williams will construct and install a decorative black iron fence this month that will run approximately 130 feet along the side walk located in front of the mural. The fence will improve the appearance of the gateway and define the space of the Plaza. The funding of the fence construction and installation is funded through a grant written by Sherry Kelley.
“I try to spend all of my grant money in Gurdon,” Kelley said.
The Market on Main is funded through another grant that Kelley wrote for the City of Gurdon to purchase 117 Main and restore and refit the building to create a meat market with fresh, natural meat, a bakery offering fresh baked goods and custom cakes, an event space to host parties and weddings and a small restaurant. The Market on Main will be a vibrant edition to downtown and will spur other development.
“I’ve set my sights on the Old First National Bank Building for restoration and development in 2015,” she said.
Kelley is currently working with the City of Gurdon, Judge Ron Daniel and others to construct a combined little league tackle football field and youth soccer field near the tennis and basketball courts at the Gurdon City Park where she had a light installed for night games.
“Quincey Dickens and Chris Harper shared with me their desire to bring the Pee Wee Football program back to Gurdon. It’s a great idea and I am glad that I am able to help make the field a reality. If all goes well the dirt work will be done by January and the kids will begin practice and play in 2015. Soccer is a growing sport in Gurdon and the field will be used for both soccer and football,” Kelley said.
She has been approached improve the little league baseball fields in 2015.
Kelley also created the Curtis Country Mile Yard Sale to benefit the Curtis Volunteer Fire Department. The Curtis Country Mile Yard Sale is now in its fifth year and the Gurdon Monster Mash on Main Halloween event is in its second year this Oct. 31.
“I have written several grants which are pending including a grant for the funding of free rides at the Gurdon Forest Festival, free books for the Gurdon Primary School student’s bookfair and to demolish and remove six vacant houses. I am currently writing a grant to study the feasibility of developing The Gurdon Light as a tourist attraction,” Kelley said.
Besides her experience as a Justice of the Peace, Board Member of the Economic Development Council of Clark County and Board Member of the Clark County Industrial Council, Sherry Kelley is a Board Member of the Clark County Community Foundation, the Facilitator of the Gurdon High School Youth Advisory Council, Secretary of the Gurdon Rotary Club, Vice-President of the Gurdon Community Entertainment and Development Club, Member of the Gurdon Chamber of Commerce, Gurdon Chairman of the Clark County Strategic Plan, 2013 Gurdon “Citizen of the Year” and a seven year volunteer delivering meals to homebound seniors for the Central Arkansas Development Council Gurdon Senior Adult Activity Center.
She has attended Gurdon City Council meetings for more than 10 years and she is endorsed by Clark County Sheriff Jason Watson. “I have worked with Sherry for many years and look forward to working with her as mayor. I heartily endorse her candidacy,” the sheriff said.
In conclusion Kelley said that she will be a full time mayor. “Despite this lengthy announcement, I wish to say that actions speak louder than words. Please take a moment to see what I am doing at my website: at:www.kelleyformayor@weebly.com

Corey Brown becomes

head girls basketball coach

at Ouachita High School

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
OUACHITA HIGH SCHOOL – A Gurdon native is now the head girls basketball coach and the golf coach for Ouachita High School near Friendship.
Coach Corey Brown, a 2001 graduate of Gurdon High School and 2009 Henderson State University graduate, with a bachelor’s in education, took a job at Poyen out of college and stayed there as an assistant football and basketball coach, plus girl’s softball coach, for five years.
In the meantime, Brown has been furthering his education and is scheduled to receive his master’s degree in educational administration from HSU in December.
EXCITING CHANGE
Taking the job as head girls basketball coach at Ouachita High School this 2014-2015 school year has been an exciting change, Brown said.
One of the things that makes his anticipation of basketball season even more exciting is the fact that for the first time in many decades, the basketball floor, bleachers and gym in general at Ouachita is being remodeled.
“There will be an announcment about who is funding our project in a couple of weeks,” OHS Principal David Thigpen said.
Brown said the floor is virtually ready and has been completely sanded down and refinished. The bleachers have been painted as well and Ouachita’s green and gold colors are shining brightly everywhere.
BASKETBALL SEASON
OHS will begin its basketball season on Tuesday, Oct. 14. with the players taking the floor at 4:30 p.m.
Coach Brown said the order of play will be Junior Girls, Junior Boys, Senior Girls and Senior Boys.
The first official game for Brown’s Senior Girls will be on Tuesday, Oct. 21 after the Junior Boys first take on Umpire, starting at 5:30 p.m. The new floor will also be dedicated that night.
Brown said work on re-dong the gym started Aug. 18. The big thing left to do in the remodeling is to put in two new basketball goals.
This is the coach’s first year as a head coach on the high school level. However, he is head coach for girls ranging in age from seventh grade through grade 12, which involves three teams. OHS Senior girls made it to the first round of the regionals last year and graduated six or seven seniors. Coach Brown said his brand of basketball involves hard work and an up-tempo style. He will also perform his coaching duties for girls and boys golf this fall. In the spring, Brown will be the head softball coach at OHS.
“If I take care of my business and get my masters this winter, I could be a principal someday,” Brown said. “I feel very excited and very blessed to be working as a head coach at Ouachita High School. The school personnel and students have been very enjoyable to work with.”
Brown is a member of the Sycamore Church in Beirne, and also attends his wife’s church in Poyen, the Poyen Assembly of God. Cory and Shelby Brown are at home in Arkadelphia, as is Corey’s father, Max Brown, of Max Brown’s Insurance Agency. The elder Brown is also a Gurdon native.
Coach Brown said, “No matter how good our teams are, we will work hard and compete for some exciting basketball.
“Our girls are 2A this year and we would love to have as many folks come and watch us play as can fit in our newly refurbished gym.”

Gurdon cowboy plans

last bull ride Saturday evening

at Clark County Fair

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Tommy J. Wells, 57, of Gurdon, has been a cowboy/rodeo man for the better part of his adult life. That chapter is about to close on Saturday, Sept. 13 at the Clark County Fair.
Wells will be doing his last rodeo ride at 8 p.m. that night. The bull’s name is “High Stand” and the bull number is 92… Despite multiple injuries and hardships, the aging cowboy said his rodeo career has been worth it. Still, it is time to let the younger cowboys have a chance and spend some time with the family.
The Tommy J. Wells story can best be told through the thoughts of the man himself. So the following highlights of the local cowboy’s life, in his own words and thoughts, are offered for your inspection.
The Tommy Wells Story – I was born on August 13, 1956 and started my career with horses in 1974. I went to work at Delta Horse Farm on the other side of Gurdon, Arkansas and worked there until 1976.
My job was breaking race horses so they could be trained to run on the racing tracks. I got my arm broken there and some of my ribs.
Then on Jan. 4, 1976 I married my first wife. Then I went from breaking horses to working under cover riding bulls. Something happened and it met my wife and I had to use other names so we would be safe. Then in 1979, she decided to stay home. I went from place to place being a rodeo man. We got too much space between us so in 1984 we got a divorce.
Then I got hurt really bad in Wako, Texas. I got my right arm, my back, my right leg and my collar bone broken by a bull called Red Man Chew. That put me out for the rest of the season. Then my first wife and I got back together. Then I got Black Tornado and got bad hurt. Then in Fort Worth, Texas, I rode Black Tornado for 89 points.
Then I drew Bodashes in Cheyenne, Wyoming and got 86 points on him. Then in 1990, I came back home and got married to my first wife again. She got killed in a car wreck in 1997.
In 1992, I road in the Clark County Fair for charity. That was my last ride for a long time, and I don’t remember the bull’s name.
But another ride has come up. I will be there Saturday (Sept. 13) at the Clark County Fair Rodeo. The event starts at 8 p.m. My wife that I got now will be there for me. She knows that this will be my last time to ride. We have been married for five years and went together for two. So it has been seven years for us and I hope that we will have a lot more of them.
I have had a lot of fun. I have really enjoyed it every time I got on a bull. And I have had people ask me what I am going to do if I get hurt? I tell them people will hurt you a lot worse than a bull. So after Saturday, I am retired from bull riding. But I will always be for the cowboy. It is in my blood.
God bless everyone. This is my last ride coming up on Sept. 13, 2014. And this cowboy loves you all!
Editor’s Note: Tommy Wells lives on East Walnut Street in Gurdon. He and his first wife had four children; Lynn Wells, Tammy Wells, Belinda Wells and Tommy W. Wells.
The cowboy also adopted a son, Tommy D. Wells.
Tommy J. Wells and his second wife have two children; Christian Nicoles and Joe Pittman.
The cowboy said, “They are my step kids and my wife and I have 19 grandchildren all together.”

 

 

Haskell appoints

two new Council members

 

 

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Haskell City Council met in regular session on Monday, Sept. 6 and appointed two new members to replace Terri Babbs and Allen Nash, who resigned.
Babbs informed Mayor Jeff Arey that she is too ill to continue serving her term and Nash said he is no longer able to serve.

Dallas Wright was sworn in as a new Haskell Councilman, replacing Terri Babbs.

Roy Carmen took the oath of Haskell Alderman, replacing Allen Nash.
In other business, Council members approved Ordinance 02-2014, which allows the increase from 2 percent to 4 percent annually for water and sewer service in Haskell.
They also approved Ordinance 03-2014, an ordinance levying a tax on all real and personal property in the City of Haskell.
Thirdly, City Council members voted to approve Resolution 05-2014, approving a water and sewer rate increase of 4 percent to start on Oct. 1, in accordance with Ordinance 02-2014.
In a final action, Haskell aldermen approved an ordinance creating a master list of streets which are eligible to be maintained by the City of Haskell; providing a procedure for making amendments to the master street list, declaring an emergency and for other purposes.
Mayor Arey offered an update on the new restrooms to be constructed at the City Ball Park by way of stating the construction should start any day now.
“The folks we hired to do that job are under time constraints in their contract and if they do not finish in what was deemed a reasonable amount of time, they can be penalized,” he said. “I fully expect them to start this coming week.”
The next meeting of the City Council is tentatively set for Monday, Oct. 6.

 

Phil’s Auto has new building,

owner loves his wrecking business

as he enjoys helping the stranded

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Phil Shuffield, 54-year-old owner of Phil’s Auto and Transmission, on the Arkadelphia end of Scenic Highway 7, across from Pizza Hut, has a state of the art 50×100 foot new facility, with five bays, plus himself and three auto technicians with more than 100 years of combined experience to meet just about any automotive repair need you have.
Shuffield, who has been in business in Arkadelphia since April 15, 1985, says his most important message to his customers is “if you will get the recommended maintenance done on your vehicle, at the recommended time, it will save you time and money in the long run and your transportation investment will take you down the road a lot longer.”
When Shuffield opened in 1985, he was on the south side of the city but stayed there only about a year and a half before moving to his present location in January of 1987.
He built a 30×60 foot, 4-bay facility, which is presently being used for storage, pending remodeling.
The present 50×100 5-bay facility was open for use in November of 2013, after several months of preparations.
Shuffield said his company offers: complete automotive repair, including alignments, AC work, exhaust systems and transmission rebuilding.
Phil’s Auto sells tires and occasionally sells a vehicle. The shop works on motorcycles and ATVs and has parts and accessories for motorcycles, ATVs and trucks. Phil’s also works on side by sides.
THE NEW BUILDING
“We’ve been using the new building a little less than a year and are still making a few adjustments with it, but it has been a worthwhile improvement,” Phil said.
WRECKER SERVICE
Shuffield said his favorite part of the business is his wrecker service.
He drives the wrecker himself, as the member of the five-person crew with the most desire and qualifications to do so.
“I enjoy helping people that are stranded to get back on track. The wrecker is a public service as well as part of our business. It has been part of Phil’s Auto & Transmission for years,” Shuffield said.
Shuffield said he has been doing mechanical work since high school, but his interest in fixing things stems way back into his childhood.
“Joe Grier, one of my mechanic techs, has been at this more than 30 years like I have. So between the two of us, we make up at least 60 years experience of the 100 years I mentioned for all four of us working on vehicles.”
Shuffield said he started out fixing bicycles and such from an early age and just never lost interest.
“As far as my decision to become a mechanic for a living, it was a high interest to me and I also did not want to end up like my father,” Shuffield said.
“They closed the Reynolds plant after he had worked there 22 years and it was very hard on our family. I did not want something similar to happen to me so I chose to go into my own business.”
Phil Shuffield is married to Pam, and the couple has two children, Natalie and Cole. They have one grandson, Cash, who is 7. His entire family resides in Arkadelphia.

Gurdon Chamber and Rotary

plan fund raising auction for Sept. 30

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
The annual auction fundraiser for the Gurdon Chamber of Commerce and Rotary Club has been scheduled for 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 30 in the high school cafeteria.
Chamber spokesperson Anita Cabe said Thursday that Go-Devil Head Football Coach Kyle Jackson is donating a helmet signed by all of the current Go-Devil team members.
“Coach Jackson is putting in the helmet and we will have a lot of other memorabilia up for auction as well that should entice some Go-Devil parents and fans to want to bid,” Cabe said.
“As most people know, this is our big fundraiser to do things such as scholarships for the high school seniors, buying dictionaries for Gurdon Primary School students and various other community service projects.
“Rotary usually donates to our Close-Up travelers in the spring. A good auction allows us to do more giving back to our community. Come enjoy a good meal and have some fun with our auctioneering process.”
The annual auction starts out with a silent auction and crowd members getting the chance to sign up bids on auctions displayed around the edge of the room.
Then the meal will follow about 6:30 p.m., with the live auction getting under way around 7:30 p.m.
Tickets to attend this year’s event are $15 each. Cabe said the date of Sept. 30 was chosen because it is a fifth Tuesday of the month and should therefore have the least conflict.
Those wanting advanced tickets may purchase them from the Cabe Land Office on Front Street, Gurdon’s First State Bank or Gurdon’s US Bank branch.
“Last year’s turn-out was really good,” Cabe said. “This year’s profit will also help us to donate more for Forest Festival, coming up on the last Saturday in October.”
Rotarians have agreed to help CADC workers to bring back the traditional Forest Festival pancake breakfast, as a great start to the big day and a fund raiser for the senior citizens center.
If you have any questions concerning the donation of auction items, or questions in general, please feel free to contact the Cabe Land Office at: (870) 353-2063 or 353-4444.

American Art Gallery will

host two artists on Sept. 5

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Art lovers will be in for a special treat during the September Gallery Walk on Friday evening, Sept. 5, as the American Art Gallery will host two of their star displayers; Valerie Hanks-Goetz and Jimmy Leach.
Goetz uses salvaged copper, pre-owned leather, home grown gourds, reclaimed clay, recycled glass, pine needles and horse hair to create her “renewable art.”
Jimmy Leach, known for his “eye to mind, through brush to canvas,” described his plans for the upcoming gallery walk show.
“The show will be comprised of acrylic works of a variety of subjects – from floral landscape to dramatic skies and snow scenes to animals. I will be releasing limited Giclee fine art prints on canvas. This is a first in the Gallery.”
Leach will have “Team Work” on display Sept. 5, as well as “New Found Hope” and “Mums the Word.”
The American Art Gallery is at 724 Central Avenue, downtown Hot Springs. To call for any questions, dial (501) 624-0550.
Jimmy Leach owns Timeless Impressions of Nature’s Beauty and is a self-employed fine artist.
He studied Art Education major Marketing minor at Northeastern State University
He is from Stilwell, Oklahoma and lives at Wauhiliau, Oklahoma.
VALERIE GOETZ
As to Valerie Hanks-Goetz, she said she loves to see someone smile when looking at the “work of my hands.”
“It is the greatest complement I can receive because it means they are sharing my smile,” she said.
Valerie said it was in search of her smile that she discovered herself after leaving corporate America in 1999.
Goetz added she was suffering from burn out and a broken spirit when she left the corporate world.
“I wanted to do something that I enjoyed, something that would not need to be upgraded or replaced in a year,” she said.
“I wanted to bring honor to my family and tribe, the Muscogee Nation of Florida. My heart returned me to the traditional, and “Native Works” became a sustainable company. Now I have many more reasons to smile.”
She said her passion to find art in unusual places has grown from the Muscogee belief that everything has a purpose and nothing should be wasted.
Goetz even uses horse hair in her pottery art. She gets it from a malnutritioned horse called Lucky Ed, who she found and nursed back to health
Willie and Ann Gilbert, owners of American Art Gallery, invite you to the Sept. 5 Gallery Walk, a first Friday event in downtown Hot Springs for 25 years.

 

Director of Nursing says

Courtyard Garden did well

on state inspection

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Karen Jones, a registered nurse and an 1986 Gurdon High School graduate, was promoted to Courtyard Gardens Director of Nursing in February and has already had a significant state accommodation on her watch.
She said the annual state week-long survey from the Arkansas Office of Long-tern Care, was conducted in July and the Arkadelphia Courtyard Gardens facility received a 0 deficiency rating.
Jones said this means state inspectors found nothing wrong. Jones said she has been working at Courtyard Gardens in Arkadelphia since October of 2010, when she hired on as an 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. charge nurse “and a 0 deficiency rating from the state is very rare in this business when the state inspectors look you over for a week under a microscope.”
Jones is in charge, as director of nursing, of 31 Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) and Registered Nurses (RNs), plus around 40 Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs).
She said one of her biggest goals for 2015 is to get another 0 deficiency rating from the State of Arkansas after that week-long inspection of such areas as maintenance care, dietary and activities has happened again.
“We are a health and rehabilitation facility that strives to provide excellent care,” she said. “Normally the inspectors find something or other that we have to correct to meet state regulations. To get a perfect rating is unusual but I would sure love to do it over and over again.”
Courtyard Gardens Health and Rehabilitation is owned by Compass Point Health Care out of Baltimore. Compass Point has similar facilities in other states.
According to Jones, the Arkadelphia facility has 100 beds, with 81 currently occupied.
“Another one of my goals is to have a full facility,” she said. “But the most important thing that we strive for is to give the residents the kind of care they would get at home. This is their home now and we are in it. We want Courtyard Gardens to be a facility that works for the resident and his or her family and friends.”
Jones said if anyone is interested in checking out the facility as a possible home for a loved one, they may call: (870) 246-5566 and make arrangements for a tour or just walk in and take the tour that way.
“Our goal is to assure a family that their loved one will be in good hands if they choose our facility,” she said.
“And we want to make the transition as easy as possible.”
Jones studied nursing at Baptist Health School in Little Rock and then completed her registered nursing degree at the College of the Ouachita in Malvern.
She is married to Jim Jones and they live in the DeGray Lake Community.
The couple has four children; Ryan and Taylor Norman, Kara Hurst and Jake Jones.
They have one grandchild, Jett William Jones, 10 months old, son of Jake and Kelsey Jones.
The DON served as an 11-7 supervisor after her days as a charge nurse. Then she moved to 3-11 p.m. supervisor before accepting her current position as overall director of nursing. Her favorite part of working at Courtyard Gardens is the people.
“I love the people here. The residents are wonderful and we have a great team of workers,” she said. “At Courtyard Gardens, the residents come first. I have not worked elsewhere but I have been to other facilities. Ours has a family atmosphere, while some nursing homes are more about their corporate rules.
“Here, we always want to do the right thing for our residents – all the time.”

Pizza Barn owners

may operate new Main Street Market

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Art lovers will be in for a special treat during the September Gallery Walk on Friday evening, Sept. 5, as the American Art Gallery will host two of their star displayers; Valerie Hanks-Goetz and Jimmy Leach.
Goetz uses salvaged copper, pre-owned leather, home grown gourds, reclaimed clay, recycled glass, pine needles and horse hair to create her “renewable art.”
Jimmy Leach, known for his “eye to mind, through brush to canvas,” described his plans for the upcoming gallery walk show.
“The show will be comprised of acrylic works of a variety of subjects – from floral landscape to dramatic skies and snow scenes to animals. I will be releasing limited Giclee fine art prints on canvas. This is a first in the Gallery.”
Leach will have “Team Work” on display Sept. 5, as well as “New Found Hope” and “Mums the Word.”
The American Art Gallery is at 724 Central Avenue, downtown Hot Springs. To call for any questions, dial (501) 624-0550.
Jimmy Leach owns Timeless Impressions of Nature’s Beauty and is a self-employed fine artist.
He studied Art Education major Marketing minor at Northeastern State University
He is from Stilwell, Oklahoma and lives at Wauhiliau, Oklahoma.
VALERIE GOETZ
As to Valerie Hanks-Goetz, she said she loves to see someone smile when looking at the “work of my hands.”
“It is the greatest complement I can receive because it means they are sharing my smile,” she said.
Valerie said it was in search of her smile that she discovered herself after leaving corporate America in 1999.
Goetz added she was suffering from burn out and a broken spirit when she left the corporate world.
“I wanted to do something that I enjoyed, something that would not need to be upgraded or replaced in a year,” she said.
“I wanted to bring honor to my family and tribe, the Muscogee Nation of Florida. My heart returned me to the traditional, and “Native Works” became a sustainable company. Now I have many more reasons to smile.”
She said her passion to find art in unusual places has grown from the Muscogee belief that everything has a purpose and nothing should be wasted.
Goetz even uses horse hair in her pottery art. She gets it from a malnutritioned horse called Lucky Ed, who she found and nursed back to health
Willie and Ann Gilbert, owners of American Art Gallery, invite you to the Sept. 5 Gallery Walk, a first Friday event in downtown Hot Springs for 25 years.

 

 

Gurdon Schools seek pay plan

for school lunch chargers…

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
The Gurdon School Board met Tuesday and decided that no child in the district should go hungry on their watch, but also decided that those families who refused to pay for meals, even on a sliding scale, would have to endure collection procedures.
Superintendent Allen Blackwell said, “Our board wants to be sure the kids get fed, but the parents who should be paying need to make arrangements to do so.”
According to Blackwell, the board has voted to discontinue alternative meals for those who can not pay. The old policy allowed the school to give a student a cheese sandwich, or something else very simple, if lunches had been eaten on credit for say 20 days.
“Our hope was the bland food would inspire the student to get the parents to start paying for the regular meals,” Blackwell recalled. “But that alternative lunch idea just did not work and I am glad the board discontinued it.”
As to current policy, Blackwell said the board has ruled students can eat on charge for five days and then a written reminder to pay for lunches will be sent to the parents.
If the no pay continues for 10 days of charges, the school administrators will call the parents or guardians and ask for payment arrangement, and/or an explanation of special circumstances.
Board member Bernard Hatley lobbied on behalf of hardship cases that had fallen between the cracks of requirements for free or reduced lunches.
“We don’t know what is going on when a parent that has paid in the past stops paying for a child’s lunch,” he said. “Some of these children may not be eating anywhere but school. I just think we should evaluate each non-paying student case individually to find some solution, rather than just cutting them off from eating here,” Hatley said.
The board agreed with Hatley’s sentiment that no child should do without a cafeteria meal available, but that some sort of pay arrangements should be insisted upon.
“Our school has 78 percent of the student population qualified for free or reduced lunches,” Blackwell said. “But the government says we are not qualified for SNAP, which is program based on Social Security numbers, and that disqualification cuts us down to 73.8 percent eligible.”
Board member and Nevada County Human Services Worker Elaine Halliday said the Social Security card problem is that with Hispanics they are assigned one temporary Social Security number from one governmental agency and a second Social Security number from another agency.
“This means some of the parents are not in our system with the Social that would help their children get reduced or free lunches.”
The board voted for one more collection procedure for the lunch chargers, to be effective after 15 days of charging the meals. At that point, the student and his or her family must come to the school for an administrative conference – with the object of said conference being the successful creation of lunchroom payment arrangements.
Blackwell said he is not sure how much success the conferences will have, “but we are not talking about a large population of students who can’t or won’t pay. I feel confident something can be worked out to where our food budget is not too damaged.”
DAYCARE AFTER SCHOOL
In other business, the board discussed a transfer request for a child to attend Arkadelphia. The family said they were having problems with the child being alone until 5:30 p.m. or 6 p.m. while attending Gurdon because of parents having to work.
The board approved an after school daycare program, with someone on duty for children in the fourth grade or younger at Gurdon Primary School until 6 p.m.
The couple, Jason and Rachel Pye, agreed to try this program and report back at the September 16 meeting as to whether or not they still wanted to transfer their student to Arkadelphia.
“I was glad the board approved the after school daycare because at least it gives parents like these, who have to work and need somebody to watch after their small child for a few hours, an alternative to transferring,” Blackwell said.
“Besides, school choice laws changed in 2013 and the future of school choice is uncertain.”
The board decided to discuss charges for the daycare service at a later time.
Moreover, Blackwell said Aug. 18 the school population was at 726, but he expected it to go up by 20 or more students once everyone was settled into classrooms.
The superintendent said Gurdon gets $6,520 per student by way of governmental budget money. In other business, the board accepted a $1,900 bid on an older model tractor the district owned, approved migrant participation and application for students moving in and out of the district, approved Act 1120 requirements to present spearhead reasons for a 5 percent or more salary increase for employees, approved the transfer of $225,000 to the building account to meet balance requirements, approved a 2 percent personnel raise for all employees – not just the ones eligible for tenure step raises, and approved a $1,000 stiped for teacher Jon Capps to coach golf.

Larry’s Pizza of Malvern touts great food,

hometown atmosphere and convenient carry out

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Larry’s Pizza of Malvern, at 2300 Leopard Lane in the mini-mall next to Wal-mart, is the place to be on Tuesday or Friday evening for a tasty buffet with a variety of all you can eat pizza and salad.
If you are of Malvern, or just passing through, you are sure to get treated like family as you get your meal and watch your favorite sports events on the big screen televisions.
Shirts of honored Hot Spring County football and basketball players are on the walls for discussion.
The owner, Caleb Deimel, is a Malvern native and former football quarterback for the Leopards. When he left high school, Caleb Deimel had one aim – manage a restaurant in a way that nearly everyone he knew would enjoy coming for the food and socializing and then buy that restaurant.
In May of this year, after managing Larry’s Pizza of Malvern since he was 19, Caleb bought the place at 25, zeroing in on his goal of ownership like he used to a touchdown on the football field.
Deimel said he has 14 employees, all friends and family. Some of the more noted ones are: Roy Overton, his uncle and primary manager; long-time employee Shirley Cooper; manager Brandi Lyn Montgomery; and general workers Dale Ray, Nadia King and Katie Meyer.
“I bought the Malvern Larry’s Pizza franchise in May of this year from John Wright, our previous owner and a really good friend of mine,” Caleb said. “I have been the one running the store since August of 2009. I took one year of training at the Larry’s Pizza in Bryant and then came here to run this place.
“We have a fantastic crew of family and friends here. Miss Shirley (Cooper) is John’s aunt and she keeps us on target.”
The restaurant offers carry-out and is considering a delivery service in the future. Right now, Caleb said, delivery is still in the think-tank stages. If you want carry-out, you can call ahead on either of the restaurant’s two telephone lines at: (501) 337-0770 or 337-0771.
“Our main goal is to keep giving the customers the same excellent service, hometown atmosphere, to go along with their pizza and salad orders, that they have always been used to getting,” he said. “I also would like to get more Interstate 30 travelers to stop here on there way up and down the highway past Malvern. We would like to be there to give them a positive impression of my hometown that they can take with them where ever they go.”
Store hours are 11 until 9 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday. Larry’s is closed on Mondays. With football season coming up, Caleb intends to start staying open until 10:30 p.m.
“We normally have our night-time buffets from 5:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and Fridays. I know I will be open later on those two nights once the football crowds start coming in,” he said.
Caleb said he played all sports at Malvern, with football being his real success story. But he was in a bad car wreck in 2006. A good friend with him did not make it and the untimely death brought on what Caleb called “a stubbornness in me.” So instead of returning to the traditional classroom, he finished school with a GED.
“I had the wreck and just lost interest in regular school,” he said. “But I did get my GED in 2007 and managed to go into the restaurant business. Working in the restaurant world is what I knew I would really enjoy.”
In addition to eventually expanding the business to delivery service, Caleb said he is always looking at ways to increase the food selection.
“We already concentrate on birthday parties and plan to do more of that in the future,” he said. “The kids come and really seem to enjoy our game room.”
Caleb said Larry’s Pizza birthday parties have a huge prize selection. He said the restaurant does benefit buffets on nights other than Tuesday and Friday, sharing a percentage of the profits with those in need.
“We help churches, schools and much more. Usually those special buffets are a win-win situation for those folks we are helping and us. We try and be generous with their percentages. We strive to have a good reputation for helping those in need as much as we can,” Caleb said. “When we have a special fund raising night, I give $100 donation and also a percentage of my profits.”
Deimel said he would like to give a heart-felt thank you to all of his customers and friends for supporting the restaurant. He invites you to join him next for good food, good conversation and what has become a hometown pizza tradition.
“My regular customers have been very loyal. If you give us a try, we will strive to please you and make you a new regular,” he said.

Benton Harmony Grove School Board

hears superintendent’s report on parking lot project

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
The Benton Harmony Grove School Board heard a report from Superintendent Daniel Hensley Monday night on the nearly completed school parking lot and how the project had to be increased in cost by $30,000 so that needed gravel could be bought and placed, drainage fixed and additional overlaying completed.
Hensley said, “We were involved with $185,000 project and needing it finished by football time, so I added $30,000 to it to make sure the job was done right.”
According to Hensley, the contractor, Tri-State Asphalt, will more than likely be done by the end of the week.
“I think they have done a very good job,” he said.
POPULATION UP
The School Board meeting was held on the first day of the school year and Hensley said the district is growing in student population.
He said 1,140 students attended Benton Harmony Grove last school year and preliminary reports indicate 1,175 will attend the 2014-2015 school year.
In other business, the board accepted the resignation of School Board member Norman Caldwell.
They then appointed Johnny Ramsey to take Caldwell’s place.
The following students transferred into the school district: Parker Landreth of Benton and Jacob Scroggins from Glen Rose. The board also accepted the superintendent’s recommendation to release students Jacob Knight and Mary Baker to the Glen Rose School District.
Hensley further recommended that the School Board rescind the expulsion of Clint Vines, effective immediately, so that his mother will be allowed to home school him.
The School Board hired Brandon Mynhier as a bus driver. They also hired Russell Powell as a part-time special education teacher for the high school.
Moreover, the board turned down an offer for the district to purchase an acre and a half of property next to the district for $80,000.
It was concluded the district would have no use for the old house on it and that was too much to pay just for the land.
High School Principal Chad Withers said his female students were objecting to dress code requirements. He had told them not to have holes in their jeans, but that is the new style.
“I came off as being very strict about the dress code, but if that is about all they can buy in the store then we will make adjustments,” Withers said.
Withers said he was also cracking down on the abuse of cell phone use. Students are allowed to have their cell phones so they can receive text messages from parents concerning rides and such, but the phones to remain off during the school day’s classroom time so as not to distract classmates from their work.
“If they abuse the privilege of having a cell phone on their desk, their parents will be called and asked to come get it,” he said.
Middle School Principal Sarah Gober said she has been emphasizing to her students that using a cell phone is a privilege and one that can be taken away if a student does not follow the school rules.
It was concluded that the new cell phone policy of receiving family texts about rides etc. would come with a learning curve.
Principal Withers said cell phone disruption of class would not be tolerated on the high school level without ramifications.
Hensley said, “We have to offer to let them be used for parental texts about rides and such.
“We can not just ban them. They are here to stay so we might as well embrace them and incorporate them to our benefit when possible.”
The next School Board meeting will be at 7 p.m. Monday, Sept. 15.

 

 

Haskell mayor race heats up;

bathroom construction to start next week

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Jeff Arey, long-time mayor of Haskell, did not choose to run for another term but is instead highly likely to become the next county judge of Saline County in January.
In light of this fact, three candidates, according to Janie Lyman, city clerk, are running for Arey’s mayoral seat.
Although the third candidate is not known at press time, the Tailgate News has been informed that Lyman and Jayme Watson Bruton are enthusiastically vying for said position.
Lyman has been Haskell’s city clerk and recorder for seven years. In that time, she has assisted the mayor with many ordinances and resolutions and has been directly knowledgeable of city business.
Jayme Watson Burton is also a candidate for mayor. She attends City Council meetings, is young, friendly and enthusiastic about keeping Haskell on a steady path of being in good repair and stable.
Both candidates were cordial at the meetings. Lyman said she was looking forward to being elected mayor and carrying on with the city’s water line repairs and other business at hand.
“I am well suited for this job,” she said. “I know what is going on in the city and will pledge to do my very best to keep it running in a way that residents will continue to be proud to live here.”
In other business, Mayor Arey led the council to pass the July minutes, hear the police and fire reports and get an update on the water main situation.
Arey said, “We have had two more water main breaks since our last meeting. The good news is we have already installed two of the proposed five new shut-off valves.
“That has helped in isolating the leaks and not having to shut down as much of city when repairs are necessary.”
The mayor said the other three shut-off valves will be installed shortly.
He said the extensive rains this year have made drainage problems more severe. The Haskell water system in general is being evaluated for the best solution to increasing its reliability.
RESTROOMS
According to Arey, construction crews are supposed to start on the proposed city park restrooms next week, with anticipation of them being completed by spring.
“We want to get them up and running so we can move on to applying for another grant to provide our park with new playground equipment,” he said.
The board heard a request from a Little League representative for $12,000 to purchase three new score boards for the park.
Jason Hall made the request. No council action was taken.
Moreover, the ordinance to raise the annual water and sewer tax rate hike from 2 to 4 percent was read to the council with no objections. However, the mayor said not enough council members were present to pass it with an emergency clause so the matter was tabled until next meeting.
Arey said the city has been operating with $197,000 loss in the water department because of leak repairs etc and the additional funding is needed to maintain the system and balance the books.
Another ordinance was read and tabled for lack of a proper quorum concerning the levying of a 5 mill tax on all property in Haskell.
That tax will be collected by a collector in Benton, should it pass in the September meeting.
City Council heard a resolution (07) saying the five-valve water project, along with work on a pump station, would cost between $50,000 and $70,000. No objections were voiced to keeping the water and sewer system in good repair.
In conclusion, the City Council heard Ordinance No. 4-2014, an ordinance creating a master list of streets which are eligible to be maintained by the city of Haskell: providing a procedure for making amendments to the master street list, declaring an emergency and for other purposes.
Arey said the street list, which contains many streets eligible for repair by the city and a few lanes not eligible, is needed for work direction in the future.
The street proposal ordinance will also be read again at the September meeting.
That meeting is tentatively slated for the second Monday in September at 7 p.m., in particular on Monday, Sept. 8.

 

New industrial director says gas and taxes

should go down so jobs will come back from over seas

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Steven Bell, the new Clark County Industrial Development coordinator, addressed the Gurdon Rotary Club on Tuesday, letting them know that he will be attending a Wal-mart speared meeting designed to “get overseas jobs back to America.”
Bell said the exodus of companies, back in the 1980’s, was because of US taxes being so much higher than other countries and because of high energy costs.
“The United States has since become number one in energy production, especially with the vast availability of natural gas. If the prices of energy and US taxes can come down, our companies over seas should see fit to come home,” he said.
Bell told Rotarians he would keep them posted on how this effort was going as to the big picture and if any new chances for more Clark County industries come out of the meeting discussions.
In other business, the Rotary Club is planning its annual auction fund raiser, along with the Gurdon Chamber of Commerce, for 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 30 at the Gurdon High School cafeteria.
Rotary President Randy Cox said the profits are divided equally among the two groups and used for such things as school scholarships.
The night will proceed with the silent auction at 6 p.m., the meal at 6:30 p.m. and the live auction at 7:30 p.m.
Cabe Land Offices will be coordinating the auction items, according to Cox. He told Anita Cabe there would be several sports balls for auction with famous sports heroes lined out to put their signature on the balls to increase the auctioning values.
Moreover, Cox congratulated Gurdon mayor’s candidate and Justice of the Peace Sherry Kelley on her $98,000 downtown renovation grant, which is supposed to close next week.
The grant is for demolition and reconstruction of the old Austin Capps variety store building on Main Street, which will be converted to a meat market, bakery and restaurant, owned by the city but leased to entrepreneurs.
Mayor Clayton Franklin said Thursday two sets of business entities were already interested in leasing and running the business, once it is ready for occupancy. No time table on construction completion has been set.
“Sherry could not have gotten this USDA rural grant if we had not already had a commitment from someone willing to run it,” Franklin said. “But they are in business elsewhere and must remain anonymous for now.”
Superintendent Allen Blackwell invited Rotarians to school. Gurdon school district student population is expected to be between 750 and 800 students this year, roughly the same as last year. Harvey Sellers is the new GHS principal and Kyle Jackson the new head football coach.

 

Potter is negotiating land for industries to purchase near GP

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Tommy Potter, 54, is running for mayor of Gurdon, a town he has spent the better part of his life trying to help.
Potter said Wednesday he believes the town where he played football, graduated from GHS in 1978 and has spent years as a self-employed barber, needs to be marketable to new industries so that subsequent independent businesses can come here to stay and Gurdon can once again flourish.
Potter took action already and has been leading negotiations with a local land owner to acquire 25 acres of industrial land north of town near Georgia Pacific, Gurdon’s top employer and a lumber industry on Highway 67.
“The idea is to put the land on the market after it is acquired. I can not be more specific because an exact price as to how much will have to be paid per acre to the present owner has not been reached,” Potter said.
“The law says we must have 10 acres per plot in order to be put on the industrial market list for prospective businesses to come to Gurdon. If anyone else in the Gurdon area would like to sell off a block of 10 acres or more to be listed as industrial site acres, feel free to contact me. The possibility exists that more than just the current 25 acres will be purchased to help market Gurdon to those who would bring us legitimate industrial jobs.”
According to Potter, Gurdon has never been marketed properly in this manner and more industry locating here is essential if a financial base is to be rekindled that will support downtown businesses, or any up and coming small business.
“We need our people working and then those businesses will be sustainable. I am all for downtown business rejuvenation but the first step is to recruit the jobs and create a money base here so those downtown businesses have repeat customers. With the current depleted job base, businesses come in and they go right back out again. We need job stability and then businesses will come here to stay because there will once again be a substantial customer base to serve.”
Potter, who has been married to Stephanie Cash Potter for 18 years, said he and his wife have been helping the people of Gurdon get a leg up for 14 years through being Celebrate Recovery leaders.
The group meets on Monday night at St. Andrew’s Methodist Church in Arkadelphia at 6:30 p.m. and also on Thursday night at Faith Mission. Celebrate deals with life issues such as alcoholism, drug addiction, divorce, depression and more.
The Mission on Main Street is also the site for the food pantry, an organization where Potter is in partnership with Evergreen Church and Velvet Gonzalez and has been for nearly two years.
The food pantry is a member of the Arkansas Food Bank and feeds between 150 and 200 families a large box of food once a month. It also provides meals for around 80 shut-ins. Potter is on a task force focusing on feeding the elderly through the food effort.
“I have been working with many people who are struggling and now I am negotiating for this industrial land with a group that has money and influence in the community. My hope is to create the jobs that are necessary for the families needing help to get out of the food lines and into employment roles. Sure, some do not want the help and are too far down to come back up, either by way of mental and./or physical condition.
“But you might be surprised to find that many of those struggling would work and hold a good job if a good job were available.”
Potter is also the president of the Arkadelphia Girls and Boys Club. He and Max Brown, one of the group’s founding fathers and also a Gurdon native, are working toward getting a Boys and Girls Club started in Gurdon.
“It all takes time,” Potter said. “My wife and I have seven children between the two of us and 11 grandchildren. Not only from a family standpoint, but in general, helping youth get a good work ethic and a ticket away from hopelessness is my passion.”
Potter said he wants to become mayor because Gurdon has been his home for so long and he has seen it where there were two Gurdon ponds, a Hoo Hoo Theater, downtown businesses filling the square and flourishing and work for even a kid who wanted to learn to earn.
“My father, Paul Potter, was a barber here for years. I earned my first $1,000 at $1.50 a week for keeping his shop clean,” he said.
“I have heard some say I want to change people employed by the city, but if I am elected mayor I would just as soon they all stayed. All I am going to ask is for a work accountability system to be put in place where public employees will have to state the facts of what they are doing about a problem to me and to any citizen that might be interested. For example, if somebody complains that their sewer is overflowing, such a record might state response time, time spent fixing the problem and any suggestions as to how to prevent the same problem from occurring in the future.”
Tommy Potter is a volunteer fireman in the Kansas Community and in Whelen Springs.
The mayor’s candidate is also certified in hazardous materials.and in a HazMat work zone.
He is trained to handle wild land fires and incident command. Potter received Home Land Security training after 911.
He led “Team Clark” save and rescue squad at the Albert Pike flood.
Tommy Potter and his wife attend the Trinity Assembly of God Church in Arkadelphia, where they share duties in the nursery.
POTTER’S HISTORY
Tommy Potter said he grew up in a barber shop near where Thomerson’s Drug Store is today. His father, Paul, cut off a broom when he was 2 years old and paid him 5 cents for sweeping up hair.
He said he would take the money to Thomerson’s for a dip of ice cream.
Tommy also sold snuff bottles to train passengers in the early days.
“I was a Boy Scout under Clarence Haltom, Kenny Clark and John Edwards,” Tommy said. “I was a Little League coach for my brother and my sons. Both teams were league champions in the years I was coach.”
Tommy Potter continues to run his business, Hair It Is, and has been in the hair business for 35 years. He was a graduate of the Clark County Leadership Group in 2012.
Before that, he was a member of the Community Development and Entertainment committee for 17 years.
“When I was in CD&E, I ran the wood chipper at Forest Festival, but they discontinued the chipper deal,” he said.
“It gave me a chance to see more of my family. I dropped out of CD&E because I was needed at home so my wife Stephanie could have some help raising six kids.”
In the 1980’s, a political issue about Gurdon spurred Tommy into action. He lobbied against the proposed landfill on Locke Road and the opposition won. Having a landfill that close would have ruined some deer hunting land and angered many people who wanted to preserve the natural beauty of the area.
“It was good to get that situation behind us, as many native Gurdon folk knew having a landfill out there would not have been in our best interest,” he said.
Tommy was a Jaycee, and helped start the chapter for South Clark County. He served as vice president and “roostered out” at age 35.
“Our club always wanted to honor Gurdon native Louis Randolph, Thomas Jefferson’s grandson, with some sort of land mark. I still think that would be good for our tourism goals,” Potter said.
Tommy said he used to rattle the door of the old Gurdon Jail with his grandfather, Guy Arnold, and would like to see that jail restored for its historical value.
MANAGEMENT WORK EXPERIENCE
Potter was employed at Fainier Bearing in Arkadelphia for the entire six years (in the early 90’s) the company existed here. He worked under John Robinson, the current 911 director for Clark County.
“My job involved product technology and planning,” he said. “But the plant sold and they paid for me to be retrained as an electrician. I graduated from the College of the Ozarks as an electronics technician and was fifth highest in grades out of 25.”
Potter drives a van and helps with 80 at-risk kids every Wednesday night for Evergreen Church.
As to more recent management experience than Fainier Bearing, Tommy Potter was in charge of construction at Rowdy’s Adventure in Okolona, which was a $700,000 project boosting Southern Clark County tourism back in 2010.
He said another tourism boost would result if the second Gurdon Pond could be restored.
“I used to love to fish at our other Gurdon Pond and I believe it can be restored through grant money and really be a ploy to attract strangers to Gurdon. Former Representative Tommy Robinson stands ready to help on this,” Potter said. “It would be a great site for camp grounds. I say try to make it work. I am not afraid to research and then try anything to improve the business or residential climate of Gurdon. You may ask why? I have been here many years and I bleed purple.”

Gurdon to apply for $5,000 evaluation grant

to determine tourism marketability of the Gurdon Light

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
The Gurdon City Council met Monday night, Aug. 4 and approved a $5,000 grant application that is designed to finance a feasibility study concerning the Gurdon Light as an effective tourist attraction.
Justice of the Peace Sherry Kelley, also a candidate for mayor, will apply for the grant by way of the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism, through the tourism attraction feasibility study matching grant program.
Mayor Clayton Franklin said Thursday, “This will give us a chance to find out if the powers that be think our Gurdon Light would really be tourist effective, that is if we get the money.
“If so, there will be some sort of study done as to how many people actually go out to the light. If the only time it is even noticed is on Halloween, we might figure out some sort of Halloween holiday monitoring program to make the visit safer.”
No mention was made as to whether such a venture would come with a charge. Details, the mayor said, “will not be known until we know what sort of tourist attraction we are really looking at.”
Justice of the Peace Kelley said verification or denial of the grant would probably occur in late September.
TEARING DOWN HOUSES
Mayor Franklin told the City Council that the city workers have dismantled about 120 eyesore houses since Southern Ban Corp invested some seed money in the program a few years ago.
The subject came up because Councilwoman Stacy Blarckard said she knew of at least one house she really wished could be removed from Gurdon.
Franklin said he has heard Southern Ban Corp is considering a second round of seed money, but that rumor has not been confirmed.
Blackard, who works for that bank, did not offer any confirmation.
“When we ran out of money from the Southern Ban Corp fund, we started charging people $500 when they requested a tear-down, or we billed them for the $500 if we condemned their property and we had to remove the house because a property owner refused to take action on a condemned structure,” Franklin said.
The mayor admitted the city’s brainstorm program of charging the home owner $500 for a tear-down has all but ceased because of the difficulty the city had in collecting the funds.
“We would offer to let them pay it out and many did not even have the money to make payments,” he said.
“But yes, we would love to take care of some more eyesores if we get some money to do so.”
Franklin said the city’s biggest challenge to get torn down has been the old Bell High School.
The mayor said he believes proper permission is now in place to tear the school down, but more grant money from somewhere will have to be forthcoming to accomplish the task.
“Our charge of $500 was just an attempt to make the tear-down program pay for itself, but when we condemn a building there are too many times that we tear it down and the city ends up working for free,” Franklin said.
Regular meeting time for the Gurdon City Council is the last Monday of the month at 6 p.m.

Enjoy every moment you play football and never give up the fight

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Paul Calley, head football coach for the Bryant Hornets, former Go-Devil football player and All American Center for Henderson State University, gave a speech on never giving up and striving for your dreams even when things look pretty bleak, to 23 Gurdon 2014 “Boys of Fall” Thursday night and a well wishing crowd of nearly 100 supporters.
Calley was invited to speak at the last minute when the scheduled speaker canceled due to family illness problems.
Although Gurdon Head Football Coach Kyle Jackson said it would be a question and answer session to take pressure off of Calley, Coach Calley brought out some food for thought on how important it is to have your family and friends back your dreams.
“I have had a pretty successful career in football, but it was not always that way,” Calley told the crowd.
“I would like to share with you what happened to this Gurdon boy at Henderson State University when I no longer felt grounded like I did going to football practice and working at Calley’s Service Station during my high school days.”
According to Calley, poor grades and not being able to gain enough weight to be a competitive center for HSU nearly sunk his dreams into the ocean.
“I finished my first semester at college with a 1.8 GPA, three D’s and a C,” the coach recalled.
“I dropped advanced math and did not pay the attention to my grades I should have. The second semester was also a 1.8 and I knew I was in trouble,” he said.
“It took me forever to get my grades back up. And then my coach started me as fourth center on the team, telling me I needed to gain 30 pounds before I could do his team any good. He warned me I was in danger of losing my scholarship. I could not gain the weight and the grades were not there. I lost the scholarship.”
“I called my dad (Johnny Calley) and told him I was no quitter and I did not want to quit college and the team.
“He said if that was how I felt about it to keep on trying and he would have my back financially. He let me know that he believed in me…”
Coach Calley said after that things began to turn around. He tried a lot harder to keep his grades up and ended up graduating with a 2.9 (low B or high C). Things got better on the football field too.
“I was still fourth center down during the week of a big game, but the three men in front of me were injured and/or eliminated.
“The coach had no choice but to let me play center and my career took off from there.”
Calley said once given a chance he became an All American Center and after college continued his love for football by entering the coaching profession. His winning record at Bryant speaks for itself and this year he has 130 players out for the Bryant High School Hornets football team.
“Only 22 of them will start so I do have a lot of mad parents to contend with,” he said.
Calley attributed his willingness to keep on keeping on to his background as a Gurdon Go-Devil and the work ethic his parents put in him in his early days.
“When I got to college, I started out as a business major but I knew I always wanted to be a coach.”
Calley said it has always been about more than the money for him.
“The only right reason to be a coach is to be in it for the kids,” he said. “My advice to you is play football and play all sports as long as you are able. And my advice to the 23 out for Go-Devil football this year is to beat Prescott. Our team never did get to know that rivalry victory feeling when I was a Go-Devil. A lot of that is because of how good of a coach your coach’s father was for Prescott back then.
“Parents, keep letting your boys know you are behind them all of the way. And boys, things will get hard sometimes. Just remember to never count yourself out of a fight.”
Calley also advised the Go-Devils to listen and learn from your coach and enjoy every moment you play because it might be your last.

Gurdon applies for paving grant; $250,000

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Gurdon is applying for a grant through the Arkansas Highway Department in the amount of $250,000 to pave approximately 10 streets, but demand for that grant money puts the city on a waiting list until probably 2016.
Mayor Clayton Franklin said Thursday, “We learned about this grant through Dick Rudolph, a city council member for Arkadelphia.
“Dick is enrolled at Henderson State University for an advanced degree through the school of business and is taking advanced resource management. He needed a town to learn on and has adopted Gurdon.
“He chose to do his studies on a municipality and was told to get an internship. HSU agreed to let the City of Gurdon serve in that internship capacity”
Franklin said Rudolph asked him what the top priority would be in regard to Gurdon’s current needs?
“I told him paving our streets. We don’t have the money for the 2-inch overlays we need to do. Our budget lets us fill in potholes and that is about it,” Franklin said.
“I believe we do have our sewers underneath ready for the overlaying, but our crew will check to be sure before actually beginning a paving project.”
Rudolph discovered the $250,000 grant through the Arkansas State Highway Department and it is under the State Aid Commission Project for small towns and cities.
Franklin said he believes the paving grants are funded through Arkansas gambling. He said Rudolph learned about it originally because Arkadelphia received one of those $250,000 grants in the recent past.
“Even if we get the $250,000, that may not be enough to do all of the 10 streets we have in mind as top priorities,” Franklin said. “But that kind of funding would go a long way toward solving our paving needs.”
According to research done by Rudolph, the available paving grants have been assigned for 2014 and there are already more grant applications than there are grants to be awarded in 2015.
“We think we will get it in 2016 if we follow up and get all of our applying done now,” Franklin said.
The mayor said this may work to Gurdon’s advantage, as he predicts the price of oil will go down by 2016 and therefore the city will be able to buy more asphalt for $250,000.
Franklin, who is not running for re-election, said the new mayor should pursue the paving project in order to get a much needed 2-inch overlay on the Gurdon street system. The last significant paving done on Gurdon streets occurred between 5 and 10 years ago.

Gallery Walks now span 25 years in Hot Springs

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
The downtown Hot Springs Gallery Walk, with more than a dozen art galleries and studios to now enjoy, started from humble beginnings 25 years ago this month.
American Art Gallery owners Ann and Willie Gilbert were instrumental in getting the first Friday evening of the month event going in August of 1989.
Willie said Dick Antoine, another Hot Springs cultural enthusiast, helped them get it started with around 10 in the association. After 25 years, the program has stood firm, now boasting approximately 15 galleries and art studios.
It is currently headed up by the Gallery Guide (Walk) Association. Before it’s conception, the Gilberts bought Arkansas Art Gallery and changed the name because one already existed in Little Rock. The Gilberts continue to take an active roll in the art community to this day and have participated by being open for nearly every Gallery Walk during this past quarter of a century.
Willie has been chairman for 11 years of the Gallery Guide. He described his job of organizing the art galleries and studios “as about like herding cattle.”
Ann said, “It has been fun. American Art Gallery now has more than 40 artists
“Twenty five years ago, we opened with about 20 out of the old Arkansas Art Gallery, but it boiled down to us and five reliable artists.”
Willie said those artists were: Ben Carniham (now deceased), Virgil Barksdale, Beau Beauford, Marlene Gremillion and Erselle Hiemstra.
“Jimmy Leach was the first artist we had a show with once we moved to our present building. He will give another show during the September Gallery Walk right here at American Art Gallery,” Ann said.
On a personal note, Ann and Willie have known each other slightly longer than they have been hosting Gallery Walks these past 25 years. In particular, they will have been married 49 years as of this Sept. 3.
“We got married on Labor Day weekend so we could have a little honeymoon,” Willie recalled.
Willie is retired from working as a power company lineman. His wife had always loved art and the American Art Gallery put feet to her dreams.
Ann said, “I still like coming down here every day.”
Willie and Ann agree that sometimes there are pretty good crowds of lookers and buyers and other times not so much.
Ann said, “The weather effects people when it comes to looking at art. If it is too hot, too cold or too wet, they are probably going to stay at home.”
But the excitement picks up when the First Friday of the month rolls around.
“I have missed one Gallery Walk in 25 years,” Ann said. “I have been very, very blessed with good health.”
Ann said she loves to show off the upstairs of her gallery, as it is still filled with the works of the late Thomas Kinkade.
She keeps stocked up with native American jewelry, which sells for a variety of affordable prices.
“The jewelry is something they can decide quickly on and helps encourage people to come see what we have,” Ann added.
The Gilberts encouraged any first-time Gallery walkers to come on out any first Friday of the month, from 5 to 9 p.m., and circle the area on foot. Tonight, Aug. 1, would be a good night to start.
The art galleries and studios are close together and easily accessible.
If you have any questions, you can call the Gilberts at: (501) 624-0550 or email them at: amerart@outlook.com
Art is addictive, says Ann. She and Willie said wood turner artist Virgil Barksdale dropped out of the art world to go to law school, but he came back.
“Talent is like that. It just has to be done and what these wonderful people leave behind is indeed worth seeing,” Ann said.

 

Haskell to build park restrooms

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Haskell City Council voted Monday, July 14 to proceed with the construction of a new restroom facility to accommodate men and women at the Haskell ball park.
Mayor Jeff Arey said there was a bid opening on May 8 concerning the planned improvements of the construction of a bathroom building at the park and improvements on the playground.
The low bid for the bathroom building was $80,240 and the low bid for the playground improvements came in at $20,000.
Mayor Arey said, “The bond we have toward these improvements is $37,000 short.
“We are working to solve the problem, but if we have to choose, the bathroom facility is more important for our park at this time.”
Council woman Rose Marie Wilkinson said, “We polled the City Council and it was decided to go ahead with the construction of the bathroom facilities despite the financial shortage.
“We considered shaving the project but realized the need for a quality restroom facility and so decided to move forward in that direction.”
Wilkinson said construction of the new restroom facilities will start in August. Mayor Arey said Dayco Construction representatives said about $1,000 worth of ditch work, beyond the original bid, may be necessary to get the bathrooms completed in 60 days, boosting the total cost to $81,240.
Councilman Hal Baker voted in favor of the bathroom project but said he would still like to see the Park Commission “have something to do with paying for it.”
Mayor Arey said a new grant will be sought to improve the park playground so that project can be accomplished at a later date.
Official business reading was delayed at the July 14 meeting because of a lack of a quorum, but began a few minutes later.
“In 16 years, the past three meetings have been the only times I have ever had a problem getting a quorum,” Arey said. “But Hal Baker should be here shortly.”
Councilman Baker, Ward 4, did arrive, despite medical difficulties, and the official meeting began.
Under old business, the ordinance to raise the Haskell water rates by 4 percent in order to make needed line and valve repairs was placed on first reading and the matter will be taken up next month.
Arey noted that five new valves needed to be installed in the water system to avoid a large percentage of the town being out of water when a leak could be isolated.
“We discovered, after a major leak last month, that we had water valves that would not shut off,” Arey said.
He said new shut off valves are needed at: Highland and Grand, Kesley and Grand, Kesley and Ford, and at Elm and Second Streets on both sides.
The mayor said the proposed cost to install the five valves is $13,000, but noted the Water Department is over budget on that line item.
The Council approved the request by the mayor for $20,000 to increase the line item in order for the mayor to get the work done.
Arey said the Water Department overall has brought is $70,000 more than expenditures so far this year so transferring some money was feasible.
In another matter, the Council voted to take the countywide 911 Emergency Dispatch off of their agenda for now, as only four of 22 fire departments in Saline County have adopted it.
The Council heard from various departments, including police, fire and street.
Mayor Arey said the Street Department finances are “a little behind because we ask them to do a lot of repair work.”

Magic man to be at Cabe Library July 24

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
GURDON – The 2014 Cabe Library summer reading program, tagged “Fizz, Boom, Read,” is winding down with a magic show at 2 p.m. on Thursday, July 24 and an awards ceremony at 2 p.m. on Thursday, July 31.
Librarian Amber Buck would like to remind this year’s participants that reading logs must be turned in by Friday, July 25 to calculate winners.
Buck said the July 10 Little Rock Zoo presentation was well received with 21 children and nine adults in attendance. The crowd was introduced to “Antigo the Lizard,” “Doodles the Tortoise,” and an alligator head.
Zoo workers Medine Watson and Al Notter said the lizard can climb a tree, the tortoise has a sensitive outer shell for the children to pet and the alligator, due to less taste bud sensors, is less likely to attack and eat you than the crocodile. The round nosed alligators are found in fresh water and have sensors around their mouth only, where as the crocodiles are a salt water creature with a pointed nose and sensors all over their bodies.

Gurdon gets $98,000 grant for meat market, bakery

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
A $98,875 rural business grant, designed to revamp an old Main Street building into a meat market, bakery, restaurant and event center, has been approved for Gurdon.
Sherry Kelley, a Clark County justice of the peace and candidate for mayor in the small Southern Arkansas city, wrote the grant and has had the dream of increasing the food source for local residents, while significantly improving the downtown, for more than a year.
Kelley said Tuesday the grant is through the United States Department of Agriculture(USDA). The cash amount does not count in-kind labor and donated materials.
According to Kelley, the total goes to $140,000 in grant money and pledges when you count the work and material pledges on top of the $98,875. Kelley said she wants to say thank you to a long list of local business people who have helped her with the grant and to put this project together.
“I want everyone to know this grant is not just about me and my dream for Gurdon’s revitalization . It is becoming a reality due to a huge combined effort by our citizenry.” she said. “Writing this grant, and organizing how we could make it happen, was probably the hardest project I have ever taken on. But we did it.”
Kelley added that all of her work has been donated and every penny will be spent in Gurdon to improve Gurdon.
Mayor Clayton Franklin said Thursday, “The Market on Main, as it is called, will be worth it to me because a lot of times I make trips to Arkadelphia just to buy meat. If the meat at the Market on Main is of good quality, and sold at a competitive price right here in Gurdon, then that saves me time and gas. I am definitely in favor of that!”
Kelley said the project will be an anchor for the north side of Main Street (across from the old Kuhn’s Hardware Store).
She did not attempt to project the amount it will increase the tax base for the city’s general fund, as that will depend on its reception from the community. However, she believes it will create as many as 10 new jobs. Once the facility is finished the city will own it and rent it out at fair market value to local business people who want to run it “with an obviously very low start-up cost because of our building.”
Kelley said, “The title work and architectural plans are expected to begin this month. The project will be open to bids when the plans are completed.
“I began working on this grant in July of 2013 and I will be the project director.”
Mayor Franklin said at least one other business owner in the downtown area is brainstorming an improvement project for downtown Gurdon “once the Market on Main is up and running.”

 

Icehouse Grill to have breakfast bar

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
The Icehouse Grill, located next to the Economy Inn where the old Denny’s Restaurant used to be, 16732 I-30 North in Benton, is quickly becoming a popular spot because of tasty food delivered in generous proportions.
The restaurant opened on April 6 of this year. Current hours are from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m., Monday through Saturday and on Sundays from 11 until 3 p.m., with lunch specials every day.
Tanya Burch, one of seven waitresses, said Tuesday a new breakfast bar is in the works and when it opens early risers can come on down to the restaurant at either 5:30 a.m. or 6 a.m. to get a tasty and healthy start to the day.
“I do not know the details yet,” Tanya said. “But it will be a large breakfast selection and will no doubt be popular.”
One of the generous portion specials already available is the hub cap burger. The two-pound seasoned monster burger will feed three or four for under $20!
Tanya, from the Wynne area, came on board at Icehouse just a month ago, but is already raving about the pecan fried pies.
Icehouse Grill, she said, is a fun place to work and eat because the people are so nice.
“I moved to Benton from Wynne so my son could go to Catholic School and I have been impressed with the positive attitude of my co-workers as well as the people of the Benton area in general,” she said.
Tanya said while the full menu of Icehouse Grill is extensive, what with appetizers, salads, wraps, Icehouse burgers, specialty burgers, sandwiches, Po’Boys, steaks, seafoods, combo platters and Icehouse originals, the daily lunch specials seem to be very popular.
The daily lunch specials include a drink and are reasonably prices at $7.99.
She provided a list of 10 lunch specials to choose from: 1) burger and fries (cheese extra); 2) PO’Boy turkey or ham with fries; 3) two piece fish and fries; 4) three piece chicken strips with fries; 5) chef salad (turkey, ham or both); 6) vegetable plate (choice of four); 7) Nathan’s hot dog with fries; 8) Grilled chicken sandwich with fries; 9) hamburger steak with fries; and 10) a loaded potato (grilled chicken, smoked ham or turkey).
She noted that amongst the Icehouse originals, Italian meatball and spaghetti is generous in serving, seasoned and priced right.
SHRIMP POPULAR
Tanya said her customers order a lot of shrimp. It comes grilled or fried, butter-filled and served with steak fries and hush puppies or grilled and served with sauteed vegetables and rice.
The Icehouse Grill has a party room and catering services available. If you are interested, contact the restaurant at: (501) 772-8186.
The restaurant does have special prices for kids and the fried pecan pies the waitress loves are just $2.99. In addition to peacon, the Icehouse Grill has apple, apricot and chocolate fried pies.
You can add ice cream for 75 cents.
Drop by the Icehouse Grill and see for yourself that a local restaurant with personality plus and delicious food still exists in Benton!

 

A way to save a pet’s life

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Sue Wiese, founder and president of Operation Roger, a pet transport system through volunteer truck drivers, was in Prescott Monday and looking for layover homes there, Gurdon and the surrounding area.
Wiese said she spends considerable time at Prescott taking care of an aging relative. She lives at Joshua, Texas but is currently operating Operation Roger from Nevada County.
“Our organization is set up to save the lives of pets that are about to be put down (killed) by overcrowded shelters or Humane Societies,” Wiese said.
“The reason we need layover homes is because sometimes a new home for a pet can be found but a truck can not arrive to transport that pet to its new living quarters until after a shelter has the pet scheduled for termination.
“We get that pet out of there and into a safe house. We need these layover safe houses in Gurdon, greater Clark County and more here in Nevada County.”
Wiese said her organization has used Southfork Truck Stop before to transport dogs.
“We don’t go to the layover houses in our 18-wheelers, but if say a new pet owner has said, for example, he would adopt a collie from a shelter in Gurdon, then the trucker calls the shelter (or the foster parents if the dog is already away from the shelter) when he gets to the truck stop and somebody brings the dog to the truck so the hitch hiking can begin.”
Operation Roger is a 501(c)(3) non-profit and Wiese may be contacted at: (682) 622-1172 or operationroger01@yahoo.com
The website is: . Tony Hamilton is the public relations director, from Hartselle, Alabama, and may be reached at: (256) 286-8573. or at tony-hamilton@live.com
The mission statement of the organization is, “Volunteer commercial truck drivers providing transport for lost, abandoned, surrendered or abused pets to their new fur-ever protective homes.”
Wiese said some of the benefits of volunteering your services as a temporary foster layover home for such a pet in transition is: “lots of licks and purrs, big smiles, companionship, 24/7 security, extremely rewarding, community service and health walks.
This reporter explained Operation Roger to Gurdon Police Officer Chris Russell on Wednesday, asking him to give an explanation card to dogcatcher Ty Ophlet.
Russell said he would talk to the dogcatcher about the program as soon as possible.
“I really like this,” Russell said. “And I believe Ty will get all kinds of excited about it because it will be one more way he can save a dog from being put down.”
Wiese said in this day and age of posting on Facebook etc., a family in Virginia might see a dog in Arkansas they want to adopt. Sometimes a shelter has used up its time and resources set aside to help that particular dog…
Operation Roger gives those doomed animals one more chance at a pardon.
In the spirit of July 4, you can honor a veteran and provide a wreath from Wreaths Across America for a grave in a National Cemetery and support Operation Roger. Click on the link… support TXORTQT1 – Operation Roger Truckers Pet Transport.
Wiese said, “I am looking forward to meeting all of the animal shelter and Humane Society personnel in this Southern Arkansas area.
“Again, if you want to talk to me about saving a dog or a cat, call: 682-622-1172.”

Teaching children how to milk a cow

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Farm Bureau Insurance Company representatives gave a demonstration July 3 at Cabe Library in Gurdon with a cow-shaped milking machine so students could get an idea of what dairy farmers go through with the real thing.
The Cabe Summer Reading Program hosted Becky Baumgardner and Jason Kaufman, of Farm Bureau, to give the 19 students present a little taste of farm life.
Baumgardner read a Farm Bureau created book called “The Cow in Patrick Shanahaun’s Kitchen,” which gave a fictional interpretation about where milk, eggs and bacon originate.
The book assumed there were cows, chickens and hogs in the kitchen producing milk, eggs and bacon. After reading it to the students, Baumgardner donated the book to the library. Before the actual milking demonstration, where the kids got to “milk” the mechanical cow, Kaufman gave them some facts about the subject at hand.
“One dairy cow produces 11 gallons of milk a day and must be milked twice a day,” he said. “That is 176 glasses of milk a day. Actual milking is much harder than what this machine illustrates and you must get all of the milk out.”
The July 10 program is the zoo.

 

Benton Harmony Grove to pave parking lot

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
HASKELL – The Benton Harmony Grove School Board met on Monday, June 23 and heard a superintendent’s report about the paving and repair of the main parking lot used by sports fans and for other school functions.
Superintendent Daniel Henley reminded the board he had been given a $200,000 budget to get the parking lot fixed and a bid had come in for $185,000.
“I took that bid and the contractors have promised me they will be through by the time we need it this fall,” he said.
“As far as the football players coming in for two-a-day, pre-season practices, they will have to use the middle school parking lot until this job is done. Frankly, I am excited about this. I believe it will be a big improvement to our school campus.”
Henley said the contractor promised him he will be done with the parking lot repair before the first day of school and will shoot for an Aug. 1 completion date.
In addition to the paving, Henley said a couple of lights have been added to the parking lot, which should make it easier on those needing to use it.
In other business, Henley told the board the school district was operating in budget overall and that “things are looking good for next school year.”
Moreover, the board heard an update on policies and approved changes.
The meeting was called to order by School Board President Buck Burchfield. He gave the floor to Middle School Principal Sarah Gober.
Ms. Gober said this year’s handbook will include a change in the cell phone policy for students.
For a complete update, she said the school’s web site address has changed to .org on the end.
On cell phones, she said the first offense of having it on and using it during class was for the parent to have to pick it up.
The punishment gets a bit more severe with each subsequent cell phone violation because distractions take away from the educational process, she said. If someone offends five times, they can get expelled.
Board member David Donham asked why students were allowed to have phones at school in the first place? Gober said the argument was the children could bring them to receive texts at lunch for such issues as a parent picking them up after school, but the cells were to be turned off during class at all times.
The new agenda of cell phone controlling rules will also be adopted by Benton Harmony Grove High School, Gober told the board.
Meghann Donaldson, Elementary School principal, explained that in the younger kids cell phones have not been a problem “so far.”
She did discuss excessive tardies, saying parents will be notified after three times and a truancy officer notified after six offenses.
She also made note of bus riding rules, saying the handbook now calls for one warning, then a three-day bus suspension for the second offense and a five-day for the third.
In other business, the board hired Tammy Jackson as a summer employee at the elementary school and Becky Montovo as a summer employee for the middle school.
Chris Smith has been hired as head girls basketball coach and teacher. Jeremy Meek was hired as a middle school teacher.
Two non-certified personnel were hired; Amy Brown as the high school principal’s secretary, and Jerry Zuber, cafeteria worker. The last hire was due to a transfer of a former cafeteria employee to the special education department.
The board also voted to raise the pay for certified personnel, acting as substitute teachers, from $60 to $65.
Moreover, the board approved the construction of 150-foot fence to protect students at a cross walk.
Henley said it will be the same type of fencing as the district uses around the playground area.
Henley said Sykes, who had pledged certain donations to the school system, would discontinue their scholarship donations when their agreements ran out. However, the company has agreed to continue doing the “Athlete of the Month.”
The next board meeting will be at 7 p.m. on Monday, July 21.

Gurdon starts summer reading

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
The Cabe Summer Reading Program, for grades Pre-K through sixth, became a reality for 2014 on Thursday morning, June 26 as Librarian Amber Buck started singing “If You are Happy and You Know it, Clap your Hands!”
There were four to show up for Pre-K and K story hour, which started out with the reading of a few simple books, including “The Popcorn Book,” and popping some popcorn to kick off the six-week summer program.
The theme this year is Fizz, Boom, Read, Science, with the older readers listening to a Lake DeGray wildlife specialist as a first program that same Thursday at 2 p.m.
Buck said there have been 26 participants signing up for Summer Reading fun so far and she will continue to take new sign-ups though 5 p.m. on Friday, July 4.
Next week’s program, on July 3 at 2 p.m., will be a cow milking demonstration by Farm Bureau. They will bring a mobile dairy.
Prizes will be given away as the reading progresses and final awards for the most books read on Thursday, July 31.
Buck said the science theme means many of the books being read to the younger children during story hour may relate to tales of the oceans.
Ja’mya Garland, 8, who is going into the third grade, came early on the first Thursday and picked up two books to get started reading. She picked out “Cheater Pants” and “Party Animal.”
Buck explained to Miss Garland about keeping a log of all of the books she reads and how that log must be turned in to be eligible for prizes.
All reading age children are encouraged to come at 2 p.m. to enjoy the programs.

Haskell to raise water rates 4 percent,

will have fireworks July 1

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
HASKELL – The Haskell Water Department lost $197,000 in operating costs during the 2012 and 2013 operational years, according to figures presented by annual auditor Scott Lovell at the Monday, June 16 City Council meeting.
The city raised water rates to cover the cost of fixing and updating the residential water lines, effective May 1, 2013. It was noted this was the first time water rates had been raised in 20 years.
According to Mayor Jeff Ayer, the rate hike involved an ordinance with a 2 percent increase per year, to go into effect just after each annual audit, unless said Council voted down the scheduled increase.
“This is not going to get us new lines and new shut-off valves that we need, but it should get our revenue back to where it was three years ago when we were not losing money. If we want the new valves and lines, it will mean passing a bond issue.”
Of the $197,000, $155,000 of the operating loss occurred in 2012, while $42,000 of the loss occurred in 2013.
Lovell said this year, 2014, Haskell will be at the new water rate the entire 12 months, but the profit or loss will depend on how dry the summer is. A dryer summer will mean a better chance for a profit.
“I think it will take the 2 percent raise at least to offset the losses of the past two years,” Lovell said.
City Councilman Hal Baker said he pays $100 a month on his water bill and would be willing to go up $4 instead of $2 “if we can get the city water department moving forward with a little profit again.”
Mayor Ayer said he believes the council should at least let the 2 percent raise in rates occur “so we have a chance not to have a new loss in operating costs.”
Ayer warned that the Water and Sewer Department will stay in debt because of the need for new equipment and fixing leaks etc.
Baker motioned to increase the stipulated annual rate increase to 4 percent, unless the council votes it down after the annual audit. The motion got a second and was approved by the City Council.
It was noted that 251,651 gallons of water per day was used in April. This was purchased from Southwest.
Water used in the Haskell system increased to 277,000 gallons per day in May.
FIRWORKS
Police and fire reports were delivered, with four felonies reported for the month and 22 fire calls ran. There was also a pole set too close to a fire hydrant, which will be moved.
Councilwoman Rose Mary Wilkinson asked fellow council members, and the mayor, if the city was going to donate to fireworks this year for Independence Day?
It was decided to donate $2,000 toward the fireworks planned for dusk on Tuesday, July 1 at the Arkansas Health Center.
PARK BID OPENING
Under old business, Mayor Jeff Ayer said there was a bid opening on May 8 concerning the planned improvements of the construction of a bathroom building at the park and improvements on the playground.
The low bid for the bathroom building was $80,240 and the low bid for the playground improvements came in at $20,000.
Mayor Ayer said, “The bond we have toward these improvements is $37,000 short.
“We are working to solve the problem, but if we have to choose, the bathroom facility is more important for our park at this time.”
Councilman Baker asked if the Youth Club might have any money to contribute?
The mayor said they had given a financial report last year sometime. He told Hal he could look into encouraging Youth Club members to disclose their current finances.
Baker said he would be looking into the matter and seeing if the Youth Club, which is a public board according to him, would be so kind as to give financial updates more often?
“We should at least know where their monies are going to,” Baker said.
EMERGENCY TRAINING
Moreover, Brad Cotten, Haskell Fire Captain, gave a report on firefighters being called out as first responders in medical emergencies and making diagnostic calls without the benefit of proper training.
Cotten said there are 22 volunteer fire departments in Saline County and the ranks have been thinning out because they are also the medical first responders.
There has been talk of getting the firefighters the medical training they need so that the danger of a misdiagnosis is not nearly as great.
Cotten said, “This is a nationwide problem, not just in our area. We are called on 300 runs a year and sometimes we can not do anything.”
He said examples include someone running a high fever or having a splinter in a hand “and we have to stay with them until the ambulance gets there even if we get an actual fire call.”
Cotten said in Haskell these sorts of medical calls only represent about 10 percent of the over all volume.
Baker said when it comes to something like a person having a heart attack the first responder is very useful.
Ayer, “The negative part is the risk of misdiagnosis of a problem.”
The mayor said discussing the situation may be a mute point “because we will have to get all 22 fire departments to agree that they need the training before any money will be invested.”
Ayer said Saline County has three 911s; Bryant, Benton and out in the county. There may be a $250,000 Oct. 16 government short fall for the training, but again all 22 volunteer fire departments must agree.
Ayer said, “Whether they follow through or not, Haskell is not really hurting in regard to firemen being tied up with medical calls, as we do only have 10 percent of our calls falling in this category.”
The official word from the 911 directors is there is no money for the training at this time.
Baker made a motion to table Haskell’s approval or disapproval of the medical training for local firefighters. It was tabled.
The next Haskell City Council meeting will take place at 7 p.m. on the second Monday in July, that is on Monday, July 14.
TAILGATE LOCAL PAPER
At the end of the meeting, John Nelson, editor for the Southern Arkansas Tailgate News weekly magazine, , was allowed to address the council in a reporter’s capacity.
Nelson told council members, “I will be covering your meetings from now on and presenting City Council reports for Haskell in Tailgate News the Friday after the meeting.
“I graduated from Ball State University (Muncie, Indiana) in 1982 with a magazine journalism major and minor in psychology. I have been in the newspaper business since 1980 and have owned Tailgate News since May of 2007.
“If you need an advertisement, our open rate is $6 a column inch with discounts for volume runs.
“If you have any news items or photos concerning a community or sporting event, please email me, or leave a voice mail and we can do a telephone interview.”
Nelson said his email is: jay_nelson_72443@yahoo.com. The Tailgate News telephone number is: (870) 353-8201.
Councilman Baker invited Nelson to help him determine the financial status of the Youth Committee. Nelson agreed to ask a few questions…

 

Girl arrested for

Tobacco store theft

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
A now former employee of the Tobacco Warehouse store at Gurdon has been arrested on felony theft, jailed and bonded out in connection with last week’s missing deposit bag, containing nearly $5,000 in cash.
Sgt. Toby Garner, of the Gurdon Police Department, said Thursday Sarah Beth Roper, 25, of Pine Street in Gurdon, was arrested Tuesday by Lt. Chris Russell of the GPD and taken to Clark County jail. Roper went before a judge and got out on a $15,000 bond.
Sgt. Garner said Roper is awaiting a trial date. He said no restitution has been made to date on the company money.
Garner said Roper was offered a polygraph (lie detecter) test to help establish her innocense as to the person who removed the “blue bag” from the safe, but she did not show up when it came test time.
“It would make a big difference if she would agree to give the money back,” Garner said. “So far, this has not happened. All that is a for sure is that she has been arrested for the theft and a trial date will be set.”
Garner said Roper was one of the ones to originally report the “safe cracking incident” last week at the Gurdon Tobacco Warehouse.
Missing from the safe was a blue deposit bag containing $4,968 in cash and $304.82 in checks. Roper was also charged with breaking and entering.
Sgt. Garner said $1,500 was left in the safe, as well as a $300 book of lottery tickets.

Safe cracker steals $5,000

from Gurdon Tobacco Warehouse

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
The Gurdon Tobacco Warehouse was burglarized over the weekend with a total of $5,272.82 missing from the safe.
Store manager Kaye Brown said $4,968 was in cash, while the other $304.82 was in the form of checks.
According to a Gurdon Police report by Investigative Officer Garry Marshall, police were called Sunday morning when Sales Clerk Sarah Rogers went to open the store and noticed the outside padlock, on the iron gate, was gone.
Rogers said she went to the telephone and called her manager Kaye Brown and the police.
When Brown arrived, she said she noticed money on the floor but then realized the safe was jammed.
Upon inspecting the inside of the safe through a small opening, Brown realized a blue deposit bag was missing.
Police got the safe open and Brown provided the content information concerning the bag.
Brown also told police that no cigarettes or beer were missing and the money in the cash register had not been disturbed.
She also noted the extra money, kept in a special store tray, was still there. However, it did have water on it.
The store is at 205 North First Street in Gurdon and the incident happened either late on June 7 or very early on June 8.
Brown said when she tried to open the safe she noticed something very different. It appeared to have been broken into and then closed in an unusual manner to where it jammed.
Store owner Matt Lafitte arrived on the scene and noticed the safe still contained a $300 book of lottery tickets and other items.
Lafitte confirmed that the missing item was the blue deposit bag, which contained $5,272.82 worth of cash and checks.
Officer Marshall said Clark County Investigator Brian Daneils was notified and will be conducting a formal investigation of the commercial burglary.
Marshall’s report further stated that authorities had to have the safe cut open to gain entry.
The store was closed most of Sunday while a store inventory was conducted. But no other items were reported missing after the inventory.
The store carries some grocery items, but mostly tobacco and alcohol, specifically cigarettes, beer and wine.

Children miss Daddy;

fishing, riding the roads, friendship

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Father’s Day 2014 is Sunday, June 15 and the memories of the guy who was your “Daddy” flood most of our memories.
Carolyn Woolf said her Daddy was Melving Benson, born in 1909 and died in Curtis back in 1981.
“I was born in Des Ark on July 28, 1939,” she said. “My Dad was called to serve in the Navy in World War II. After he served, we moved to Odessa, Texas and he worked in the oil fields. Then we moved back to Arkansas and lived at Curtis. He passed away at the Gurdon Hospital.
“My favorite memory of Dad was that he was a quiet natured man who loved his kids and grand kids and he loved to take them fishing with him.”
Carolyn said she thanks the Good Lord that her father lived to see his kids grow up and that he was able to also enjoy being a grandfather.
“I still think of him and his kind ways,” she said.
RIDING THE ROADS
Julia House Slater and Kim House Phillips, now both sisters of Glen Rose, grew up in Antioch with their father, Ron House.
Their Dad died at age 44 of a rare disease, but they remember the man as a guy who loved to play guitar “and give us Daddy music.”
Kim said, “I guess you could say it was country. We did not appreciate it back then as much as we do thinking back. Now we both want to hear some more Daddy music.”
Kim said her Daddy was a construction worker and loved to take his daughters for long rides on the back roads.
“I think we both enjoyed those rides with him,” she said. “He was a patient man and very quiet.”
Julie nodded in agreement and the two sisters said they missed Ron House. He passed away in December of 1999.
Kim is the owner of Kim’s Attraction Beauty Salon in Glen Rose. One of her logos is a guitar that she picked out “because it reminds of my Daddy and I love to think of him.”
BEST FRIEND
As for me, John Hancock Nelson, age 55. I was born in Indianapolis, Indiana on Dec. 24, 1958, the son of two doctors, John Woolard Nelson and Audrey Hancock Nelson.
My biological parents got a divorce when I was very young and my doctor Dad received custody, along with his mother, Marvel May Woolard Nelson.
John Hans Nelson, my grandfather, acquired possession of me at 7 months old and was there for me until his death when I was 30 years old.
Grandpa died at age 96. My biological Dad, his son, was a dedicated neurologist and had no real time to raise a boy. His parents, Grandpa and Grandma, made the time and did the job.
Growing up in rural Indiana, I was a very fortunate young man and had several very dear friends. But none was dearer than my grandfather. He was the one who was there for me playing Daddy.
I remember looking out in the crowd when I played Little League and always being able to spot him clapping for his grandson.
We went fishing whenever a cloud came up and he was tired of plowing his fields. Being semi-retired, he had that option. He could let his “hand” Bill Harter take over and go do something with Johnny.
We played checkers, chess, golf, kroquet, poker, pitch and many other games together. He was there when I caught my first decent fish. I was 3-years old and it was in Memphis, Tenn. The fish was a 3-pound catfish.
He helped me raise, care for and show over 300 New Zealand White rabbits at a time.
And it got cold in Indiana. You had to pour them a bit of drinking water on a chunk of ice many times in the winter.
When I started datting, Grandpa was the advisor every boy should have. I was not much of a rounder at first, dating Joni from age 15 until I was 19.
In those four years, Joni became part of our world. Grandpa and Grandma both treated her like family.
Grandpa was a believer in Jesus Christ and raised a Norowegian Luthern. He taught me the basics about God and encouraged me to learn more.
I joined the Methodist Church and attended from age 8 until I was 18. That church was where i met Joni.
Grandpa Nelson was always good to me, even when I did not deserve it. At 5 years old, he chased me around the barn yard with a broom because I did not want to take a bath. He won the argument, but the neighbor farmer Lowell Harter said he never laughed so hard in his life at what he saw of the two of us in his binoculars!
Grandpa was the one who encouraged me to do what makes me happy for a living but to realize that working for myself at it would be an option. He said some folks enjoy making their own way, like farmers for example.
Grandpa worked with journalist James Canfield out of Jacksonville, Ark. to teach me how to sell ads and manage a weekly newspaper.
Grandpa did not just tell me to go for my dreams. He did everything in his power to help me get those dreams. Sure, I miss him on Father’s Day. Grandpa died on Jan. 22, 1989.
Part of me died with him. I always had something else to ask him. And I probably always will…

Veteran thanks VA

for medical treatment

Dear Editor,
In this world of everyone complaining, I felt it necessary once again to offer my sincere thanks to the Veterans Administration for helping me recover from a puncture wound that might have otherwise left me severely disabled and unable to continue my work as a sign maker.
Although it has been a long year, and involved a number of months in a Little Rock VA hospital, I am now able to stay at home with my wound being taken care of with clean wraps daily so that I can drive my truck, make my sign production appointments and resume my place in the work force.
I am a 66-year-old pilot with nearly 50 years experience. Before this wound, and a heart attack a few years back, I was a pretty healthy and hard working retired Air Guardsman.
Although the puncture wound, which is a lot more complicated than it sounds, may require more hospitalization, I seem to be getting stronger and now have hope of a full recovery.
I would like to thank the following Veterans Administration medical team for giving me another shot at what I call normal life: Damon Johns, RN; Carol Palczynski, M.D.; Kat Vereker, LPN; plastic surgeon staff at NA LR/North Little Rock UAMS – Children’s Hospital; Dr. James Yuen, and Nurse Practitioner Linda Fletcher.
I sincerely hope I have not left any critical member of my medical care team out. This has been a tremendously difficult time for me, as I just fell down at my house one day and woke up with an inwardly growing puncture.
The condition has been complicated by my diabetes. Weight loss seems to have that part under control for now. Again, I thank the VA for working hard to help me regain my health.
I realize it may be a long time before I am completely healed, but this great medical team is making tremendous progress.
Sincerely, Britt “Santa” Armstrong, Magnet Cove.

Free lunches at Gurdon

for the young people this summer

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Although the Gurdon School District has been accustomed to feeding those students who come to school hungry for free for the past several years, the free food normally stops when the school year ends.
But this is not the case with Gurdon Primary School this summer. For the first time, because of various governmental funding, GPS is serving free lunches to all children 18 and under, five days a week.
Superintendent Allen Blackwell said there were about 50 student eaters at the GPS cafeteria on Monday, the first day of the program.
“This is mostly a K-12 program to help our students stay fed over the summer,” he said. “I suppose I am an Indpendent when it comes to politics. I am conserative about some things, but I really am grateful we have this free food program for Gurdon’s young people.”
Blackwell went on to say that 80 percent of the Gurdon School Distirict student body is eligible to receive free or reduced lunches under federal guidelines.
“We have known for sometime that a real problem with hard times exists here in Gurdon. At least this way, the kids get one meal a day during the week even if there is no food in their kitchens,” Blackwell said.
According to the superintendent, adults can eat also, from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m., Monday through Friday this summer at GPS for $3.20.
“This is still school food,” he said. “Our cheeseburgers may not taste quite like a Sonic meal, but they are not bad. I would like to personally invite anyone out who has a child that might be hungry.”
GPS started feeding free breakfast food during the school year to students under Superintendent Bobby Smithson’s tenure.
Both Smithson and now Blackwell are sensitive to the biological fact that a hungry child is not a child very open to the learning process.

 

Gurdon gets principal

from Magnolia

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Gurdon High School will have a new principal in the fall, as Principal Tommie Campbell is transferring to Hope to be principal there and Harvey Sellers, 39, of Magnolia has been hired to man the Go-Devils.
Superintendent Allen Blackwell said Sellers comes to Gurdon with 11 years experience as a junior high school assistant principal at Magnolia and more than six years as principal for Magnolia High School.
Sellers said, “I am happy to be here in Gurdon. I was at a 5A school for 17 years and I am looking forward to experiencing what goes on at a smaller school.”
Blackwell said Sellers went to college at Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia and did his student teaching at Magnolia High School.
“Magnolia is the only school district Harvey has been in, but he sure has a lot of energy,” Blackwell said.
“I feel confident he can handle the problems and questions of our 250 or so Gurdon High School students since he is used to dealing with the 700 kids who go to Magnolia Junior High School.”
In addition to his administrative experience, Blackwell said Sellers does a lot of sports officiating. It was during his officiating at a regional tournament held in Gurdon that Sellers became interested in a career move to GHS.
“Sellers seems to be a by the book sort of guy,” Superintendent Blackwell said. “I believe he will do well here.”
Blackwell said Sellers will officially start with the district on July 1, “but I am sure he will attend some performance development sessions for Gurdon even before that date.”
According to Blackwell, the new principal will get some early training for principals at Dawson Co-op in Arkadelphia.
Sellers said, “I really appreciate the confidence the superintendent has shown in me and I am looking forward to showing a lot of support for the Gurdon Go-Devils.”
Blackwell said Sellers plans to move to Gurdon so he can take a more active part in the community.
Outgoing Principal Tommie Cambell told Mr. Blackwell he enjoyed Gurdon but believed Hope to be the right move for him.

Tutu and AK will meet again on a football field

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
According to retiring Head Gurdon Football Coach John Pace, AK (Austin Kirkpatrick), who just graduated from GHS after being the starting quarterback for the past three years, had 76 touchdowns under the Go-Devil colors.
But without the suburb defensive blocking of Devante “TuTu” Charles several of those TDs just might not have happened.
TuTu was his clear the way man. And clear the way he did. AK had 6,115 yards of rushing during those same three years.
But the two team mates are no more. While to this writer’s understanding there has been no spat, things will be different this fall. If both get to play football, AK will be on the OBU Tigers team and TuTu will play across the road for Henderson State University.
The two athletically and academically successful athletes will no doubt handle the change professionally. Of AK, Coach Pace has said, “He handles things with integrity. I like the way AK does things.”
As for TuTu, Pace said he has known this man since he was a little boy carrying candy and sodas to the game and trying to sit by him if it were some other sport than football where Pace had to be out on the field.
“TuTu has cracked me up many times when he was little. He is a big guy. I am not sure he was ever very little,” Coach Pace said. “But that is TuTu. He is big and he is excellent when it comes to defense in football. I will be watching both of these boys in college ball this fall and expecting good things.”
AK’s mother, Coach Brandie Kirkpatrick, said at Thursday night’s football white and purple jamboree, “AK graduated and then he went up to Alaska where my mother is. He will be back in plenty of time to get oriented to OBU and he says he is looking forward to going to college,” she said.
“As a defensive lineman in his senior year, TuTu had 74 tackles and 75 sacks. three blocked punts and two fumble recoveries.”
Pace said Charles has come a long way, both on and off the football field. Academically, he had a 24 on the ACT. Devante made All District for three years (in the 7AA District) and was All State last year and this year.
Charles was nominated, and voted to participate, in the All State football game.
GHS Quarterback Austin Kirkpatrick won outstanding offensive player in AA football. AK’s scholarships will pay about 90 percent of his college. Tutu has a full ride to HSU.

Tailgate to cover Haskell and Benton Harmony Grove School

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
The Southern Arkansas Tailgate News Weekly Magazine is expanding direct coverage.
At present, direct coverage is predominately Gurdon related with hand-ins from all over Clark County, Garland County, Hot Spring County, Nevada County and Saline County.
Starting in the month of June, every effort will be made to also directly cover Haskell City Council and Benton Harmony Grove School Board meetings.
There will also be an effort to include a calendar of upcoming events for the Haskell community as well as continued direct coverage of Gurdon City Council and Gurdon School Board.
Haskell is a community of about 2,500 residents, as is Gurdon. Haskell is located between Malvern and Benton proper, with a shopping base in Benton/Bryant and in Malvern.
A greater effort will be made to accumulate new advertisers to add to our existing sponsors who would like to attract business from the Haskell community news readership.
The Tailgate News keeps up with its actual site hits by way of Facebook Widget and at present we are getting approximately 3,500 readers per week.
John Nelson, editor, said he is looking forward to serving the journalism needs at Haskell.

Two Sisters remodeling at Malvern

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Malvern’s best kept secret for gently used, upscale clothing now has an all glass front display, with just a bit of framing left to go.
Two Sisters Consignment and Resale owners Stephanie Ussery and Shanna Gray said the remodeling won’t stop there, as plans to change the inside of the store should yield additional floor spaces for more of their stylish products. And yes, the owners really are sisters.
Stephanie said, “Starting this shop in August of 2013 was like a long-time dream come true for Shanna and I. And we can’t wait to have more space so we can get more gently used items.”
Two Sisters is located at 422 South Main Street in Malvern, with store hours from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Shanna said, “We are also open on Saturday from 10 a.m. until… You can always call and check to see if we are still there at: (501) 732-9074.”
In the clothing line, shoppers will find “Miss Me” jeans, “Rock Revival” jeans, “Daytrip” tops, and “Afflection.”
In addition to the jeans and tops, Two Sisters carries: purses, jewelry, shoes, formals and even pageant dresses.
Two Sisters has a convenient dressing room to try on things before purchase.
Stephanie said, “We really enjoy this. Not only is it a dream come true, but the opportunity to operate this store just sort of fell into our laps.”
Stephanie and Shanna, both of Malvern, have found out a little history about their store as they have studied up on what might be the best course of action in their remodeling.
“This place was a jewelry store (Kanauts), a movie theater and even a record store,” Stephanie said.
Shanna said they had found items in the walls, such as some sort of bottle caps, from way back in the day.
“It is hard telling what we will find before we are through,” she said. “But it will be nice to have some extra room for three to five more racks and also the space to maybe add furniture and house ware.
The sisters said their research on the building and its theater history revealed the tidbit that it used to be “The Joy Movie Theater.”
The new all-glass front takes that old look away from the entrance and displays the clothes in an eye-catching manner.
FAMILY
Stephanie admitted that family members backing the sisters really helps.
She is married to Dan Ussery, a former Malvern police officer who now attends college and still works in law enforcement.
“I am really proud to say he is a 4.0 college student,” Stephanie added.
The Ussery family includes four children; Destiny, 13; Alaina, 10; Tommy, 5 and Bejamin, a year and a half.
In addition to her part in Two Sisters, Stephanie is a licensed cosmetologist.
“I do hair three days a week at Crosstown Nursing Home,” she said.
Shanna’s husband, Mike Gray, is an in-store enthusiast and “our reliable third helper.”
Sanna and Mike have two children; Lance, 7 and Jacob, 4.
“Mike is a grocery store manager at Food Center here in Malvern,” Shanna said. “But when he is not at Food Center, he stays down here and really does a lot of work. We call him our third official helper.”
Shanna went on to comment about Two Sisters saying, “We are not the typical resale shop. We try to do upscale, but we do have something for everyone.”
Shanna said in addition to the searched out, upscale merchandise, Two Sisters has a new mark down every week – so bargain hunters come on in!
Although Stephanie admitted she does not spend much time on a computer, Shanna does. And Shanna has set up Two Sisters on Facebook. She invites everyone to find them and press like.
“We have Coach Bags,” Shanna said,” and really we have something for children of any age, men and women.”
Getting what you like while Two Sisters has it is key to shopping there. To make sure you get the items you want before somebody else beats you to it, the store has a lay-away program.
Shanna said it entails putting 20 percent down on your selected items, with the agreement you will have it paid off in 30 days.
The Two Sisters are community minded and being mothers they are also child activity oriented.
Stephanie said, “We do sponsor a T-Ball team. Our sons, Tommy and Jacob, are on the Two Sisters team.”
Stephanie and Shanna, plus that “third wheel” Mike, invite you to check out Two Sisters the next time you are on Malvern’s Main Street.
The family atmosphere, abundant smiles and enthusiasm concerning those “gently used clothes” should bring a smile to nearly any shopper’s face.
And for those who like downtown history, ask Shanna to show you her collection of unusual items found in the store walls. Those items may bring back some pleasant memories from days gone by.

 

Many honors at awards ceremony

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
The Gurdon High School Academic Awards Ceremony for the upcoming graduating class of 2014 was held on Tuesday, May 6 in the Cabe Auditorium with numerous students receiving scholarships and praise.
First up was the Gurdon Rotary, with club president Randy Cox presenting $1,000 scholarship to Jase Anderson, this year’s salutatorian.
Then eight seniors received monetary scholarships to Henderson State University in Arkadelphia.
One student, Austin Kirkpatrick, received scholarships amounting to approximately $38,800 to attend Ouachita Baptist University where he will play football and enjoy being the recipient of the Dean’s Scholarship.
Hallie Clark received a $10,000 scholarship, that is $2,500 per year for four years, to the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville.
Dr. Trey Berry, of Southern Arkansas University (SAU), presented the first annual Cabe Foundation scholarship to Kelsey Smith for $2,500.
Britta Clark, a GHS alumni representing SAU, announced $35,000 scholarships for Sarah Sims (co-valedictorian), Kyle Currey and Nick Stubbs.
Jase Anderson, salutatorian, received a $44,000 SAU scholarship.
Henry Thompson, president of the GHS Class of 1963, awarded Krystal Bell with $1,000 from that class.
The Quachita Baptist University Trio Upward Bound program awarded a credit at OBU, valued at $1,650 to Diane Leon and Kelsey Smith.
Connie Nelson, for the Rev. Johnny Harris, awarded the Ollie Mae Ollison Scholarship to Martesia Cunningham.
Hallie Clark received a $600 scholarship from the Junior Auxiliary of Arkadelphia for choosing a field relating to children.
Leonard Gills, Henderson State University Alumni, presented a $500 scholarship to Krystal Bell.
Clayton Franklin, president of the Gurdon Community Development and Entertainment Club (CD&E) presented a $1,000 scholarship to Erica Shaver, who plans to attend ABC Beauty College.
Paul Shaver presented a Billy Wells Memorial Scholarship for $500 to Andrew Kuhn.
Vicky Smithpeters, for the Clark County Catteman Association, presented a scholarship to Sarah Sims.
Gracie Smith presented the Red Springs Extension Homemakers Brighter America Scholarships to Austin Kirkparick and Kelsey Smith for $200 each.
Football Coach John Pace presented the Montel Williams and Kynan Barrett Athletic Scholarship for Academics for $1,000 to Hallie Clark.
Counselor Rita Guthrie explained the Tasseltime Scholarship and the Arkansas Academic Challenge Lottery Scholarships.
Hallie Clark received $100 scholarship from Tassseltime and 22 upcoming graduates received $2,000 in scholarships or more from the lottery.
Six medallions of completion were given from Southwest Arkansas Preparatory Academy. GHS Principal Tommie Campbell recognized Leah Boulden and Austin Kirkpatrick as Army Reserve National Outstanding Scholar Athletes. Tara Williams and Stacy Stone recognized vocational completers.
For FCCLA, Williams recognized Amanda Howell and Kelsey Smith. In agriculture, Stone recognized Jase Anderson and Kevin Kruger. National Honor Society new members were noted.

 

Gurdon masters new software, buys new police car

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
The Gurdon treasurer and recorder told City Council members Monday that 85 percent of the software/computer conversion to a new and more efficient system for keeping up on the city’s business is “finally finished.”
Treasurer and Recorder Tambra Childres said, “All of 2013 is completely up and running. We had about $490,000 in the general fund for 2013.
“The bank balances are balancing and the new system is going to be so much more convenient than our old way of doing it in the future. But the conversion has been difficult.”
Childres said there is no need for redoing of listings with the new system, as it is mindful of all of the city funds through the end of March.
She said Gurdon had an Internal Revenue compliance review, which is not an audit, and she was told of some changes in Social Security for firemen by the IRS representative.
“The lady from the IRS told me firemen are considered employees, even though they are volunteers.
“She said they will pay Social Security and this change will be reflected when they receive W-2 forms.”
Assistant Fire Chief and City Council member Danny Paul said Social Security has not been taken out in the past from a fire fighter’s pay because the IRS said “our wages were received from an enjoyment, not as an income.”
The Council approved the treasurer’s report.
NEW POLICE CAR
In other business, Council members also approved the purchase of a new police car for Marshal Don Childres.
The vehicle will be a 2014, unmarked and black, with all of the required police lighting on the inside.
Sgt. Chris Russell said their source had one car left and it would be appropriate for Marshal Childres. This would mean the chief’s current Dodge Charger would be passed down the line and “we can retire Officer Garry Marshall’s old car.”
The new car is a 2014 Dodge Charger, priced at $27,783.46 and the city is already budgeted to pay $800 a month for the vehicle.
According to Mayor Clayton Franklin, the plan to get a more modern police car, under four years old, and keep the same payment structure for Gurdon, was derived several years back and it is now time for a police car update, as per dictated by that plan.
“It levels our budget and keeps the marshal’s fleet of cars in a consistently updating mode,” he said.
The purchase will be made under Arkansas State bid, which means multiple bids are not required to get a new police car in Gurdon.
“The revolving car plan gives us a new police car approximately every three years,” Franklin said. “We are consulting with local banks to get a better interest rate.”
The mayor said the city hopes to secure an interest rate between 4 and 10 percent.
In other financial news, the city sold a Mack truck for $15,000.
Councilman Paul noted reports of street deterioration on East Crayton, on both sides of the street.
Mayor Franklin said he would put a little pressure on County Judge Ron Daniel to see if any help can be secured toward repair on Gurdon streets.
Childres said, “The water has taken its toll and I wish we had the money to respond by doing another city-wide paving.”
LIGHTS AT PARK
Justice of the Peace Sherry Kelley approached the Council on behalf of basketball players at the city park, siting they had been asking her about the possibility of a flood light so they could play there after dark.
The Council agreed to get a 350 Watt security light, to be placed on a pole near the basketball court. Kelley said the project should cost Gurdon less than $20 a month. Danny Paul said he would try and get a pole donated to eliminate that monthly fee.
Kelley had said the pole would lease for about $6 a month and the security light itself for $14 a month from Entergy.
The Council accepted the resignation of Ward #3 City Council member Ronald Scott, siting health reasons. An appointment to replace Mr. Scott was suggested but Childres said she wanted to check with that individual to confirm willingness to serve. The appointment for Ward #3 was tabled.

 

HSU Quarterback encourages GHS academic wizes

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Ten of the 11 top seniors at Gurdon High School (Austin Kirkpatrick was playing in a baseball game) were on hand Tuesday night when Henderson State University football quarterback Kevin Rogers gave them encouragement to develop their talents by way of accepting help from others when it was offered, living by the Golden Rule (do unto others as you would have them do unto you) and by not listening to the naysayers of life.
GHS seniors on that top 11 academic achiever list are: Hallie Clark, co-valedictorian, Sarah Sims, co-valedictorian, and salutatorian and Rotary academic scholarship winner Jase Anderson.
Also in high honors, with grades above 3.75, are Austin Kirkpatrick, Nicholas Stubbs, Leah Boulden and Kyle Currey.
Those with grades between 3.15 and 3.74, making up the dozen students honored, were: Kelsey Smith, Krystal Bell, Andrew Kuhn and Diana Laura Leon Hemandez.
The majority expressed plans to go to HSU in Arkadelphia.
Rogers went on to tell his young audience of academic scholars, and well-wisher, about recently completing a bachelor of science in business at HSU with a 3.9 GPA and how he is working on a master’s in business administration with one more year of football playing eligibility.
Rogers is a Rockwell, Texas native and talked about his struggle to get to play football his first year at Henderson. But they let him play finally, and now he has made 92 touchdowns!
Rogers is a Baptist Collegiate member and enjoys volunteerism. He is also the president for the business honor society at HSU.
“Challenge yourself,” he told the seniors. “I sat where you are four years ago, wondering what God had in store for me. My advice is work hard and be humble. Trust yourself. Give back. Have faith in God. And take a leap of faith. Trust your heart and don’t be afraid to fail. My first year of football at HSU, I was third string and not doing well. But I followed my heart. My heart told me I could make it if I took it one day at a time and played like a champion.”

Hoo Hoo goes public with membership drive

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
A long-time employee of the Hoo-Hoo Fraternity, which originated from a conversation conducted by six lumber industry men in Gurdon back in 1892, has announced a major change to the previously closed membership organization; in order to save Hoo-Hoo from becoming extinct the fraternity has opened its doors to non-lumber industry related members.
Beth Thomas, 69, who runs the Hoo-Hoo Museum in downtown Gurdon, and has been the international keeper of its history for 30 years, told Gurdon Rotarians Tuesday the previously closed membership group is now open to public membership for $49.99 locally, with dues varying from club to club across the nation and the globe. Acceptance of new members is still up to those already on board.
Thomas said active groups are encouraged to meet once a month, with a speaker from lumber industry, “but now they play golf in Phoenix.” She said in Minneapolis, Minnesota they still have formal meetings on a regular basis.
“We were an all male membership for years,” she said. “Not only all men, but you had to be someone with at least 51 percent of your income coming from the lumber industry. Then, back in 1993, we let women into this as full members. I was their first woman member but had been working for them since 1984. Some clubs are still all male.
“The decision to open membership to the public is one of survival. We have survived two World Wars and the Great Depression in these United States, with a peak membership of 14,000 during the 1950′s in our fraternity. We have had over 102,000 total members. When I came on board, back in 1984, as their office manager and only paid employee, we had about 8,000 members.”
According to Thomas, the Hoo-Hoo has had chapters in every state except West Virginia and Delaware. The International Headquarters moved to Gurdon in 1981. Horace and Lewis Cabe were very active in Hoo-Hoo at that time and helped with the relocation. Hoo-Hoo rents its museum in Gurdon from the city for $1/year.
There are international groups in places such as Australia, Canada, Malaysia, Singapore and now in Indonesia. The 2016 Convention will be held in Australia.
“Everyone of our chapters has a project they are working on to improve basic living conditions around them such as educational scholarships and the like,” Thomas said. “We do have a fraternity initiation or ‘concat’ ceremony involving our fascination with the black Egyptian cat of nine tails, but I would not let that worry me if I were considering joining.
“Our presidents are called Snarks and we have a list of them at the museum, which was the old Gurdon City Hall years ago. The Snark of the Universe serves a year and then becomes a Ramesses through our House of the Ancients.
“We had another major change here lately, as for the first time we have a lady Snark.”
Mary Moynihan is that Snark. For a complete list of the Snarks, visit the museum. There are two monuments there with all of the Rameses, that is past Snarks, listed. When the organization was 100 years old, Jeff Loth was the Snark of the Universe from 1991-1992.
The sad part of the Hoo-Hoo is that it is not only Snarks who fade away. After fighting to survive for nearly 123 years, current worldwide membership has dwindled to around 2,500, according to Thomas.
“Some people say we are a fraternal order like the Masons because our members have ceremonial costumes and go around doing good Samaritan work for those who need a little help,” Thomas said.
“But the Hoo-Hoo is an open group. We have no secrets like the Masons. If you want to know something about us, come on over to the museum and ask me.”
Thomas said the Gurdon club does not meet on a regular basis, but is still considered eligible to be considered active status. A club must have nine official members to be considered active and Gurdon still has nine. If you join and your town lacks the nine members, you are a member at large.
“Our fraternal mascot is a cat of nine tails, and that is why the number 9 is such a big deal to us,” Thomas said.
“The annual dues in Gurdon, that is $49.99 a year, was arrived at because of those nine tails.”
She said the dues are used for such things as postage, activity announcements and the like.
“Some of our groups do not even have dues,” Thomas said. “Hoo-Hoo is based predominately on volunteers helping those who can not help themselves.
“It may have began from the musings of a bunch of bored lumbermen drinking and being light hearted, but they have been civic minded from the start. The organization started after a lumber meeting in Camden, Arkansas, back in 1892, lasted until 2 a.m. and bored some participants half to death. They went by bus, that is covered wagon, back to Gurdon and ended up at the hotel.
“Hoo Hoo of the future needs new members who feel the same way about improving communities as those lumbermen did back when it was required members made their living at least 51 percent from the lumber industry.”
Hoo-Hoo has a magazine that comes out three times a year on line. At one time, actress Elizabeth Taylor was Miss Hoo-Hoo of the Bulletin.
“Once you meet Hoo-Hoo people, you will realize we are like family,” she said. “They are very down to earth people.”
HISTORY OF HOO-HOO
The following historical account has been reprinted from a magazine entitled “Log & Tally,” created in part by Gurdon’s own Billy Tarpley back in 1992 at the century mark of the Hoo Hoo organization.
In the cold, simple lobby of the Hotel Hall, in Gurdon, Arkansas, Hoo-Hoo was born in 1892, amid the quiet solitude of six gentlemen engaged in conversation, amid friendly company and spirited beverage.
Those six included: Bolling Arthur Johnson, George Washington Swartz, William Starr Mitchell, William Eddy Barns, George Kimball Smith and Ludolph O.E. Adalbert Strauss.
Back in that Hotel Hall, which Thomas suspects to have been near First State Bank in downtown Gurdon of today, the conversation turned toward forming what would eventual become a fraternal order of lumbermen that would exist to promote goodwill among those in the lumber industry.
It was that very topic that brought them together on that winter’s day, and Bolling Arthur Johnson, a journalist with the Timberman in Chicago, Illinois, was the center attraction.
By afternoon’s end, the men had not only spawned a lasting friendship but the beginnings of an organization that continues today, throughout the United States and the world.
To understand the basis of Hoo-Hoo, one must look at their code of ethics, or nine aims.
The International Concatenated Order of Hoo-Hoo came up with the following standards of unified thinking:
1) To fill with credit the sphere in which we are placed without interfering with the rights of others.
2) To promote human advancement and higher standards of civic, social and economic relations by developing in business the spirit of the Golden Rule, which we accept as the basic principle of peace and prosperity for the world.
3) To establish the spoken word on the basis of the written bond.
4) To cultivate true friendship and therefore confidence among persons engaged in the lumber business.
5) To conduct ourselves and our business so that we may render service to society.
6) To consider our vocation worthy and to be worthy of our vocation as the Nation’s homebuilders.
7) To assist liberally and sympathetically all that seeks to elevate humanity, by charity of action and thought.
8) To keep in view the world bonds of human interest and trade, seeking to promote friendly understanding among all nations and races.
9) To recognize the abiding power of cooperation and organization and so to act as individuals that the International Order of Hoo-Hoo shall ever be regarded with honor as a source of community benefit and goodwill.

Grant gives counties Narcotics agent

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
A $43,000 grant to employ a
Clark County Sheriff’s Department
detective as a multi-county narcotics
violation officer has been
approved by the Clark County
Quorum Court, as of Monday,
April 14.
Clark County Sheriff Jason
Watson said Detective Blake
Forca will begin his new duties

immediately and receive a salary
of $54,000 a year.
This means Clark County
Quorum Court members agreed
to pay about 20 percent of
Forca’s salary to be a narcotics
agent serving Clark, Hot Spring
and Grant counties.
Watson said the grant is up
for renewal on an annual basis
and therefore the job will be taken
year by year.
“Det. Forca will still be doing
things for the Clark County
Sheriff’s Department and if the
grant comes up for renewal and
fails to renew, he can hopefully
come back to his old job,” Watson
said.
“But Forca is aware that he
might not have a job if that grant
is not renewed.”
The grant is through the
Arkansas Department of Finance.
and now that the Quorum Court
has approved the acceptance of
this year’s money, Detective
Forca will start immediately in his
multi-county narcotics agent position.
Watson said that way grant
requirements can be met.

 

Gurdon gets improvement money

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
The City of Gurdon has received $25,000 in general improvement funds from the State of Arkansas, which is the first such disbursement here in more than a decade, according to the mayor.
Mayor Clayton Franklin said Wednesday he has been mayor for 15 years and when state government has had general improvement funds available for Clark County those funds have always went to Henderson State University or other Arkadelphia oriented entities.
“I give full credit for this to Representative Richard Womack and Mr. Womack deserves the heart-felt thanks of the City of Gurdon,” Franklin said.
The $25,000 is earmarked for playground equipment at the Gurdon city park, with a tree-house and slide combination on the top of the list to buy.
“We have been wanting to add to our park playground equipment for sometime, as we had heard this money might come our way,” Franklin said. “But now that the money is in the bank for us, we can get started in a hurry.”
Mayor Franklin said general improvement funds only become available to cities, learning institutions and other organizations after the General Assembly meets and the state pays other funds necessary for its operation, such as roadway improvement, jails, education and the like.
“Sometimes there are no general improvement funds left after the state pays the required bills,” Franklin said. “This year, there was some money left and our Representative Womack went to bat for Gurdon to get it.”

2-YEAR PLAN
Franklin said he began conversing with Womack about two years ago concerning the possibility of Gurdon getting some general improvement money for the park playground equipment.
Womack said he believed Gurdon could use the improvement funds effectively, as he could see the local park is used for playing, birthday parties, anniversaries, weddings etc.
Franklin said this money will be spent on the park itself, not on any pond projects.
“We are thinking of the kids and anyone who uses that playground this go around,” he said.
When general improvement money is left over, after the General Assembly meets, each representative is allowed to say what happens to the portion allocated for his district. Franklin said Womack picked Gurdon for disbursement.
The actual disbursement of the $25,000 came through West Central Arkansas Planning and Development after one of their representatives told Mayor Franklin funds were available to improve the Gurdon park. Planning and Development Representative Dwayne Pratt presented the money to Gurdon Wednesday.
Rep. Womack said he chose Gurdon, and specifically a park improvement project in Gurdon, “because the park is something the public can enjoy with no cost attached to that enjoyment.”
“I love stuff like the Gurdon park and playground because it is for all types of people to enjoy that happen to be in the area,” Womack said.
Franklin said general improvement money, left over cash, is usually around every two years and goes through the governor’s office before being divided between the districts.
“This is along the same lines as a person paying their family bills and then having a little left over to divide among the children,” Franklin said.
“Again, we are very grateful that our Rep. Womack was thinking of Gurdon when he found out there would be some geneal improvement funds available in 2014.”

 

Boys and Girls Club growing in Arkadelphia

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
The Arkadelphia Boys and Girls club has come a long way from a brainstorm four years ago to serving 55 to 75 children a night.
Erik Edington, director of the site on Pine Street near Goza Middle School for these past two years, said Wednesday the club serves those in second grade all the way up to eighth grade.
“We have a few that have come up through the program and grown beyond the traditional Boys and Girls Club age, and we put those youngster to work helping us on ‘power hour,’ or just generally helping us out,” Edington said.
The Boys and Girls Club is open from 2 p.m. until 5 p.m. after school, Monday through Friday.
During the summer, the facility is open from 7:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m.
Erik is an Arkdaelphia native, living here 32 out his 34 years so far.
He is a certified teacher, with a Bachelor of Science in Education (BSE) in science, with an algebra endorsement.
“Our day to day operations begin with serving them a snack,” Edington said.
“The about 3:30 p.m., they are required to go to ‘power hour’ for whatever they need. They do this Monday through Thursday. On Friday, our schedule is a bit looser.”
According to Edington, power hour offers tutoring, homework help, or sometimes just somebody to talk to if the student has special problems.”
Edington said statistics show those receiving tutoring at Boys and Girls Club have significantly higher grades than before coming to the program.
“We pride ourselves on being able to enhance a student’s test performances,” he said.
“But Boys and Girls Club is much more than that. For example, we get to use John’s Outlaw gym, when Goza Middle School is not using it, for basketball and more playtime activities.
“We have pool and ping pong facilities and we have a couple of classrooms set up for our tutoring.
“We also have access to the school’s computer room, with more than 20 computers available to our students. Of course, this is all supervised so inappropriate sites are not pulled up.”
Edington has experience in the traditional classroom, but says he counts himself lucky to be the director at the club “because it just seems like I can help more kids this way.”
In addition to classroom experience, Edington taught math for adult education.
He said there are eight part-time helpers at the Boys and Girls Club besides himself. One, Brittany Hickman, is a certified teacher.
Edington said there are approximately as many girls in attendance as boys.
The general cost is $25 per year per family. Then it goes to $50 per child per semester.
The cost of meals is based on the free or reduced fees charged by the school. For more information, contact Edington at: (870) 245-6829.

 

 

 

Tax money should mean 100 new jobs yet

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Clark County Judge Ron Daniell said Tuesday Quorum Court members voted to hear quarterly financial reports from Alliance, a group set up to handle industrial sales tax money, rather than settle for the annual reports of the past.
Daniell said the one-half cent Clark County sales tax has passed for another seven years and Quorum Court members are interested in keeping closer tabs on where the new money goes. Gurdon Mayor Clayton Franklin said the first six to seven years of the tax netted the local government about $10.5 million and very little tracking as to how it was spent.
Sources say nearly $5 million is still in the bank, set aside for an Arkansas Industrial Park Railroad Spur, intended to serve industrial clients like the anticipated chicken factory processing plant to go in operation sometime later this year and the new wood mill, if indeed it comes to do business at Arkadelphia.
Daniell made no indication he thought any of the industrial tax money of the past had been misused. He simply said Quorum Court members have a greater desire to stay informed about its use as industrial plans unravel than they did in the past “because it is the public’s money and we are all entitled to updates.”
Daniell stressed that Alliance, a private subcontracting company that Arkadelphia hired sometime ago to recruit new industry and new jobs to Clark County, will still have the right to privacy while business deals are in process but “we just want to be kept in the loop on a quarterly basis as to how things are progressing.”
The next Quorum Court meeting will be at 7 p.m. on Monday, April 14. Daniell said it is always on the second Monday of the month in the District Courtroom. The public is welcome to attend and may enter the building next to Summit Bank, according to the county judge.
“We would love for everyone to come on out and hear Kay Brockwell, our temporary Alliance industrial recruitment manager since Shawnee Carrier resigned. She is to fill us in on some positive economic steps being taken for Arkadelphia and Clark County as a whole. Positive, that is, as to it relates to recruiting new industrial jobs for our public,” Daniell said.
RAILROAD SPUR
Daniell addressed the issue of the existing Gurdon Railroad spur, as opposed to building a new one in the Arkadelphia Industrial Park on Highway 67. He said Union Pacific Railroad wanted to charge Clark County $1.2 million on each end, for a total of $2.4 million to set it up to where the spur could be directed and operated “from some far away city.”
“This still might have been cheaper than Quorum Court members voting to build a new one in the industrial park, but I believe the decision will make it more convenient for our upcoming chicken processing plant, the tentative new wood mill or any future type industry we recruit to fill up our industrial park,” Daniell said.
“The Gurdon spur was not where these first two industries could conveniently use it, and Union Pacific sounded like they were going to be expensive and hard to work with if we decided to go through them.”
Daniell did not rule out the possibility that the Gurdon Railroad Spur might be revived in the future “if significant industry ends up setting up shop in the south end of our county.”
CHICKEN PLANT STILL A GO
• Although Daniell admitted no hiring dates have been set for the Arkadelphia Poultry Production Plant, to open in the near future at the Industrial Park on Highway 67, he said Arkadelphia is still slated to get a new chicken factory, which should require a crew of at least 100 new employees.
___________________
“There was some family disputes among the new owners, or so we have heard,” the judge said. “I think that is all behind us now.”
Last August, in a grand opening ceremony, Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe, along with Prescott Mayor Terry Oliver and Gurdon Mayor Clayton Franklin, announced there would be a Vikon Poultry processing plant located in the former Petite Jean Poultry plant building at the industrial park.
As a result of new ownership litigation, Daniell said, even though the Arkadelphia Poultry Production Plant was to be a division of Vikon Farms, it is now legally a division of Hillstern Farms. Once the company has enough chickens hatched in Prescott and grows enough chickens in Eldorado to keep up with supply and demand, the Arkadelphia processing plant will go active and be an important link in the loop of delivering the number of chickens promised to various markets.
The plant is at 125 Technology Drive, in the industrial park near Gum Springs. It is just off of Highway 67. Judge Daniell said work is going on to revamp the inside of the building in preparation for killing birds and processing them.
Originally, Vikon had promised Arkadelphia 172 jobs, with hiring to begin around February.
The judge said Alliance was handling the particulars with the new chicken factory and Quorum Court members are looking forward to getting an update on April 14.
Gurdon Mayor Clayton Franklin said last year Petit Jean Poultry, which has been closed since April of 2011, had more than 500 employees in its glory days. Old Petit Jean workers will be the first to be considered for hire.
Franklin said those interested in employment should check with the Clark County Employment Security Division in Arkadelphia.
“I am not sure they will be hiring through the unemployment office, but that would be a good place to start,” he said.
As to wages, Franklin said he believed starting pay would be somewhere close to $10 an hour.
The new plant will be processing chicken, but not the same type Petit Jean Poultry did. Franklin said Arkadelphia Poultry will deal with smaller “range” birds, say 2 pounds instead of the 4-pounders processed through Petit Jean. The new poultry are more like a game bird.
The mayor said several retail markets have already been established. Those markets are in Asia, as well as in California and other western states.
Franklin said growers in Eldorado would be utilized, as they also lost a processing plant “that left employees high and dry” and workers there have the necessary experience to grow the smaller birds.
“This bird is grown to be less fat, whereas Petit Jean grew them to get big quick,” Franklin said. “There will also be four or five employees over at Prescott, where there is a building for egg hatching.”
Daniell said Tuesday most of the original estimates were still on target, to the best of his knowledge.
“It is not just the equipment installation that is causing this delay,” he said.
“I believe the biggest reasons for the delays in hiring and opening at Arkadelphia have been the family dispute over who was in charge of what, and also those in charge want to be sure enough birds can be produced to meet market needs before launching the local processing plant. It is my understanding we are close to resolving these concerns.”

 

 

Coach Jackson will teach winning by using head, hustle and heart;

hopes to get new uniforms next year with three motivational stripes

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
When a Go-Devil greets a Go-Devil from now on they need to think of that “big G” and think BE GREAT!
And rather than arrogance, the new athletic director and head football coach said that Big G is going to mean a great football program, great integrity among the players, academically sound players in all sports and players that are known throughout 2A schools as the most well equipped to win in the state!
As to our varsity football team, great will mean great talent, a great community of proud fans behind them and a group of young men who have pride in hard work, accomplishment and integrity.
New Head Football Coach Kyle Jackson said Wednesday he plans to build pride in the Go-Devil program that is a healthy reflection of integrity both on and off the field and that pride will spread to every band member, cheerleader and fan in the Gurdon area!
He summed it up by saying, “This is a dream job for me and I will work my tail off to make sure that we continue to uphold and build upon the tradition of this great school and town.
“I would not have taken this job if I did not think that we can transform this program into the premier 2A athletic program in the state of Arkansas. This will be a collective effort involving everyone in the community to build something that everyone in this town can be proud of and people across the state try to imitate.”
One major change right of the bat that the coach told this reporter Wednesday involves getting Gurdon athletes to thinking in terms of a three-way success formula; including head, hustle and heart.
NEW UNIFORMS
Coach Jackson mentioned in passing during an earlier interview that completely outfitting the Go-Devils in new football uniforms for the fall could cost as much as $60,000.
This is a school budget stretch, but Jackson said he does not intend to burden the Gurdon School System for extra uniform money. He does intend for his players to have the new uniforms, with three lines on every one of them – signifying the head, hustle and heart. And one of the first places that formula is going to have to become a reality to get something done is fund raising toward those new uniforms.
“I want those players, and Go-Devils from now on, to have those three stripes of integrity and hard work on their uniforms, as a simple tool of winning,” he said.
“As to the fund raising, yes we will have to work very hard to finance new uniforms for this fall but we will get it done!”
NUMBER 3
As another symbol of his healthy pride, competitive character goals and a symbol of a true Go-Devil winner, Coach Jackson said from now on the coaching staff will be the ones to pick who wears the number 3. It will be a symbol of a player judged by the coaches to be operating with head, hustle and heart
“If there is nobody operating with this high level of integrity in a certain year, then nobody will wear the number 3 jersey,” Coach Jackson said.
THANKING PACE
“Before I go on with my plans for the future, let me pay proper respect to the past. I have been in Gurdon coaching football for two and half years under Head Coach John Pace.
“Coach Pace gave me a chance to be a part of the Gurdon Go-Devils, a team with a winning record and an outstanding history. I would like to thank Coach Pace for the opportunity to be a part of what he, and others in the community, built, and for the opportunity to insert the Coach Jackson version of competing with integrity and building deep community pride for all sports and school achievements in general as the new seasons roll by.”
Coach Kyle Jackson was hired three football seasons ago as the defensive coordinator (head coach of the football team’s defense). Jackson said the Go-Devils have had three great seasons under the headship of Coach Pace since he has been here “and my job is to keep it going and make it even better in the future.”
COACH EDDIE JACKSON
Kyle Jackson grew up in his Dad’s field house and says he never really considered any other profession except coaching.
“It gives me a way to stay competitive in football, even though I am not playing,” the younger Jackson said.
Kyle Jackson is the son of Eddie Jackson, a football coach for the Prescott Curley Wolves for 28 of his 44 years of coaching football.
Coach Eddie Jackson had 210 total football game wins, winning the state championship four times and runner-up three other times.
The elder Jackson did some exploring, school wise, in the seven years after he finished his 28 years in Prescott’s Curley Wolves arena.
His son said his father took jobs in Texas and then came back to Genoa Central, where he built their football program.
HIS RESUME
Coach Kyle Jackson graduated high school at Liberty Eylaw in Texas back in 2001.
He played football for Arkansas Tech at Russellville from 2001-2004. Jackson was an offensive tackle. Jackson stayed on at Tech an extra two years for a master’s degree in physical education and to be a graduate assistant for their football program.
While at Tech, he met his wife, the now Beth Jackson from Montgomery, Alabama, who is the Head Softball Coach at Henderson State University in Arkadelphia.
The couple has two daughters, Claire, 3, and Presley, 15 months. Coach Jackson said he was intending to have a couple of Go-Devils but ended up with a couple of soon to be cheerleaders!
When the Jacksons left Russellville and that college atmosphere, it was time to get a job. Kyle Jackson became a defensive line coordinator for Nashville, Arkansas. He stayed in that capacity four years. Then Coach Pace offered him a chance to be coordinator of defense overall for the Go-Devils.
ATHLETIC DIRECTOR
Coach Jackson will not officially take over as head football coach and athletic director for the Gurdon Go-Devils until July.
But he is getting up early to make his plans every week day, as can be illustrated on his message board in what used to be Coach Pace’s office at the GHS field house.
“As far as the athletic director part of my new job, the main thing is I want to have regular meetings with my coaching staff and let them know our goals so we can all train the kids in like manner and get this Gurdon sports staff working on the same page,” he said.
“We need to be working as a unit. This school is too small for us to not have to share athletes sometimes. And we need to look into a pee wee basketball program, not just pee wee football. The earlier we can get our kids started in sports, the better.”
Coach Jackson said he plans to revive the Gurdon Booster Club as well, plus utilize churches who are willing to feed the team on certain Friday nights.
“As I told School Board member Elaine Halliday, I will answer my phone promptly so we can plan meals for the players or whatever our parents and community boosters need.”
ACADEMICS
Coach Jackson said all players, not just football players, should be monitored on a regular basis for potential grade trouble “unless somebody is a straight A student and then we might not watch them as close.”
“The thing is, the coaches need to work with the teachers to make those teachers have an easier job of it. If it takes coming up here early to tutor a player to keep him eligible to play, I will do that personally. One of the elements all coaches on my watch must develop is we will do what it takes to give our students as many tools to win in the sports arena, or life in general, as we can possibly give them,” Jackson said.
YOUNGER INTEREST
Coach Jackson said developing an interest amongst younger students in playing sports is a key element to success in the long run.
“There will be years when the talent is not at a high level. But if the community support and drive in our students is where it should be, you can win games with community and team enthusiasm sometimes even when the talent is not top of the list.”
Jackson said another way to develop enthusiasm is to build up rivalries. He said the Prescott/Gurdon high school game this year will be on Friday, Sept. 5 at Go-Devil Stadium. The junior high school will play in Prescott, at a stadium named after his dad, Jackson Stadium. Gurdon’s Coach Jackson, a Baptist, said he also plans to take his players to church.

 

 

 

 

 

Coach Jackson plans to teach winning methods

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
After interviewing three prospective candidates Wednesday for the position of Gurdon head football coach and athletic director, the man who said he wanted the job worse than anyone else, and would work harder to perform it with excellence, was selected by Gurdon School Board and had already been endorsed by the Gurdon football team.
As to the athletic director position, Kyle Jackson, who has served as assistant football coach here for two and a half years, said he would have a regular meeting amongst head coaches of all sports in order to get Gurdon athletics on the same page.
“I am Mr. football, and people know that is my sport,” said Jackson, who is a second generation successful football coach and the son of a man who knew how to win at Prescott, “but as athletic director I believe the key to improving things for kids is for everyone to get on the same page. If I am lucky enough to get this job, problems such as kids wanting to play more than one sport, or the need for basketball fundamentals to be taught earlier at Gurdon will be solved with better communication. We have got to work together for what is best for our kids.”
Jackson said he believes in winning and giving every student who wants to play a sport every tool at their disposal to win, and he believes in academic success of athletes. He said he wil do whatever it takes to achieve both.
“To me, we need to keep an eye on their grades and check on them every couple of weeks before an academic problem gets serious and ends up making them ineligible to play, or worse yet effects them graduating. The key is communication between coaches and students, and between coaches and those who support the gold and purple.”
Jackson told board member Elaine Haliday, a sports booster enthusiast, that if her church or group wants to fix a meal for the team he will call them back promptly and be grateful for their support of his players.
On getting students at Gurdon started with basketball, he said he wants to meet with primary school physical education teachers and talk about working basketball into their gym classes so seventh grade will not be the first time many are exposed to the hoop shooting sport.
Superintendent Allen Blackwell asked Coach Jackson what he would do if it were half-time in a game that if Gurdon won the Go-Devils would be in the football playoffs and Gurdon was two touchdowns down?
Jackson said, “Half time speeches are over-rated. I would give them one, but if we had a grip on our training throughout the year, those boys would want to win and get out there and give it all they had.
“Besides, if it were the Go-Devils, we would not be behind two touchdowns in the first place.”
Jackson said he trains young men to work hard nine months during the off season, and learn a lot about integrity and sticking to the goal of winning, so that when football season comes around “they are ready to work their rear ends off and they do so.”
Jackson told the board he wanted to stay in Gurdon and build a football program that other 2A schools in Arkansas would consider a model. One board member asked how he would react when that eventual losing season came around?
Coach Jackson said he plans to build a community pride in wearing the gold and purple and a winning tradition the whole town can believe in. This will include getting events to the media on a regular basis to help develop that community pride.
___________________
The coach pointed out that there are 40 pages in his book on how to win at football and he plans to have at least 100 more pages added as his career progresses. He said life is a process where you are always learning and adding to what the book says is “absolutely right.”
__________________
“If we hit a snag and don’t always win, we will find more tools to win for our students and never give up on coming back for another win,” he said.
Jackson was asked if he would be there for his players even after their senior playing days were over? He said after having a boy for six years, he would feel close to each one of them and want to continue being there for them for years to come. He said safety was always a priority with him, but the hardness of weight training and the like sometimes means the boys do not always like him. His hope is they will always respect him and that the six years they spend in his program will make them men of high integrity with a winning attitude about life, not just sports.
Haliday asked the coach about college recruiting and how fast he would respond to recruiters. Jackson said because of his background he knows several college sports recruiters and realizes they want a quick resume, video etc. on an athlete. If an athlete expresses an interest in playing in college, Jackson said he would begin preparing the video early so a recruiter could come in and pick it up “and decide pretty quickly if a boy could play for them.”
The School Board deliberated for more than two hours after interviewing the three candidates. Other candidates were Coach Brad Harris, formerly of Gurdon, and Coach Stephen Mink, formerly of Tyronzo. While waiting in the wings for the decision, this reporter got to listen to the opinions of the Gurdon football players and from Cabe Middle School teacher Hollie Bratton.
The teacher said the players respect Coach Jackson and he talks to them like “a good daddy who wants a son to treat a wife and children right and have some integrity in life.”
About a dozen football players attended the head coach and athletic director selection meeting. During the deliberation, this reporter heard comments such as, “Coach Jackson is a determined man, but he is mature enough to submit to authority when he has to,” and “Coach Jackson has taught me some things about football I never learned under anyone else. He believes in working hard to win and to have that winning attitude. In reality, Coach Jackson is one of big reasons we have been winning as well as we have these past two seasons.”
They talked of Jackson’s insistence that no matter what else was going on in their lives, they were to report to the field house on time, “at 7:31 a.m.” for practice. Coach Jackson gets there at 4:51 a.m., ready to find one more winning tool to give to his players.
Bratton said she believed the players were very attached to Coach Jackson’s way of doing things and she could not understand why the School Board had not just promoted from within without the formality of advertising the positions…
When the School Board ended the closed session and called the players, teachers and this reporter back into the meeting, Superintendent Blackwell said, “I thinks Mrs. Haliday has an announcement about our head football coach position and our athletic director position.
“Coach Kyle Jackson has been selected as head football coach and athletic director,” she said. “We proudly announce this because he has earned it.”
The crowd of young players began clapping and seemed very pleased with the decision. The teacher, Ms. Bratton said, “These boys are used to Coach Jackson. I am not sure they would have went out for football if the decision had went any other way.”

 

Coach Pace steps down from head coach position

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Gurdon’s Head Football Coach John Pace, 53, has announced he will resign his post after 23 seasons and eight conference championships with the Go-Devils.
In addition to coaching football, Coach Pace was the head coach for baseball here for 20 years.
Pace said Wednesday, “I have been coaching since I was 23 years old and I have decided I need a change.”
Pace will continue to teach at Gurdon for the next two years and then plans to go into business.
For now, he will teach in ALE at Gurdon High School, but says he plans to teach where ever needed by Principal Tommie Campbell.
Pace has also resigned as athletic director, as that position is usually reserved for the head football coach. No replacement has been selected for the fall of 2014 as of yet, although advertising has been placed for the position.
“I wanted to make sure this was the right decision for me and my family so I have been considering this change for about two months,” he said. “For me, this is the right move. I just need a break from coaching.”
Pace was originally from Oklahoma, but came to Arkansas to coach football, spending two years at Marked Tree, five years at Helena/West Helena and one year at Adkins before settling down to 23 years with the Gurdon Go-Devils.
Pace’s winning record was not surpassed by any other coach in Gurdon’s history, with 146 wins, 1 tie and 101 losses.
In baseball, the teams he coached won 274 times for Gurdon and lost around 115 to 120 times.
“”Our football teams had eight conference championships and got runner-up three or four other times,” he said.
“That baseball record was so phenomenally win heavy because for some reason the kids in Gurdon just love the game of baseball. But I sure can not complain on team cooperation in football either.
“I would like to thank each and every one of the kids I coached in both sports for their solid effort to win.”
Coach Pace said he realizes winning is not everything, but being in the loser’s bracket is just not acceptable for Gurdon Go-Devil winners – and he considered them winners and told them so.
“In the coaching world, if my kids had not bought into the idea of winning, I would not have been invited to stay here all of this time. I taught a winning philosophy and my players bought into that way of thinking. Again, I thank each and every one of them that I coached for keeping that winning mentality and usually carrying it out,” Pace said.
What was probably to be Coach John Pace’s last football season in Gurdon, the fall of 2013, came out on the winning end, 10-2, with two of his star players receiving hefty scholarships.
Austin Kirkpatrick, the quarterback, received and accepted an athletic and academic scholarship to play football for Ouachita Baptist University.
DeMonte “Tutu” Charles, a phenomenally talented defensive player, got a full ride, four-year scholarship to play for Henderson State University, across the street from his quarterback, and signed on for HSU.
FAMILY LIFE
Although spending many nights and weekends with other coaches and his team members, Coach Pace did manage to maintain a family life with his wife, Rene.
The couple had a boy and a girl; Colby, 30, and Taylor, his younger sister. Taylor married a Gurdon boy, Josh Griffin, and they now have two children of their own, both girls.
Colby and his wife have one girl and a boy on the way. Colby is in sales and marketing in Norman, Oklahoma.
But to Go-Devil fans, Colby Pace and Josh Griffin should be familiar names, as both played football for Coach Pace.
“Yes, they did and one of the most exciting games of my entire career was with both of them in action when we beat Carlisle 27-26 in 1997,” Coach Pace said.
Pace said it was a well executed football game and the second round of the playoffs against Carlisle at Gurdon.
“We threw a touchdown pass with three minutes left in the game, had a bad snap but still got the extra point to win!” Coach Pace said. “It was an exciting game, but we came back and won it!”
Coach Pace described the play where Gurdon came up with the 1-point win over Carlisle like it was yesterday, with his son Colby holding and his now son-in-law Josh being involved with the play, and the ball being scooped up by another Go-Devil named Dermont Beasley, who made the score because of an official ruling to count the point.
Not having been there, this writer is having a hard time describing the play with the excitement it deserves, but suffice to say Gurdon needed that extra point in the worst way. However many football players were involved, the job got done according to the official score, and Gurdon won 27-26 over Carlisle.
The Go-Devils then lost to Harding Academy, 14-6 in the next round.
In regard to accuracy in the description of the 1997 Carlisle game, this writer is going by long ago memories of Coach John Pace about an exciting football game, and if that game description is wrong, we’ll invite Coach Pace to run a correction and set the record straight in Tailgate News.
Our point is simple. Gurdon got the extra point because of determination and a last minute scoop from a football that may have been down.That scoop turned into a score that won the game!
We interviewed former School Board President David Williams after talking to the coach. Williams has a son in coaching at Prescott.
“I am a Gurdon boy and I have seen the dedication that Coach John Pace has had, working night after night, and weekend after weekend. He could not even have a peaceful Sunday most of the time, as just as soon as church was over he would head to the field house during football season.
“When a man gives his life to the game and the players like Coach Pace has for all of these years, you should let that man decide how it is going to end.
“John Pace needs to spend time with those grandchildren, time that he did not get to spend with his own children. When you have that much dedication, there are simply some family things you will miss. Gurdon will miss John Pace as the head football coach, but Coach Pace says its time to go so its time to go.”
Editor’s Note: I have covered football in Gurdon 10 years, getting story after story and photo after photo of players pouring their hearts out to win for Gurdon,win for Coach Pace – and win because that’s the goal. But if there was an injury, Coach Pace had the team take a knee and pray. He prayed the Lord’s prayer with his team after every game, teaching integrity and respect. I will miss him.

 

 

Welder artist travels to Hot Springs

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
A Tennessee welding artist made an icy journey from Chuckey, Tenn. to Hot Springs, Arkansas on Tuesday, March 4 so he could make sure his artwork was on display at the American Art Gallery on Friday night for the popular first Friday of the month “Gallery Walk.”
Brian Mace, 56, said his only display in Hot Springs has been American Art Gallery downtown and he has been bringing his steel structures, all hand painted, to the gallery off and on for between 7 and 8 years.
“I have been welding artistic creatures and painting them since I was in welding class in high school 43 years ago,” he said.
“I must have been about 15 when I made my first piece. That would have been in my third year welding class.”
Ann Gilbert, co-owner of American Art Gallery, said the welding art pieces are popular and reasonably priced.
“I have had pretty good luck selling Brian’s pieces over the years and I am glad to get this new supply,” she said.
Mace said if anyone wants additional items, tell the Gilberts. He called Willie and Ann Gilbert, and the American Art Gallery, his special display partners in Hot Springs “and any orders should go through them.”
In addition to cats, dogs, possums, peacocks etc., Mace is always looking for new ways to please customers.
“I brought a whole van full of art this time so welding art fans should have plenty to choose from,” he said.
Mace’s art has multi-colors and seems to be all nature oriented from observation.
“The displays are curved to where you can generally tell the animal being depicted and then I add the brightly colored paint for that good mood feeling on a porch, patio or out near a garden,” he said.
Mace has been producing art work after art work in the recent past as therapy to combat grief. His wife of 5 years recently passed away from cancer.
“We had five great years and you won’t hear me complain about that,” Mace said. “When I think of all of the joy she gave me, it is easy to create this uplifiting art.”

Mayor says accountability needed before  trusting tax money to Alliance again

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Gurdon Mayor Clayton Franklin said Wednesday he is not opposed to the renewal of the 1/2 cent countywide sales tax for industrial recruitment in Clark County “but my vote on March 11 may reflect the lack of accounting transparency current administrators of the tax money have given the public.”
Franklin said the tax has been in effect for seven years and expires in 2014. It has produced at least $1.5 million per year. According to Franklin, it has produced a total of nearly $10,500,000.
When the mayor was asked what all of this money was really used for, he said, “I really don’t know.”
The tax was approved by Quorum Court vote seven years ago and then put to a vote by the people of Clark County. Franklin said it carried in Gurdon.
“Our people are not opposed to the tax, just to the fact that it was subcontracted to an independent agency from a Quorum Court board that was supposed to be in charge of its administration and accountability,” Franklin said.
“Once the Alliance and Arkadelphia Chamber of Commerce got the purse strings, there was no longer a legal requirement for public book keeping and accountability and they were free to do what they wanted with the money.
“I am not calling them crooked and accusing them of any wrong doing. I am simply saying that before I would be in favor of this tax again, the press and the rest of the public would have to have access to the industrial tax slush fund books.”
As to the mission of the money, increasing Clark County manufacturing jobs, Franklin is unconvinced of any success. He sited 1065 manufacturing jobs lost in the past 10 years for Clark County, according to the University of Arkansas division of research.
The mayor said he had heard the construction of an Arkadelphia Industrial Park railroad spur will cost the Alliance group close to $5 million before it is completed.
“Gurdon is never included in their plans. I told them a long time ago if they would turn over the portion of the sales tax money collected in Gurdon for the City of Gurdon to openly manage for industrial recruitment down here, I could go for that,” Franklin said.
“They never would respond to that offer. They are ran by a subcontracted body of independent folk that do not have to answer to the government of the people as to how they spend that $1.5 million a year and it does not appear that said group is the least bit interested in developing any industry in Gurdon, Arkansas.”
When asked about the chicken factory that was supposed to open up this spring, Franklin said he has heard nothing recently about that still being about to occur.
“I am not saying they won’t come and I am not saying that would not benefit Gurdon. I am saying the Alliance has kept closed mouth on any progress that might have happened with the chicken factory recruitment effort, which means the potential workers don’t have a time table either. Many really need some answers so they can make plans to go back to working a steady job.”
Mayor Franklin said the existing railroad spur, just south of Gurdon, was brought up early on as a plus to recruit new industry but that ball was dropped by the Arkadelphia based managers of the sales tax.
“They already pledged $1 million of the $5 million necessary to build a new railroad spur in the industrial park where that chicken factory was said to be opening up again,” Franklin said.
Franklin stressed the following logic as his bottom line on the sales tax vote coming up on Tuesday, March 11.
“I don’t feel it’s a vote on an industrial recruitment tax. I am in favor of having some money available to bring jobs into Gurdon and Clark County overall,” he said.
“This upcoming vote is really a referendum by the voters as to their satisfaction on how their tax money has been spent, and what industrial recruitment progress has really been made. It will also give voter reaction to the fact that those in charge feel no sense of accountability in regard to letting the public know how their money is being spent – at least they make no regular report on it.”
Franklin restated they don’t have to make such a report as the Alliance folks are not a governmental body with open-door requirements, such as the Freedom of Information Act puts on bodies such as a City Council or the Quorum Court and their committees.
“In considering the referendum on how the money is being spent, I must make a note that I can not find any evidence they spent any of this for the economic benefit of Gurdon – unless Gurdon workers want to drive to Arkadelphia if and when the chicken factory opens,” he said.
“Again, I think the vote on March 11 will be a referendum on the management and how the money has been spent, and on the organizational structure.
“People are either satisfied with Arkansas Regional Alliance and its affiliates, as to how their industrial tax fund has been spent or they are not.”
Franklin said he personally has found Alliance to be less than straight forward when asked about the number of jobs actually created with the tax money available, and about future plans- if the funding continues…

 

Come get a career in a year

By JOHN H. NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
The ABC Beauty College in Arkadelphia celebrated two years at its 26th Street location on Jan. 31 and is in the process of remodeling the Cutting Edge hair salon next door. The owner would like to assure the public he will continue to cut hair during the facelift.
ABC Beauty College student population continues to average between 20 and 25 and school personnel would like to invite anyone with a possible interest in a hair career to “come on in and get acquainted.”
Charles Kirkpatrick, owner of the school, the Cutting Edge hair salon and ABC Barber College at 103 Brenda Street, Hot Springs, said Feb. 13, “We have really been happy in our new Arkadelphia facilities and we continue to brainstorm ways to make our students more and more competitive in today’s workforce.
“The hair business is still one of the best ways to have a career in a year. If you come in to check us out, stick around any evening, Tuesday through Friday, and get yourself a pleasing hair cut at the Cutting Edge.”
School hours at both the beauty college in Arkadelphia and the barber college in Hot Springs are from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m., with ABC Barber College also having a student population of between 20 and 25.
According to Kirkpatrick, the Cutting Edge takes off Mondays but stays on other weekday evenings “as long as there are still requests for haircuts.” It continues to serve the public with three hair stylists. Charles, his school manager and daughter Beth Waggoner and Beverly Hardin all work there. During the interview, Charles was cutting the hair of a Henderson State University baseball player, Colton Lorance, of Arkadelphia.
Lorance said, “Another one of my team mates said he came to Charles Kirkpatrick and was very satisfied with the haircut he got so that is why I am here. I plan on coming back.”
Kirkpatrick and he and his daughter Beth moved into the 203 South 26th Street mall/building in order to better serve the needs of the student body and the customer base. In addition to the tradition of working hard to please the hair customer, the move created a bit of history.
The ABC Beauty College moved to its former 2708 Pine Street location 28 years ago, on Jan. 31, 1984 and opened for business on South 26th Street on Jan. 31, 2012.
When Charles and Beth first took over the beauty college and hair salon, it was 1980 and their first location was at 620 Clinton Street.
Kirkpatrick said the beauty college has graduated approximately 1,050 students to become licensed cosmetologists since 1984 and around 1,450 total since he took the school over in 1980.
Anyone interested in a career as a cosmetologist should contact Delores Clark, ABC’s registrar and business manager. She can be reached at: (870) 230-0777.
“We are still a great choice for a career in a year, with a pretty well depression-proof guarantee, as people will continue to get their hair worked on even in hard times,” Kirkpatrick said.
Mrs. Clark said ABC Beauty College currently has 20 plus students enrolled, but the school is ready for an increase. The beauty college has added a new instructor and a new office worker since moving to the new location. There is plenty of room for a few more hair-career ambitious students, she added.
“It is like anything else,” Mrs. Clark said. “Once we get you in here, and we find a way for you to pay for the education, it is up to you to finish your 1,500 hours and make this a worthwhile experience and a ticket to a good job.”
Kirkpatrick said he and his daughter have lived in Clark County just about all of their lives.
Originally from Amity, Charles said he traded working with wood pulp for working with heads of hair. Charles Kirkpatrick is the executive director of the Arkansas Barber Board and one of the founders of Barbers International, plus he is in the Barber Hall of Fame in Ohio.
He said many of his beauty school and barber school graduates start out making $100 a day or more. Any age is a good age to go to school to do hair. He has had students from ages 17 to 62.
“It takes 1,500 clock hours to become a licensed cosmetologist,” Kirkpatrick said. “This takes most of our students about a year to complete.
“We are accredited by the National Accrediting Commission of Career Arts and Sciences (NACCAS) and the Arkansas Department of Health, cosmetology section.”
Kirkpatrick said ABC Beauty College has financial aid through Title 4, as well as Pell grants for those who qualify.
“All student work is performed in the presence of a licensed instructor,” he said. “The new facility is state of the art and a great place to learn not just haircuts, but hair coloring, pedicures, manicures, perms and the like. You learn to please the customer hair-wise.”
As an aside, Charles said when he cuts he likes to ask about hair length before he gets too far. He called it a hair stylist’s nightmare to hear a customer exclaim, “that is just too short!” Always ask before you cut and avoid this situation…
Kirkpatrick said a new class of students begins during the first week of every month. Those wanting to enroll do need proof of citizenship, as well as economic and family information.
Instruction, he said, is available through a traditional class setting and also on line.
“We teach the basics,” Charles said. “But we do have many success stories. Once in a while one of our former students will give us a call to let us know some good news. They may be starting a business or they have just landed that good job in a great location.”
Kirkpatrick said he would like to see the classes graduate 30 to 35 per year and believes enrollment will pick up to that level “as the word of the fine facility continues to spread and available jobs continue to be hard to find.”
“If you want to cut hair, and you work it, this certificate can mean making a good living – even if our country heads back into economic recession or worse. People get their hair done and will continue to do so.
“My motto at both schools has always been if hair is something you enjoy doing, invest a year of your life getting an education so you can not only have a job but enjoy your job.
“Once you are a trained hair person, you have something you can rely on to make money and to possibly own your own business.”

 

 

 

Valentine couple enjoys rainbow on their honeymoon

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Togetherness says a lot. If you can work with a person and then go home and spend time with them, that says a lot about how much you not only love them, but like them – and like being around them.
Charles and Anita Cabe, both 69 and of Gurdon, have been married for 46 years. They are the ones you see at the Cabe Land Office when you want to apply for various foundation grants.
But they are also man and wife and have been ever since a minister finally decided Charles would take Anita to be his lawful wedded bride, but not her twin sister…
The Cabes have many such anecdotes in their years together. They have one son, Clay, 45, who is married to Sarah B. Cabe. There are no grandchildren yet.
But how did this all start? Anita said Wednesday she met her husband, and now long-term Valentine, at Henderson State University. Charles was visiting Arkadelphia and at the time attending college at the University of Arkansas in Monticello.
“I have lived in Gurdon all of my life,” Charles said. “Anita and Annette were from Forrest City and were originally from Mississippi. I dated Anita for three years before asking her to marry me at Dairy Queen. She said yes and we took off on a Hawaiian honeymoon after getting married in Forrest City.”
Anita said she and Charles were married on July 2, 1967 by Brother Hankins at the Forrest City Baptist Church.
After coming home to Gurdon, they have been active members of the First United Methodist Church for many years.
Their son Clay was born on Sept. 14, 1968.
The particulars of the anecdote mentioned earlier and their marriage ceremony went like this.
Anita said, “Brother Hankins got nervous about the situation of two twins in his church, being myself, Anita, and my sister, Annette.
“He asked, “Do you Charles take Annette…”
Anita said the preacher had to be corrected and the ceremony went on as planned. But on the marriage certificate was written the following explanation. It says, Do you Charles take Annette? No. Do you Charles take Anita? Yes.
But before we get to a bit more romantic occurrence related to the Cabes’ honeymoon, let’s get a few more basics uncovered.
Charles and Anita met at the Henderson State University student union back in 1964. They both ended up alumni from Henderson.
Charles said, “I took her to a movie in Arkadelphia on our first date. I think it had something to do with a computer, but I don’t really remember.”
They continued dating through December of 1966 and he popped the question in January of 1967. She said yes and the engagement began, with apparently summer wedding plans in mind.
“I asked her at the Dairy Queen where we could at least be alone,”Charles said. “I sure don’t understand these guys who ask a woman to marry them on television or the like. To me, that would be awful if the girl decided to turn you down.”
Well after the date at the movies, and after the wedding where Charles nearly ended up married to the wrong twin, it was time to get away from all that preliminary marriage stuff. It was time for the honeymoon and their love for traveling sparked to life in Hawaii.
___________________
Anita said, “We flew into Hawaii and I looked out the window to see a rainbow.
“I took that as a very good sign to start our marriage by.”
___________________
Charles said he and his bride visited Honolulu, the island of Ma hi and the Island of Hawaii while over there.
He warned this editor Hawaii is a beautiful place “but it is pretty expensive. I would advise anyone planning a trip there to take plenty of money.”
After touring three islands, the Cabes took a cruise ship home. Then the day to day marriage began, as it does for every couple.
But Charles and Anita’s marriage has stood the test of time.
“I would have to say the secret to getting along and keeping things positive in marriage has to do with giving and taking. And sometimes you just have to know when its time to give more than you take,” Anita said.
Charles thought a minute and decided his wife was right.
“I was going to tease and tell you it was a matter of saying ‘yes Anita’ when she asked me to do something, but the truth is give and take in this marriage has been the secret of its success. That, and just enjoying each other’s company.”
This editor asked the couple when it was they fell in love? Anita and Charles smiled at one another.
Anita spoke first, “Falling in love for us has been a process.”
Charles must have agreed with his wife, as he smiled and never said a word. At least part of that process, in the case of the Cabes, has been the discovery of common ground.
Charles and Anita both said their satisfactions in life come from seeing those in need get help from foundation grants that they process through boards for approval and from traveling.
At work, Charles and Anita are in charge of two lumber business related grant foundations;
“We have basically spent at least 30 years in this office together and many times we spend 24 hours a day together,” she said.
“When we get home, I knit or we play board games and such. We like DVDs and some television. Besides the give and take, the part about liking each other is very important. Especially when you are always with the other person.”
Charles said he also likes politics and history. He and Anita are Republicans and attended the inauguration of United States President Ronald Reagan.
“Reagan started out a Democrat, but made the statement that the Democratic party ran off and left him,” Charles said.
The C. Lewis and Mary C. Cabe Foundation was established in December of 1989. Then the Horace C. Cabe Foundation was set up around 1993, by way of nieces and nephews after Horace Cabe passed away in 1992.
But the overall Cabe Land Company has had an office next to the railroad track, near Front and Main Street, for years.
“Before this was Cabe Land Company, Paul Potter the barber was cutting hair in one end of it,” Charles said.
Anita said grants from the foundation and their boards have been awarded throughout Arkansas, but the help they have been able to secure for Gurdon has been “the most rewarding for me to see.”
“We live here,” she said. “Yes, we now have a weekend place on Lake Hamilton in Hot Springs, but we live here during the week. And we watch Gurdon and the needs around us. When our foundation work is able to help, we can see first hand some worthwhile results.”
Anita used as an example of grant recipients, the Cabe Library, the Baptist Medical Clinic, the Cabe Auditorium on the GHS campus and the Cabe Middle School.
There are many more projects that have been funded here through the Cabe Foundations and the grant process they have to offer. Not every grant application is funded, but Charles and Anita continue to invite any worthy cause to apply.
As to their other passion, that is traveling to new places, the couple has been to Hawaii four times, Greece, the Caribbean and the Scandinavian countries, to name a few adventures. State side, they have been out west and also to Florida.
Anita shared a vacation memory from a 1980 family cruise in Athens, Greece.
“We had sort of a language barrier mix up,” she said. “When we paid the bill at a restaurant, they brought the change back in a tray. I understood the waiter to tell me to ‘take the tray,’ and so I started to put it in my purse. A little fat Greek security person said No!”
Charles teased his wife by saying it was the one time she almost went to jail. Anita just smiled and gave him his fun. After all, they did say marriage was give and take.
As to Valentine’s Day, the Cabes plan to go to a Valentine’s party at the Hot Springs Country Club.
“We enjoy getting out with family when we can,” Charles said. “We do things for ourselves, but more importantly we try and do things that we know will make us both happy.”

Two Gurdon boys get a scholarship/athletic boost

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
The head football coach at Gurdon got to see a little bit of his dream come true Wednesday morning when the offensive quarterback star of the Gurdon Go-Devils and the renowned defensive lineman both signed athletic/academic scholarships to play college ball and pursue a college degree.
Head Coach John Pace, a 23-year veteran to his post in Gurdon, said GHS seniors Austin Kirkpatrick and Devante “TuTu” Charles “are two of the finest athletes and academic achievers I have had the privilege of coaching in all of my career.”
Coach Pace said Kirkpatrick,#15 for the Go-Devils, played football at Gurdon from his seventh grade year on. As he senior, he is 5’9” and 175 pounds.
Pace said Kirkpatrick has also had experience playing defense in football. “AK” played defense and on the outside line back in junior high school.
But as a quarterback, Pace said Kirkpatrick has had 6,127 yards of rushing overall during the past three years. The quarterback also had the all-team best record in touchdown throwing, as well as rushing.
Kirkpatrick made All-District as a sophomore and was also All-State sophomore. Moreover, he was an All-State as a junior and a GHS senior. AK was also nominated to play in the All-State game. Pace said Kirkpatrick was also AA offensive player of the year.
Pace also touted AK’s top rate academic record and said he is a “4.0 student,” meaning Kirkpatrick had the perfect high school grade point average of 4.0, that is all As.
“AK is a fine athlete, an academically excellent student and an outstanding individual,” Coach Pace said.
The coach added that AK’s scholarship will pay for “probably 90 percent of his expenses at OBU,” rather than 100 percent like Devante’s at HSU because of the higher cost to go be a Tiger.
DEVANTE TUTU CHARLES
Devante “TuTu” Charles, #53, played football at Gurdon since seventh grade.
Coach Pace said Devante’s senior weight is 308 pounds and the defensive powerhouse is 6’2 and a half inches tall.
“Devante has played both sides of football. As a sophomore, he was a right guard on offense,” Coach Pace said.
“As a defensive lineman in his senior year, TuTu had 74 tackles and 75 sacks. three blocked punts and two fumble recoveries.”
Pace said Charles has come a long way, both on and off the football field. Academically, he had a 24 on the ACT.
Devante made All District for three years (in the 7AA District) and was All State last year and this year.
Charles was nominated, and voted to participate, in the All State football game.
His family gave him the nickname Tutu. Pace said his positive and enthusiastic personality has gained him many friends.

 

 

The Path I Took; Chapter 1, The Best Band Ever

By John Nelson

Tailgate News Editor

When I entered the fifth grade, it was proposed to me that I join band in Hagerstown, Indiana. I loved music, and my Daddy had been in band, so why not?
I began by taking up the clarinet. Before it was over, I would get pretty good on the coronet as well, plus get good enough on the guitar to write my own songs. But back in fifth grade, I just smiled and asked for a clarinet.
My Daddy got me one from somewhere in Oklahoma. It was a wooden woodwind, which was an old clarinet. But it played pretty good and the best part was making music with my friends. To this day, I wish that is what I did for a living; make music with my friends.
And yes, I realize that is a line from “On the Road Again” by Willie Nelson, but believe me, it fits. I went to work with that Clarinet to be first chair in the clarinet woodwind section. I made first chair out of about a dozen or so players. However, I shared it with a girl named Peggy Lindley. We would challenge each other from time to time. Sometimes I was first, sometimes second. It all depended on who won the challenge.
I have a column in Tailgate News Magazine called Memorable Moments. This book is probably going to be a series of such moments; times I remember that somehow stick out at 55 years old. The stuff we are talking about now represent some pretty good times when I was between the ages of about 11 and 18. They all took place in Hagerstown, Indiana, my childhood hometown.
My first band director was Mr. Haskett. I don’t recall his first name. It might have been Joe, like my second and final band director was called. Joe Backmeyer came into my life when I was about in the seventh grade. I loved his class and how he made me and my fellow musicians feel a part of each other’s lives.
I probably learned more friendship skills back then than at any other part of my upbringing. I used to have a lot of close friends. I don’t let all that many folks that close to me anymore. I know I should, and I am working on it. I suppose I have been playing life a little over cautious these past eight year but that is another rabbit to chase entirely.
Let’s go back to band class. I remember those challenge trials with Peggy. She was a slender, very tall blonde girl, a grade or two ahead of me in school. I have always been short; 5’6” is stretching me. But hey, Napoleon was short right?
I remember Ross Bennett playing trumpet, John Sanders playing trumpet and Dean Charles playing trombone. Bob Farris played the tuba. I saw Bob at our 35th class reunion but did not get to talk to him. I hope to do that at our 40th. That should be coming up in three years, say 2017…
So let’s try and get a handle on the year I first started band. I graduated Hagerstown Jr. Sr. High School in 1977 and so my first experience with band must have been around 1970. I don’t really recall too much about fifth and sixth grade band, or if I did all that much with Mr. Haskell except figure out I enjoyed what I was doing.
But in seventh grade, when it was announced that Joe Backmeyer would take over, things started to change. There was this girl who played clarinet also. Her name was Joni and she went to my First United Methodist Church with me. We sang in choir together there and played in band together. She had curley reddish brown hair and freckles. I watched with interest as she grew up…
But somewhere in junior high school, Mr. Backmeyer decided to let some of us young folks, with what he called talent, move up to play with the high school kids now and then. I was one of those that got to play with the bigger kids. That was great boost to my ego.
I was not only in band, but in 4-H, Methodist choir and vice president of the Hagerstown Historical Society. This met I got to help another classmate, Jim Hudson, clean out cemeteries from time to time. We mowed them, set up broken head stones the best we could and recorded names and dates of the dearly departed. That data would probably be of use in today’s world of the Internet in something Ancestry.com. But back then, it was taken down and I have no idea what happened to it after that. Jim Hudson was the Optomitrist’s son. I thought Dr. Hudson was cool and his profession was the first one I attempted before switching majors in college to Social Work and then to psychology and journalism. I stuck with the latter and eventually got a bachelor’s with a major in journalism and minor in psychology.
So I was a busy kid back in 1970. I also took care of between 100 and 300 rabbits, from which I picked a prize winning buck, doe and meatpen to display at the Wayne County Fair every fall.
One of my first memorable band moments was in a church. I had competed in this music memorization contest with my clarinet and Mr. Backmeyer played along with my song on the piano. The contest was at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, where I would eventually get that bachelor of science afore mentioned. I got a superor rating and felt so accomplished.
But the moment that stands out in my memory came about a month later when I was supposed to reconstruct my musical piece in front of Dr. John W. and Nancy Nelson, my Daddy and step mother. There was only one problem. I did not take seriously relearning the piece…
I got up on the stage and started out pretty good. I noticed my Daddy smiling and Nancy smiling. I so wanted to impress them. You see, I only got to see them every three months, when they came to visit me from Oklahoma City. Other than that, my grandparents (his folks) raised me on the farm. Even back then I was a lover of life and the pleasures there of. Before I fully understood the path of following Jesus Christ, I understood pleasure and exploration. This little moment we are on is an example.
I had spent the time I should have been practicing for that concert talking to my Daddy, which I idealized back then and frankly still do. His dropping out of my life is the single most painful thing that ever happened to me. That pretty much happened when I was 20 years old and newly back from Florida.
I know I was hard to take as a young, “bullet proof” young rebel. But still yet, I wanted to see my Daddy every chance I could. He did come to my college graduation in 1982 and his own father’s funeral in 1989. That is the last time we were together. I have never understood why and I probably never will. My latest research, here in 2014 is swaying me to believe that my neurologist father has passed from this world. If he is still alive, and he happens to read this, I sure would like some contatct. Just for the heck of it, my telephone number is 1-870-353-8201. As always, I am throwing the bottle out into the ocean.
But let’s return to those innocent times. That church concert was a hoot. I started looking at my Daddy and step-mother and completely forget the song! I mean I had no idea what in the dickens I was playing. But I am a natural song writer. Having written more than 150 poetic tunes for guitar, I suppose I can say that. And it was no different at the age of 14 or so. I played that group a tune they seemed to be into. My band director cut his eyes to me and then started following my jazz piece with his piano keys. We both played along a while until it seemed like an appropriate place to stop…
The crowd went wild. I received all sorts of applause. I got the heck off that stage as fast as possible, after taking the customary bow with Mr. Backmeyer and after seeing that my Daddy and Nancy seemed fine with the tune.
Back stage, Mr. Backmeyer could not help but laugh. I laughed right along with them. We even went out and took another bow, or at least I am remembering such. All I know for sure is we pulled it off. It was the John Nelson version of Mark Twain’s “Royal Nunsuch,” straight out of Huckleberry Finn! And it worked. Mr. B asked me if I could play the same tune again. I laughed and shook his hand. I said something to the effect of, “Not until donkeys fly!”
It was one of the first times I remember that I realized I work better under pressure. That is why, in my opinion, my 16-page Southern Arkansas Magazine, is turning out to be much more entertaining to create for you than my 12 pager I created in 2013 was. It fills my schedule and challenges my talents. That is the best thing for John, and hopefully for you the reader.
I remember going home and telling my grandparents what happened. Sweet Jesus, I said, I simply went blank and then decided, what the heck, time for improvision. They too had a great laugh about it. I don’t remember whether I told Daddy and Nancy or not. If I did, I am sure I was somewhat embarrassed, but at any rate, we do what we must. At least that is the way I was raised.
BAND CAMP
The next big band memory was my first band camp. It was also my first time away from home, other than that occasional visit to Daddy’s house in Oklahoma, or before that Milwaukee, Wisc. And of course North Webster Church camp. That is worth a mention in another chapter. But now, for my favorite band memory, “It happened at Band Camp.”
To fully understand the wonderful relationship I had with this 65-member band, you just have to have a little background to how bad I wanted to go to that first band camp. I was 15 and had just been snipe hunting with Joni Woodward. That is the little curley headed gal I mentioned earlier, also a clarinet player. Now at band camp, I was playing the coronet. I switched ombisures and instruments for marching band to be heard more. Even as a writer of the written word today, I love it when we have a huge number on the site visits. It makes me think maybe someone is enjoying what I have to say.
But anyway, I was in first section trumpet, never first chair like on the clairinet. My trumpet playing buddies all had five or six years more experience than me and besides, I just did this when I marched.
Back to Joni. I promised my wife Michelle that I would not write anything dirty in our Christian based magazine, so I will not go into the full relationship. But I can tell you Joni and I were in puppy love and I could have done a lot worse than to love, honor and obey that gal. She was fantastic. We never married though. It was the era of, “If it feels good, do it,” so when I went to college on my own I started dating other women and eventually moved on to Elaine DeHart, my second serious girlfriend.
Again, back to the age of innocence. I was excited. I had kissed Joni snipe hunting and that was a thrill to me back then. She kissed back with a lot of enthusiasm and we went to the show pretty regular. We also spent a lot of time at each other’s houses. But band camp took our relationship to the next level, where it stayed for five great years. In short, our childhood relationship became accepted by our family members to the point where the term John and Joni was used a lot, instead of thinking of us as two people.
But just before band camp, about three years before my graduation so it had to be in 1974, I started dating this gal that was two years older than me. And we had big plans together for when we got away from home…
I was so excited about it I dropped a huge dresser drawer on my right big toe! I mean it was seriously meated up and horrible looking. I lost that toenail and it grew back funky. It is something I just looked at as I was writing this. Yes, it is a childhood folly that stuck with me this far in life an will probably always look funky and double-layered.
My folks suggested I go to the doctor and that I definitely needed to cancel my band camp plans. I did neither one. I had a date with Joni for some serious smooching and I was not going to let her down! We band folk left the next day for some 16-hour-day marching. This was actually my second band camp we are talking about. I knew the routine and still wanted to go – because of my heart-throb for Joni Michelle Woodward.
My first band camp, where I met a gal named Kelley Thompson, was a lot of fun too. But nothing compared to band camp number two. So we will go on with the Joni band camp story of 1974. It was everything my folks said it would be work wise, and I was a rank leader. That made it even more challenging.
I had a straight ranked file and I had a comical way of lining them up. I remember saying some word phrase akin to “Butts up!” and all of the five folks in rank formed a perfectly straight line for marching . Mr. B caught me doing that one time and remarked that my unique approach to life had not changed since that church audition a few years before. I smiled at him. Our rank actually won an award, despite the fact that I felt like my foot was going to fall off.
I think Brent Meadows actually got put down in the airduct the year before. He was good natured about it though. A group poured water on him and let him loose. It was so hot in Indianapolis that year and also the second time that water was defintely a good thing.
But all rabbits aside, Joni and I had a plan. She was going to sneak down to the boys floor and we were going to listen to eight track tapes after room inspection. My room mate, Grover Brower, a drummer, was part of the plan. Most of the band knew about this rondevous, but nobody ratted us out.
We came up with some cock and bull story the next morning about how Joni had just wanted to borrow a couple of tapes and had only been in my room a few minutes. It was still a violation of rules. We waited for the axe to fall and Mr. B to send us home… He was no dummy. He knew she had not been in my room for just a few minutes. But what happens at band camp stays at band camp… just like in Vegas right?
He scolded us and told us there would be no more violations of the rules on his watch and then sent us back to our ranks and files. We did not chance any more get togethers that week, but the flood gates had been opened. After that week, for five years, it was never John. It was never Joni. It was always John and Joni.
We were kids and we from decent families. But we were in lust/love and that, as they say, was that. Yes, it was a band thing. And we stayed in band. She was there until her graduation in 1975 and me until mine in 1977. We never dated around. It was always John and Joni. I tried to date a couple of times, but somehow my innocense was in tact. She was my one and only those five years, and that was the way it stayed.
As for the band, they were my closet friends in high school. I can honestly say I had a love for each and every one of them. We played concert after concert, and marched in those hot uniforms every summer. We also played with frozen horns on the post office steps every Christmas as the Christmas carols bellowed out and the seasons passed.
We were in pep band too. I remember these giant sweet tarts, sorta solvo tablet sour treats, that I loved ot eat as I watched my classmates play football and basketball. To me, it was only yesterday.
Next week, in Chapter 3, we will go into family memories during high school, both good and bad on the farm, and how life progessed for the John and Joni dating scenerio. Every day was exciting back then. I was a young man in love and full of dreams to conquer the world.

 

 

 

Magnet Cove veteran receives life saving wound vac to cure pressure wound from VA

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
In this ever changing world, the Veteran’s Administration receives a lot of criticism but one veteran pilot and sign maker from Magnet Cove praises VA efforts and gives them credit for keeping him alive.
Britt “Santa” Armstrong, owner and operator of Signs by Santa, said Monday, Jan. 20, “I can not say enough good things about the doctors, nurses and other staff members at the Veteran’s Administration Hospital in Little Rock.
“Without them, I may very well not have been able to anticipate a 67th birthday, and I am 66,” Armstrong said. “I am a pilot and veteran with 50 years experience flying airplanes and I am not used to being so laid up. It is not over with yet, but I believe VA treatment will have me completely well within four to six weeks. It is taking a little time, but the wound vac is working.”
Armstrong, whose wife Sunni passed a way a few years back, lives alone in a dome house he designed years ago. He has a small pet dog that appears to be a wienie dog with long hair. The dog is many times his only company. The sign maker cut his business back to part-time several years back to attend college and accumulate an associates degree in graphic arts from National Park in Hot Springs after Santa suffered a major heart attack and no longer had the physical stamina to continue working at his previous pace.
He was given the name “Santa Claus” by former Malvern Daily Record Editor Mark Bivens because Armstrong and his wife were involved for several years with the Santa Train, toy-give-away effort in Hot Spring County. Santa also went to his wife’s native Texas during the Christmas season to do Santa shows every year to play his favorite character. And he is Santa Claus. If you have any doubts, ask him to show you his pilot’s license…
Feeling more like himself after recovering from his heart attack, but needing time to study for his goal of turning that associates degree into a bachelor of science in aviation from Henderson State University at Arkadelphia, Santa took a job as a customer service representative for Sykes in Malvern. He had attended HSU years before, without getting to finish, because he elected to join the service.
Armstrong came down with bronchitis this past November and took a leave of absence from college and his customer service job. His sign business, and his ongoing charitable giving, also came to a halt.
“I was really sick and the bronchitis ran me down something awful,” he said. “But after the Veteran’s Administration doctors put me on antibiotics, I began to feel like my old self. Then I misplaced the meds and it took a couple of days to get more. I took a turn for the worse, but was starting to feel a little better when the biggest part of my illness occurred.”
Armstrong said he was alone in his dome house and needed to go to the restroom. His electric wheelchair batteries began to go out. The power was too low to pull the chair across the dome floor and so Santa got up to walk himself to the bathroom entrance. His dog got in the way and he tripped and fell. The fall resulted in the start of a pressure wound.
He got medicine from the VA to treat the wound at home but despite getting the medical help in changing it that he needed, it kept getting worse until he finally went to the Hot Springs Veterans Clinic.
“This is when I met practical nurse Damon. Damon wanted me to go to McCllellan Veterans Administration Hospital Emergency Room at Little Rock to be admitted right away because the wound was tunneling and needed attention. I told him I needed to get my dog fed and to the vet and would then go to Little Rock. He said I could wait until morning but it would be better to go tonight. I went to Little Rock that night, on Dec. 2.”
Armstrong then met Applied Nurse Practitioner Linda Fletcher. She acted as counselor and “drove the bus to my recovery.” Santa offered a special thank you to Fletcher for her special interest in his case and the hard work she did to help him. He was not released from the VA until Dec. 11.
Santa said, “I would like to also thank my heart doctor Susan Trussle, as she was a very conscientious cardiologist and did all she could to keep me alive. The danger, you see, was they were afraid the wound infection tunneling would spread to my blood, possibly causing me to die.”
Armstrong said the doctors considered cutting out the infected wound, leaving him to use a colostomy bag. They asked him for direction on that surgery and he told them to avoid it unless it was a last resort. They did just that and found a way to get the wound to finally be on the way to a full healing.
His pressure wound is now being treated by what appears to be an electronic cleaning device, about the size of Bible. It keeps the infectious material out of the wound and helps in the healing process.
“It is working! That is all I can tell you about the thing. I am very grateful for this wound vac,” he said. “And the VA went to bat for me with it so I did not have to have a colostomy bag the rest of my life. I would like to give special thanks to the team that continues to monitor this wound vac. They are: Elizabeth Johnson, Applied Practical Nurse (APN); Linda Fletcher, APN, Dr. Powel Dutklewicz, attending nurse Leslie Harris, who changes the bandages on the wound; APN Ritza Robinson and others on the staff.”
Santa said medical tests he took while in the hospital also revealed that his insulin intake for diabetes could possiblycause kidney failure. He elected to take himself off of the insulin to avoid this so APN Fletcher helped him figure out appropriate diet and exercise to control the diabetes.
“I could go on and on about the VA staff and home support effort made. So many times our Veterans Administration takes too much heat for being slow because there are so many veterans to serve. But they got to me as soon as they could and it would seem they were able to give me a life back,” Armstrong said.
“I am looking forward to going back to work and school. Many years ago, I promised my mother, who was a poet and loved education, that I would finish college. Because of the VA and mercy from the good Lord above, it looks like I may be able to keep that promise. Hats off to the VA and God bless them.”

We dodged the mandate tax on Obamacare this tax season

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Despite rumors about hidden taxes connected with Obamacare, Quick Tax owner and consultant Sue Uchtman said Wednesday, “We have not been instructed to figure any Alternative Care Act taxes or penalties for this year.”
Uchtman said her IRS continuing education was in New Orleans for this season and instructors talked about the possibility of penalties for those who have no health insurance, or “substandard” health insurance, “but that is all we did was talk about it.”
Uchtman said she has not even heard of anyone being penalized tax wise over the health insurance changes brought on by Obamacare.
REFUNDS IN LIMBO
Uchtman was not quite so optimistic for late filers from last October. She said last fall’s government shut-down somehow caused those taxpayers refunds “to go out there somewhere in limbo.”
What it amounts to is they got behind at the IRS due to the federal government shutting down, she said.
“To be honest, someone filing at the end of January is more likely to get their refund faster than an October 2013 late extension filer. When we pull up an October filer to find out what happened to their refund, the computer can not seem to give us any timetable.”
TWO WEEK FILING DELAY
Uchtman also said taxpayers wanting to file in the middle of January this year will not be allowed to do so “because the federal government will not accept any filings until the end of this January.”
“We can usually start printing refund checks before Martin Luther King Day, that is around Jan. 17 or 18, but this year we can not start filing until Jan. 31, again as a result of the Internal Revenue Service getting behind because of last fall’s government shut down (Oct. 1-16). The IRS told us in New Orleans that refund checks would only be delayed a week, but I believe I will be printing checks on February 10 this year.”
DEDUCTIONS UP
On the brighter side, Utchman said five consultants from Quick Tax went to the three-day IRS continuing education classes for this year in New Orleans and standard deductions going up was something they knew would be a plus for their Southern Arkansas customers.
“We get to pick up things in the training to bring back home and share that are area relative. This year, if you are under 65, single, or married filing separate, your standard deduction has gone up to $6,100.”
Uchtman said the married filing joint has now gone up to $12,200. Head of Household standard deduction is $8,950.
Uchtman added that if you are a taxpayer over 65, all of these deductions go up even more.
As to how much tax deductions have gone up since last tax season, single or married filing separate in January of 2013 was $5,950, while married filing jointly was $11,900. The old Head of Household deduction was $8,700.
BETTER TRACKING
Another positive change for filers this year is you will be able to check the status of your refund, for federal (IRS) taxes, within 24 hours of the IRS receiving your tax return electronically.
“You can check the status of your refund by way of your smart phone or computer,” Utchman said.
“You go to Amended, Where’s My Amended Return IRS, IRS2GO, from ITunes or Google Play,” she said.
“You can also go to IRS.GOV on your computer and that will check on your refund status or amended tax return. If you get confused, just let us know. The point is we can track your refund much quicker than ever before because of this change.”
BUSINESS MILES UP
Yet another positive change for area taxpayers this year comes in the arena of business mileage pay. This year the IRS has gone up 1 cent, from paying 55.5 cents per mile to 56.5 cents per mile.
Medical miles are now 24 cents. Uchtman said moving expenses mileage pay is also 24 cents a mile.
OUICK TAX HOURS
Uchtman said operations at her Gurdon office, 109 E. Joslyn Street, as well as the Arkadelphia branch at 904 Main Street, will be open during the upcoming busy season from 8 a.m. until every customer has been served, Monday through Saturday, and by appointments on Sundays.
Uchtman said her five consultants normally stay open until about 6 or 6:30 p.m. but from the last week of January until the end of February those hours will be extended as needed.
Nikki Jennings is the contact operator in Arkadelphia.
HISPANIC NEEDS
AND IDENTITY THEFT
Consultant Claudia Moreno, who has been with Quick Tax seven years, specializes in Hispanic clients. She is the one many clients go to for answers about Identiy Theft or ITIN questions.
ITIN, that is Individual Taxpayers Identification Numbers, are applied for through the IRS if a person has no Social Security number and needs to file taxes.
In the case of Identity Theft, the victim applies to the IRS for a pin number, insuring that the pin number gives a definite identification to the filer.
Moreno said to get an ITIN, a person needs a valid passport and if they are under 18 they also need school records, medical records and parents’signatures. Minors may also be filed under their parents as dependents.
Moreno said, “From now on, an ITIN is only good for five years. The ones issued before 2012 were good forever.”

Running in the rain; and all was well with the world

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
This moment happened when my daughter Kelley was very young. My then wife Doris and I had moved to Dardanelle, Arkansas so I could take a job as a reporter for the Russellville Courier Democrat. She would go to work for Warner Cable, but I don’t think she had taken that job when the moment came.
Russellville was economically sound back in 1987. Life would level out a bit and be fairly stable. But there was a lot of work involved at my new job and I was a dead man coming in from work that evening.
If I remember right, my then mother-in-law Mandy Akins was visiting us, probably to help Doris unpack and to keep Kelley Marie happy while the place was being put together.
It was one of those moments that a person just remembers in life, sort of like letting go of the steering wheel on your car at 70 miles per hour just to see if the thing happens to be in alignment.
I was tired that day and my eyes met my wife’s as I walked in the door. It was raining cats and dogs and thunder and lightening were even beginning to rumble and flash.
Our daughter was with Mandy in the back bedroom. This memory in detail is not so clear but the moment I am coming to is vivid, like it happened just yesterday.
We had moved to McCleansboro, Ill. for a year and a half and came back down to Arkansas and lived in Benton for about six months so I could take “a money job” as a copy desk editor at the then Arkansas Democrat.
But I couldn’t take the boredom of editing the copy and headlines of my fellow writers. I just had to pick up the pen again. I took that job in Russellville to get back to some basics in reporting and doing the feature stories I so loved.
So there I was, probably about 28 years old with a wife and 3-year-old daughter. Indeed, more and more details are coming back to me as I think about this moment in time. We were barely unpacked and my wife was doing dishes.
I looked at her exhausted face and she looked at mine. We were both crazy back then; me for being so bent on following my dreams and her for following me anywhere out of what appeared to be blind love. But we both knew the whole thing was getting too heavy. Too many bills, too much moving and just plain too much reality to suit either one of us…
I smiled at her, as I came into the house soaked from my head to my toes. She started laughing at me as I started shaking the rain off shouting something about oh what an exhilirating feeling!
I noted her apparently entertained smile and said, “Well then, let’s run down by the Arkansas River (about a block away) and just feel the rain on our faces as we look at its vastness. After all that sounds more fun than unpacking to me.”
She agreed and we were off. The umbrellas remained by the door. We were certain we would not need them. We ran and ran and ran in the rain. As I recall, Mandy got an umbrella and brought Kelley down by the river as well.
She was probably trying to find us so as to give the folks with the white coats some clear direction as to where we were…
Doris and I started dating when I was editor of the Osceola Times, back in 1983. The Mississippi River bank was one of our regular haunts.
Perhaps we ran in the rain that day trying to recapture some of those good times.
But for whatever reason, we ran. We were impractical, crazy but happy “as two bugs in a rug.” For an instant, all seemed right with this old world…

 

 

Saving a tourist attraction…

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Most of the interest from neighboring cities in preserving the 52 miles of deserted railroad land between here and Glenwood has died down, but Gurdon’s mayor still believes there is hope of saving the Gurdon Light tourist attraction.
Gurdon Mayor Clayton Franklin said Dec. 11, “I believe if we wait until the 5 miles we are interested in goes through the bankruptcy courts, and becomes the property of Blue Sky landholders, we can still have a tourism attraction in the Gurdon Light.”
Franklin said a Little Rock attorney had volunteered to look into getting the land around the Gurdon Light involved in a rental agreement last summer. After months of study, it was determined that all 52 acres of railroad right-a-way land would probably go through bankruptcy, thus going back to the original landowners.
“Blue Sky will need a fire lane back there to where the Gurdon Light has been seen,” Franklin said. “My idea is to try and convince them that Gurdon could maintain such a fire lane for the right to have a tourist site. Blue Sky is a timber-growing holding company and I believe we could work together as such, for our mutual benefit.”
Franklin said he believed the old railroad land in question will be in bankruptcy litigation until at least spring. The Gurdon Light is a Halloween favorite spot, just off of Highway 53 and the now “cow trail” that used to be a railroad track. The Light entry is about 2 miles from the Highway 67 and 53 intersection, to the left and past the cemetery. To get there, cross over eight or so railroad trestles before going right. You will be walking toward Highway 183 (Sticky Road).
Legend has it that the Gurdon Light is a ghost looking for his head. Allegedly two robbers came on a train long ago, chopping off the conductor’s head and stealing the money from the lock box. The conductor is said to take out his lantern on certain clear lights and search around the track area to find his head.
The mayor said a student group from Henderson State University, of Arkadelphia, did a study on the Light years ago “and they think it is some sort of swamp gas or fox fire.”
The siting has been so frequent that Ripplies Believe It Or Not did a televsion show about the strange phenomenon that aired back in 2004.

 

Feeding the Hungry…

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
GURDON – Faith Mission and Evergreen Church have been busy the past year, as the Community Pantry has given away 98,000 pounds of food to a public with a “huge need that God has amply filled.”
Co-chairs for the Community Pantry are Faith Mission Director Tommy Potter and Velvet Gonzales.
Gonzales provided the following statistics about the project.
“We served 280 families in November. We have purchased more than 98,000 pounds of food from the Arkansas Food Bank at a cost of slightly over $12,000 during the past year,” she said.
Gozalez added that 598 families have been served at some time during those months since the project’s inception in October of 2012.
Potter said the Community Pantry operates under non-profit status, through the 501 license of Evergreen Church, located on Highway 67 near the Gurdon Park.
The food is distributed with the help of 12 to 30 volunteers, every fourth Tuesday of the month at Faith Mission on Main Street in Gurdon.
Because of Christmas Eve, the next big distribution will be from 4 until 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 17.
Those without viable transportation to get to Faith Mission receive food box deliveries to their homes every second Tuesday of the month. Potter said there are 80 such families at this time.
Gonzalez said food donations have been made by the Post Office (“Stamp Out Hunger”), Henderson Nursing Students (from HSU in Arkadelphia), CarMart and Tyson Food.
The Community Pantry has received grants from the Cabe Foundation, Arkansas Food Bank, Clark County Community Foundation and WalMart. There has also been financial support from several churches and individuals.
There are no financial requirements to prove; just be hungry. There is a registration process so that folks receiving food can be tracked, just in case there are any expiration date problems.
“We require two utility bills and some sort of photo ID, usually a driver’s license,” he said. “We like to take down a valid telephone number. The information goes on computer and do all we can to keep it current.”
The Community Pantry is Christian based and a news letter with encouraging verses is distributed each month, according to Potter.
“We don’t preach at them. We just try to show Christian love,” he said.
Potter said he is sure there are those who take advantage of their system, but it is worth it to get to those who have a real hunger need.
“And you never know. Sometimes hearts can melt,” he said.
On any given fourth Tuesday, around 300 folks show up with boxes to cart off the meats, canned goods, potatoes and other staples.
Potter said the Community Pantry works with Arkansas Food Bank on the Senior Task Force to determine the best way to serve the older population.
“We let seniors come a little early on distro day so they can get their food first,” he said. “Several volunteer to help us and also take food. If you believe our amount of distribution is unreal for a small mission and a small church, you are absolutely right. This project is bigger than logic would suggest. It reminds me of the part in the Bible where Jesus took a few loaves of bread and pieces of fish and then fed 5,000.”
Potter said Community Pantry is always looking for more volunteers.
“Just come on and we will put you to work,” he said. “It is very humbling but very spiritually rewarding.”
He went on to mention the back pack program at Gurdon Primary School. The Community Pantry partners with Rice Depot, another food providing organization from Little Rock, to feed hungry kids at school.
Evergreen Pastor Kevin Sims said food boxes given away average about 50 pounds.
Sims, who has been a minister for 20 years, said he is from Glen Rose. He saw the local hunger need strong in Gurdon during his Wednesday, community-wide, Bible study efforts. Evergreen members, along with volunteers from other churches, pick up about 80 Gurdon kids every Wednesday evening to show them the path to Jesus Christ as their personal Savior.
“Tommy is one of our Wednesday night volunteers and he asked me if Evergreen Church wanted to help open a Community Pantry? I told him yes,” Sims said.
The directors plan to invite Arkansas Health Department personnel to the Food Pantry so they can offer flu shots. The organization has already had representatives from SNAP, the modern term for the food stamp office, to come and sign people up.

Gallery Walk, Friday, January 3 in Hot Springs downtown

By JOHN NELSON

Tailgate News Editor

Marlene Gremillion calls herself a sensitive person who enjoys life and her surroundings. She will have her work on display and be creating art for the public at American Art Gallery, downtown Hot Springs, during the December Gallery Walk, from 5 p.m. until 9 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 3.
BOOK SIGNING
In addition to the artist at work, American Art Gallery will have a gangster book signing that same evening. From Capone to Costello, written by Robert Raines, Director of the Gangster Museum of America, was to be coming Nov. 25 to the shelves of Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, Wal-Mart, and, of course, The Gangster Museum of America gift shop at Hot Springs.
The book’s debut will be followed by a signing tour. Some exciting spin-off developments for television are brewing as well. Ask the author for details. Author Robert Raines will be signing copies of Capone to Costello during the Gallery Walk at American Art Gallery.
NATURAL BEAUTY
As to the artist at work that night, Marlene examines the beauty of nature especially in bright sunlight looking for the transparency in flowers and the shadows cast by objects onto another. Texture plays a major role in her paintings along with color that expresses a mood and feeling seen in the subjects she puts to paper or canvas.
Traveling with her husband throughout the United States, much of which has been in the out doors, Marlene loves mountains, streams and flowers which are visible in her realistic and abstract paintings and collages.
Marlene is a graduate of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and is a registered nurse. Being a very sensitive and observant person when caring for others has carried over into her artistic endeavors. Marlene is active in the arts in her community and has also studied art extensively, polishing her watercolor techniques as a major subject. She has taken workshops from nationally renowned artists, who she feels has broadened her abilities to really see minute details that can express an atmosphere in a particular piece.
Marlene explores visually varied subjects along with photographing and just sitting and taking in the ambiance of God’s creation. She has displayed her expressive photographs and also used them as tools in her paintings and collages. Unable to put to words why she must create, except to say she feels a desire to keep on trying something new. “It’s like I’m a child with a new toy, each time I pick up a paint brush full of paint. I’ve just got to have fun!”
Marlene is a signature member of Mid-Southern Watercolorists (Arkansas) and Louisiana Watercolor Society. She is a charter member of the Ouachita River Art Guild in West Monroe, Louisiana and member of Brush Strokes in Hot Springs Village, Arkansas. The Arkansas Studies Institute in Little Rock, Arkansas, Backwoods Gallery in El Dorado, Arkansas, Ouachita River Art Gallery, West Monroe, Louisiana and Artist Workshop Gallery in Hot Springs, Arkansas represent her.
Marlene and her husband have built a home in the mountains of Hot Springs Village, Arkansas and have retired, devoting full time to the outdoors and the creating of art and grandchildren!
Marlene’s work is on display at: American Art Gallery – Hot Springs, Arkansas; 724 Central Ave Hot Springs, AR 71901 (501)624-0550; Butler Center for Arkansas Studies – Little Rock, Arkansas, 401 President Clinton Ave. Little Rock; Backwoods Gallery – El Dorado, Arkansas
209 E Main St Ste A El Dorado; Ouachita River Art Guild – West Monroe, LA
308 Trenton St West Monroe, LA; and Gallery 726, 726 Central Avenue Hot Springs.
NEWS FLASH
From Capone to Costello, written by Robert Raines, is being considered by television producers, along with actor Sylvester Stalone, for a movie.
American Art Gallery owner Willie Gilbert told this reporter Stalone (Rocky) would like to be a part of killing a gangster during the film.

I see
over there

I see over there,
not just on this side,
but over there
where more memories
are yet to be made.

I would like to tell you
that like so many,
a 55 year life is plenty,
but I can not.

Because you see,
I see over there,
not just on this side,
but over there.
Where rivers flow,
where sunshine is,
where I want to go.

Do I speak of heaven?
Not just yet. I believe
this life has more
chapters for me to write.

The end times folk,
they tell me its the end.

But as my Grandpa used to say,

“I will be a new man in the spring.”

John Nelson
Gurdon

Building friendships…

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
It may very well be Friday, Nov. 22, as you are reading this article on being thankful for the opportunity to work toward tearing down the walls of isolation and building the bridges of friendship.
If so, and you can make it, the editor encourages you to go see the annual Gurdon Primary School Turkey Trot program scheduled for this morning in the GPS gym. It is an elementary school perspective on Thanksgiving and why we should be thankful for our allies – even if those bonds of friendship are with people from very different cultures.
In order to be thankful for a new country where they could practice their Puritan Christian religion, the Pilgrims of old had to be thankful for the friendships they had with each other, and they had to believe in their cause enough to take risk.
One of the risks the Pilgrims took, after getting off of the Mayflower and docking at Plymouth Rock or where ever a particular group happened to land, was the risk of making new friends.
In their case, they had to build bridges with Native Americans. The Pilgrims were a peaceful lot and the Indians taught them about growing and eating corn, and how to live off the land.
Having not been there to conduct an interview, this editor has no idea if the Pilgrims and Indians ate turkey for the first Thanksgiving dinner.
But history reports they ate together as friends. It was not until greed got in the way, sometime later in history, that the white man and the Indian became bitter enemies over land disputes, buffalo hunting rights and “ownership” in general.
The Indians wanted to share with their new friends, while the later Europeans wanted takeovers rather than treaties.
But let’s look a little more at the first Thanksgiving, when the Pilgrims and their Indian hosts were getting along. They had built bridges of friendship, one stick at a time, just like the second graders at GPS have been doing this past week or more.
By building physical bridges, Mrs. Norris has illustrated to the children that it takes effort to build anything, and even more so to be able to work with someone else successfully.
Three of her second grade bridge builders commented on their favorite part of the project.
Jaden Berry said, “I liked the working, that is the construction itself.”
Leo Yanez said, “I liked being able to work on a project with my Mom.”
Ja’Mya Garland said, “I liked to participate and help out.”

Feed the people and make no excuses…

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
A director for Arkansas Rice Depot, an organization that supplies more than 300 church food banks throughout the state, told Gurdon Rotarians Tuesday Arkansas has the second highest percentage of hungry Americans of any state in the union, coming in ahead of Mississippi.
Cyndi Gregory, corporate development director, said her organization provides nourishing food items to the elderly, school children and everyone in between. She said it provides everything free, whether it is helping a food bank like the one at Gurdon’s Faith Mission, in cooperation with Evergreen Church, or a Meals on Wheels situation where the elderly are receiving meat and beans etc. or sending staples home by way of a back-pack to school children who are victims of no groceries in the household and yet they are expected to learn with a growling stomach.
“You would be surprised how many of the people we help are not on public assistance,” she said.
“Many are the working poor, trying to feed several children and keep the rest of the bills paid.
“Our hope is to help them get on their feet, rather than for us to take them on permanently. God has blessed this effort for more than 30 years and we have never had to charge for anything.”
Gregory said Rice Depot helps along side Arkansas Food Bank, but is an entirely different organization.
“We have been asked to join them, but our leaders have insisted we continue to operate in Arkansas’s 75 counties like we have since our inception – feeding hungry Arkansans without any fee scales attached – ever.”
Gregory said food supplies sometimes come to them at the last minute, “but God keeps bringing in the food as long as we are willing to serve Him in this capacity.”
Gregory said Rice Depot is Little Rock based and all faith based.
“For 31 years, we have been praying in the food and the money to continue feeding every county in Arkansas and that is the way our fundraising stays. We are here to feed the hungry, not to charge them in any way.”
She said services are provided to four basic groups; 1) food for families directly and church pantries and their families; 2) the school back-pack program; 3) food boxes to senior citizens and 4) disaster relief programs, such as giving food to tornado victims.
Gregory said her organization does have a heart for those that are hungry, and/or near starvation, in other states, but “we have always concentrated on Arkansas.”
Donations are accepted from anyone who wants to give and food is given out to any Arkansan that is hungry. There are not forms to fill out to get rice, beans and meat, plus a whole host of other food items. You just have to tell them you need a meal.
If you do determine that Rice Depot is the type of Christian missionary work you want to give to, Gregory says 98 percent of the donations go for the food and its distribution. Only 2 percent are kept for administration expenses. This is possible because of the hard work the nearly 8,000 volunteers statewide do on a daily basis.
She said Rice Depot now has food outlets in 50 small communities the size of Gurdon.
“It is hard to imagine what people go through,” she said. “Even if a single mom or dad is working two and three jobs, one medical bill can mean no groceries in the house.
“Some people are just not as prepared for added costs in their budget – and not everyone has family members or friends to turn to when times get hard.”
Gregory said Rice Depot currently feeds 70 senior citizens, mostly in the Little Rock area. They try and arrange it so the same volunteers visit the shut-ins on a consistent basis. The company is needed as well as the food.
“When it comes to food boxes for the seniors, we mostly give ham, turkey and beans because those foods help them to maintain strong bones and muscle mass. That way there is not so much risk for health issues relating to eating the wrong kinds of food,” she said.
In addition to providing high protein foods, Rice Depot volunteers take vital signs and give blood pressure tests.
Volunteers and donations are always needed and sometimes short until just before a delivery. Gregory says God always comes through on time, just not always early.
She thanked Anita Cabe and the Cabe Foundation for the Rice Depot gift shop in Little Rock. She said a foundation grant and volunteers run the place.
“It’s name is the Cabe Foundation’s Simple Pleasures Gift Shop and we have a lot of great items for Christmas presents. Check us out and help us feed our part of America.”
As to government funding, Gregory said there is none on a regular basis. When helping with a major disaster, sometimes a small amount of federal funds come their way.
“Working for Rice Depot will keep you humble,” she said. “I did not eat all of my corn at lunch today and boy do I feel guilty.”
To volunteer, or donate, call Cyndi Gregory at: (501) 565-8855, Ext. 143 or email her at: cyndi@ricedepot.org.

 

 

 

A Soldier
for Freedom…

They send the boys
and girls off to war.
Far from the days
of football games
and cheerleading
refrains…

All of a sudden those high school chaps and dolls

are weilding guns and bombing halls.

But they decency and freedom of choice that they left behind

keeps their minds ever dwelling on freedom so kind.

As many have noted, and many have said,

freedom is not free

and some will come home dead…

It is not a given
that you get a ticket home.

Now, in this day of political confusion,

even burial may mean a loan!

But soldiers fight on,

because there will be another day.

A day to work hard,

and a day to make hard work pay.

That day will come if one thing is true.

The aim of a soldier to protect me and you.

Many are jealous of the freedom we possess.

Lock and load my soldier, give it your best!

JOHN
NELSON
GURDON

Editorial – Obamacare a mandate, not a choice

We will make this editorial short and to the point. Obamacare is a communist mandate, not an American health insurance choice for those with pre-existing conditions.
We previously wrote an editorial indicating we believed the policies in Obamacare to simply be a series of guaranteed issue insurance options for those unlucky enough to have uninsurable pre-existing conditions. It is much more than that.
Our government is in the process of taking our choice of health insurance out of our hands in the name of uniformity. We in America are not used to that.
Insurance has been a product, just like toothpaste. Nobody tells you that you must buy Crest. The government is attempting to coherse us into buying their insurance, even when it is a terrible choice as to value, in order to make sure there are enough healthy people in the insurance pool that the sickly ones do not bust Obamacare.
This is pretty well the act of a dictatorship, not a democracy. Come on folks, this is a clear violation of the United States monopoly laws. You can not go around pushing your product to the front of the line and then holding a gun (in this case a fine or jail term) to the head of your potential customer before telling the fellow or girl this is something they must do “for the good of the country.” Hi Hitler! Give me a break! This is Nazi Germany all over again.
I realize I am a 54 year old American male who grew up on a farm in Hagerstown, Indiana, not some fancy socialist law school drop out from Kenya. But even I am smart enough to see it when somebody is trying to destroy the freedom of choice my father fought for in the Korean War and many of your fathers did too, in whatever war you want to name.
On the Internet, one Republican is denying saying that he can not stand to look at Barack Obama. I will not deny the same feeling. I respect him just as much as other names in history such as Hitler or Mussolini.
I am sure that last fellow may not be familiar to some, but he was a dictator who would have been pleased with Obamacare.
I am not even saying our country does not need some sort of guaranteed issue health insurance for the indigent or the traditionally uninsurable, but not at the cost of our freedom of choice.
I would urge everyone reading this to contact your congressman or senator and raise hell. I do not know how else to put it. This is ridiculous. Obamacare needs serious gutting or repealing. We were sold a bill of goods. This is supposed to be the Alternative Care Act, not the Alternative Care Mandate!
Mr. Obama said his original proposal would not have forced us to drop our current coverage in favor of the government’s. In short, he blames Congress and the Senate for this mandate part and all of these threats of fines and/or jail terms.
Frankly, it does not matter who created this communist manifesto. We need Obamacare to be like other American products, a choice rather than something the government forces down our throat – much like a farmer might a sick calf who refuses to take his medicine. People of integrity are going to weigh the odds and check their options. They will opt to take private insurance if it helps them more and especially if it costs less. And then they will pay higher and higher fines for rejecting the government insurance or eventually go to jail for not signing up for Obamacare. I wonder if they will let me take my chess set?

 

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
HOT SPRINGS – Valerie Hanks-Goetz, an internationally recognized Native American artist now residing in Bigelow, will be the guest artist on Friday, Nov. 1 at the American Art Gallery.
Hanks-Goetz will display her horse hair pottery techniques.
A member of the Muscogee Nation of Florida, Valerie’s art is unique, mixing the traditions of her tribe into decorative designs for home or office.
A mixed media artist, she uses basketry, gourds, pottery, leather, wood and copper to express and educate her public about her particular brand of Native American culture.
Valerie uses horse hair to mix in with her pottery, which makes her items of pottery and baskets unique. But she is not the first to use horse hair in this way.
She said the horse is a gift to the Indian, brought by the white man.
The bond forged between and horse and rider was like no other.
Horse hair pottery is said to be the act of painting battle pain between white and Indian riders on pottery using a horse’s tail.
The horse is said to have witnessed such brutal battles so many times, and felt such compassion for all concerned, that artistic expression was the result – thus the horse hair pottery evolved as an animal need for artistic expression, according to Valerie’s horse hair history lesson.
An art like no other, each custom piece is pulled from a fiery kifn at 1800 degrees and touched with clippings of your horse’s mane or tail.
The strands of hair warp and curl from the immense heat, transferring a permanent carbon image unique to each vessel.
HAND-WOVEN BASKETS
Making the most of all resources, Native Americans began using horse tail as a basket making material shortly after the arrival of the horse.
While the earliest historical recordings of horse-tail baskets were with the Trojans, many different Indian tribes, including the Apache, Navajo and Arapalio are known for their intricate and ornamental basket design.
A dying art form, Valerie strives to keep it alive and use Muscogee traditions in her basket designs, creating both traditional and contemporary art forms.
For more information about Valerie and her art work, visit:www.nativeworks.com . She captures the unbridled spirit of your faithful steed in an award winning art form.

 

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
BRYANT – Paula Jordan is going to keep baking cakes and pies, and no doubt winning contests from those who go around judging taste.
Paula said Tuesday, Oct. 15, “I love to bake and this new location with more on the menu seems to be going pretty good so far.”
She and her husband Gary opened Paula Lynn’s Kitchen, Old Fashioned Dairy Bar & Bakery, on Sept. 30 just down Reynolds Road from where she had Paula Lynn’s “Really” Homemade Sandwich and Sweet Shop for the past three years.
The new location is at 302 South Reynolds Road, just down from City Hall, and the hours are from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m., Monday through Saturday.
Paula Lynn’s praise record for her baking includes top pie awards from such publications as the Arkansas Times, the Saline County Courier and now the Tailgate News. The Times talked of her fluffy pies and cakes topped with chocolate moose, the Courier gave her a first place for the best bakery in Saline County and runner-up for the best sandwich shop in the county. The Courier also voted her best dessert in the county for 2012.
This editor got to taste some of her peanut butter cake after the interview and must agree her baking talents are top notch.
Gary Jordan, who owns Jordan’s BBQ and Catfish with his wife, at 110 North Reynolds Road, said, “Our family has been in the barbecue business for 27 years.
“Paula has always loved to bake and this is why we have opened Paula Lynn’s Kitchen.”
Paula Lynn’s offers cakes for weddings, anniversaries and birthdays. The menu has gourmet sandwiches, fresh salads, combo specials, homemade chili and soup, foot long hot dogs, fresh ground beef burgers, a kids menu and a waterin’ hole with plenty of fountain drinks and coffee.
Gary said all of the meats are smoked and cooked at Jordan’s.
On the dessert side, Paula has homemade pies, such as pecan, lemon, coconut, chocolate, apple dream pie, strawberry cream cheese, chocolate peanut butter and key lime.
The dairy bar has homemade cookies and cakes. The cakes include such favorites as Reese’s Peanut Butter Cake, Smores Cake, Strawberry Cake and Lemon Cake.
Also on the menu, you will find homemade fudge, homemade brownies and assorted cake balls.
As to ice cream, Paula’s offers it in shakes, cones, coke floats, Brownie Delights and Sundaes.
If you need to call in an order for carry out, the number is: (501) 847-2066.
Gary said his wife takes pride in the “all homemade” part of her business. The hamburger paddies are fresh, never frozen, and fries are homemade.
Paula said her specialty sandwiches, such as club, BLT, grilled Fajita chicken and cheese, Rueben, and steak and cheese are all very popular.
“She specializes in great tasting foot long hot dogs too,” her husband said.
Paula Lynn’s Kitchen, Old Fashioned Dairy Bar & Bakery, has five employees ready to serve you.
Paula said she is getting some traffic from Bryant High School before ball games, or around other events. and welcomes youth of all ages from the community and surrounding area to come in and give her a try.
Although she is grateful for the new location, convenient parking, and generally hometown atmosphere of her new restaurant, her reason for cooking remains the same as it has always been.
“I love to bake and I can’t say that enough,” she said.
And, as with most anything, if a person loves something they usually become very proficient at what they love to do as the years go by.
Although you could call this subjective, stop in the next time you are in Bryant and see if you don’t agree with this editor.
Not only is the food really homemade, your taste buds will most likely perk up when you think about Paula Lynn’s Kitchen once you have tried out your favorite sandwich, pie, cake or whatever your pleasure on the menu.
Paula and Gary both thanked the community of Bryant, as well as the surrounding area, for a continued good reception and for allowing them to be of service in the restaurant business.
Prices are old fashioned too, so come on out and enjoy yourself.

 

 

 

 

Little Mo’s Liquor; a business dream come true

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
It all started as an idea that two friends in the timber business had when selling alcohol became legal in Clark County, Arkansas and therefore the availability of liquor, wine and beer was going to become more widespread whether they tried to become a part of that business growth or not.
Both men were a bit skeptical at first of the legal process being described to them as to how the limited number of liquor permits would be distributed. They suspected “the powers that be” would get those permits, rather than a couple of hard working country guys with a dream of doing something a little different with their lives.
Mitch Pennington and Rodney Hurst opened Little Mo’s Liquor in 2012 after Clark County “went wet” and did so with an attitude of being of service to their customers and taking advantage of a business opportunity that had come their way.
“I can not complain about the fairness involved with selecting who got the limited number of liquor licenses . We drew #4 and it really was just a matter of chance. But once we realized the opportunity to build this business existed, Rodney and I began to go to work,” Mitch said.
Rodney said he was a bit skeptical of adding a liquor business to his logging duties at first, but he has really enjoyed the change.
“The Liquor Store business is just a lot less stressful than what Mitch and I used to do full-time. Most people come into a liquor store in a good mood and make our job of serving them a pleasure,” he said.
Ever since Little Mo’s opened in the spring of 2012, it has continued to grow in service, product and customer base as the store becomes more and more well known.
Rodney said construction started in January of 2012 with the intention of opening May 1. Although the building was finished during second week of April, May 3 ended up being the best opening date.
The business is located on Highway 67, between Gurdon and Prescott, with an official address of 8996 Highway 67 South, Beirne. If you are in search of Little Mo’s, it is close to the Little Missouri River, well lit and easy to find.
Rodney said Little Mo’s Liquor is in a 40×80 feet building that he and his partner built themselves. It does have a drive-through for customer convenience and a dedicated staff of five employees.
—————————————
“Something we do, that nobody else in this business does that I know of, is we carry your purchases to your vehicle for you and put them in the car or truck. This is important, especially to some of our less able-bodied customers. One thing I love about this business is we get to see people when they are about ready to relax and have fun. We provide them a way to take it easy and the curb service we do gives them one more reason to smile,” Mitch said.
___________________
The store hours are 8 a.m. until 9 p.m., Monday through Thursday, and 8 a.m. until 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
Little Mo’s Liquor has a full line of liquors, wines and beers. This includes a full line of NA (non alcoholic) beers.
It is also probably the cheapest place in the Clark and Nevada County area to buy ice. Little Mo’s charges $1.54 for a 10-pound bag!
The store carries kegs of beer. Just ask the staff or details.
Mitch and Rodney both said they would be glad to entertain suggestions for improvement.
Mitch said, “The law limits what we can have in the store besides liquor, but a few snacks, deer hats and such are OK and we carry them.
“So we can not always do all of the suggestions of our customers because of legal limits, but we want to hear them anyway because we want every opportunity to please people. Again, we usually see them happy and ready to relax. We want them to still be that way after they stop here.”
Mitch and Rodney invite you to come out and visit with them at Little Mo’s Liquor.

 

 

 

Never take more than the feds will insure…

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
I grew up on a farm in middle Indiana during the 1960’s and 1970’s and was raised by my paternal grandparents, the late John Hans and Marvel Nelson.
During my upbringing, my grandfather and I had numerous conversations about John Dillinger, the famous bank robber of the depression era.
It would seem that Mr. Dillinger had grown up on a farm at Mooresville, Indiana, probably 60 or so miles from our place, which was a little more than 2 miles from the small town of Hagerstown.
Growing up alone, I had occasion to take up rabbit hunting. We had a woods attached to the 80 acres we lived on and there were probably a half of a dozen roadsters from the early 1930’s junked out there in Johnson Balls, which was the ground just to the edge of what we always called Warfles’s woods.
The thing I noticed at about 10 years of age was that the abandoned roadsters had what appeared to be rivets in the sides of them.
I asked Grandpa what had made those little holes? He smiled and replied, “A Tommy Gun did that many years ago.”
He told me the John Dillinger gang had probably left the cars back there, or some such a bunch of desperate men that had achieved a lot of extra cash during the Great Depression.
He seemed to know a lot more about it than what he was telling. I asked him if he knew John Dillinger.
“Everybody did back then, I suppose,” he told me.
Time rocked on and I found myself about 14 years old, getting ready to turn in a report on the John Dillinger Gang to my history class at school. The eighth grade teacher, a Mr. Lloyd Michaels, had told us to write on any group connected with the Great Depression.
I learned in my research that Baby Face Nelson shot a deputy during a Dillinger bank robbery. Nelson had been a member of the gang for a short time during the year and a half “Public Enemy Number One” ravaged the banks of Indiana. I believe it all occurred in 1933 and part of 1934.
Grandpa had continued telling me stories of the robberies and how the bank robber always gave to the poor and needy, especially widows or single mothers trying to feed their family.
He told me “Dillinger” never took more than the $100,000 from each bank, as that was all that was insured by the federal government and so no poor soul trying to create a life savings need suffer.
I brought my paper home that day and used several facts Grandpa had mentioned about John “Jack Rabbit” Dillinger, a man apparently known for being more than one place at the same time.
I asked him why he had told me nobody ever got hurt in any of the 18 bank robberies and yet history records Baby Face Nelson, also known as “trigger happy” Nelson, as having shot a sheriff’s deputy during one of the famous heists?
My grandfather was reading the Richmond Palladium Item, sitting in his favorite rocking chair in our living room when I asked him about Baby Face. He got up quickly and screamed out these remarks, “Baby Face Nelson was one of the dumbest people I ever knew. I told him there was to be no shooting see and he did not pay any attention to me.
“I fired him the next day!”
I stopped my grandfather there and asked him, “You fired him?”
He just smiled and sat back down, picking up the newspaper once again.
At that time, I thought Grandpa might be the real John Dillinger. But he let me know he was not a couple of years later in a fishing boat.
We were out on Scout Lake there in Hagerstown and Grandpa had grown a mustache. I had asked him earlier, while we were showing rabbits at the Wayne County Fair, what was with the hair under his nose?
He had said at the fair, “Just thought I would grow it out. It was part of a disguise I created many years ago.”
When he said that, I asked him directly, “Are you John Dillinger?”
He smiled but gave no response. However, he did not forget the question. Once we were alone, out in the boat, he began to open up about a few things.
Out of the blue, in the quiet of the morning, Grandpa began to get real…
“You know my best friend died recently right?”
Yes, I said. He was Lawrence Hoover.
“Think about that name. It stands for Jimmy Lawrence, a code name for John Dillinger, and J. Edgar Hoover, the federal copper that I struck a deal with. You see, Jimmy Lawrence wanted a life on my farm for a couple of years. I needed money because my hogs had died of the cholera. So we made a plan.”
Dillinger, Lawrence, so I learned, had a sweetheart who was pregnant. The grandson, also named Jimmy Lawrence, wrote a book about his grandpa trying to get a nose operation to change his looks etc. My grandfather had a natural bump in the bridge of his nose. I also have that.
The idea was to make the real McCoy look like the double so neither would look like the wanted man, John Dillinger of Mooresville.
Grandpa also talked of how he had no fingerprints because of burning them off on a hot motor “by accident of course.”
When Dillinger was shot, after being fingered at the Biograph Theater in Chicago on July 22, 1934, the brown-eyed man lay dying in the dirt. The main shooter, FBI agent Melvin Purvis, saw the brown eyes and cringed. You see, my grandfather had blue eyes. So did the man they arrested twice during the bank robbery sprees; being held both at Joliet State Prison in Illinois and in Kendalville, Indiana. Purvis killed himself because he knew the wrong man paid for the crimes.
You could not change your eye color back then. They killed John Dillinger, the grocery store robber, but they did not kill the man responsible for robbing 18 banks.
Grandpa had the bluest eyes I have ever seen. I would imagine the conversation between him and J. Edgar Hoover went something like this: “You got Public Enemy Number One and the FBI looks like a team of heroes.
“But if you continue to chase me, I will go back to robbing banks and it will be obvious you did not catch the real robber.”
Hoover, after a short pause, said, “You are John Hans Nelson. We were looking for John Dillinger and we found him, shot him dead to rights. Go back to farming John. Nobody is after you.”
And that is just what he did, went back to farming and continued it for more than half of a century. Grandpa learned how to vaccinate hogs and never ran short of money over losing a crop of them again.
Somehow, during the depression, he always had $20 bills to pay for his feed and seed in cash. He paid everything in cash, as a matter of fact.
When I would ask him about that, he would smile and simply recite an old Swedish poem, “There was an old man and he had a wooden leg. The tobacco that he chewed was tobacco that he begged. So he went around the corner where the money is thick as rocks and he always had tobacco in his old tobacco box.”
Truth? Yes. Every word of this story is true, to the best of my knowledge. Can I prove it? No. The only man who probably could have died on Jan. 22, 1989 at age 96.

 

Artist loves nature, has wonderful discovery style

 

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Lorrie Bridges, a naturalist who loves capturing “the thrill of discovery” with her silhouette painting or surreal idea, will be the featured artist from 5 until 9 on Friday, Oct. 4 at the American Art Gallery in downtown Hot Springs.
The Gallery Walk star is the former Lorrie Martin and grew up in the river valley of Arkansas. She is also a computer programmer and serves as an officer on the local art guild’s website. Jason and Lorrie Bridges moved back to Arkansas from Texas in 2005 and built a house in Greenwood. Flower gardening became Lorrie’s passion.
With nature around here, her painting has thrived. Lorrie moved into her own style of painting when she discovered silhouette techniques. She arranges plants, stems, branches, leaves and flowers on a painted canvas and then sprays over the top of them, creating detail and depth that mesmerizes viewers.
Keeping in her life’s theme of being a naturalist, her garden has become a source of endless possibilities for silhouette paintings.
Lorrie said, “Painting became a way of capturing the calmness I feel outdoors.”
Lorrie Bridges’ silhouette paintings began to sell quickly when she displayed them in business offices, restaurants, doctor clinics, plant nurseries and local art shows.
Lorrie added, “It is thrilling when someone tells me they saw my work and immediately knew whose it was.”
ARTIST STATEMENT
“Whether I am working on a silhouette painting or a surreal idea, I’m working toward a goal of creating more than a pleasing picture. I am relying on our desires to know the truth, focus the blurred and piece together what does not make sense.
“When I create silhouette paintings, I often use real plants, limbs, leaves and flowers for that ultra-real effect, while still allowing for the thrill of discovery. I love how viewers will point out something I didn’t even notice.”

 

 

Recalling the Light…
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
I had a conversation about general news with Gurdon Mayor Clayton Franklin Wednesday morning, as is my weekly habit. Among other things, we touched upon the subject of the Gurdon Light.
There is a lawyer, Jess Askew III, of Little Rock, who is to present some papers to our council on Monday night, Aug. 26, at 6 p.m. about Gurdon getting right a way of 4 miles of railroad track path from Highway 53 to where the light is normally spotted.
If memory serves, that used to be eight trestles and a graveyard from the Southfork Truckstop Highway 53 Road to where reports of the Gurdon Light were common. We will know Monday how successful Askew thinks the town will be in getting rights to the property so it can be maintained for a tourist attraction.
One new, and really good, piece of news that the mayor shared was there have been reports of curiosity seekers going back to the old light location and the phenomenon has been seen since the railroad tracks have been lifted.
This inspires me to believe that our ghost, or swamp gas, whichever you believe, is still very much a part of the terrain. With the ease of the path back there now, and the reported filling in of the weak spots in the trestles, this editor just may get a good pair of snake-proof boots and go Gurdon Light hunting fairly soon.
Seriously folks, Forest Festival would not be the same without visiting the light during the Halloween season around Gurdon. I am very glad this Gurdon namesake is being pursued.
THE STORY OF THE GURDON LIGHT
According to Mayor Franklin, a study done by Henderson State University concluded the Gurdon Light is simply swamp gas and nothing more.
Those of us who “do believe in spooks” beg to differ. I much prefer the following explanation of what is going on. You see, on a train ride, say about 150 years ago, a couple of robbers jumped from the woods onto the caboose, where the conductor was playing solitary and drinking a glass of wine.
You see, said conductor was surprised by the intruders and rose up to grab his pistol. When he did, the robbers panicked and quickly formed a plan of violence so they could get on with their stealing. One saw a large saber hanging on the caboose wall. He grabbed it and before you could say “Jimmy Crack Corn,” that robber took the head of that old conductor. The body fell to the floor and the head rolled out the door.
All of this time, you see, the train was moving on down the line. It got about four miles from the future Highway 53 Southfork Road in Gurdon when that conductors head hit the edge of the track and bounced over to a nearby wooded area.
The robbers took all of the valuables they could find and jumped the train some miles down the track, never to be heard from again. When the engineer came back to talk with the conductor, he discovered his co-worker dead and headless!
But this is not where the story ends. You see, on clear and dark nights, when there is virtually no moon, brave souls have sought out that exact spot where the conductor’s head bounced off the track. They say they see a figure, headless man I have been told, with a lantern, going up and down the area where the track laid for so many years, and then moving a bit toward the wooded area.
Many of you have figured out the spooky tooth explanation. You guessed it, the old conductor comes out at night, with his lantern, in search of his head…
While not to discredit the natural explanation from HSU about the swamp gas/foxfire etc., more than one report has reached this editor of the light actually chasing people down the track area. It is as though it is following those that might have a clue as to where that dog gone head has gone…
The Gurdon Light was on Ripply’s Believe it or Not back in 2004, when this reporter was the editor of the Gurdon Times. The legend, going by that fact and the numerous reports over the years, does have some credibility.
If Gurdon can get the land rights, and the city maintain a bike trail back to it for easy access to the Gurdon Light area, I believe it might even put Gurdon on the map – with the right publicity. People do go to remote places to do things they really want to do. Case in point, “Rowdy’s Adventures,” a zip-line company in Okolona, Arkansas… It’s Internet advertising campaign, according to a former employee, helps it bring in thousands of dollars per weekend.
If this city plays its cards right, maybe we can sell Gurdon Light novelty T-shirts and flashlights to raise money for the police and fire departments. I could envision a successful tourism business here; small at first, but worthwhile.

 

 

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Arkadelphia Poultry Production Plant, a division of Vikon Farms, is coming to the Clark County Industrial Park and locating in the old Petit Jean Poultry Plant facility.
A ceremony was held Monday, Aug. 12, at the plant to welcome Arkadelphia Poultry and its projected 172 new jobs.
Gurdon Mayor Clayton Franklin was on site, along with Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe and several other area leaders. Clark County Judge Ron Daniel and Prescott Mayor Terry Oliver were among those who attended.
Franklin said Wednesday Petit Jean Poultry, which has been closed since April of 2011, had more than 500 employees in its glory days. Old Petit Jean workers will be the first to be considered for hire.
“It was a very dignified opening ceremony and the owners of the Vikon Farms operation were present,” Franklin said. “But  we still don’t know exactly when the plant will begin hiring or when it will open.
“We do know that if someone wants a job out there, and they are among those with Petit Jean experience, they had better speak up quickly because we are talking about 172 new positions and many more than that were let go when the plant closed.”
Shawnie Carrier, president of the Arkadelphia Regional Economic Development Alliance, introduced Quan Phu, chief executive officer with Vikon, at the Aug. 12 welcoming ceremony.  The company will be investing $5.4 million into the Clark County facility. Phu said Vikon will add the necessary equipment, contract  growers and the hatchery, and solidify when it can open. The plan is to begin operations in six months.
Franklin said those interested in employment should check with the Clark County Employment Security Division in Arkadelphia.
“I am not sure they will be hiring through the unemployment office, but that would be a good place to start,” he added.
The mayor said the new industry will be good for Gurdon “as a lot of our people have experience from working at the old plant and Gurdon is a blue collar town.”
As to wages, Franklin said he believed starting pay would be somewhere close to $10 an hour, but again nothing exact was announced at the Monday afternoon welcoming ceremony.
The new plant will be processing chicken, but not the same type Petit Jean Poultry did. Franklin said Arkadelphia Poultry will deal with smaller “range” birds, say 2 pounds instead of the 4-pounders processed through Petit Jean. The new poultry are more like a game bird. The mayor said a retail market has already been established through Vikon’s other holdings. That market is in Asia, as well as in California and other western states.
Franklin said growers in Eldorado would be utilized, as they also lost a processing plant “that left employees high and dry” and workers there have the necessary experience to grow birds for Vikon.
“This bird is grown to be less fat, whereas Petit Jean grew them to get big quick,” Franklin said. “There will also be four or five employees over at Prescott, where there is a building for egg hatching.”

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
The Gurdon Community Pantry now feeds more than 200 families out of the Faith Mission every fourth Tuesday of the month and has plans to continue the fight on local hunger.
A brain child of Mission coordinator Tommy Potter and Evergreen Church’s Velvet Gonzales, a need was recognized and contacts were made with the Arkansas Food Bank, Caddo Valley branch, so that Thanksgiving could be enjoyed by 175 Gurdon families in 2012 who otherwise may not have eaten at all – much less enjoyed a holiday meal.
“Through the help of volunteers from the church and community, and the continued cooperation of the food bank at Caddo Valley, we were able to feed 175 families Christmas dinner as well,” Potter said.
But the Community Pantry really stepped up to the hunger plate in 2013, with 60 tons of food being dispersed since January 1 and no anticipated slow down in service. This figure does not count what has been collected this month.
In addition to the 200 to 250 families per month that come get groceries from 4 to 6 p.m. on the fourth Tuesday, Potter said Tuesday, Aug. 13, “We deliver to between 75 and 80 Gurdon shut-ins. The little box of food we bring just does not seem very much when we put it in a refrigerator and on shelves where nothing else exists.
“Our only requirement is a light bill or some sort of proof that a person lives in Gurdon. We realize there are those who just take this food because it is here. But the Christian based philosophy of Evergreen Church, as well as Faith Mission, is we have to go through the greedy to serve the needy.”
BACK PACKS
Potter and Gonzales are heading efforts currently to stuff back packs with food items for hungry children who are returning to the Gurdon schools.
At last report, Gurdon public schools has 76 percent of its student population who are eligible for free or reduced lunches.
For several years, there has been a district sponsored breakfast program to encourage students to get something to eat so their minds will be more receptive to learning. The Community Pantry has taken this one step further by stuffing back packs with food items.
Potter said the idea for the Community Pantry sprang from a Wednesday night community youth Bible Study he was involved with at Evergreen.
Pastor Kevin Sims had Tommy volunteering to drive a church bus as part of the transportation for 80 children to attend the mid-week youth meeting last school year. Sycamore Church Pastor James McCain and his congregation also helped with transportation.
Potter served as a driver and a teacher. It was noticed that several of these kids seemed  undernourished… A concern by Tommy and the church resulted in an effort to feed those children and their families over Thanksgiving.
The Wednesday night Bible Study effort will continue again this school year and so will the expanded Community Pantry effort that spurred from seeing this community need.
“Velvet Gonzales got us a grant for a freezer that we put at the mission and we had to really revamp things over there physically to meet all of the requirements to get our food from Arkansas Food Bank but it was worth it,” Potter said. “We have other gift sources of food and money but the food bank is our main source.”
The Community Pantry has probably six freezers full of donated food. There are huge ham loaves, frozen vegetables and other frozen meats. There are also at least six huge shelves of canned goods, as well as potatoes.
“Once the need was recognized an people started working together,” he said, “things started really taking off. I can not believe we have distributed at least 60 tons already this year. I give God all of the glory and the credit.
“This is more food distribution than I ever considered possible back when I just had a small mission food bank for a few people to use.”
Potter said the Community Food Bank kicked off in September of 2012, after much remodeling was done to Faith Mission – especially in regard to shelving.
“Velvet and I had to attend state food bank classes about properly shelving food items,” Potter said.
The hunger need in Gurdon is “so much bigger than most people realize.” Potter said he also gave away between 8 and 10 tons of donated pretzels. That truck load donation was not unusual, as donations sources for the Community Pantry are too many to mention.
Potter said Gonzales has been trained on computers and keeping records. Velvet keeps the records while Tommy physically goes and gets the food from the Caddo Valley Branch of the Arkansas Food Bank. Tommy’s wife Stephanie Potter keeps the books for the mission itself. She also helps with Celebrate Recovery’s women’s group.
Celebrate Recovery, a program for helping people get over grief, kick additions and much more, has been a main part of the Faith Mission for more than a decade.
Tommy said, “As for Stephanie’s being involved with the food bank, she works selling advertising to pay for the utilities at the mission, and has furnished me with a truck and gas to go get the food. Quite honestly, I would not be able to help anybody if I did not have a hard working wife who encourages me and prays with me for God to bless us to where we can increase our efforts to whatever level He sees fit. Stephanie is the backbone of this mission and if it were not for her financing so much of it, the Community Pantry would have nowhere to put all of this food.”
Tommy is aided in the physical transport of the food by Pato, Velvet’s husband. Potter carries it back to Gurdon by the trailer load, pulled by his heavy duty pick up.
“Other churches are helping us with money donations and food as well,” Potter said. “We go and get our main loads on the second and forth Tuesdays, but distribution is on that fourth Tuesday from 2 until 4 p.m.”
Potter said the volunteers get to his mission on the fourth Tuesdays and begin to set up tables. In reality, 4 p.m. is a myth as to a quit time. Potter said food is usually handed out by the 20 some volunteers until its gone.
He and Pato go get the food from Caddo Valley about 10:30 a.m. that morning.
“We encourage everyone to come and help,” Potter said. “Our shut-ins many times need a visitor nearly as bad as they need the food. Sometimes they just need something simple done – like changing a light bulb.”
Distribution day includes packaging up the 75 boxes of groceries that are then delivered to area shut-ins.
Grocery boxes include portions of meat, vegetables and potatoes.
“We recently passed out 220 watermelons and 450 pounds of bell peppers,” he said.
“Our plans for the future are to keep on giving as long as hunger is an issue in this community,” Potter said.
Potter is also the current president of the Clark County Boys and Girls Club.
This gives him yet another means for discovering a hunger need.
“My heart is really in that Boys and Girls Club effort,” he said. “I would like to see a chapter in Gurdon and Amity both.”
Celebrate expanded from Faith Mission. It meets at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday nights in Gurdon and at the same time on Monday nights in St. Andrew’s Methodist Church at Arkadelphia.
Former Prosecuting Attorney Bob Sanders, who is a Methodist minister, hosts Celebrate on Monday.
“I can not stress enough how grateful I am for my wife’s support in all of these helping endeavors,” he said. “She is a team player and that is what it takes.”

Seeking cigars
for Beal Street
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
I got lost in Memphis without a cell phone on my nine-day vacation the last part of July. I was lost about three hours.
It might be best, if reading this, to prepare for a good belly laugh. It really is a funny circumstance. I was not, however, laughing at the time. We arrived at our first motel for the 2013 vacaction lift off at about 4 p.m. at a Day’s Inn in downtown Memphis that my wife had pre-booked.
The idea was to see the sights on Beal Street that night and listen to some good blues. We got settled in and I told her on this Friday night, July 19, that I was going out for just a minute to buy cigars. I was sure there would be a Tobacco Superstore just around the corner. WRONG!!!
That store would be on Summer Street, about a million miles from where I was. I never did make it there, finally settling for a pack of Marlboros three hours later after going up and down Poplar and where ever else. I think I hit Central and wound up on Southern Avenue over by the old Memphis State University Campus. Gez.
At any rate, I neglected to take my cell phone. When I finally got back to the room, Michelle was still there. She said she thought I ran off and so she might as well at least relax for the night while making up her mind what to do next. I informed her that somebody had swaped up the streets in Memphis since I had been here nearly 20 years ago and set all sorts of traps for me up and down the blocks – intentionally getting my old butt lost as a goose!
She tried to keep a straight face, bless her heart. Then we both realized how rediculous the situation was and laughed heartily.
Then it was off to Beal Street for an enjoyable evening listening to the blues. They even played one of our favorite old Eric Clapton songs, “My Darling, You Look Wonderful Tonight.” That got us dancing a bit. It was a good evening.
‘The Ride’
By JOHN NELSON
Columnist
I now have a Florida sunburn that once again, after not looking this way since I was 20 years old, makes me wonder if my body might be mistaken for a color television set that was not tuned in very well.
My wife Michelle and I left Gurdon, Arkansas on Friday, July 19 and returned on Sunday, July 28. The vacation we took was the first one she and I had taken in 15 years of marriage. Sure,we have visited with family. We even went to my home state of Indiana to attend the 35th Class Reunion of the 1977 Class at Hagerstown High School last summer. But we had never take a vacation just because we could and on a route we picked just for fun.
The route started with a night in Memphis. We went to Beal Street and caught a blues concert. The guy was great. The performer was an older black gentleman with more talent in his little finger than most music folk have in their entire bodies. He and his group even played, “You Look Wonderful Tonight,” an old Eric Clapton blues slow dance tune that my wife has known for years makes me think of her. Yep, we did dance to it and that was one spectacular memory.
Being older than dirt, I insisted on cutting the party short pretty early. But we got on the road the next day for the Grand Ole Opry. We saw Darryl Worley and listened to his patriotic songs about 911 that are now updated with the fact that Ben Laudin has been killed.
They had numerous other artists from the distant past, such as Connie Smith, a country singer my daddy used to like. The entire Saturday night at the Opry was fun! We again turned in fairly early and hit Interstate 65, heading for Montgomery, Alabama.
I wanted to see the grave monument of country singer Hank Williams. His son, Hank Williams Jr., and no doubt other family and friends, have created a great place to sit and think about one of the cornerstones of country music. It was a shame Hank died so young. I do not know the details, but my daddy the doctor taught me early in life that sleeping pills and booze do not mix. They stop the heart, cheating or otherwise…
After spending a peaceful night in Montgomery, Michelle and I continued our ride from Highway 82 to Interstate 75. We were on our way to Sara Sota, Florida. On route, we stopped at Ocala for the night. It was our first stop in Florida. I remarked to Michelle how much I have always loved Florida trees.
We ate at a place called the Gator. The food was fantastic! Then we spent the next day getting to a town between there and Sara Sota named Arcadia. I lived there in 1979 and 1980. The old bus station, where my boss sent me around distributing Amway and such, seems to now house a newspaper called the Arcadian. Ironic, in my mind, since I have been a newspaper man since returning to Indiana in late 1980 to finish college before launching into a lifelong career as a journalist.
We ate at the Clock in Arcadia and caught up a little on 33 years of gossip. Many things change in more than three decades. But what I loved about Arcadia remains; a great rodeo town with friendly people. They are still holding that rodeo and I have photos to prove it.
Then we finally went to Sara Sota and watched the sunset at Turtle Beach… We then headed to Bradenton, Florida to get a motel and some rest. The next day, Wednesday, I got this wonderful sunburn badge. If only a body cast sunburn made a 54-year-old writer lose weight. But alas, an old fashioned chicken soup, celery and peanut butter diet until football season will probably have to do that. My wife has had much success in losing weight. Me, I am much too stubborn to lose weight traditionally. But lose it I will, as soon as this sunburn heals…
So after walking the beach, playing with my wife and a float toy in the waves near the beach and collecting sea shells by the Gulf waters, we went back to the motel. The next day was the hardest, We drove about 14 hours to New Orleans. On Thursday night and Friday night, we lived in a bed and breakfast, just down from Bourbon Street. Now there is one wild place. We listened to much music, bought weird looking hats and such for our grand children and also walked around the French Quarter wearing out two pairs of shoes.
My wife tells me all of the walking was to gaze at the old architecture. I grew up in an old Indiana farm house. Some of the old stuff in our hotel reminded me of that structure; such as the hard wood floors and fancy throw rug. The place even had pink sinks and a pink toilet, just like back home. Apparently that was a popular thing from my Grandpa’s world of the 1930′s.
And then, as all good things, do, the vacation had to end. We left New Orleans on Saturday morning, heading to a family gathering in Paragould, Arkansas and also to help my best friend get some phone service. Reality has set in. We promised each other we would pay off the card that had allowed this vacation by next July so we can take a similar trip again.
As to Gurdon, there is a City Council meeting tonight. It was great to get home last night and my house is still standing after my son Jacob looking after things for nine days. So all is well with this small town writer. I know, as you might surmize, have many new stories to tell. And I feel very blessed.
And the sunburn is pretty well painless. Finally. Sure, I should have used Sun Screen. But hey, I need my pain. It earns me a few things and certainly keeps me awake.

 

Tailgate News, June 28, 2013 issue

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Many people over the years have refused to believe that anything more unusual that rocks, dirt and sky could actually exist.
Tal Branco, of the Bryant area, is not one of those people Tal has investigated the existence and particulars about a creature known to Native Americans as Sasquatch, that is Bigfoot, for nearly 50 years.
Tal said he has seen a Bigfoot up close three times. He leaves food out for them near his cabin in the Quachita National Forest and they come up close to eat.
He has also investigated 15 incidents of Bigfoot in Alabama, as well as several other states.
A law enforcement investigator and expert witness in his younger days, the 78-year-old is no doubt used to investigating secretive and odd habits of people and other animals.
Tal went to an undisclosed area, near Okolona in Southern Clark County this past week to investigate two alleged Bigfoot “woods apes” who were said to attack cattle.
“I was able to get hair samples from the fence and I believe one of the Bigfoot creatures is a young teenager, while the other in his early 20’s,” he said.
“When a Bigfoot attacks a calf, it is interested in the heart and liver, not much else. They eat fruit, nuts, a variety of things and they stay to themselves. I believe our two guests in Clark County are probably small, say 5 to 7 feet tall. Full grown red-haired Bigfoot grow as high as 9 feet.”
Tal interviewed one anonymous guy who claims to have seen the two Okolona area Bigfoot by the road as he was driving through the area.
Determined to validate the claims, Tal took off with a small band of followers, including this editor, on Tuesday night. He played recordings of other Bigfoot screaming their “kill calls” and jungle -like greetings.
Tal said the erie kill call sounds were from a siting in Minnesota. Bigfoot are said to live deep in the woods and swamps of North America, known to the Native Americans as “the other brothers.”
They are non-aggressive to humans and simply seek to be left alone. The kill call, Tal said, is screamed by the hunters of the pack of Bigfoots so the females and children know that there will be something to eat.
Although the shadows were playing their tricks in the moonlight, the recorded callings did not seem to bring the beast-like creatures bounding from the woods.
Tal did not give up. He said sometimes it just takes time to find some evidence. He said if you look into a suspected wooded area with infrared binoculars, sometimes you will see orange type eyes staring back.
Tal said at Gurdon Rotary last week that Bigfoot can not be hunted effectively because “they will hunt you.”
“But they will reveal themselves and I’ve even seen them bluff charge skeptical humans just to laugh at them while they run to their trucks.
“It gives the Bigfoot a laugh for the night.”
After the hunt, Tal said he was going to spend a couple of hours investigating another siting, south of Malvern. Or at least that is where this reporter understood him to say. Tal said his persistence, and the fact that he has seen these creatures with his own eyes, have facilitated a lot of success in finding evidence of Bigfoot.
“I wanted to show all of you a Bigfoot running from the woods out here tonight and make believers out of all of you, but no such luck.”
Tal did stare at one section of woods with intensity. He vowed to continue gathering evidence.

 

 

June 5, 2013

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
A Little Rock lawyer is researching the laws of bankruptcy in regard to railroad property so the City of Gurdon can apply for the right-of-way to a 4-mile track path, which includes the site of the Gurdon Light.
If Council members approve the application, and so does the court system, Gurdon could end up having authority over said path under the agreement that the city maintain it. The next step would be to apply for grant money to improve the accessibility of the tourist attraction.
The Gurdon Light has been an unexplained phenomenon on the tracks in that area for years, appearing as a glowing entity moving up and down the railroad area, giving many a Halloween enthusiast a thrill.
The Gurdon Light, according to Mayor Clayton Franklin, has long been an attraction to the South Clark County area but has been disrupted recently when 50 miles of railroad track was abandoned in a bankruptcy case. Much of the actual iron track has been pulled up.
The 50 miles in question runs from  Highway 53 where Midland Railroad track maintenance ends, all the way to Glenwood. A mill was closed that used those tracks and the loss in revenue caused the bankruptcy.
Franklin said Wednesday Little Rock Attorney Jess Askew II is very interested in bike trails and has agreed to donate some legal time to Gurdon in order to secure the sought after 4-mile stretch. It starts where Midland maintenance ends and extends past an old graveyard where the  ghost of a young lady has also allegedly been seen by Halloweeners gone by.
According to the mayor, the track looks like a bike trail for the entire 50 miles because of the missing iron tracks. Franklin said he is not sure if removing the track has damaged any of the trestles, but did not see that as a problem getting to the Light – just a slight diversion of the path.
“I am sure there is grant money out there for us to get an easy access, well maintained, bike or waking trail to the Light,” Franklin said.
“But the first step is to wait on our lawyer to get with the court about what sort of paperwork needs to be filed by the city to claim the right-of-way on the appropriate 4 miles of property. If we fail to get the right-of-way, it will go back to the original property owners.  This could make it much more difficult for us to get it in the future.
“Askew is optimistic about Gurdon getting the right-a-way without involving the original property owners.”
Another concern about the Gurdon Light is whether or not it can be seen without the presence of the iron railroad tracks. Legend says an engineer who was beheaded by robbers about 100 years ago is searching the area with his lantern for his lost head…
Science suggests that the “foxfire” might need the iron from railroad track to properly display the Light.
In addition to tourism, Franklin said the 4-mile stretch of right-away could be a good industrial railroad spur sight sometime in the future.
“I don’t believe that will happen in my lifetime, but some future company needing to move something by rail might be very glad Gurdon has these rights,” he said.

May 6, 2013

 

Believe It or Not?

Rabbit hunting brought curiosity
from rivited holes in old roadsters
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
I am John H. Nelson the second. I used to sign my name that way before Grandpa passed away because I loved him so much and was so very proud to carry his name.
When I was 8 years old or so I started asking questions about something unusual that I saw going on at my mentor and adopted father’s farm. It would seem, in an area of our farm called “Johnson Balls,” there were several cars of the 1934 vintage. All had multiple holes in the metal.
I used to hunt rabbits back there in the winter time, as part of my early on experiences growing up on my grandparents’ Indiana farm. I did not shoot very many rabbits, mostly went back to the woods to think.
I suppose us writer type guys do a lot of that, thinking up stories and all. So one day, after coming back from Johnson Balls, I asked my Grandpa about the cars. He was silent for quite a long way as we walked through the snow covered fields.
Finally, he began to speak. Those cars, he said, were relics of a by-gone time in his life. They were from a past that would be better off left in the past.
It was my turn to walk in silence. After about 200 yards I started talking to him.
“Grandpa, how could those cars have gotten so many holes in them?”
He looked at me and smiled. Those holes came from an old fashioned machine gun, he began. In particular, they came from Tommy Guns.
I asked him why shot-up cars ended up in the back of our Warfle’s Woods? He smiled again and said they were the result of 18 jobs done and vehicle wise what was left after the tasks.
Now my face was really starting to crinkle up with curiosity.
We walked a while again and Grandpa began to ask me questions.
“Have you ever heard of John Dillinger?” he asked..
“I know he was a bank robber that my teachers say thought like Robin hood,” I told him.
Grandpa smiled and let go a laugh. So that is what they are saying about Mr. Dillinger. He rubbed his chin and thought about that.
“I knew John Dillinger, the bank robber,” he began. “I heard tell he would rob $100,000 from each of the banks he hit because that is how much FDIC insurance the banks carried.
“You see Dillinger believed our government’s mismanagement of tax dollars caused the Great Depression. And he did like to give money away after the robberies.
“There were times he would look up single mothers hanging their laundry in their back yards just to give them a few $20 bills to tide them over until things got better…”
So Grandpa agreed with me that Dillinger was a bit like Robin hood. He robbed from the rich old government coffers, via banks, and then gave the money away to hard working folks he ran into along life’s path.
We sat in silence once again, just next to one of those roadsters with the riveted Tommy Gun holes in it. The snow fell. I was not sure what to ask next.
Grandpa seemed to be thinking back on that time, hearing those rat-a-tat-tat Tommy Guns going off once again. Yet it was just a dream. You see, this part of my life took place in about 1966, about 32 years after the Dillinger Gang took down its last bank.
Then all of sudden he looked straight at me and said, “Remember son, my name is Nelson and my best friend and fishing buddy is Lawrence Hoover.”
I looked at the old man and smiled, not knowing what the beegeebees he was talking about at the time.
But times changed. I got older and more curious. Grandpa told me more and more and I began to fit together a puzzle that to this day gets more sensible and believable every time I write it.
But on that winter’s day in 1966, I went over and stood by one of those riveted cars. I know they were supposed to be from 1934 but when I was young they always registered in my mind as from the early 1950’s. I guess my brain just could not fathom that they had been parked their after 18 bank heists in 1933, 34 and 35. It had to have been about the spring of 1935 when the biological John “Lawrence” Dillinger was fingered by the Lady in Red, iced by Melvin Pervis and his gang of J. Edgar Hoover FBI agents, for those guys only to discover that the fellow who robbed the banks was still at large.
But I get ahead of myself. The next hint growing up that my grandfather, John Hans Nelson, 1892-1989, was the body double for John Dillinger and actually led a gang to rob 18 banks in the 1930’s came when I did a paper on the John Dillinger Gang in the eighth grade – so 5 years after the Tommy Gun car partial explanation, some more entrapping information came from the old man.
I think, as he got older, he got to caring less and less who knew the truth about the whole thing.
Next week, In Dillinger Days, Part II, I will tell you about Grandpa throwing a fit over a deputy getting shot in one of those robberies. Until then, so long.

Dillinger Tales
‘The Firing of Baby Face’
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Hello again folks. This is the follow-up article on the anger of my grandfather, an alleged John Dillinger look alike, when he fired Baby Face Nelson for being trigger happy.
The year was somewhere around 1974. I had to have been about 15, which made my grandfather about 81. It was when I was learning to drive and first understanding the complications of having a steady girlfriend. Actually, Joni was great. I was a very lucky kid to have someone so pretty, smart and understanding. Unfortunately, I did not realize how lucky and she slipped through my fingers a few years later.
Back then, I was still in 4-H showing rabbits at the county fair. The conversation about Baby Face Nelson took place in the fall of that year, just after fair time in Wayne County, Indiana.
Apparently my old man was thinking of his Dillinger days out at the fair grounds. I have recently found out there is a book called Dillinger Days. Small world. For those of you who have not heard my “insane” assertion, I believe John Hans Nelson, 1892-1989, was one body double for John Dillinger back in 1933-35 and was the bank robber that knocked down at least part of the two dozen bank heists that occurred during that time period.
Their size was right. Their basic facial structure was right and the public in a panic could have been convinced old John Hans was the real McCoy. Also, Grandpa had blue eyes, just like it is my understanding did the “Dillinger” they caught and put in Joliet Prison. Interestingly enough, Dillinger also had blue eyes at Crown Point Jail. He escaped both times. Grandpa had not record, but then he wouldn’t would he, if he was being incarcerated as John Dillinger!
Further notice should be given to those reading and speculating that the biological John Herbert Dillinger that was shot to death in front of the Biograph Theater in July of 1934 had brown eyes. The FBI got their man. And they got the real John Dillinger. But go with me on a limb here. If John Dillinger was using Jimmy Lawrence, a real person that looked like him noted in the historical account on this Internet, so that he, Dillinger, could lay low and enjoy a few weeks with his woman, what is to say he did not also figure a guy looking like him could pull off some bank jobs while he was resting. Or maybe pull them off at the same time. Grandpa always said it was 18 bank robberies that told the tale of Dillinger. History is saying two dozen robberies. Perhaps my grandfather, in my way of thinking, might have been responsible for 18 – enough to get the cash for buying and maintaining 169 acres of farm land in the middle of a Great Depression, and enough to send his high IQ son to medical school and foot the bill.
But I digress. Let’s go to the county fair in Wayne County, Indiana in 1974 where John Hans and his grandson (me) are participating in a rabbit contest. Things are going great. As usual, Johnny (me) has won the grand champion for the rabbit fair. The ribbon had just been spotted on the cage of our best shaped New Zealand White doe. She had just the right amount of bulk and the perfect rabbit shape.
Grandpa had grown out his mustache a little, which wa still different from his normally clean-shaven face.
I said, “You look diffenent with that hair under your nose.”
He smiled until his gold tooth sparkled in the sun and did not say a word.
I stood there in the rabbit section at the fair pondering the situation. I was tired of wondering. I had been doing a research paper in school about the John Dillinger gang and thinking about the hundreds of conversations concerning Dillinger I had been prevy too with my Grandpa over the years.
I did not come up with the body double theory until just a few years ago. Back then, I believed Grandpa was Dillinger and some stool pigeon had been killed at the theater after being fingered by the Lady in Red. I have since determined the facts do not support the original theory.
I read a lot of history today and had to rethink some of my other theories while trying to concentrate on what my grandfather had really said – without my adlibs… It would seem the real John Dillinger did commit at least part of the two dozen successful bank robberies in 1934. He did have a girl he loved, his girlfriend Evelyn “Billie” Frechette. “Jack Rabbit,” as one reference called the biological John Dillinger, did have a fellow that looked like him called Jimmy Lawrence. He did attempt to go by that name some to lay low and just enjoy domestic life. But accounts are sketchy on the real Jimmy Lawrence. I once had a fellow claimimg to be Jimmy Lawrence’s grandson to reveal a book he wrote about his grandfather being a body double for Dillinger. At least, if memory serves, that was the jest of it.
At any rate, I could go on and on with history and theories, but let’s get to the facts of this week’s Dillinger tales. The fact is after Grandpa and I left the fairgrounds, he invited me to go fishing in his old “Mayflower” boat out on Scout Lake. I naturally accepted.
Once on the boat, the silence between us lingered as we fished our favorite holes. He rowed and fished. I fished. Then he spoke up, “My best friend’s name, as you recall, was Lawrence Hoover. That is Jimmy Lawrence and J.Edgar Hoover did me a huge favor many years ago.”
I asked again if he were Dillinger? He laughed. I am beginning to believe he was a substitute for the man. I do not believe he was the original. As he said, “Always remember my name is John Hans Nelson and I am proud of that name.”
The 1930′s were wild times to say the least. A lot of things could have happened. My grandfather had an extremely high IQ and he wanted his farming operation to work in the worst way. He always called money “just a tool.” But he had a lot of money that nobody could ever explain.
To conclude this week’s diaglogue, and reveal to you what he said about Baby Face Nelson, we have to come in off the fishing lake and go back up to our farm house. He started reading the Palladium Item, that is the Richmond newspaper. I decided to get his goat a little.
“Grandpa, I am doing this report in school on the John Dillinger Gang and I thought you told me nobody was ever killed during a bank robbery?”
“I did tell you there was no gun play to go on during the robberies,” he said.
“Well what about Baby Faced Nelson shooting a sheriff’s deputy? Did that really happen?”
My grandfather got out of his rocking chair and tossed the newspaper to the floor. He started talking very loudly and flailing his arms with excitement.
He said, “I want you to remember that Baby Faced Nelson was not related to our family. He was an idiot who could not follow orders. He was trigger happy and did not have much regard for human life. When he shot that sheriff’s deputy during that bank robbery, I fired the X#B the next day!”
I had what I wanted and I called the old man’s hand.
“Grandpa, you just said you fired Baby Faced Nelson. You said you fired him.”
The old man shut up tighter than a drum and sat down. He was done talking for then. So long folks and check us out again next week when I will talk about the desparate year, the unexplained good fortune, the pile of $20 bills that were always around and an alleged meeting up with somebody that could have been him during a long night at a bar in Chicago.
Could have been Dillinger, but was not. Again, the guy who escaped prison and jail, that they had caught robbing at least some of the banks had blue eyes, blue as the ocean. So did Grandpa. John Dillinger, according to record and according to what was seen at his death, had brown eyes. This was July of 1934, before eye color cold be altered. So long folks and have a good week.
Looking at the historical nickname of “Jack Rabbit,” perhaps Mr. Dillinger could be two places at once because in reality there were two bank robbers and one of them never got caught…
My grandfather’s ‘Dillinger’ history
By JOHN NELSON
Editor/Publisher
In every family, there are rumors and folklore tales. Mine is no different.
I was born in Indianapolis, Indiana back in 1958, the son of two doctors. Both of them picked their careers over raising a child. Thus, my Dad’s folks stepped in…
I was raised by John Hans and Marvel Nelson, born in 1892 and 1896 respectively. They raised me on a farm near Hagerstown, Indiana, a town of about 2,500.
Being raised an only child, I was with my folks a lot. Like most older people, they loved to tell me their old stories, over and over again.
One of Grandpa’s favorite subjects was the John Dillinger Gang, a group that had about 18 months of successful bank robberies back in 1934. Most of the robberies were done in Indiana or Illinois, with the group going on the lamb in Florida.
Since this is 2009, despite the fact that I am very familiar with the stories about John Dillinger, both folk tales and historical accounts, I will assume you, the reader, have never heard of “Johnny Death.” I think it is an odd nickname since, to the best of my research on the streets and in books, the group never killed anyone. They did, however, shoot a sheriff’s deputy during one robbery. Dillinger was reportedly very unhappy with Baby Face Nelson about that “and had to fire that idiot!”
I must start this account with an admission toward the dramatic. I once asked Grandpa Nelson if he were John Dillinger? He smiled. But he never said yes or no. There is a part of me that hopes he was, and another part of me that would be just as happy if he really were not. The truth, since Grandpa died in 1989 at the age of 96, probably went to the grave with John Hans Nelson.
DILLINGER DAYS
The year was 1934. My grandfather would have been 42. The historical accounts of John Dillinger would have put him around the same age.
I once did a history report, while in the eighth grade, concerning the John Dillinger Gang. I asked Grandpa, since he admitted at least knowing them, how the gang got started.
“Well Johnny, the stock market crash of 1929 hurt a lot of hard working people,” he had said. “Dillinger did not like seeing all of that suffering. So he started robbing banks of $100,000 each and giving most of the money to the poor to keep them from starving or sleeping out in the cold.”
The $100,000 was the amount insured back then by the FDIC. Now that amount has been raised to $250,000 that the government must replace if its stolen or lost. Grandpa made sure I know that his best friend in life was named Lawrence Hoover. I met that guy. He fished with me and my grandfather a lot at the Hagerstown Scout Lake.
John Dillinger was pursued by J. Edgar Hoover of the FBI and paid a fellow named Jimmy Lawrence $100,000 to have a nose operation so the guy would look like Dillinger and get shot after being fingered by the “Woman in Red.” I believe Jimmy Lawrence was the street name for the biological John Dillinger killed in front of the Biograph Theater on that historic night.
History says they got their man. Melvin Purvis, a leading investigator of the Dillinger bank robberies, killed himself shortly after the shooting of “John Dillinger” when it was revealed all over the streets that it was brown-eyed Jimmy Lawrence that was killed instead. Dillinger, that is the blue-eyed version, came out of the wood work long enough afterwards to warn the government that if they ever tried to say it was not John Dillinger the bank robber who was killed, John Hans Nelson would go on yet another rampage of bank robberies, using the Dillinger name – that is the name of then Public Enemy Number One.
Grandpa wanted to farm and he wanted amnesty. My grandfather said John Dillinger, the bank robber, got exactly what he wanted and lived to be an old man. Grandpa, who admitted no criminal activity on his part other than bootlegging moonshine for his brother-in-law, Searn Rossendoll, had no fingerprints.
NO FINGERPRINTS
I asked him what happened. He said he and some friends put their hands on hot Model A motors so that all of their hands would be smooth. Then he smiled at me.
I re-asked Grandpa about the beginnings of the Dillinger Gang. He always gave me a few more details at every interview. He told me the Dillinger name came from the Derringer pistol. Grandpa was of Swedish and Danish descent and could not speak very clear English. Dillinger was simply Derringer mispronounced. But history reports there was a John Dillinger with brown eyes. My grandfather always told me to remember his real name was John Hans Nelson.
I believe Grandpa robbed the banks and the real Dillinger farmed in his place during the two years of heists. I believe the Dillinger name was soiled after the baseball playing real Dillinger went to jail for eight years over robbing a grocery store. I believe that store was the only thing the biological John Dillinger ever robbed. The real Johnny Death traded his life for two years of freedom on the farm with his love, Birdie, and to spend time with his little boy. Young Jimmy Lawrence, the original’s grandson, eventually wrote a book on the subject, which I read and enjoyed.
As to something else, Grandpa said the Dillinger Gang took their farmer’s white handkerchiefs, cut the middle of their hands with pocket knives and mixed the blood together. The blood turned off purple, thus the Dillinger Gang was the spearhead of a much larger and more renowned gang called “The Purple Gang,” originating, according to history, from Indianapolis and Chicago.
I asked Grandpa why the Dillinger Gang decided to use force against a sheriff’s deputy in just one robbery? He was reading the Richmond Palladium Item daily newspaper at the time. Becoming very angry, my grandfather dropped the paper and said, “I told him not to do that. That Baby Faced Nelson was reckless and strung too high. I had to fire him.”
You, I asked? Grandpa came back to himself and said no more. But he never denied that he met “I,” leading me to believe he really was the John Dillinger who escaped Joliet State Penitentiary in Illinois and was recorded to have blue eyes – that is he was the man who looked a lot like the biological John Dillinger but had the guts, or just desperate desire, to rob those banks. My later research indicates that when my grandfather’s hogs died on the farm from the cholera, John Hans went to winning money playing pool in Indianapolis and Chicago. One night he walked into the bar and met himself… The two men could have been twins. A deal was struck right then and there.
Let’s put it to you this way folks, the old guy sure knew a lot about those bank robberies not to have been involved. I knew this man, how he thought, his method of operation and values. He also had a safe full of $20 bills during the great depression and would never explain where that loot came from. The secret was in his deep blue eyes. He convinced me he lead a group of men to rob those 18 banks and then retired to a life as an Indiana farmer, and frankly, I believe I was not only his grandson but also his best friend. Grandpa also had a lot of 1934 roadsters on the back of his farm, riddled with what appeared to be bullet holes.
He said, “Those Tommy-Guns went wild back then. I let my friends use the old Johnson Balls acreage at the back of my farm to stash the get-away cars.”
There were too many coincidences. There is a lot more evidence than time or space permits here. My Dad the doctor once asked my grandfather to be sure and not do anything illegal, as Dad’s pension would be in danger and besides the old man might go to jail!
Grandpa said, “I am 88 years old. What are they going to do? Do you think I will get a life sentence for growing the wrong kind of plants to suit the cops?”
Grandpa was the type of a person who worked hard as a farmer, but kept quiet about how much money he did or did not really have.
It took six months to find all of the banks he had deposits in throughout this nation after his death in 1989. When John Hans Nelson left the Quaker Nursing Home for a weekend visit in 1988, I was driving him around Richmond before we went home to Hagerstown’s farm, some 18 miles out in the country.
He said, “Pull over to this bank.’ I gave him a confused look and asked why, as that was not the bank he used. He replied, “Just do it.”
He pulled out a bank book I had never seen before and handed to the girl. He called him John and asked how he was? She was smiling from ear to ear. He smiled back and said fine. Then he asked her for $6,000 cash. She handed it over without so much as asking for identification!
So was Grandpa John Dillinger’s body double and the master mind behind 18 successful bank robberies? In my opinion, yes. You may draw other conclusions. But it is up to you, do you Believe It Or Not?

 

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  3. John Hancock Nelson says:

    Believe It or Not?
    The Testimony Before Fishing…
    By JOHN NELSON
    Tailgate News Editor
    The time was approximately April of 2003. I had just received the Holy Ghost at a church meeting in Lono, Arkansas and was feeling pretty good about God’s love.
    The devil would soon hit me hard with a college payment lawsuit. It was something I struggled to do and am proud I did manage to get Erin, my oldest daughter, her $22,500 toward her higher education.
    I had friend after friend advise me to fight it or just go to jail for non-payment. I did not do either. I paid it.
    You see us journalists in this part of the country are lucky to make $18,000 a year. So for about four years, I lived way below the poverty level. They mandated 65 percent of my income toward the college payment. Erin is now a computer programmer, and as far as I know, happily married to an auto diesel mechanic up in Indiana. Go Erin! I am so proud of you.
    But this story is not really about Erin and struggling to help pay for her college. It is about a trip I took to Paragould just before finding out about the college abatement lawsuit and my darkest hour, money wise, on earth – at least so far.
    FISHING EARLY
    I was excited that morning, in anticipation of going fishing with my best friend, Michael Reddick. My wife and I went to the Paragoud area and stayed in a room at her sister Becky’s house. Becky lived out in the country by Lafe.
    I woke up at 3 a.m., which is unusual for me. Normally my biological alarm clock goes off about 4:30 a.m. But something woke me early. I got a shower, kissed my wife Michelle goodbye for the day and went to get gasoline. I had no idea, really, what the hurry was that morning. But God knew.
    I remember entering a convenience store just across from the Paragould Dailey Press to pay for a tank of gas in our old Lincoln.
    Nobody was in there but the girl checking me out. She was a young woman, maybe 25 at the most, but she seemed quite upset. I asked her what was wrong?
    FEELING UNWORTHY
    She just looked down. I asked her what her name was. I believe it was Mary.
    Well Mary told me her name and then told me her problem.
    “I am living with a guy who does not know whether to believe in Jesus Christ or not,” she said.
    “I want to marry him and I want us both to be in church to raise our children.
    “But here lately, I have been listening to his position about the Lord a little too much. You see, I love Jesus but I just don’t know if he really loves me. I mean why would Jesus make it so difficult to show the man how important he is to our enternal destination and our quality of life on earth?
    “And my boyfriend, Rick, keeps asking me if there is a hell, why would God send anyone there? Rick thinks I am going to heaven and he looks up to my faith. I don’t want to let him or me down.
    “But frankly John, I am beginning to have my doubts if I am really a Christian. Rick asks me how Christ lived and why my life is not more like that if I am supposed to be a Christian woman?
    “I don’t know what to say. I sleep with him because I consider him my husband and we have a date set already to have the legal ceremony.
    “I want so badly to please Christ and I read in the Bible where he and Father God are love. So I ask you, why would Love tell me to give up the love of my life over some bunch of rules?
    “John, I love Rick and I love Jesus Christ. I know Jesus died for my sins, but will that make any difference if I fail to overcome what he calls sin? Is love really enough?”
    I pondered what the girl had told me and decided to ask God to give me some direction before responding…
    The thing is, I too had wondered what she was wondering. But as of late, the only thing I had to live on was faith.
    I told her that Jesus Christ, love if you will, could not lie, as by definition he was a man incapable of falling to any temptation to sin. I told her he was our example as to how to live, sure enough.
    But if we could overcome all of our shortcomings, there would not be a need for a Savior.
    I told her that God’s word says he is a friend to the overcomer. To me, I told her, the overcomer is a fellow or a lady that is trying to live more and more the kind and decent lifestyle that Jesus was said to have lived.
    The overcomer had to forgive or he could not be forgiven. That means an overcomer, or just a good old born again Christian who may not even be aware yet of the need to be an overcomer, must also forgive him or her self.
    I pointed her to the Roman road of salvation, where the Bible says if you believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins and that he had the power to rise from the destructive death that Satan had planned for him after the third day in the ground, then by the faith it takes to believe that, and the grace God has shown through the sacrifice of his only Son for the sins of mankind, that believer, with a sprinkle of faith to believe in the miracles of love, will be saved from the fires of hell and the slavery to evil that the rest of the world faces. I told her it also says you must confess that belief with your mouth.
    I told her that nobody gets to heaven by good works, least any man should boast. I told her that her love for Jesus Christ would carry her through if she would put her faith in him first, before worrying about having faith in herself. He, upon realizing she loved him, would guide her to eventually having faith in herself to overcome her sinful habits; usually one habit at a time.
    HER REACTION
    Mary pondered all that I said and then began to respond. Still no other customers came in, so we had a little time to talk things over.
    “I feel better than I did,” she said. “You are right. I need to renew my faith in Jesus and take my eyes off of me and my botched up life. I was trying to show my boyfriend Jesus through the example of my actions when I should have been pointing out Christ’s actions and letting Rick know that Jesus did not need fixing so that is why we should have faith in Him.
    “You have helped me John. I think I can muster the strength to keep trying as a Christian now. I sure do need Christ as a Savior because I can not save myself from my next unmarried kiss, much less hell!”
    I told Mary I had lived with all four of my wives before legally marrying them. I told her I was legally married to Michelle now but I did not honestly feel the piece of paper made it anymore of a love relationship.
    God led me to make an honest woman out of Michelle, I told Mary. This made her smile. I told her that if she would pray for God’s will to be done in her life, no matter how much her past was messed up when she was running things, and no matter how many mistakes she was still making, God would lead her to a path where she could be an effective witness for Him. I told her if Rick wants the same thing, God will make a way for you and him to be effective Christian messengers.
    Mary continued to smile at me and her tears began to melt away. I think I passed on a little hope to her and nudged her faith in God enough to sustain her in her Christian walk for a little while longer.
    What I did not realize at the time was that I was also preaching to myself. When I lost all of my money over the college abatement lawsuit and had to live in Minnesota alone for a year, I held on to parts of the speech I had mustered up for Mary. For you see, God teaches us faith more when we try to help another…
    I held on to the fact that its Christ’s righteousness I should praise, and His perfection worthy of having a personal relationship with. Indeed, as the song says that gives me comfort, “Precious Jesus, hold my hand.”
    Indeed, Jesus Christ died on the cross at Calvary as a ransom for many; even those who might get depressed in a dark hour – like me in Minneapolis, Minn. and Mary in Paragould, Ark.
    I have never seen Mary again, but I have never forgotten our talk. I found out God can even use a journalist now and then to bring comfort to another one of his children. But as always, it is up to you, do you believe I got up one morning early to be a witness for Jesus by the prompting of the Spirit of God or not?

  4. John Hancock Nelson says:

    The following is a feature about a help organization that has had much Christian success in being there for those who want to improve their lives. Some wanted to kick addictions. Some wanted to simply find Christ and learn to live by his example.

    Here is a feature about “The Father’s House” in Donaldson, Ark. It was in the July issue of Tailgate News, 2012. Look it up in our archives if you want photos to go with this story.

    ‘Mending Hearts and Changing Lives’
    By JOHN NELSON
    Tailgate News Editor
    Some came there because their crutch in life fell apart and so did their castle of dreams. Others became addicted to their crutch or crutches before dreams could even develop and family members finally threw up their hands and disappeared…
    The Father’s House is a place about three miles from Joan, Arkansas on Vansliver Road, where 30 men are seeking a better life without addiction and attempting to get to know God, who most of them ran from the better part of their lives.
    A man named Larry Shireman, 61, is the director of the rehabilitation facility, and humbly states that he has been clean and sober for 14 years.
    “I was in the drug world up until then,” he said. “I did cocaine and a variety of other drugs, always drinking alcohol at the same time. Then they told me I had hepatitis C and needed Chemo Therapy treatments. The treatment was almost as bad as the disease, but they got rid of it. When that disease slapped me down, I knew I wanted more out of life.”
    Larry says he has a son and a sister. He said things have changed since he has been with “The Father’s House” and Pastor Gary Jennings. Since he found Jesus Christ and sobriety, Larry has regained family trust. Now, both the son and the sister let Larry have a key to their homes…
    Larry has been with Brother Gary since the start of “The Father’s House,” when instead of two bunk house trailers and a redone tool shed for offices, a kitchen and a meeting hall, all they had was one trailer up on the hill.
    The help center is on seven acres that the preacher and his wife donated to the cause. That preacher and his wife are Gary and Danette Jennings, married now 27 years. Gary has a non-denominational Christian Church in Hot Springs (508 Butterfield) called The Ark of Praise with a congregation of nearly 225 and a house on the rural Donaldson acreage where the center exists.
    The facility was started in April of 2005 and has helped approximately 400 men get “clean and sober” by way of working an eight-hour-day, five days a week, attending a one hour Bible study and or church service nightly and studying a curriculum another hour before bed that teaches how to regain self-respect, integrity and trust.
    Jennings has expanded in Hot Springs and the organization now has a women’s rehabilitation center set up on the same pattern as “The Father’s House.” It started in November of 2011 and is currently helping 18 women get clean and sober, using the same philosophies of six months of separation from society, with unsupervised family visits after 30 days on Saturdays, and learning self-respect, integrity and trust through five days of manual labor and seven days a week of learning about the Christian walk of love.
    “We kept 10 acres and our home,” Pastor Jennings said. “My wife works in Arkadelphia at Dawsom Co-op and Larry and I work 10 to 14-hour days with the men. When we first started, it was one trailer for the residents and I was bringing food up the hill from my home.”
    Director Larry said he has worked at “The Father’s House” since day one. Like most there, he wanted away from his old life because the crude fun of his world “just wasn’t fun anymore.”
    Tim Spann, 37, of Little Rock, is one of Gary and Larry’s five staff members at the facility. Tim has been clean and sober for 13 months, although his addiction to hard liquor has been under control at various other points in his life.
    “This time I am following what Jesus Christ told me to do and where He told me to be,” Tim said. “I am 37 and single. I had a wife but she ran off with someone else and it ended in divorce. Someday the Lord may bring me a wife and a family but for right now He has told me to stay here and help the other men so that is what I plan to do.
    “I have found out the hard way that if you ‘know that you know’ that God has told you what to do, it is the best thing for you and other people to do the Lord’s will instead of flying off on some tangent to once again cut your own path.”
    Tim said he just bought a truck from “The Father’s House,” and although it is an old fixer-upper, he is proud to have some transportation. After interviewing Tim, he offered to pray for this reporter and his family, which we did. At the rehabilitation center, Christianity is practiced openly.
    FINANCING THE DREAM
    Brother Gary Jennings said he and Larry Shireman realized early on that the rehabilitation center was something “God will probably have us keep open until we die.” There is no alcohol, or any other form of addictive substances, allowed at the facility. It is a refuge, as Tim stated, where those temptations just do not exist.
    But what does exist is the bills for living expenses of 30 men and five staff members, plus a pastor and his wife and a director. Gary and Larry used to work outside the facility and donate money to keep the center going, when the place was small enough to do so. As it grew, it became obvious this was not going to be enough.
    Brother Gary said, “We have never asked for government assistance by way of grants or any of that. This facility is independent and its Christian. We want our centers to stay that way so we found an old fashioned way of paying the bills. We put the men to work.”
    Gary and Larry agreed that having the men work eight-hour shifts of manual labor, five days a week, has gone a long way to restoring their self-respect, integrity and trust.
    “Many of them have been used to finding ways to manipulate money out of others for their beer, whiskey, drug habits and more,” Gary said. “Our formula is simple. We contract labor the 30 men to different construction or factory-type facilities in the Malvern area for $8 an hour per person working and they agree before coming here to donate that wage to ‘The Father’s House’ so they can eat, have a place to sleep and study, and so when they leave here in six months clean and sober the facility can still exist for the next guy to find his sobriety and salvation.
    “This is all perfectly legal and every bit of their labor wages goes to the facility, I work 10 to 14 hours a day and draw a salary from the company, which I use to make my own house mortgage payment and other living expenses. Larry and I are not getting rich off of this endeavor, but ‘The Father’s House’ is solvent and the work can financially go on.”
    The new women’s facility in Hot Springs is set up to be financed in an identical way. Brother Gary said he may have to raise the $8 an hour labor charge to the companies because the government’s taxes have gone up so much, but the pattern will remain the same.
    “When we started this, having the men work was seen as our means of always having a facility,” he said. “We never realized how important it would be to a man’s recovery from addiction. Many of them simply never knew how to work an honest day, or if they did it had been so long ago they could barely remember the feeling of self-respect connected with earning an honest pay check. This obviously prepares the men to re-enter the workforce for themselves and their families when they get clean and sober, finish their six months here and get on with their lives.”
    VISITATION
    When the men complete 30 days at “The Father’s House,” they are allowed to have off the premises Saturdays with their wives and children. Before then, they simply visit in the kitchen on Saturdays. But family contact is encouraged so the positive changes can be an encouragement for loved ones as well as those under treatment.
    Tim said, “We get people in here that don’t want to be here, from court orders, as alternatives to jail etc. They are generally among those who make it through the six months to get clean and sober. The number one success factor still remains that you have to want a different life. Nobody can force you to change. Nobody can force you to accept Jesus Christ as your Savior. Those things must come from your own heart if they are to come.”
    Tim recalled one man who was court-ordered to come to “The Father’s House” and ran away to the woods the very night he was brought in.”
    “He was out there all night,” Tim said. “Finally he came upon this house near the property and knocked on a door for help to get back to main stream society. The door he knocked on was our preacher and owner of the facility, Brother Gary. The man did accept our help and we laugh about this now.”
    Director Larry said, “Not all of them will be helped. That 400 success stories figure is just a guess. But if a man wants to change, this program is an effective way to do so.”
    Larry gave this reporter a tour of the kitchen facility, a new chapel under construction by way of labor from those living at the facility, and lastly a tour of the new brick facility soon to be called home for 32 residents.
    “When we move into the new house, we will only be increasing our client list by two,” he said. “The older trailers will be used for office, storage and whatever is needed, but the men will be housed in the new house.
    “The structure is well insulated and beautifully set up for our needs, with a main room, two huge bedrooms where 16 men will sleep on eight sets of bunk beds in each room and four showers with four accompanying sinks for easy access to getting ready for work in the morning. There are four toilets as well. We can move into the new house as soon as our $10,000 sewer system is installed, as the state requires it so we can hook up to Donaldson’s water system. The entire new facility was donated to us.”
    Larry said if the building would have had to be constructed by the men and paid for in their traditional finance method “it would have cost at least $250,000 – maybe more.”
    The donors of the facility wish to remain anonymous…
    THE START-UP
    Gary Jennings said he started “My Father’s House,” back in 2005 because his son, David Jennings, was involved with a crystal methanphetimine (meth) addiction 18 years ago. David recovered his self-respect, integrity, work ethic and trust and now owns his own hydraulics company.
    The men coming to the rehab center range in age from 18 to however old they need to be. In the past, a few teenage boys have gone through the program, but through trial and error it has been realized the greatest help can be given if all are over 18 in the bunk houses.
    Larry said, “It just gives us a better chance of getting them through the program. This place is set up for adult men who want help.”
    Gary said “The Father’s House” is connected with many judges and drug programs, who give their drug or alcohol problem prisoners a choice to go to the rehabilitation facility to recover or go to jail. Sometimes, that still works out; if that person really wants to change.
    “We stay away from accepting men convicted of any sexual related crimes and try and stay away from those convicted of crimes connected with violence. Our facility is not for everyone, but everyone who goes here needs their chance to recover so it means we can not take all who want to come.”
    Larry said, “We do take people that have fallen off the wagon. One fellow had 26 DWIs.”
    Spann, who said that wagon has slipped out from under him a few times before his dedication to the Lord developed, spoke of a three-month restoration program. The Father’s House recycles those trying again in half the time as those new to the refuge.
    Jennings said, “We lose very few of the men; especially from those who make it through the first week of their six-month path to a fuller life.”

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