new features

These features go from what is in the current issue to what was published in the previous week’s issue. Experience the magazine in traditional format by going under Current Issue or Older Issues or Older Issues Two for more recent copies and open the PDFs. Thank you for your interest. John Nelson, editor

Malvern Council ponders

best use of 1 cent sales talx

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
MALVERN – Malvern’s City Council agenda meeting took place July 3 with various projects coming out of the wood work for consideration due to the 1 cent sales tax passing in June.
Clare Graham, Hot Spring County librarian, successfully gained approval for consideration to be made at the City Council meeting Monday for reimbursement of the cost of the genealogical building at 219 South Ash Street.
Graham said the cost of the building was $35,000 and the library has been waiting for city reimbursement since the purchase of the structure in 2002.
The library is seeking reimbursement to continue improvements. The genealogy house had renovation expenditures in 2015, according to Graham.
In addition to considering catching up on past debts with the tax money, expected to be available in October, plans are being discussed to build, or acquire, a City Hall/Police Department complex and to revamp some out of date fire stations.
City Council member Wayne Russell said he would be in favor of the proposed City Hall complex.
In addition to the possible genealogy building reimbursement, other items to be on Monday night’s City Council agenda include: an ordinance that would change the City Council meeting to 6:30 p.m., as the agenda meeting currently is, in order to create less confusion for those wishing to attend; and a possible amendment to ordinance 589, which would increase the speed limit in a school zone to 25 mph rather than 20 mph in order to use existing elaborate warning signs (second reading).
Moreover, the council will consider an ordinance for purchasing equipment. Mayor Brenda Weldon said the ordinance, if passed, will allow her to get certain equipment though Michael Hord for reduced prices.
In addition, the City Council will consider a resolution adopting a Hot Spring County mitigation plan. Weldon said this plan involves rescue procedures in case of hazardous waste emergencies in all Hot Spring County school systems, but requires Malvern City Council approval due to the potentially extensive emergency use of city police and fire personnel during such a disaster.
Council will also be asked to give Mayor Weldon authority to sign task agreements that may come to pass as intra structure, water and sewer repairs and more are determined to be necessary and can now be funded by the 1 cent sales tax revenue.
“I will assure this City Council that with such authority I will sign no task agreements before City Attorney Cecilia Ashcraft gives me the go ahead,” Weldon said.
Under citizens wishing to appear, Donna McGhee was to speak on a possible medical marijuana distribution center in Malvern.
McGhee was not at the agenda meeting. Council members agreed that in order to gain approval for her project she would have to attend Monday’s regular council meeting.
Weldon said the new law allows four such dispensaries in a multi-county district.
“To have one in Malvern, it requires City Council approval and zoning location approval,” she said.
Police Chief Donnie Tabor said only five growing stations are to be in Arkansas. Although it is medical marijuana, Tabor said he believes sales tax revenue could be involved.
The City of Malvern could hold a special public vote to find out if Malvern residents approve of a dispensary being located in city limits and only a no-vote by the public can stop the project all together. No such vote is planned at the is time.
The July City Council meeting will be held at 7 p.m. on Monday, July 10.

Florida Days: Chapter 4 – the man in the parking lot…

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Arguing with a top agent in the effort to curb white slavery in Florida can be interpreted in the wrong way. I was once approached by a guy in sunglasses who reminded me of a Hollywood hit man but the man backed off and never approached me again when my boss Al told him he was wrong about me.
As my best friend, the late Mike Reddick, a 30-year FBI agent, said years later, things change every day in police work and many things that happened to me back in 1979 and 1980 would not happen now.
The guys with the white hats and those with the black hats have both gotten more sophisticated with the advent of high tech and the Internet explosion.
Our story of the man in the parking lot begins with me and Alice having breakfast at our trailer. I told her I was heading to Fort Lauderdale but had some Amway distribution to do first. She smiled and said, “Be careful Jay. I will be here for you when you get home.”
She was one understanding lady my Alice. I took off, picked up my delivery order, laughed and joked awhile with my boss Al and started distribution. It came off pretty well.
Then I took Highway 70 to ocean side – Lauderdale. I picked up a hitch hiker along the way. H.R. would come back in my life many years later. So many memories, so many old connections.
Sometimes I think Florida Days never stopped happening. H.R. McDough and I talked and laughed on our way to Fort Lauderdale. I remember “Here Comes the Sun” by the Beatles played in my car eight track tape player. I dropped H.R. off at a swanky hotel. Then I headed to my area – the beach area where all of the strip bars were located.
My love for the female form has never left me. This has not helped when it comes to marriage but that is another can of worms. On that particular night, I entered the Ft. Lauderdale gilded cage and was greeted, as usual, by the men in sunglasses and narrow ties.
They motioned me to the table where the young girl sat. She looked about 14 and scared to death. I told her I was the Tygar and she would leave this place to go back to the town where she was raised. She smiled, obviously not believing me.
i raised up and went to the bar. My target pimp was full bearded, about 45 and drinking a Bud Light. Me, I stayed with Miller Light, as usual. We did not speak. We watched the dancers as they came on the poles, pussies wet and willing. Both of us smiled. I spoke first, figuring to “lose” the argument. The tape recorder under the bar was started by the FBI.
“So what do you think? Any of them worthy of your stable?,” I asked him. The man smiled. Bill, he said, my name is Bill. I told him I was Tygar of Arcadia. He laughed. “Damn Indian.” I laughed too, told him my given name was John. We sat in silence for a time. I finally spoke.
“Bill, I need some young whores used to the horse. Any ideas?” He continued drinking, ordering another beer and one for me. I thanked Bill and went on watching the dancers as “Play that Funky Music” played over the bar… Indeed, the dancers were moving in a sexual manner now, looking like queens in a rated X movie. I told Bill I would pay $5,000 for the right bitch. He said nothing. Then finally he said, “I got several for sale.”
I asked him if he had some young and illegal, with adult tits developed? I told him I wanted them 14 to 15 years old. He said nothing. Then after the next song I broke silence by commenting on the song. “The Rose, by Bette Midler, was pretty good tonight right?” I asked.
He answered, “Yes, I like that song. Her name is Sarah, a brunette prostitute. Turns an average of seven tricks a day. Showers twice. I was told she is a 15-year-old heroin addict. $4,000 and you take her home,” Bill said to my tape recorder.
“So you put her out every day like that?” I asked. Bill nodded and told me she was a worthy bitch and would screw a lot for the next 10 years. Guarantee is for 90 days. Then the whore is yours, all yours.”
I winked at the agent at the next table. He smiled and winked back. He came on up to Bill, hand cuffs ready and reading the guy his rights. The music went up higher as the girls danced and danced. I got out of there. First I went to the front and kissed one of the dancers, wishing I could take her affection with me. But her kiss did the job. After all, I had Alice at home…
Bill was screaming threats by now. I just smiled and went to the young whore’s table. Sarah, I asked? Yes, she said. She said she was a sophomore in high school in Pittsburg. I took her half naked body under my arm and walked out of the bar. My body guard was waiting. Alfonzo, also in a black suit and narrow tie, took Sarah from me.
I headed toward the Dodge. It was getting late. I was headed for the Arcadia ATM, wanting cash to give Alice. Mission nearly accomplished, I saw the man in the parking lot with a gun holstered. I asked if I could help him? The man said I was too loud with Al and I would have to learn my lesson. I walked to my car, not even talking to the unfriendly soul.
My thought was stupid SOB (Sweet Old Boss of course). He did not follow me. I took the Dodge to Al’s church, told him what happened and he told me that was impossible.
He said his men would never get aggresive with me as they were aware I was working with him.
I got mad, told my boss I may be a long haired country boy from Indiana, but liar I was not! He gave me a funny look. Then, he said, I will check it out and asked me how my spin went? I told him Alfonzo had the chick and all was well. Al went back to reading the Christian Bible. After a few pages, he spoke.
“This is real life. Not some mob scene from a movie. But I will check this out about the threatening man. Go take Alice to bed and get some sleep,” he said. I smiled, patted his shoulder and went back to the Dodge. Alice was naked and on the couch reading when I got home. She said, “Hello, Jay. Could you use some relaxation?” We held each other tight, shut off the lights and called it a night.
Al told me the next day that he found out a man had threatened me in the parking lot and he told the guy to leave me alone. I thanked my boss. Trust between us was essential. Spinning was the sort of work where you had to know your co-workers had your back.

 

 

 

Tiger Mart Exxon

Ribbon Cutting at Gurdon

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Exxon Tiger Mart opened its 10th store on Thursday, as far as a grand opening, although the facility had been in service to the public for a few days before that event.
The 10th store is now a new Gurdon icon, with gasoline, pizza and ice cream being the three big attractions for travelers and residents of the 2,400 population city.
Owner David K. Blackmon said the parent company of the Gurdon convenience store is Blackmon Oil. It is located at the corner of Highway 67 and Main Street.
He noted his corporation already has three such Exxon stores in Arkadelphia, as well as stores in Hope, Murfreesboro, DeQueen and Glenwood and that the company opened for business in 1930.
Blackmon is president of the company, calling his mother, June, who attended the grand opening, his inspiration and chief of public relations.
Members of the Clark County Industrial Committee also attended the ceremony, stating that Sun Pulpwood construction will begin in October or November at the Clark County Industrial Park at Gum Springs. The pulpwood factory is expected to provide close to 1,000 jobs for the Gurdon area over the next three years; 250 of which will be computer related jobs inside the plant and the rest is a conservative estimate of independent loggers who will be needed to provide 400 loads of logs per day to keep it going.
Blackmon quoted the Bible verse about how a good man leaves an inheritance for this grandchildren and thanked the good Lord above for the continued success of Exxon Tiger Marts.
“I also want to thank my wife for her continued support and my managers for excellent service, he said. “I am gateful that my grandfather started this company.”

Florida Days: Chapter 3 – The Bluff

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
I ended our last chapter by asserting that those who take chances to help others do indeed entertain angels unaware.
Well my story continues. I got to Buddy Brewer’s that morning and it was going on close to 11 a.m. The bus ride and subsequent car ride were still heavy on my mind as I sat alone at one of Buddy’s tables, sipping on my first margarita of the day. Pretty soon the guest of honor, Buddy, came on out and joined me.
“Hey Tygar,” he said. “I heard you had a rather interesting morning.” I smiled and so did he. He put my family trench coat over my seat, saying I had left it there the night before. I took a big swig of the drink and then we sat down to some coffee.
“I got a problem,” he said. “One of my girls is in trouble out there in the yard. I need your help.” I sat there and took a big swallow of the coffee. Then I asked him what he wanted me to do?
Buddy asked me if I had heat on me? That was old style talk and his way of asking me if I was carrying a loaded pistol. I told him no, just a knife. He knew I did not pack heat, as I was not wanting to kill or maim anyone. I had been trained extensively in the use of firearms and I also had a quick temper.
So I stuck to tire irons and knives and relied on my friends to pack the guns while I worked as a spinner in Florida. Buddy was twisting a pair of scissors in his hands as he talked to me. He looked out the window as he continued his talk…
“She has a small toddler boy in one of my rooms. When she is not working as a waitress, she lives there with him. She is 21 and a young mom on the run,” he told me.
He looked into my eyes and told me my passport from a trip to France was in my trench coat. He said the United States insignia on the passport would look like an FBI badge if I chose to do the spin. He slid the scissors across the table to me.
I smiled at my friend, toyed with the scissors and stood up. I put on the trench coat. My long blonde hair draped over the thing in true farm boy hippy style. I was 19 at the time, well versed on how to get away with damn near anything and I had a heart as big as Texas.
I strolled out the door and left Buddy at his table. I walked out there and immediately 10 to 20 rifles pointed in my direction. I walked up to the truck where the girl was with a friend of mine from the wrong side of the tracks known as Cowboy.
Cowboy motioned for his gunman to stand down. The rifles were lowered and I began to talk to this outlaw with the “bitch” in his lap.
“Cowboy, she is an innocent girl with a little 3-year-old boy. I am here to take her to her kid. Buddy really wants this to end peacefully. You know he has guns too,” I told him.
Cowboy responded, “Tygar, this is not your gig man. Don’t make me get rough. This bitch is gonna entertain me out at my ranch for a couple of days. I will bring her back to Buddy when I am through having my fun.”
I smiled at my friend and asked him if I could reach in my coat and show him something. Cowboy knew I was unarmed, as that was my Method of Operation (MO) in the land of the gator’s. So he motioned to his gunmen not to get itchy and said, “Go ahead man.”
I took the passport from inside of my coat. I held it up quickly and showed him the insignia of the United States and put it away. I noted the alarm in Cowboy’s face. Then I began my spin.
“Look man, I am now an FBI agent, as well as a mobster. I need the steady job. That bitch is important to the powers that be. I gotta take her from you or there is gonna be a lot of blood shed here today that neither of us wants,” I told him.
Cowboy’s face went white. I had scared this mobster, which is not easy to do in the land of bodies in the swamp lands. He thought it over. I stood there like a stone, knowing that the next one to speak was the loser in a major battle. I also realized my own life was on the line and that I had just impersonated a federal agent. I stood there, not saying a word.
Cowboy made his decision. He picked the girl up off his lap. She was about 5’3” tall, probably 125 pounds and a beautiful woman, but she looked terrified. He threw the girl at me like a football pass. I was a strong young man and caught the lady in my arms. I turned to walk back into the Hitch N’ Post…
Cowboy said, “I gotta go Tygar. Come by the ranch sometime and we will hoist a few drinks. You are brave like John Hans. Your Grandpa would be proud.”
Then the man and his gunmen started their pick-up trucks and split. It was close to noon when I walked back in the club with the girl still in my arms, sobbing her heart out and thanking me profusely for saving her from being gang raped.
I learned her name was Elaine and her son was Bobby. I bought her a burger and fries and another smaller meal for the boy. Buddy came out of his hiding place and joined us at the table. He smiled and said only this, “Thanks Tygar.”
I told Buddy I wanted a ride back to the bus station where my Dodge Dart was parked, as I needed to check on my old lady, Alice. I told him she would be out of cigarettes by now and probably ready to pull out her pretty curly hair.
Buddy said he would give me the ride personally for my heroic actions. This was rare. He hardly ever left his haven, as many in Florida wanted him dead. But this time, he did not care. We got in his jeep. Buddy, by the way, resembled a young version of Jimmy Buffet. His tan skin and curly blond hair danced in the wind as the jeep pulled out of the driveway at the club.
I would find out later in life that he and my boss, Al Lyons, were both Christian ministers. But back then I had no such knowledge about Buddy.
Al, my beloved God Father, always met me at his church very late at night for my daily report. I will describe one of those meetings in the next chapter.
Not everyone in the mob is a blood thirsty criminal. Some folks are just public servants who happen to know a great many people…
When we arrived at the bus station, Al was standing in the Trailways Bus Station doorway, smiling in his jovial way.
I smiled back. Buddy pulled up and stopped. He nodded his head at Al, as the two obviously knew one another.
Buddy spoke to me, after shutting off the jeep engine. He said, “Tygar, what you did for Elaine was outstanding. You probably saved her life and kept her son from becoming an orphan. You realize, of course, that this spin was criminal and you could do time for impersonating an FBI agent.
I admire the fact that you do not care. Life, as you can see, is very different in Florida than on the Indiana farm where you raised yourself with John and Marvel’s help.
“What do you think of it down here?”
I smiled at both men and said it was exciting and fun, but someday I would return to Indiana and finish college.
Both of them smiled at my determination. Al offered me a cup of coffee as I got out of the jeep. I said sure, why not.

Gurdon District to

buy school supplies

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Gurdon School Superintendent Allen Blackwell said to local Rotarians on Thursday that school children enrolling at the Cabe Middle School and Gurdon Primary School will receive free school supplies from the annual lists that parents are expected traditionally to buy.
Blackwell said, “This is something we as a district do not have to do, but the funding is there so we are electing to help our parents out in hopes that it will loosen up their back to school budgets this fall.”
The following supply policies will be in effect for the 2017-2018 Gurdon school year:
Cabe Middle School
Gurdon School District will be providing school supplies for our students this year!
Your child will only need ear buds (hearing devices) for CMS.
Since students will not take backpacks to classrooms, backpacks are not necessary and will not be provided by the district.
Gurdon Primary School
Gurdon School District will be providing school supplies for our students this year!
Your child will only need a backpack from your family budget.

Council to put water bill hike

to repair needs use at Gurdon

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
The Gurdon City Council met Monday and heard a report on how the water department budget is increasing at about $10,000 a month due to the $5 a customer increase passed recently.
The water department report also indicates there are now approximately 1,500 customers, counting around 800 in Gurdon proper and the rest in rural areas such as Whelen Springs.
The water budget, according to Mayor Sherry Kelley, will be increased to approximately $91,500 per year, which will be used for an increase in repairs, updates and general maintenance of the local water system. Kelley said about $70,000 will be used annually for repairs and water department maintenance, with the rest put into savings.
She noted a manhole and sewer repair that was financed by the repair funds near 302 Elm Street and plans to repair a leaky water tower, amongst many other projects needing attention.
In other business, the council was told the playground grant, for a playground next to city hall, is a go and construction will begin in the near future. The possibility of increasing water re-hook fees was tabled.
Kelley said, “We are having good luck with several grants that are pending. I will keep you posted as they are approved. A lot of work remains to be done.”

Prescott School plans

to accept reconstruction bid

By DANIELLE COOPER
Tailgate News Reporter
Prescott School District is expected to close a reconstruction bid for the school system at 10 a.m. on July 13.
Ray Beardsley came to seal a refunding and construction bond with the school. There was a 3.133482 bid which is a 1/2% lower than the rate predicted. There is no cash flow off. The first security company will pay off the old bonds. One old bond is a little over $5 million. The other old bond is $1,894,469.
Superintendent Robert Poole gave recognitions to the Prescott school. Coach Poole, who will be principle of the 2017-2018 school year, was nominated as coach of the year. Prescott school had 100% graduation in the 2017 class.
The track team, band, and ball games all made it to the championships this year. “Hopefully next year they will all win the championships” said Superintendent Poole.
Moreover, Shannon Henderson came to talk about the Open Court Curriculum in which was done as an experiment in the 2016-2017 school year. Two teachers taught as they normally had and had the same results as usual.
The two teachers that taught the Open Court Curriculum had better results than their previous year. The school board had to approve the order number 17000743 of the Open Court Curriculum for $77,346.85.
The vendor for this order was McGraw Hill School Education. They also had to approve the order number 17000744 of 14 touch screen boards at the cost of $36,815.76. Ten boards are for the elementary school and four are for the high school. The vendor for this order is CDW Government Inc.
Kindergarten teacher Jessi Thompson and second grade teacher Haley Cummings came to talk about the Prescott community program. They went to Walden school to see how they had their communities set up and how they taught.
There were a few ideas that they came home with to think over. Over the years, the cafeteria staff would have to clean up after the students when lunch was over. They found out that if the students were held accountable for their own messes, they would tend to not make the cafeteria filthy at lunch.
If the students’ recess was right after lunch, it would give the teachers an extra hour to prepare for the next shift of teaching.
They learned that the communities had reignited one of Waldron’s teacher’s passion for teaching after they tried to teach the community teaching program. The teachers would put a picture of the community’s student of the month on a board in the hall. They would also put the communities’ best work on the board in the hallway to show of how well that community is doing.
The 2016-2018 ASBA& District update for the Licensed and Classified Personnel Policies had to be approved and adopted. Of course the school board approved and adopted these polices in order to stay up to date with policy laws.
The 2017-2018 Special Education Statement of Intent and Assurance had to be approved and adopted.
They accepted and adopted the statement of Intent and Assurance so that they would not lose special education department funding.
The minutes for the regular meeting of May 23 were approved. The minutes for the special called meeting of June 13 were accepted. The superintendent’s financial report said the district is running at an overall profit.
The rest of the bills should come up to the black by June 30. The next meeting will be at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, July 25.
The McRae Library Dedication/ Community Coffee is set for Monday July 3, 2017 from 9:30-11am. The official dedication of the library will be at 10 a.m.
Those who choose to attend are invited to bring books that tell about McRae Middle School history to put in the library so that the McRae Middle School will not be forgotten.

Sherry Corner: Great summer tomatoes

Tiger Mart, New Sonic
Now Open at Gurdon
By SHERRY KELLEY
Gurdon Mayor
What an exciting week we had. The new Sonic and the new Exxon Tiger Mart are both wonderful additions to our town. The Baskin Robbins ice cream and the Pizza Inn pizzas and sandwiches are very popular. The new Sonic and the drive-thru service is very busy, too.
We painted the pavilion and picnic tables at the park a lovely shade of green and the posts are painted brown. It really needed it and the new color scheme looks more park-like then the previous gray. People seem to really like the update. The Market On Main was very busy this past weekend with baby showers and parties. The event center rents for only $15 an hour. Call me at 406-1396 for reservations.
It is nice to have such great weather this week and everyone is getting excited about the Fourth of July holiday. Marshal Don Childres has been selling his world famous tomatoes at the corner beside the new Tiger Mart. Those tomatoes are amazing. Just beautiful and one slice will cover your sandwich or burger. He also has other produce.
Work is moving right along on our new 4,000 square foot AllCare Pharmacy. The manhole and sewer line job is complete. The work on the Red Springs water tank is progressing nicely. The ‘Notice to Proceed’ for our FUN Park at City Hall has arrived. The grant work on the Gurdon Small Business Development Center is continuing and a recent inspection of the building was favorable. We will know in August if we will be awarded the USDA Rural Business Development Grant. We are beginning to tackle another Rural Development Grant for the fire department and other safety related causes.
The First United Methodist Church will welcome new Pastor Donnie Hudson and his wife Annette this Sunday. Enjoy the weather and have a good week.

 

Gurdon Schools drop

nine employees,

losing students

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Falling student enrollment over the past few years has caused an attrition cut-back in staff for the Gurdon School District.
Superintendent Allen Blackwell said Wednesday the district lost 18 employees to retirement and/or resignation for the upcoming 2017-2018 school year.
“We have only hired nine employees to replace the 18 because of our district student population dropping from 716 down to 689 during this past school year,” Blackwell said. “The government provides us with so much per child enrolled so less money means action has to be taken to balance the books.”
Blackwell predicts the 2017-2018 school year beginning population to be approximately 700. Although this population is predicted to grow significantly over the next two years because of a predicted increase in logging industry jobs, the district must make decisions based on current conditions in order to be fiscally responsible.
Those retiring include: Elnora Gatlin, Lea Purifoy, Lori Shirron, Diane Jones, Carolyn Crow, John Pace, Terry Purifoy, Mary Ellis and Emma Hardamon.
Resignations accepted by the School Board include: Raymond Welch, Breanna Braswell, Ashley Frances, Debbie Clemmons, Aaron Cup, Jon Capps, Elliot Jacobs, Lori Capps and Cindy Pumphrey.
New hires include: Jordan Goss, Spencer Kizer, Austen Halliday, Brittany Kizer, Scott Frances, Roosevelt House and Jerry Henry.
School Board members voted Tuesday to change the detention policy to lunchtime instead of after school.

Cabe Library readers

to learn about post office

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
A program about how the mail works will be presented by U.S. Post Office employees at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, June 27 at Cabe Library.
Librarian Amber Buck said at last week’s program that all are welcome at the Tuesday presentations. Those signed up for the reading program will continue to get rewards for reading at least one book per week. She said around 15 are signed up for the reading agenda and will also be eligible for a grand prize drawing.
“We also invite younger children to our 10 a.m. Tuesday story hour,” she said. “Summer story time gives our little children good exposure to the power of books.”

Tailgate Traveler: Better Days…

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
I have been an active journalist since 1980. It has been a journey I would not trade for all of the gold in Fort Knox.
When I entered the profession, it was a group of folks who had the family tie of wanting to make a positive difference in society.
I ran into an old friend today. Autumn still sells advertising for the corporate newspaper in the area.
She agreed with me that the profession has changed a lot. I chose to remain independent. She chose to have a stable job. We all do what we must.
But she agreed with me that the family feeling of journalism was a thing of the past.
Gurdon is growing. That means there will be a chance that I will get a small staff and be able to recreate the family feeling in the now Internet era.
I am looking ahead to better days. Being a solo act is not what I prefer. Perhaps a reporter, an ad sales person and a secretary will be afforded to join me.
If so, and they really do come on board, life will get more interesting to me again.
But even if that does not happen, I look forward to there being more jobs in the Gurdon area, more business prosperity and perhaps even a better retirement for those of us who are getting on a bit in age.
I look forward to the school growing, with a few more class members to take photos of and to give a bit of fame for them to look back upon – once high school is just a memory.
Looking only at possible personal benefits is just not my style any more. I have come to realize life is about serving, not about receiving.
If I can serve Gurdon and the surrounding area another 10 years, I will retire to writing books and fishing. That sounds OK too. Time, as they say, will tell the truth of the matter.
Write me about your goals. I would love to hear more from Tailgate readers. So long for now.

Sherry Corner: New business

opens in Gurdon

By SHERRY KELLEY
Gurdon Mayor
It looks like the Exxon Tiger Mart and Sonic Restaurant (both on Hwy. 67) will be open for business this week. Everyone is excited to patronize these new establishments and I will be sure to keep you posted on upcoming Gurdon Chamber of Commerce Ribbon Cuttings for these new businesses.
Construction began last week on our brand new AllCare Pharmacy, also on Hwy. 67. The interior space will be approximately 4000 sq. feet, with 100 feet of highway frontage. The contractor, Jack Hogan says it will be identical to the one in Hope. I am excited about this new store which will offer a convenient drive thru for customers.
Wednesday I will meet with railroad, highway and other representatives to explore the possibility of adding a gate to the railroad crossing on South Street. The diagnostic meeting for safety improvements is a good step for our city.
I’m starting to write a new grant with Clark County Emergency Manager Nikki Hastings. It will be great to have her assistance. Nikki and I work well together and she has been very helpful to our fire department and volunteers.
We will receive the “Notice to Proceed” from Arkansas State Parks this week. So it won’t be long before construction begins on our new FUN Park at City Hall. I believe that many folks will benefit through an enhanced experience when they reserve the community room for events and also when they just want a convenient in town recreational experience. The FUN Park will have a pavilion, playground and half court basketball area. I began work on this grant in 2016.
The Arkansans brought the message in song and word at the First United Methodist Church last Sunday. It was a real blessing and enjoyed by all. I am glad that we had them and hope that they are invited back to our church in the future. That gospel music really lifts you up. Have a good week.

Reporter helps move

older couple

By DANIELLE COOPER
Tailgate News Reporter
At the beginning of June 2017, my husband and I took on the challenge of moving an older couple. Prescott residents Eugene and Danielle Cooper (my husband and I) voluntarily helped another Prescott couple, Addison and Judy Griffith, to move to Texarkana.
It took about two weeks to get them moved. There were multiple challenges, successes, and enjoyments, as the couple had accumulated a lot of possessions.
It took forever to get started. Then, there wasn’t quite enough help once we got going. There were days when my husband, Eugene Cooper, had to help on his own due to us not having a babysitter to watch our toddler son while we worked. Then when we did have a babysitter, the couple had to run out of stories before we could begin the moving.
Once the move got going along at a decent pace, we got a shop and pantry moved in one day. We made about two trips to Texarkana a day. One load was the pantry. The next load was the shop. Laying the tools was the easy part. This reporter got sick so the crew decided to take a break and cool down for a while.
Then, when we went back to the shop, Eugene and I moved a work bench that was hand made with 2×4 and 2×6 treated boards. It was approximately six feet long and had drawers made in it that were not to come out.Then we loaded the rest of the trailer with the rest of the tools and went home after the first productive day of moving.
Over the next two weeks or so, we followed the same routine. Eugene and I would go to the old house and work all day. They would give us something for lunch, and work with us until either them or us would give out. Because the Griffiths have had many years to gather things, they had a lot of furniture stored inside the house that even us younger people needed help to move. It felt good to be of help. They seemed to be very grateful for our efforts.

 

Malvern storm leaves

Council meeting in dark

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Malvern City Council met in the dark on Monday, June 12 – or at least until alternative power could be pumped into the City Council meeting hall.
The meeting was at 7 p.m. and a brief, but heavy, rainstorm occurred about 6 p.m. and knocked out 732 electrical customers in Malvern. One of those customers was the City Hall courtroom where said meeting was to be held.
With the help of her staff, Mayhor Brenda Weldon managed to use extension cords to make emergency flood lights do the job and the meeting went on as planned.
The first item discussed was the 1 cent sales tax special election set for June 13. Mayor Weldon said the money from the tax, if passed, would be used for intra structure problems, such as sink holes, sewer repair, “and a wide variety of needs that Malvern has to maintain a safe and up to standards city.”
Weldon said while the tax would have a cap and eventually be taken off, if the tax fails a water and sewer hike would be necessary “and that is too limited in the scope of what it could be used for to really do this city very much good.”
Moreover, street superintendent Mike Smith gave a report on pot holes and how they are sometimes repaired the same day they are reported “but we need a fund to keep up with the problem.”
Under old business, a proposed ordinance terminating double sewer rates was placed on the second reading, as was a related ordinance terminating double water rates.
City Attorney Cecelia Ashcraft was instructed to create an ordinance to change City Council night meeting times to 6:30 p.m., just as agenda meetings are, in order to have less public confusion about starting times.
A motion passed to destroy old records at Malvern Water Works.
Council members then passed a resolution to begin procedures and notifications to condemn certain properties on Robert E. Lee, Lincoln and Earnest Streets.
Council members approved a resolution authorizing Mayor Weldon to apply for a parks grant to benefit Malvern City Park on Martin Luther King Blvd.
Council member accepted a bid of $23,800, which was the lowest of two mentioned, to repair the tennis courts at the park. The Malvern School District has pledged to help with the repair.
The Council tabled an ordinance that would have changed a school zone speed limit from 20 to 25 mph in order to amend said ordinance to only effect the traditional speed of 30 mph on any city street while school is in session.
“We have some school signs already set at 25 mph and want to use them, but yes the ordinance does need to reflect that this speed limit is only when school is in session,” Weldon said.
As to the discussion at last week’s agenda meeting concerning 18-wheelers and noise pollution plus possible residential street damage, a suggested amendment to the current noise ordinance, and a possible residential parking policy change for the big trucks, will be discussed at the July agenda meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, July 3.

Hudspeth Diesel to partner

with Freightliner parts

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Heath Hudspeth took the plunge a few months ago and opened his own diesel repair shop in Gurdon where the old Ricketts company was at 301 South Sixth Street “and the work has been keeping me pretty busy like I had hoped it would.”
“I have been in diesel repair since 2005. Freightliner sent me to school and I worked for them at Jonesboro a couple of years before moving to Arkadelphia in 2007 and driving back and forth to Texarkana every day,” Hudspeth said.
“I have always had it in me that I wanted to open my own shop. With driving to Texarkana 91 miles each way every morning, I had plenty of time to think on it.
“ And my grandfather, Harvey Hudspeth Sr., encouraged me for the sake of safety and for my family. My grandfather has his own dental business at Evening Shade, Arkansas and has always been self-employed.
“My family and I prayed about it and realized it felt like the right thing to do.”
Heath is married to Krystal Hudspeth and the couple has two children; Harrison, 7 and Krickett, 8 months. Krystal helps out in the office at the family business.
The family resides in Arkadelphia by the Ouachita River. They started the Gurdon diesel repair business in February.
To contact Heath, he has a 24-hour call out number; (870) 215-2351. Business hours are 8 until 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, or you may call and leave a message.
FREIGHTLINER PARTS
Heath said his customers need to be aware that Freightliner has partnered up with Hudspeth Diesel Parts and Diesel Repair and will open a parts distribution center in the section of his building where the old Ricketts Auto Parts was located in two to three months.
“Freightliner sent me to school and I worked for them 13 or 14 years,” he said. “Trust was established and that is how we are getting our new blessing – a parts distribution center for Gurdon.”
Heath said he would like to thank his brother-in-law and father-in-law for helping him with the diesel repair work. He said his brother-in-law, Scott Crockett, of Arkadelphia, and his father-in-law Floyd Crockett, also of Arkadelphia, have essentially quit farming to help him.
“They have farmed 70 years and they are excellent mechanics,” he said. “My wife and I really appreciate what they have done to make this business work and make sure we get our orders out in a timely manner with competitive pricing at the professional level.”
Hudspeth said his goal is to create a professional and convenient environment for diesel engine and truck repair.
Heath is originally from Paragould and is a 2003 Green County Tech High School graduate.
He attended Arkansas State University in Jonesboro and Freightliner paid for a business degree and diesel technical program, which he graduated.
Freightliner hired him out of college to utilize the diesel tech skills and continued to employee him up until he started Hudspeth Diesel this year.
“Freightliner is still there for me with the parts partnership even though I now own my own business,” Heath said.
“We are glad to be here and glad to be in business. My family did a lot of praying before we did this and the Lord opened a lot of doors. We could not have done this without God’s help.”
Hudspeth said he looks forward to serving the Gurdon area public for years to come.

Tailgate Traveler: Pretty good Father’s Day memories…

By JOHN NELSON
Taigate News Editor
I have had some pretty good Father’s Day adventures in life.
One that comes to mind was a year or two ago when my little grand daughter Ava, of Friendship, came over and gave me a hug and told me she loved me. This girl was barely over 2 years old at the time.
My daughter Kelley usually makes me feel special on Father’s Day and it is around the time of her birthday too.
And of course I think of my own father, Dr. John W. Nelson, who was always more like an older brother to me. I always loved him, but my father who raised me was actually my biological grandfather.
John Hans, my Grandpa, loved chocolate candy. So it was never hard to pick him out a gift for Father’s Day. A mixed bunch of candy did the trick. We rarely had candy around our house on the farm in Indiana so I suppose it was a real treat for him.
But instead of events, let me say a few words about fatherly duties. My grandfather knew what all that was about. I could go on and on about how he was my best friend, my mentor, the person I told everything to, the one who tried to finance my dreams for me; in short, my all and all as to a best friend for life.
But I am 58 now. Grandpa died when I was 30. I have kids and grand kids of my own and I love them all. Some things I have done for them have been appreciated. Some, not so much.
But I still try and be there, with the heart of a servant, guide and friend. There is no manual for perfect parenting.
Still, the memory that comes to mind about Father’s Day experiences takes me back to the year 1979 when I came home from Florida by airplane and landed at the Dayton, Ohio airport. I was about 20 and my grandfather was about about 86.
I had just been through rigorous training as an under cover cop and also been educated on Amway marketing and life on the road, but I had requested to go home and finish college instead of going to police academy.
When I hit that airport, I came down the ramp and there stood my grandfather, dressed in overalls as usual, holding out the truck keys, saying, “Let’s go home boy. You drive. You know I don’t like to drive at night.”
No matter what was happening in my life, or how complicated and/or hair brained my decisions, when I came home nothing changed. Grandpa loved me to the end. Like the song said, “A Father’s Love.”

Sherry’s Corner: Welcome Exxon and new Sonic

By SHERRY KELLEY
Gurdon Mayor
Summer is here and things are hopping in Gurdon. Our new Exxon Tiger Mart will open in a couple of weeks and so will the new Gurdon Sonic Drive-In.
I was visiting with both contractors last week and they tell me things are going well. The Exxon project is one that we have been working with and watching for more than a year, since it’s inception.
There are many phases to the development of the new facility which will feature pizza, ice cream and much more.
The new Sonic will has a custom design with a brick and rock facade. It’s one of a kind and, like the Exxon, a good looking addition to our town. It’s amazing that we may have two ribbon cuttings in the same week. I will keep you posted.
Tonia Daniels and I met to discuss a Gurdon sign project. The proposed location is actually just a little bit north of town. But it’s an important placement because, located near the Gurdon Grill on the former Weems Body Shop property. This site will allow us to inform travelers who come off of I-30 at the mile marker #63 exit, that there is a great town just to the south of the sign.
I figure that many drivers, including truck drivers will come to the junction and turn north toward Georgia Pacific or the new Shandong Bio Material plant. We want everyone to know that Gurdon is the place for fuel, truck services and repair, dining, shopping and more. We have a long way to go till the signage is completed, but working with Tonia and her Clark County Leadership Class mates is a fine start.
Water tank repairs, sewer line and manhole repairs, well maintenance, the new FUN Park at City Hall, the proposed Small Business Development Center, a new grant for the Gurdon Fire Department, a new proposed crossing gate for the railroad and an upcoming State Highway paving project are some of the other things in the works.
The Arkansans Gospel Singers will bring God’s Word through music and song on Sunday, June 18, at 10:50 a.m. at the Gurdon First United Methodist Church.

Fisherman reports 8-foot gator

By DANIELLE COOPER
Tailgate News Reporter
Prescott fisherman Eugene Cooper went to Bodcau Creek in Lewisville on the weekend of June 10 and 11.
It was very hot and muggy. The sun was out all day. He set out one set of trotlines. There was one alligator swimming around.
It was approximately 8 feet long. It did not hurt any people, nor did it bother lines or fish on the lines.
Fisherman Cooper used worms, catfish Charlie blood and dough bait. Both types of bait caught fish that weekend. Eugene went out around noon and came in at approximately 10 p.m.
The fisherman’s luck for the outing gained him a total of eight fish and one light sunburn…

Gurdon Rotarians present

$1,000 scholarship to Clark

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Gurdon Rotarians awarded a $1,000 scholarship to recent GHS graduate Kelsey Clark on Thursday.
Clark told the group she is starting college to become an Applied Practical Registered Nurse (APRN), that is a Nurse Practitioner, and will use the funds for incidentals involved with getting settled in to life at the University of Central Arkansas (UCA) in Conway.
Her fellow 2017 Gurdon High School graduate Kagon Morrison attended Rotary with Kelsey, as did her father, Gurdon’s Brian Clark. The annual Rotary scholarship was presented by President David Williams.
Rotarian Treasurer Anita Cabe congratulated Clark on being selected for the award and said, “Up until a couple of years ago, Rotary could only give a $500 scholarship, but we were able to increase it because of community support at the Chamber of Commerce banquets.”
Kelsey said her actual nursing training will start during her sophomore year. In the meantime, she plans to assume an active roll in the events of her college.
She has applied to a college organization called “Ideal Leadership.”
Ms. Clark has tentative plans to finish her nursing training at the University of Arkansas Medical School (UAMS).

Cabe Library readers learn

fishing saftety, creature types

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
The first Tuesday program of the Gurdon Cabe Library Summer Reading program was on fishing safety.
Linda Goodner, an Arkansas Game and Fish regional educational officer, talked to a crowd of nine youngsters about such subjects as boating, life preservers, snake avoidance, water fowl, poison ivy or oak and a red-earred sliding turtle.
She presented the young readers and guests with a stuffed Redwing blackbird, complete with sound effects. Goodner also presented a duck-like bird decoy designed to be an American “coot.” She presented a heron replica and also gave a talk on the food chain of woods and water life.
“My last bird is familiar to you boys and girls. It is a Mallard duck. You will notice the boy duck has a green head, while the girl has a brown one.”
The encounter between the educator and the crowd started with a lecture on the importance of a life jacket, or floatation device.
She talked of their use while boating and also walking on slippery rocks in water.
“When you are out there enjoying our parks and lakes with your folks, remember your sun block. Sunburns are not a good thing kids.”
Goodner explained that fish hooks are only met for the fish and asked her listeners to be careful not to hook themselves or others.
She warned them that feeling plant life could result in getting very itchy or maybe even sick.
“If you get a snag on a branch or tree, get an adult to take care of it. Otherwise that hook might go wild when you yank it loose.”
Goodner advised her youngsters to clean up their own trash – and to take it with them in their vehicles if no trash can is available for disposal.
“By keeping your campsites or fishing areas clean, it is a courtesy to the next family and helps our natural chain of things to continue,” she said.
Goodner then described dirty water and advised the young nature enthusiasts never to drink murky and still water.
“Nature’s chain means muskrats eat cat tails, mink hunt muskrats and snakes are to be avoided as some can hurt you – like a water moccasin (cotton mouth),” she said.
The Little Rock Zoo staff will display live zoo animals at 2 p.m. Tuesday, June 13.

Caddo Valley Landing provides

all elements for summer outdoor fun

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Whether you are looking for fishing equipment, a cabin to get away from it all or Padi 5-Star diving classes, Caddo Valley Landing, on Highway 7 at Caddo Valley (on route to Lake DeGray), is the outdoor super stop for you!
Frank Rippeto, 50, bought the business in 2008 and has been adding recreational items and activities ever since.
Rippeto is a 1985 Bryant High School and a 1999 Henderson State University graduate in communication with a business administration minor.
He called himself a non-traditional student as the outdoor activities specialist also served four years in the Army before going to college.
Frank has been married to Joy Rippeto for 11 years. Mrs. Rippeto is a fifth grade science teacher at Peak Elementary School in Arkadelphia.
Rippeto is also an ordained minister, non-denominational, independent gospel.
In addition to fishing equipment and diving classes, Caddo Valley Landing has a complete scuba diving shop.
The facility has a full-time diving instructor, and three part-timers – including the owner. There are two dive masters to assist the instructor. The store includes scuba sales, service, rental and instruction.
Caddo Valley Landing also has all ethanol free gasoline to keep boats and such running smoothly. The facility has a large selection of kayaking and paddling equipment, including paddle boats for sale.
“We have the largest disc golf selection in Arkansas,” Rippeto said. “We also have seven cabins that we rent by the night, the week or the month.”
The cabins, located in the back of the facility, also have a laundry room for those choosing a little longer stay. Caddo Landing has five employees, counting the owner.
FUTURE PLANS
Rippeto continues to brain storm additions for his business in order to serve the needs of his relaxation oriented clientele. The store owner said he is looking into a deli with snacks as an addition in the near future. He also is considering putting in a car wash.
Rippeto said, “We stock this shop with your family recreational needs in mind.
“If they think they need something that we do not carry, then they may not need it. We have a very wide selection.”
Rippeto encourages all water sports enthusiasts to come check it out and to shop local. See why the place is called the Outdoor Super Stop.

Florida Days: Chapter 2, The Spinner

By JOHN HANCOCK NELSON
CHAPTER 2: Spinning…
After about another week of honeymooning with Alice and delivering Amway, the second job in my life in Florida began to unfold. Through Al, I met a group of young men I have always referred to as the Freedom Fighters. And it was explained to me by Al what was required to be a spinner in Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Tampa and just about anywhere in the area where there was a strip bar. The evils of white slavery sunk into my brain. I discovered I had a passion for helping young ladies get home who felt trapped.
I would begin playing “Give Me Three Steps” by Lynyrd Skynyrd a whole lot and learning the secrets of a very dangerous Florida night live. I met a fellow named Buddy Brewer who owned a night club called the Hitch In Post between Arcadia and Sara Sota. It would become my headquarters and Buddy would become a very dear friend.
I do not remember the first strip bar where I did my spin, that is my sales pitch to a pimp. You see, there were 110 such incidents and they run together in my mind. But I do remember what happened when I decided to take a bus to Fort Lauderdale from Arcadia the next morning after a successful spin the night before.
I had met a 14-year-old stripper/prostitute who wanted to go home. Then I had sat next to who I presumed was her pimp. Being a fan of music, the basis for my pitch came from Jim Croce music, which talked of the life of people of the night in places like Chicago. I told the pimp I was also in his profession and had a brood of good whores that I was very protective of. He smiled. I went on to say the six girls had six good rooms in an old house nearby.
I told him they earned $400 each a day, doing four tricks a day, and that I let each girl keep half of her take. The other $200, which amounted to $1,200 a day because their were six girls working for me, went to house and feed them and mount in a bank – that is half of it did. I personally kept $600 a day for being their manager and protector.
I then bought the pimp a drink. My entire spiel was being recorded on tape under the bar, where the cops had placed the device to gather evidence. I shut up. I bought us another round… If the spin was to be a success, the next guy to speak was the loser. In this case, it was him. He said, “You are young at this game. Your girls could make $800 a day if you would invest $100 of it back into each girl to let her ride the horse.”
“That would give you $700 a day per girl. You could still give each bitch $200 a day and a place to live, but do the math. Your take would nearly double. Are you interested?”
I looked over at the girl I was trying to save, as she had been talking to “a John” at the next table during the entire spin. The guy I was talking to was known to be her pimp and the dark circles under her eyes gave me the evidence I needed to know she had been riding the horse (taking heroin). My glance met the pimp’s. I smiled and began to respond.
“So what if I would be. I have no drug connections. I never found it necessary to run a good whore house,” I said.
My conversation partner smiled. Then it came. He said, “I can connect you if you want Tygar. It is up to you.”
It did not surprise me that he knew my mafia code name. I smiled and asked him what his operation was like? He said he made more money than creases from a troop of whores that spent a lot of time hyped up on snow (heroin). And he said he would connect me for $100 a day of the new profit margin.
That was all the cops needed. The raid began. The place was empty within minutes as the patty wagon came and people went to jail. The pimp, now in hand cuffs, gave me that look of death that I had seen so many times from mobsters. Having been raised by a very street-wise grandfather, I knew what it met that he did not threaten me as the police took him out.
You see, in the mob world, the loud mouth who threatens you can easily be taken down and usually lacks the courage to attack you. But the quiet fellow or gal, well there is the mark of a serious murderer. The bust ended. The girl thanked me for helping her and the agents took her to the airport to be put on a plane back to her home town. I got in the Dodge Dart and drove home to Alice.
But first I reported to my boss. He always met me at his church. I think it said Baptist, but again, I always got the impression Al was full gospel. He always knew how my night went before I opened my mouth. The meetings were to go over the next spin. In this case, Al told me the pimp who went down had many friends and that I should not take my car back into Fort Lauderdale the next day.
That is why I left it at the bus station the next morning and got on a Trailway’s bus to Lauderdale, hoping to enjoy a day at the beach, flirting with pretty girls and relaxing. It did not come down that way at all. And for those who care, Alice was my only girlfriend in Florida while I lived with her. I flirted with many but was very happy at home.
So on that morning, I kissed Alice goodbye and told her Al had a job for me that would last into the night. She understood. I drove to the bus station, got on the bus and faced the music. After driving a bit, the bus stopped at another small town between Arcadia and Fort Lauderdale. Two very tall and skinny men of color got on and sat directly behind me. They started talking to me immediately when the bus started moving again.
One of them was playing with a large switchblade knife and telling me the Tygar was a dead man. I sat there with my tear-drop sunglasses in place, long curly hair on my shoulders and did not move a muscle. When the bus made its next stop, I noticed nobody had stabbed me. So I got up without a word and departed the thing, with those two men on my heels. This is where you gotta believe in Mr. God (what I have always called the Great I Am).
As the Spirit of Jesus Christ as my witness, I got off the bus and saw an independent cab pull immediately up. The two would-be murderers were close behind. The driver looked at me with a smile and said, “Get in John.” I obeyed. The action happened so fast the two assailants never even touched me. As soon as I was in the old Ford LTD and it was moving, the man riding shotgun spoke to me. His voice sounded like Art Carney’s and he even favored Norton’s character on the Honeymooners show I had watched as a child.
The driver, so I remember, resembled Jackie Gleason, the guy who played Ralph the bus driver on that same show. “Norton” asked me where I would like them to take me? I said I wanted to go to the Hitch N’ Post and talk to Buddy Brewer, one of my contacts. “Ralph” told me that would be no problem.
We drove probably 30 miles to that bar and club. Once driving a bit, Ralph asked, “How are John and Marvel making out on that Indiana farm?” I told him I talked with Grandpa nearly every night and he seemed to be doing just fine. Norton said, “You know they are very proud of you but wish you would come home and finish school.”
I told him yes I knew all that and I would probably be moving to Indiana sometime in the next year, as the danger of this life was beginning to get too real. Still, it was not real enough to stop helping the girls. All three of us laughed. We arrived at the Hitch N’ Post. I thanked the two men and got out of the car. A friend was at the door pointing his index finger to the sky and smiling.
The man said, “Tygar, you got the power on your side. You get your orders from the Man. You know who that really is; Jesus Christ.”
I smiled at him and said, “Amen.” I looked back to where my cab had been, as I had not heard it leave and we are only talking a few seconds. I wanted to pay the guys. There was no such car in sight… The man at the door told me, “We entertain angels unaware.” He smiled and told me to come on in and talk with Buddy Brewer.
Buddy, which I did not learn until years later, was also a Christian minister. Yes, he was an active player with the mob and may still be to this day. But his name has been so widely known over the years, I do not feel I am endangering him to use it here. We are, after all, living and breathing now, many years after 1979.
My conversation took place with him late morning that day. He ordered me a free margarita, my favorite drink during my 2-year stretch as a spinner. He asked if I would reconsider carrying a gun. I told him what I had told my Grandpa many times on the phone. I told him I was too well trained with fire arms, sometimes had a bad temper and did not want to risk shooting and/or killing anyway so I chose to remain unarmed.
He smiled and someone brought him a pair of scissors. He pushed them to me as we sat and drank our alcohol. He also brought me my trench coat, which I had left at the post the night before. It was a nice long coat my grandparents had purchased for me my senior year of high school. That seemed so long ago at the time, yet it had been just two years.
To learn what Buddy asked me to do that morning, read Chapter 3, The Bluff… And remember my friends, we indeed do entertain angels unaware…

Sherry’s Corner: Great Muse Performance

By SHERRY KELLEY
Gurdon Mayor
We had a great crowd at the recent Gurdon Chamber of Commerce Banquet. Guests from all over the state, county and town attended. So many, that several extra tables were set up to accommodate the attendees.
Steve Landers’ address was entertaining and informative. He is a very likeable man. The Teacher of the Year was Jo Jo Smithpeters, Citizen of the Year Brandon Bradshaw, Chamber Member of the Year Larry Thomerson and Special Award winner was David Williams.
A very special treat in Gurdon was The Muses Broadway Cabaret “Song and Dance” performance at the Charles and Anita Cabe Auditorium on Tuesday evening, May 30. The Muses Creative Artistry Project is based in Hot Springs. The show was excellent. Musical numbers included selections from; Cole Porter, Irving Berlin and Andrew Lloyd Webber. This is the third Gurdon performance at the Cabe Auditorium by The Muses. They are topnotch singers, dancers and musicians, some from as far as Portland, New York, and Florida.
The choreographer was Amy Bramlett-Turner. She is from Gurdon and extremely talented. Everyone apparently enjoyed the show and there was a standing ovation.
Thank you to Charles and Anita Cabe and the C. Lewis and Mary C. Cabe Foundation for providing such a memorable evening in Gurdon. We loved it.
I look forward to meeting with Clark County Leadership attendee, Tonia Daniels, next week. We will discussing a project that will develop signage for our town. I will keep you posted.
Schools are out for the summer break. Please drive slowly and carefully around town.

Cabe Library to begin

summer reading program

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
The Cabe Library Summer Reading Program at Gurdon will begin on Tuesday, June 6, according to Krystin Walker, children’s librarian in charge.
Walker said Tuesday that sign-ups are under way for the reading contest for youngsters and will go through Thursday, June 8.
“We are expecting a good turn out this year,” she said. “We have a new Clark County library director and have added a craft day to our schedule and new entertainment for our Tuesday programs.”
The program is open to ages birth through 12. The participants are asked to read at least one book per week and to record it on a reading log, provided by library staff.
If the child can not yet read, then they will earn credit by being read to by an older child or an adult. All events are free and open to the public. The events in Gurdon do not require pre-registration, but seating is first come, first served.
In order to receive credit for the week, Walker says the child must visit the library to have their reading log submitted. A small prize will be awarded for each week that is completed and each week there will be a prize drawing form all participants who have submitted a reading log during that week.
A completed log must be turned in at the end of the program. The logs are due Aug. 5.
A child who has not completed all of the individual nine weeks may still submit a reading log with at least nine books read total.
Walker said all children who submit a completed log will receive a completion prize and be entered into a drawing for the end of the summer grand prize.
The regular schedule will be on Tuesdays, with a craft day on Thursdays.
For this week, a summer story time for the younger crowd will be at 10 a.m. on Tuesday. Then a fishing safety program for the older readers at 2 p.m. Thursday, June 8 at 2 p.m. will be the first craft day. Craft time will be for all ages.

Malvern veteran starts

recording studio

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
A Vietnam era Navy Seal is looking to have a successful recording business in Malvern where the old Taxidermy shop used to be around the corner from Food Center.
Hot Spring County Veteran’s counselor Britt “Santa” Armstrong said Tuesday he has not yet been told the gentleman’s name but he has had the pleasure of hearing some of his work at Gray Ghost Studios.
Armstrong said the man’s talents “seem phenomenal” and it is his hope the public will patronize the new establishment before lack of investment capital causes the fledgling business to close its doors.
“If anyone has ever wanted to record some home grown songs, or just get a listen to some fine recordings this soldier has on file, I personally invite you to visit Gray Ghost,” Armstrong said.
“This man has shown me both talent and ambition, and success at a venture like this for a man who has served his country well would be a fantastic public reward for a life of humble service. And it would prove that accomplishing a dream has no age limits.”

Editorial
Forest Festival
Competition
We would like to say that work is already under way by the Gurdon CD&E Club to be sure those rides, entertainment acts and all that make the annual Gurdon reunion on the last Saturday in October will be just as successful as it always has been.
We previously wrote a harsh editorial about a financial minded group in Arkadelphia who has decided to hold their entertainment event on Forest Festival day.
Although this breaks with tradition, and was disturbing to this editor on the onset, we have reconsidered our position.
Our United States is all about freedom and prosperity. If sharing the Gurdon spotlight is how these folks decide they want to make their money, so be it.
If their event fails, it probably will not happen again. If both events succeed, perhaps a new tradition of competition will have been created.
Part of being a writer of community news is to be open minded. We urge those with harsh objections to the event scheduled in Arkadelphia on the same day as Forest Festival to consider this. Even though it infringes on tradition, the only thing certain in life is change.
Some changes fall flat. Others establish new success. Time, as it does with all things, will determine how this new venture works. As observers, we at Tailgate News will be watching.

Tailgate Traveler to attend 40th class reunion

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Vacation time is here and a reunion is on my mind.
I am a 1977 graduate of Hagerstown Jr. and Sr. High School in Hagerstown, Indiana. Time keepers take note, that was 40 years ago.
The Tailgate Kid is not so much a kid anymore. But most of my classmates are still around. There is a 40-year class reunion in early August, on a day known as Jubilee Day in my old hometown.
I grew up three miles from said town on a farm with my grandparents. I was fourth out of a class of 144 in academic class rank and then graduated Ball State University in journalism and psychology.
This led me to a very long career as a newspaper man, as is witnessed right here in this column.
The design, photos, ads, sales and marketing, all of the Tailgate News, outside of a freelance writer from Prescott who helps me once in awhile, is done by me.
Is this a good thing? Not really. It was not my plan. I had an amazingly enjoyable career in my younger years when a team of four or five people used to put out a weekly paper. I loved being part of those teams.
I suppose I enjoyed it so much I could not see changing horses in mid stream. Therefore, when the newspaper business switched from print to digital, I switched too.
As you are aware, most readers in modern times gather their news on the Internet, so I switched medias to keep on writing to the public.
As to my reunion, some of my classmates were also dreamers who never gave up their dreams. Others drifted into what ever job was available.
Depending on the person, both paths are perfectly acceptable ways to live. One thing I will say for my hometown, it promoted working.
Most of us did not want charity. We were raised by factory workers and farmers. We were taught that success, real success, met earning what you had, doing all you could to help your fellow man and making sure your family had a chance to have a better life than you did.
Better, of course, is a subjective word. Each person must decide what that one means.
I went to my 35-year class reunion and saw my classmates for the first time in 35 years. Indeed we have all gained a little age on us, but our personalities have not changed as much as you might think.
The world calls us Baby Boomers. We are the result of post World War II marriages that repopulated the United States with youngsters who were supposed to excel, improve society and make more money than our folks did. As a journalist, I like to think some of my work may have contributed positively to a better society. As to money, I am afraid I just never loved it enough to suit the mold…. Here is hoping your summer vacation is fun!

Florida Days… Chapter 1… Arrive Alive!

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Introduction: Taking a Break from College…
I was 19 years old. A student at Indiana University under pre-optometry. All set to make some real money. For some reason, this was not what I wanted at the time.
I felt like my destination for traditional success had been programmed by my grandparents and my father since day one. Yep, it was time for a change. I knew the folks would back me and my dad would be mad. I went anyway.
It was spring in 1979. I had made it through three semesters at Indiana University and I was bored silly. Sure, college was a lot of fun. But something was driving me to discover who and what I really was, and how I really needed to spend my time on this earth.
I suppose I had heard too many stories about my Grandpa and his wilder days to just settle for the status quo of things. I knew I had to find my dream and stick to it. I am doing just that now, as I discovered my dream in life was to be a professional writer.
Well when I moved to Florida in the spring of 1979, I discovered a whole new world out there that this farm boy/college boy had no idea even existed. For the next two years, off and on, before going back to college and finishing my journalism degree, I would be involved in Amway sales and delivery during the day and working with the police and the mafia at night in a capacity known at the time as being a spinner.
The job of a spinner was to work with the cops and good hearted folks on both sides of the tracks to get young girls out of the bondage of white slavery (under age, drug infested, prostitution) and send them back to their mothers and fathers – or other legal guardians. Of course, this spinning stuff had a lot of danger attached to it.
As with my other books, I will now simply take you step by step, as I remember it nearly four decades later. Here is hoping you enjoy the read. And now, without further introduction, let’s go to Florida shall we?
Chapter 1: Arrive Alive…
I suppose it was sometime in March or April of 1979 when I loaded a U-haul trailer with all of my earthly belongs, attached it to the back of my 1974 Dodge Dart Swinger and started what would be about a 26-hour trip to Southern Florida. Florida, back then, was known as the “Arrive Alive” state. The “Sunshine State” logo came a bit later, if I understand it correctly.
My name is John Hancock Nelson. I was born in Indianapolis, Indiana on Dec. 24, 1958 and was raised by my paternal grandparents on a farm near Hagerstown, Indiana.
When I turned 18, I moved into a dormitory at Indiana University. I remember going on a coal strike break with a friend named Scott in that winter. I came back with a red head named Elaine under my arm from California and she and I explored house keeping about a year while I went on to finish another semester that following fall of 1978. When we broke up, I dated around a bit but somehow felt empty.
I loved school, but something inside of me wanted to see the world. Since I had no steady girl, and the feeling to travel kept getting stronger, I found myself loading a U-Haul trailer in the spring of 1979 that I had attached to my old Dodge Dart Swinger. That is when I first made the afore mentioned 26-hour drive to the Florida State line.
I said my goodbyes to my college buddies, cranked the engine and set out on an adventure that would burn a hole in my memory for years to come. That first trip seemed like an eternity. I remember finally seeing the Florida state line, with a sign that said “Arrive Alive.” I had drove straight through the night and it would be nearly evening before I settled into renting a mobile home – which would be my home off and on for the next couple of years.
But when I hit the Florida state line, I noticed a road side park kind of out of the way and stopped there to strum my guitar and just unwind a few moments. I had worked hard in high school, saved $7,500 and so I was not broke. I was just tired and hungry. Even back then I had a strong Christian belief and gave the Lord credit for helping this half-breed Cherokee to survive.
I looked around me in amazement at how beautiful the park was and I could smell the ocean even as inland as I was when I took a break from driving. I took a long ragged breath, got back in my sewing machine (slant 6 engines always sounded like sewing machines) and decided I was going to find a place to live.
I came upon a town called Arcadia Florida. It probably had 6,000 people in it and was maybe 40 miles from Siesta Key Beach and Turtle Beach. These two beaches would become favorite relaxation spots for me between spinner assignments. Spinning, once again, was a tactic used to catch pimps and take them into custody.
But on that first journey, I saw a small trailer park in an orange grove near Arcadia – just on the outside of town. I pulled in there, U-Haul and all, and an old man came out to talk with me. He was the owner and informed me it was $250 a month if I wanted a trailer and I could move in immediately but would have to worry with the light company the next day.
I looked around the place briefly, shook his hand and I had a new home. That first night without lights was a trip. I carefully unloaded my U-haul, which thankfully included enough to furnish me a decent home with what was already in that mobile home. Then it got dark on me so I read a few pages of the Bible with a flashlight and tried to go to sleep in my new world.
This is when I met my house guests. I shined the flashlight on one that I swear looked like he was reading the Bible too. That huge water bug/cockroach looked at me and scampered off of my open Bible to parts unknown. My landlord sprayed the place the next day and carted out 15 of those big suckers. Being an Indiana boy, I had never seen anything like those bugs in my life!
I went into town, turned my U-Haul in, set up a bank account and had my lights turned on. That second night was much more pleasant. The morning after that, I took my first drive to the beach and loved it. I would haunt Sara Sota and then Fort Lauderdale on the ocean side many days during my time in Florida. I knew I had to find a job, but that first week I just explored and let my savings carry me around.
After about a week, I began missing one of my college girlfriends. She was a police chief’s daughter named Becky, very cute and my last flame before leaving Indiana University. Becky said she was glad to hear from me, but she really could not move to Florida. She invited me to visit her at Indiana University when I came back up to visit my grandparents.
I had called her from a pay telephone at the Arcadia Trailways Bus Service, as I did not have my own telephone service hooked up at that time. I hung up the telephone and looked into the eyes of a man that I consider a wonderful friend to this day. His name is Al Lyons and he is a Christian minister. Back then, he struck up a conversation.
“Do you live around here now,” Al asked me. “Sure, I have a trailer on the edge of town, just like in the Neil Young song,” I answered.
Al laughed and so did I. He offered me a cup of coffee and I gladly accepted it. He said he knew a lot of nice girls if I needed a room mate out there at the trailer. I smiled and told him to introduce me to them sometime.
He did not let me know he was a preacher at first, but somehow we got to talking about Jesus and I told Him I had accepted the Lord at 15 but knew I had a long way to go on the proverbial Potter’s Wheel. Al assured me that if I were to stick with it, Jesus would change me into the kind of person who would be useful in the Christian army of men and women believers.
Oh, being raised Methodist, and Al believing full gospel, we had our differences in doctoral believes, but nothing that seemed to really matter to either of us. He discovered I was a young man taking a break from college studies and in need of a job. He offered me one and I worked for him off and on until I left Florida to finish my degree in journalism and psychology in the spring of 1980. I returned a few more times in 1980 and so that is why I call it a two-year hitch. But my time down there working for Al full-time was more like a year from when I left IU.
That full-time year had very full days. When I accepted the job with Al, I shook his hand and went home to the trailer to peal oranges and listen to music. I remember thinking what a wonderful paradise to live in, but nobody to share it with. My job with Al, before the night work started a few weeks later, was simply to deliver Amway products all over the area to his customers for $250 a week. I also went to a lot of circle drawing Amway meetings, joined the company and had a blast with my fellow dreamers.
We were all going to be rich, or at least make a living and enjoy ourselves. It was actually quite an introduction to the business world and I loved it. The money Al paid me was enough to pay a few bills and stretch my savings out a bit so I was happy about that too.
I went into the bus station every day to pick up my Amway orders and talk to Al. On one such morning, a pretty little gal with curly hair came in right behind me. She immediately informed me that her name was Alice and she lived just across the road from my trailer park with her parents.
She also informed me that she was 36 years old, had moved home after falling off of a stripper’s stage in Los Angeles, and was tired of living with her parents. Her leg was well and she was ready for something new. She said she had a Dodge Dart like mine, only hers was with a black top and mine was beige. And then, in front of my boss and out of the blue, said, “If you like what you see, I will move in with you and have our supper ready about 6. Just give me the key and you have yourself a room mate who thinks you are very cute.”
I was a wild child back then, and I loved female companionship. I thought about it, brushed my long curly blond hair back out of my face and said OK… I handed my new room mate the key to my trailer and she left. Al shook his head and asked how I would get in the place? I told him I had a second key that was given to me when I moved in. He smiled. I smiled. And we both laughed.
I headed out the door to see if this chick was really headed to my abode. I got there and she was cooking and cleaning up a storm. I told her my name and she decided to call me Jay instead of John. It was all good. The year I spent with her was heaven on earth. She would have made a great legal wife, but I was too young to consider something with that big of a commitment so I lost my chance on that one.
We laughed and joked, and just enjoyed each other’s company. She too had been raised in church so we talked about the Lord too. Alice was good people. And we really were crazy about one another. Before I moved back to Indiana, at an Amway rally one night, she did ask me to marry her. But I told her I wanted to finish college before I did such a thing with anyone. I believe it hurt her, but she stayed by my side until the day I moved home anyway…
So there we were on that first night together. We were very compatible on the animal, human and spiritual levels and I had myself a partner I have never forgotten after all these years. She had the most beautiful smile and so much enthusiasm for life. Yep, I was a young fool for letting her go…
Editor’s Note: If you are interested in a fast paced, story of Florida night live in 1979 and 1980, tune in next week for Chapter 2: Spinners…

Chamber banquet goers

praise top Gurdon citizens;

hear Steve Landers story

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
The annual Gurdon Chamber of Commerce Banquet was held Tuesday at GHS, with Brandon Bradshaw being selected as “Citizen of the Year,” Jo Jo Smithpeters as “Teacher of the Year” and David Williams as the “Chamber of Commerce Member of the Year.”
A special recognition award was presented to Gurdon pharmacist Larry Thomerson. Gurdon’s own Olivia Moore, who is now Henderson State University’s queen and preparing for Miss Arkansas competition, presented the entertainment.
She sang “Oh Darling” by the Beatles and “When You Say Nothing at All” by Keith Whitworth and Allison Krause. Miss Moore said it was good to be back in her home town. She called her songs “a warm up for the Miss Arkansas contest, as vocals is my talent.”
The speaker for the program was legendary car dealer Steve Landers of Benton/Little Rock. Landers started out by telling the crowd he was not much of a speech giver but he hoped the 200 or so folks in the audience “would at least get a good laugh.”
Landers said, “I grew up in Saline County, but one of my two sons married a Clark County graduate so I feel like I have a connection here.”
Landers said his 45 plus years in the car selling trade had included a lot of long hours, good deals and learning from the bad deals.
He said he is currently semi-retired and works about 20 hours a week for one of his sons and 20 for the other. When active in the car business, working twice those hours was not unusual.
Landers said his motivation for selling cars involved the fact that he married young, had a house and car payment and his grades were not so good in school.
“I had to do something and discovered I had a talent for talking with people and selling automobiles,” he said. “I went with that.”
Landers said his hard work paid off and he has bought and sold approximately 70 dealerships all over the world.
“I learned at an early age to swap and sell, and trade and buy,” he said. “Sales was my option because in school I had ADHD before they called it that. Back then, they just said I could not sit still.”
Landers said he loves businesses of any size, as being in business helps people get things they want and helps the economy of the whole country. He called small business the back bone of America. He praised the “wonderful spirit in Gurdon,” and predicted good growth.
“In Saline County, when I started, you were looking at about 8,000 in population. It is now 40,000,” he said. “My road stared out making $39 a week at a hardware store and then selling cars along side 50 other car salesmen. We go with what we are good at in life. I was scared, but I got decent at selling cars.”

School hikes prices

for student lunches

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Gurdon School Board passed a 10 cents per student lunch rate hike Thursday, as said rate hike was mandated by state and federal governmental rules.
Superintendent Allen Blackwell said, “We have always charged less than the United States Department of Agriculture has dictated but the federal government insists we go up a little at a time to meet the USDA standards.”
Blackwell said 76 percent of the Gurdon School District student population is on free or reduced lunches and these changes will not effect that program.
Breakfast for students will also go up 10 cents, while the teacher price of $2.05 will go up 90 cents. Cafeteria Supervisor Millie McCain said there are $4,000 in unpaid charges by students still on the books for the year, but efforts are being made to retire the debt.
Blackwell told board members this is not unusual, as the school has a policy not to let any student go hungry, and “these people usually pay us nearly all of what they owe before the next school year begins.”
Blackwell said principals send the families notices of the non-payments, follow it up with calls and finally a consultation – plus hard copies of report cards are with held until lunch charges are paid.
“Our principals are working on this and actually the year end lunch room debt is less than last year,” he said.
In other business former Head Football Coach John Pace has retired. This retirement notice was accepted by the School Board.
Moreover, the School Board voted to keep the same student insurance policy as last year – through Health Special Risk Insurance (HSR). Cost of HSR for this year is $6,652.
• Approved the special education assurances for 2-17-2018, approved the special education budget for 2017-2018 – The upcoming special education budget is $62,480 for the district. This is up from 42,251 last year at this same time.
Students needing special education services in the Gurdon district is now 99, up from 78 last year.
• Gave final approval for the upcoming school year’s Student Handbook.
The meeting was adjourned to a personnel executive session. In addition to Coach Pace retiring, Coach Aaron Cupp resigned to accept a new job at another district.
The next regularly scheduled Gurdon School Board meeting will be at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, June 20 at the administration building.

Traveler comments

on Memorial Day Weekend

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Area schools have dismissed for the summer and families are planning cook-outs, swimming, fishing and a host of other activities for Memorial Day weekend.
It is a time to regroup for me and mine. We have no special plans this go-around, other than to clean out the unnecessary stuff in my office and house and do some painting on our front railing.
A friend at the Dollar General Store told me this morning that Thursday was pretty well it for Gurdon Primary School’s 2016-2017 school year.
Here is hoping you watch out for those kids on bikes this summer and be kind to them as they ride and glide through your neighborhood.
After the honey dos, which may include mowing the yard if rain storms permit, I hope to do a little fishing.
That pass-time has not seemed quite the same this past year, as my best friend Mike died in March of 2016 and it is hard not to think of him when I cast my line.
Memorial Day is like that. We are supposed to think of loved ones gone by and smile at the good memories.
Here is hoping you enjoy your family time and make the most of this mini-vacation they call Memorial Day weekend.
Yes, perhaps our days are numbered, but only we can determine what we will do with them.
Be safe in your holiday travels and keep smiling!

Mayor continues work

on grant applications

Working On Grants
By SHERRY KELLEY
Gurdon Mayor
I visited with the new Sonic folks last week. They said that they are interested in the selling the current Sonic, which is located on Highway 53 South (Main Street and Third Street). Inquiries should be directed to Sonic manager Dorothy Lemons. I was told that the property could be used as a restaurant with the stipulation that there would be no hot dog or fountain drink sales.
They did say that hamburger sales would be alright. Also the property would make a great car lot. I am sure that there are a thousand other wonderful uses for the building. Which, by the way, is made of very sturdy construction, according to the contractor.
My family and I are really looking forward to the Gurdon Chamber of Commerce Banquet this week. Steve Landers should be a fun speaker. I enjoy his commercials on television and Anita Cabe said that he is very personable, friendly and community minded. We hope to see you there on Tuesday night at 6:30 at the Gurdon High School Cafeteria. Tickets will be available at the door or call 353-4444.
Our First United Methodist Church of Gurdon Pastor, Travis Langley, will be leaving us soon. He has been transferred by the Bishop to El Dorado. We will miss him immensely. His sermons are so good and he has a very natural way of delivering his messages. June 11th will be his last Sunday.
My husband and I attended the Clark County Community Foundation’s (CCCF) Annual Dinner last week. So many generous donors were on hand. The CCCF awarded grants to dozens of worthy organizations in the county. I was on to receive a grant I wrote for the Gurdon Little League program. Other recipients in Gurdon were; the Evergreen Church Food Pantry, the Baptist Health Gurdon Family Clinic and the Gurdon High School. We are all very appreciative.
Speaking of grants, my work on the USDA Rural Business Enterprise Grant is nearly complete. So many good people have been involved in this undertaking. I could not have gotten this far without them. What a great feeling to have this vision shared with others who are willing to contribute to the success of this endeavor.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart. In January, when this work started, I said that if I just completed all the rigorous requirements for the USDA RBEG I would consider it a success. And I do. And I learned that there are many friends of our town in Clark County. I appreciate their support and their work on this project. We will learn if Gurdon will receive the grant in a few months. But I know, right now, that you are for us and the success of our community. Thank you.

GHS athletes receive

awards at sports banquet

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
The Gurdon annual spring sports banquet was held Thursday at the school with numerous awards given to given to top athletes in basketball, golf, track, tennis, baseball, softball and soccer.
Kyle Jackson, GHS sports administrator and coach, was the master of ceremonies. Before announcing some of the top awards, given either by himself or other coaches, Jackson praised efforts by the Gurdon Sports Boosters to raise extra money and provide moral support for athletes participating in all GHS sports. He said anyone wanting to join in the sports promotion effort should contact Booster Club president Brian McGalliard.
Recipients of the top volunteer plaques were Richie Clark and Carrie Wilkins
The following is a list of some of the major awards and names of their recipients given out that night after the crowd of 200 or so ate and settled in to honor the players.
In girls basketball, Dae’sha Ivory received a 3-A 7 All District award. Kira Accor received the Ronnie Baker Go-Devil dedication award for her team.
Head Boys Basketball Coach David Davis told the crowd his team finished 10-19 for the season and 3-13 in 3A/4A conference play. He started by praising score keeper and volunteer Ashley Hulan for her dedication and accuracy at her task.
As to the conference record, Davis said, “Three wins actually means a lot considering we were playing schools twice our size.”
He noted that Cameron Gulley was the outstanding offensive player for the season in regard to boys basketball. Gulley also received an All State All Star position.
Coach Davis called Gulley the leader of the pack and recipient of the Go-Devil award as well.
Team mate Kagon Morrison received the outstanding defensive player award. Caleb Redford was also honored for his outstanding defense. Isaiah Harper received the outstanding parameter shooter award.
Coach Brandie Kirkpatrick announced that Dae’sha Ivory received an All District award for girls track, as well as the Go-Devil spirit award.
Kira Accor received the Most Valuable Player (MVP) for girls track.
In baseball, Coach Jackson said Garret White was the Rookie of the Year. Dillon Reece received an Si Young pitcher award. Cole Harper received the slugger award. The Golden Glove Award went to Josh Moore. Garrin Orsburn received the Ronnie Baker sports dedication award.
Reid Ledbetter received the MVP award and made All District for the 2017 season. Coach Jackson said the team is looking forward to much improvement next season, as talents continue to develop.
More awards and photos will be in next week’s Tailgate News.

Gurdon mayor congratulates

Class of 2017 grads, reminds

public clean up in progress

Remember Clean-up
Ends last day of May
By SHERRY KELLEY
Gurdon Mayor
This is another busy week in Gurdon. Many residents have begun setting their household junk items at curbside for pick-up.
The Annual Springtime clean up will continue through the month of May. Remember, no bagged items or garbage will be accepted.
I am continuing my work on grants, the many construction projects in town are progressing and storm clean up continues.
Wednesday I will attend the ALCOA and the West Central Arkansas Planning and Development Board meetings.
Angela Harper, the city’s executive assistant, and I will attend the Clark County Community Foundation (CCCF) Annual Spring Banquet on Thursday.
The dinner will be held at the Garrison Ballroom at Henderson State University. Earlier this year, I wrote a grant to the CCCF’s Giving Tree in behalf of the Gurdon Little League program. We will receive the funds at the event.
Harper is a member of the Clark County Leadership Class. She enjoys this great program which delves into the history, economics, geography and education in our county.
She will graduate later this year. I am a graduate of the inaugural class and I highly recommend this training led by the Arkadelphia Regional Economic Development Alliance.
Friday is graduation at the Charles and Anita Cabe Auditorium.
This is always one of the most inspirational moments of the year. The auditorium has 1200 seats and every one of them will be filled with well wishers and family of the graduates.
The young people on stage will receive nearly $1,000,000 worth of scholarships.
It is a day that the entire town turns out to encourage and support these young adults.

Tailgater recommends

you pursue your dreams

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
There are no words that describe the dreams most of us had at 18.
For me, it was 40 years ago now, but it feels like yesterday. I started writing stories on an old typewriter in my grandparent’s farm house at age 8. I knew then I wanted to write stories the rest of my life on this earth. Oh, I tried to deny it, cover it up with practicality, but I simply had to somehow keep writing.
My dream met I would have many hard times economically, as writers are rarely paid very much for their craft – at least not in rural America.
But somehow, I kept on keeping on. I learned the advertising business, the insurance business and now an LED lighting business – to complement my writing career and keep the dream alive.
Oh sure, I may live another 50 or more years with modern medicine and fairly good genetics. Then again, I may not finish this article or issue. One never knows in this life just how long these bodies will have breath going in and out.
But dreams do not have to die. Or at least in my life, mine never did. As I always told my kids, I am not really working unless I am writing.
My grandfather felt the same about farming. My dad felt that way about being a top-rate neurologist, or so he said a few times.
As to grandpa, he raised me. He was called to be a farmer, as I was called to write. That much I know for sure about my family.
Some folks go from 18 to 98 just getting by. They may find a good job, get married, have children, drift along and accomplish this thing folks call respectability.
But many of us have dreams beyond that. And your dreams do not have to die. It just all depends on what you really want out of life.
So no graduating seniors, your dreams do not have to fade to oblivion. It just depends on whether you answer the call of your heart.
For the record, I am glad I pursued mine. It makes me feel a certain satisfaction. I found communication was my thing. You know that aging journalist on the sidelines taking photos and trying to record good memories of young lives?
Yeah, well that would be me. If you see me smiling, remember this. I am living my dream. Will you live yours?

Fisherman helps

traveling family

By DANIELLE COOPER
Tailgate News Reporter
Eugene Cooper, fishing enthusiast from Prescott, has fished at bois d’arc lake for the past two weeks. He used catfish Charlie blood dough bait, catfish Charlie type b dough bait, worms, liver, hot dogs, and balogna.
Catfish Charlie blood dough bait and the catfish Charlie type b dough bait did the best. The worms did not do anything. And the liver, hot dogs and balogna did fair.
The weather was decent the past two weeks. It rained all day once in the two week period. It was hot most of the time. Cooper caught over the limit to keep each day. He only kept the daily limit.
The rest of the fish, he either tossed back or gave to a family that has been staying there in a tent for the past week. A family from Kentucky has been staying (camping) at bois d’arc. Father is trying to find a job and mother is home schooling three kids. There is also a young adult child with them.

Gurdon to hold

city wide clean up

until May 31

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
The City of Gurdon will pick up unwanted household items from curbside starting this week and continuing until the last day of May.
Mayor Sherry Kelley said Friday the Clark County Landfill has reopened and so there is now a place to haul the items.
“We will take old furniture, appliances, the usual Gurdon Clean-up items,” she said. “We will not take household bagged trash.”
As to tree limbs from recent storms, Kelley said she would prefer residents burn them instead of drag them to the curb.
“This is also Gurdon treasure hunt time. Sometimes what one person does not want another person will have use for. Feel free to take items home from your neighbor’s piles before our truck picks them up,” Mayor Kelley said.
The spring clean-up is for Gurdon residents only. Kelley said no toxic items will be picked up.
“I apologize that our clean-up is so late this year, but we needed to be sure of a landfill where we could take the items. It is fortunate that Clark County Landfill reopened. We were thinking of having to haul the junk as far as Nashville so the re-opening of our county landfill has taken off a burden from our workers,” she said.
The spring clean-up has been a traditional free service to help residents for many years.
Even items such as old bicycles, lawnmowers, washers, stereos, beds and more are subject to curbside disposal.
So once again treasure hunters, have at it!

GHS names top students

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
The 2017 Class members for Gurdon High School are about to become alumni, with graduation slated for 7 p.m. on Friday, May 19 in the Cabe Auditorium on campus.
This year’s class will graduate 46, with eight high honor students and two honor grad students for excetional academic achievement.
The High Honor Graduates must have a 3.75 Grade Point Average or above. For this year, they include: Kellee Miller- Valedictorian; McKinsey Malone- Salutatorian, Kylee Wilkins, Kelsey Clark, Alexia Morgan, Houstin Kirkpatick, Jazmine Johnson and Brianna Smith.
The Honors students must have a 3.5 GPA or above. For they Class of 2017, this includes Hannah Dykes and Rachael Smith. This students are picutured this week with congratulation from the Tailgate News!
Pictures available for the entire class will be published in the Friday, May 19 Tailgate News issue. PDFs are free to copy here at: www.southarktailgatenews.com

Mayor talks of street paving

Time for Gurdon
spring cleaning
paving on tap…
By SHERRY KELLEY
Gurdon Mayor
The annual springtime curbside pick up of household trash will begin this week.
Please set your items at the edge of the road and the street department will be by to pick it up during the next few weeks. The street department is also working on ditches.
The recent heavy rainfall flooded many areas of town. Sources say that Gurdon received 4 and 1/2 inches of rainfall in about four hours.
The storm tipped over a very large oak at the Rose Hedge Cemetery and the street department will also be working on cutting up the tree,
Mt. Canaan Baptist Church is creating a new spacious concrete parking lot on the north side of the church.
It looks great and will be so convenient for the many people who attend.
The state highway department will begin paving sections of streets later this summer.
About 1.4 miles in total were slated to be resurfaced. However, when the bid was accepted it was evident that the funding will cover only about 1 mile.
This mile will be divided in small sections that will pave a block or two at a time of many different streets.
The sections were selected by the amount of usage and deterioration.
One thing is for sure it will be better but will by no means fix all the problems. But my motto is ‘better is better’ and the paving is at no cost to the city.
The Annual Chamber of Commerce Banquet will be held on Tuesday, May 23, at the Gurdon High School Cafetorium. This year’s speaker will be Steve Landers.
You can find out more about tickets by calling the Cabe Offices at 353-4444. It should be a very fun evening. That’s what Steve said.

Tailgate Traveler recalls 1977 graduation

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Many students in Southern Arkansas will go through graduation ceremonies on the high school and college levels over the next couple of weeks and it brings up memories of my own high school graduation from Hagerstown High School – back in 1977.
I hope to attend my 40th class reunion this August during a local function called Jubilee Day. There was indeed jubilee those many years ago when our class of 144 crossed over that graduation stage.
Some were not as lucky as me. They have already met the good Lord in the here after. It is my understanding we have lost about a dozen class members already.
Our ages are 57 or 58. I am one of the ones who is 58. I went from high school to college for a year, worked in Florida selling Amway for a couple of years off and on and returned to Indiana where I earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism and psychology from Ball State University back in 1982.
I have been a newspaper man ever since. This digital magazine change was not particularly intentional. It is just that in the modern world a digital publication gets a lot more readership than the old style traditional weeklies.
Being a writer who wants to be read, I chose to make the change to digital format back in 2012. It has been an interesting conversion.
We get about 4,000 readers a week most generally at the Tailgate News. I checked the circulation of the Gurdon Times last month. They have less than 90 subscribers….
So as my grandfather used to say, you have to change with the times or the times will bury you.
Let’s look at the Class of 2017 a moment. The challenges they will face are much different in the next 40 years than I faced in my past 40. We had no Internet, cell phone communication, Youtube music or dating sites on some machine.
I hope to be around at least most of the next 40 years to witness what getting a job is like, buying a house, starting a family and more changes in the methods by which these activities occur.
I attended a Gurdon School Board meeting a few months ago where some sort of digital “hologram” puts a student or whomever is wearing the glasses right there in a situation with General George Patton, a field of dinosaurs or whatever and where ever the program you choose directs.
I do wonder if this is good for people. It all boils down to changing with the times but still keeping in mind what dreams you want to accomplish. Good luck seniors!

Chamber banquet set

for May 23 at Gurdon,

Steve Landers speaker

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
The 2017 Gurdon Chamber of Commerce Banquet will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 23.
Chamber Secretary Michelle Anderson said Thursday the guest speaker this year will be renowned Little Rock area car dealer Steve Landers.
Anderson said tickets for the event are $20 and are available in advance at all three Gurdon banks; First State Bank, Southern Bancorp and Bank of DeLight.
“We are talking nominations for ‘Citizen of the Year’ and ‘Teacher of the Year,” Anderson said. “If you are interested in nominating someone, you may do so at First State Bank or Cabe Land Office or you may write your nomination down and mail it to: Gurdon Chamber of Commerce, P.O. Box 187, Gurdon, AR 71743.”
Anderson asked that all nominations be turned in by Friday, May 19. As to the ‘Chamber Member of the Year,’ she said the Chamber members will be voting on that honoree.
If you have any questions concerning the Chamber Banquet, you may call Anderson at: (870) 353-5004. With the anticipation of more than 500 new jobs in the lumber industry in the Gurdon area over the next two years, the banquet presents a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the idea of the local economy beginning to grow. Also, come and learn about success in the car business.

GHS has scholarship and awards

program, announces Valdictorian

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
The annual Gurdon High School scholarship and award presentation was held Tuesday morning in the Cabe Auditorium.
School personnel have promised to release a complete list of scholarships and awards given, including names and amounts, at a later date.
Tailgate News editor John Nelson attended the ceremony and will continue running photos and information this week and next, as accurate spellings and information can be obtained.
The following is an on-site summary report derived from his attendance on the day of the ceremony.
The Valedictorian of the Class of 2017 is Kellee Miller. Miller is also in the National Honor Society and received a $78,000 scholarship to attend Henderson State University.
Graduation ceremonies for the Class of 2017 have been slated for 7 p.m. on Friday, May 19 in the Cabe Auditorium on campus.
Salutatorian for this year’s graduating class is McKinzie Malone. Malone is also a member of the National Honor Society and received, among many honors on Tuesday, a $500 scholarship from the Ellis and Bearnice Stafford scholarship fund.
Malone is a member of the National Beta Club, as is Miller. Both Miller and Malone were awarded the fourth academic bar for being the only two seniors with an overall Grade Point Average of 3.7 or better out of a possible 4.0 GPA.
HSU out of Arkadelphia awarded $268,000 in scholarships to 2017 Gurdon High School graduating seniors to further their education and become “Reddies.”
The University of Central Arkansas at Little Rock also made a bid for this year’s Valedictorian, awarding Ms. Kellee Miller a $29,000 scholarship.
Malone, along with her classmate Kylee Wilkins, who was the 2016 Forest Festival queen, both received scholarships from the Clark County Cattlemen’s Association.
The Gurdon Community Development and Entertainment Club (CD&E) awarded two $500 scholarships to seniors Briana Smith and Alexia Morgan.
Gurdon Mayor Emeritus and CD&E President Clayton Franklin said the club awards scholarships not just on academic excellence or for pursuing college but even more on the basis of backing a graduate as they express a desire to be a person who will make a positive contribution to society.
Franklin said this could mean pursuing a career in the trades, such as going to welding school or becoming a cosmetologist.
“Not everyone is college bound after high school,” he said. “And those with different goals than a traditional 4-year degree deserve recognition and financial help as well.”

Mayor Sherry Kelley notes city growth

New facilities
at Gurdon
By SHERRY KELLEY
Gurdon Mayor
The new Sonic Drive In on Highway 67/53 is progressing nicely. I visited with the crew last week. There were electricians, plumbers and concrete workers on site. This is going to be a large and good looking facility.
The Exxon Tiger Mart is impressive inside and out. The interior will have a great ambience and offer a large selection of food, desserts, drinks and convenient items. There are two dining areas and the bathrooms are deluxe with granite counter tops. Randy, the superintendent, feels the store will be open early this summer.
The Gurdon Food Pantry on Walnut Street is being remodeled. I visited with contractor Jimmy Hogue who explained that the project includes a large kitchen, offices, bathrooms and a big meeting area.
Hogue said that the facility will have the capacity to be used as an assistance center for people in need if there were a natural disaster. I look forward to visiting with Velvet Gonzales, one of the facilitators, to learn more. This is a great addition to Gurdon. The pantry will continue to distribute food to the community on a monthly basis. I appreciate their good works.
The American Made Silks business in Gurdon is building a large warehouse on Front Street. This construction project is nearly completed. A new home is going up on Bowen HIll Road. The site is a beautiful location just on the edge of town.
The delinquent tax land auction is coming up on Thursday, May 11 at the Clark County District beginning at 10 a.m. You can check out the public auction catalog at the Arkansas Commissioner of State Lands web site.
At our April City Council meeting, we reviewed the bids on the repair of the water tank on Red Springs Road. The council accepted the bid of $63,438 to repair the structure.

Crawfish boil today

and Saturday at Arkadelphia

By Shelley Loe
Tailgate News contributor
ARKADELPHIA –Arkadelphia Area Chamber of Commerce is planning the 6th annual Downtown Crawfest presented by Southern Bancorp.
The crawfish boil starts Friday, May 5 beginning at 5:30 p.m. Crawfish and the fixings will be prepared by The Cue Eatery & Pool Hall and served in the parking lot at 617 Clinton Street in downtown Arkadelphia.
“The Chamber has a great partnership with Southern Bancorp, the city of Arkadelphia and the Downtown Arkadelphia Organization. We look for opportunities to provide entertainment for the public to enjoy,” said Shelley Loe, Executive Vice President. “This event is to provide local entertainment and showcase our downtown area.” In addition to the crawfish boil, 67 Grill, JavaPrimo Coffee House and Café, and Slim and Shorty’s will be open offering food and drink options. Additionally, Little Penguin Tacos and Twisted Ice food trucks will have made to order tacos and shaved ice. The Dixie Jade Band will play throughout the evening. At 6:30 p.m., contestants will participate in a crawfish eating contest. Each contestant will eat up to five pounds of crawfish within five minutes. There will be a kid’s zone sponsored by Arkadelphia Police Department filled with activities for the young and young at heart.
On Saturday, May 6, the Crawfish Crawl 5K and 10K will begin on Clinton Street at 8:30 a.m. along with the Southern Bancorp Andy Allison Super Kids Run at 10:30 a.m. Kids’ activities will continue through 1 p.m. with the Cajun Classic Dog Show hosted by the Humane Society of Clark County beginning at 12 noon.

Editorial: New group takes car show

from Forest festival, will not change date

We are rather surprised that someone who was raised in Gurdon would schedule an Arkadelphia festival on the same day as the traditional Gurdon Forest Festival, now 40 years old this fall.
We attempted to change the minds of the powers that be on this invasion of date, as the Forest Festival has been scheduled to occur on the last Saturday in October since its inception.
Our mayor, Mayor Sherry Kelley, also went to the negotiation tables with the three private business folk involved, one who is from Gurdon.
The mayor said the three men in charge were determined to keep their festival date on the same day as the Forest Festival this year and hopefully in years to come.
Forest Festival, a carnival atmosphere and Gurdon family reunion time, has always been a big deal for those living here. The tradition has been attracting crowds of 2,000 or more lookers since at least 2004 when this editor first took over as the area reporter.
While we understand that the Arkadelphia festival crew wants to make money, and that scheduling another date may be inconvenient, we are appalled by the insensitivity of this group as reported by our mayor.
Forest Festival usually has a car show. That show will be in Arkadelphia on that date this year. There may also be hard times getting all of our traditional vendors and rides with the competition from a much larger town, namely Arkadelphia.
We have been told the Arkadelphia Chamber of Commerce is against the date conflict, but yet a permit was issued to insure the conflict happens.Gurdon, as the mayor says, is a strong little city and our festival attendance and assortment of carnival rides, a good parade participation, an auction and musical entertainment will probably be just fine. Still, the disrespect shown for tradition by this other group amazes this editor.

Close-up group talks

of diversity, new respect for leaders

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Junior at Gurdon High School Jennifer Acosta was one of 12 GHS students to make the annual government education trip this spring to Washington D.C. and she said the nation’s capital was “big, fantastic and the food was good too, plus I got to see first hand how others my age think who are not from Arkansas but share in the diversity of this country.”
“I was the only Hispanic student in our group, but I felt like there were so many differences in the hundreds of students we met that my cultural background was accepted in this land of very different people,” she said.
Jennifer and three others who went to Washington D.C. to observe first hand how the United States government looks in action told their story to Gurdon Rotarians on Thursday.
Superintendent Allen Blackwell said, “The thing I hope our students realize is that just because you are from a small town in Arkansas does not mean you can not be a valuable servant and asset to our country.”
Blackwell noted the success of folks like Arkansas politician Bruce Westerman, whom he said was just a boy from here that was big in FFA and yet has come a long way as a good guy who just wanted to serve the United States and make things better for all of us.”
Blackwell said the school staff has always hoped Close-up trips not only are educational about cultural differences but also spark an interest in young minds as to being a positive participant in governmental matters.
“If you want to serve, we need good people,” he said.
Rotarians also heard Close-up reactions to the April 2-8 trip from juniors Dillon Reece, Joshua Moore and Austin Taylor. This year’s group consisted of 12 juniors from GHS.
All of the speakers gave a special thank you to their financial backers for making the trip possible.
Joshua Moore said, “It was a great experience overall, meeting people from such diverse cultures and coming together with them in the capital of America.”
Moore said he learned so much more of the land to which he belongs than any text book could ever provide. As to the sites, he said the Korean War Memorial impressed him the most.
The group walked more that 50 miles as they toured memorials, visited with governmental officials and room-mated with a group from Pennsylvania who slowly warmed up to the Southern accent from Arkansas – realizing people are not so different after all.
Junior Dillon Reece said getting to know folks from Nebraska and elsewhere, bonding on such issues as small business challenges and seeing how the diversity of cultures that exist in the United States actually provide the momentum to keep this country running is fun and amazing.
GHS Junior Austin Taylor said, “I enjoyed meeting people like Arkansas Sen. John Boozman and was amazed at how busy Sen. Tom Cotton seemed to be in his efforts to help the rest of us have a better life.”
Taylor said the group stayed busy on the fast-paced Close-up tour but “it was a fun time, a chance to meet so many different people and worth it.”

CD&E club chooses two

to receive scholarships Tuesday

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
The Community Development and Entertainment (CD&E) Club met Tuesday at Gurdon City Hall and chose two Gurdon High School upcoming graduates to receive $500 in scholarships each.
Club President Clayton Franklin said the $1,000 from the club is “money well spent to do our part toward the futures of our promising young people.”
The identity of the CD&E scholarship recipients will be announced at the GHS awards ceremony, scheduled for 9 a.m. on Tuesday, May 2 in Cabe Auditorium. The public is invited to attend.
City Office worker Angela Harper, who is also the secretary for CD&E, said the club prefers to keep the names a secret until the ceremony, but admitted it was a hard decision for club member to make from the seven very worthy applicants.
Former mayor of Gurdon and CD&E President Franklin said everyone has a chance when it comes to this scholarship, as it is based on students who show initiative to contribute in a positive way toward their society. This could mean going to college, trade school or simply entering the work force with dreams of starting a business.
THREE EVENTS
Once the scholarships were selected, Mayor Franklin asked secretary Harper how much money the club has currently and what events are on tap to sponsor for this summer and fall?
CD&E, she said, will start the year, after paying the $1,000 in scholarship money, with more than $5,000 in the bank.
The group voted to continue fundraising efforts and to tentatively sponsor a summer fishing event in either June or July where fish with prize money tattoos, provided by Arkansas Game and Fish, would be turned loose at Gurdon Pond and a fishing day party would be scheduled to begin trying to catch the fish and afterwards claim the monetary prizes.
CD&E members agreed that prizes would be awarded for 10 days following the First Annual Prize Fish Tournament if fisherman were successful in catching them after the event. The idea was put forth by Harper. Franklin said it sounded like a winner and the group should pursue details.
The second event, the annual Unity In the Community singing, will be held in August before school starts and involve area churches and talented musicians, predominantly of the Christian faith. Donations will be accepted toward Forest Festival expenses.
FOREST FESTIVAL
The third and largest event will be the 40th annual Gurdon Forest Festival, always held on the last Saturday in October. This year’s festival will be held on Saturday, October 28.
Franklin said this annual reunion of Gurdon classmates, affiliates of the town and fun seekers will have the usual carnival, food venders, parade, musical entertainment and more. Festival T-Shirt sponsorships will be for sale through Harper at City Hall.
Current Mayor Sherry Kelley said she has been hearing that Brian DeBusk and Jonathan Gonzales will be privately sponsoring an Octoberfest celebration in Arkadelphia on Forest Festival weekend “and I will be doing all I can to encourage them to reschedule so the Forest Festival event will not be hurt.”
Kelley said this is the first such conflict with the Gurdon festival date in its history, as cooperation with scheduling has been adhered to in the past. An Arkadelphia business woman told this editor anonymously, “Our City of Arkadelphia officials and Chamber members are not in favor of the conflict. The date intrusion is a brain storm of two people.”

Council hears praise

from Gurdon audit report

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Gurdon City Council members heard a report Monday of improvement with an “unguarded opinion and a good opinion” concerning the 2015-2016 audits on the city’s overall funds and water department books.
Blake Rogers, who is with Tanner, Rogers, Manning and Plyler out of Little Rock and has 21 years of experience with auditing, told Council members of improvements in many categories and did not make any recommendations for change at this time.
Rogers said cash on hand was up $24,000 in 2016 from 2015, but CDs were down $85,000.
Total cash flow went down $55,000 from 2015 to 2016 with a total income drop for Gurdon of $215,000 during that year.
Rogers said the operating revenue for the year was down $4,000 with net expenses up $13,000.
He noted vehicle expenses “went down quite a bit.” Rogers said the auditing investigation found no reason for any suggestions in changes as to the management of monies for Gurdon at this time.
During 2014, the Gurdon books had been out of balance after the audit and Mayor Kelley determined that an annual audit needed to be conducted, rather than one every two or more years, in order to correct any financial mistakes quickly if found.
Rogers did say at the end of the audit report that Gurdon has two bank accounts, with $170,000 in each, that are non-interest bearing and he suggested Gurdon place those funds in interest bearing accounts.
In other business, the City Council approved the go-ahead on application for a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) grant to restore the old First National Bank building at 106 Main Street, stipulating it will be used for small business consultation under Henderson State University business consultant Leah Hasley.
The grant is for between $50,000 and $60,000, Kelley said. The mayor said Gurdon now owns the building free and clear as an old debt of $27,000 has been forgiven on the building.
Moreover, the City Council offered no objection to renewing a Main Street building lease to Hoo Hoo International for $1 per year for 50 more years.
Council members approved a mitigation plan by Mikka Hastings, which will prepare the city for natural disasters. Members OKed Mayor Kelley’s continued efforts to repair water leaks and to repair a water tower.
Kelley told the City Council Horizon wants to renew their lease for 30 years on a phone tower by Gurdon Animal Shelter and pay the city $7,500. No action was taken.

Prescott School District

to have bond revamping

election on May 9

By DANIELLE COOPER
Tailgate News Reporter
Prescott School Board members heard an update on the forthcoming Tuesday, May 9 special election at the April meeting.
The School District seeks approval to restructure existing bonded debt by way of requesting an $8,735,000 bond issue in order to free up money to continue upkeep for the district.
The bond issue would allow for needed construction, repair, renovating and equipment purchases in the Prescott School District.
Moreover, board members heard a report from Apptegy, a company that produces web sites to report predominately positive information on schools.
Superintendent Robert Poole invited Mark Lienhart from Apptegy to address the School Board.
Apptegy creates applications (apps) and user friendly web sites for schools.
Usually if you get an app created for a school, anything you click on, it will redirect you to a web site area you may not be interested in seeing.
Apps created by Apptegy will not. They make everything very clear. They prefer to try and promote all of the positive things that go on in the schools.
The live feed section is a one way communication from the school to the public. That way there is no “bashing” from anyone.
There is a section that allows people to communicate with administrators either anonymously or by name.
Apptegy has something for the administrators called “thrillshare.” It allows them to post anything in the school’s app on Facebook, Twitter, web site, mobile, text and calls all at once – instead of having to go to each different thing and report the same thing over and over.
Apptegy charges a one time fee for the mobile development. They charge for thrillshare annually. Apptegy also encourages students to use their apps for contacting administrators, checking on upcoming events. They can also check on the lunch for the day easily.
In other business, the annual request for contract renewal for 2017- 2018 special education department was accepted.
The occupational and physical therapy services and the district lawn and trash services were accepted to stay because School Board members said they are helping a lot.
The minutes for the March 16 special meeting and the March 28th regular meeting were approved.
The superintendent reports that there is a total of 1092 students enrolled in the Prescott School District. There are 548 students in the Prescott Elementary School. There are 544 students in the Prescott High School. The school financials are up by $641,000.

Mayor favors Internet Sales Tax,

it evens the playing field

Internet sales tax
could even things
By SHERRY KELLEY
Gurdon Mayor
As mayor, I serve on many boards. With a variety of purposes, all positions are non-paying. A common denominator has been discussed by board members at recent meetings and a consensus has been reached.
Many of us feel that out of state Internet retailers have an unfair advantage over our local small business owners.
Internet retailers are not collecting the sales tax, which is required by law. They are relying on the consumer to report the purchase and pay the retail sales tax at the end of the year on their income tax. Few people do.
So if you buy tires at Johnny Calley’s in Gurdon, Johnny will, of course, obey the law and add the sales tax to your bill. If someone buys tires online they can avoid paying the retail sales tax by not reporting it at the end of the year.
It’s an unfair advantage and it’s hurting our Gurdon small business owners. You know, the people that live, work and hire others in our community.
Right now we have an opportunity to level the playing field for our friends and neighbors. The Arkansas Legislature will meet in again May 1 and Governor Hutchinson is willing to revisit the Internet sales tax bill (SB Bill 140).
It was passed in the senate by a wide margin of both Democrats and Republicans but narrowly failed in the House.
If just a few of those representatives that were absent or voted against this bill will be persuaded to vote in favor, our local stores will no longer be at a disadvantage.
Last week, I visited with Johnny Calley who said he thinks it needs to pass and that it is unfair the way that it is now.
I also visited with Senator Larry Teague who said it is a no brainer.
Senator Malloch voted in favor, too. Arkadelphia Mayor James Calhoun is a big supporter of the bill and so is the President of the Arkansas Municipal League, Don Zimmerman, as am I.
Our representatives, Richard Womack and Justin Gonzales voted against the Internet sales tax bill.
We have an opportunity to try to get them on board for this special session in May.
If you would like to share your views with them you can call Representative Womack at 403-6287 or Representative Gonzales at 245-6365. My number is 406-1396 and Mayor Calhoun is at 403-1960.
Work is moving right along with the USDA Rural Business Development Grant that I am writing.
If awarded the funds will help create a small business development center and business incubator on Main Street in the former and beautiful First National Bank building.
A very big thank you to Quorum Court members Vicki Smithpeters and Brown Hardman, Clark County Judge Troy Tucker, Arkadelphia Alliance’s Eric Hughes, Bill Wright, Henderson State University Small Business and Technology Assistance Center Director Leah Hasley and others for their support.
It is great to be working together with these fine folks. A special shout out to Clark County Sheriff Jason Watson.
We also have a good working relationship and I appreciate him.

Gurdon passes anti-tobacco

policy, includes Internet rehab

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
The Gurdon School Board voted unanimously Thursday to update the Wellness Center suggested tobacco policy for the district, adding a mandatory Internet oriented rehabilitation for any student caught using tobacco of any form on the Go-Devil campus.
The tobacco policy update was requested by Wellness Center coordinator Wendy Shaeffer, who said tobacco was a serious problem and the policy needed significant consequences for violation in the Gurdon schools.
“We are requesting the update in order to help the students realize the consequences of tobacco use at an early age and to protect their health as much as possible,” she said.
School Board member Ed Reeves, who voted along with the rest of the board to accept the tobacco policy update, said, “I am not so sure about this, as people are going to make their own choices.”
Superintendent Allen Blackwell praised the new policy update stating that the Wellness Center staff had been making good health conscious decisions for the district and this new update reflected that fact.
“This is the policy I really wanted passed tonight by the board,” he said. “As to the general, overall Wellness Center policy for the district, I will admit it could use some clarification and so I agree to tweak it and resubmit it for your inspection at a later date.”
Schaeffer said the last time the general Wellness policy was updated for Gurdon was when Bonnie Ross did it in 2006 “and things have changed since then.”
She said the updates requested would bring Gurdon up to new federal standards. Board member Bernard Hatley said he believed item five in the proposed policy would stop teachers and coaches from giving pizza parties as rewards for academic accomplishments or sports games won because the new policy stipulated that all such parties must be school wide.
Hatley also did not like a stipulation that students would have “ample” time to eat at school because the term is not specific enough and one person may need a lot more time to eat than someone else.
“This new policy also says we can not sell concessions during the school day, which would cut into our fund raisers when we have things like track meets,” he said.
Blackwell said the policy can be revised and resubmitted, as it is not necessary to pass it until June. The board tabled the issue.
Hatley said if he ate what was on the nutrition list he would starve to death.
Scaeffer pointed out that there are no restrictions on food items brought for personal consumption from home by the students.
In other business, the School Board adopted a resolution to accept the Clark County Hazard plan. The board also accepted a 2017 personnel package.
Moreover, they heard Wellness Center activity updates from Angie Ledbetter, a regional nurse, and Dee Blackwell, a district registered nurse.
Ledbetter said the Wellness Center has given 164 vision screening tests so far this year. There have been 237 dental related visits.
“In regard to mental health services, 20 percent of our student population has visited the Wellness Center for mental health related reasons,” she said.
“We look for free programs to improve things in Gurdon. Anything done through Children’s Hospital is good enough for us.”
Ledbetter said occupational therapists and mental health physicians do visit the Gurdon Wellness Center.
She noted the Wellness Center distributes food from their food pantry once a month to needy families in the school district.
Mrs. Blackwell said the district serves K-12 for hearing and vision and did get $5,100 back this past year – which was double the previous year’s governmental reimbursement.
“Getting folks to sign the paper work for the reimbursement is challenging, but the refunds allow us to offer more services.”

HSU helps with small business

development, start-ups and more

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Gurdon Rotarians heard from Leah Hasley, director for the Henderson State University Small Business and Technology Developing Center Thursday in regard to how her department encourages would-be entrepreneurs and those already in business for themselves to confirm the feasibility of success with their business ideas and to seek available funding.
“”We educate them, through the University of Arkansas at Little Rock Resource office, on such things as keeping up with taxes, tracking their success and what rewards they can expect with their business plans,” she said.
“We have a lot of training to offer in such things as human resources, online marketing and building a web site.”
Hasley said her program is offered across 10 counties and seminars are always coming up. She said her organization works closely with lenders, including banks and non-traditional financers. In addition, the small business program assists clients in obtaining the proper licenses and permits to operate.
“Many times folks just come in with an idea for a business,” she said. “Putting down the particulars on paper seems to help in evaluating the potential of that idea.”
Hasley said sometimes the evaluation study reveals the business idea would say produce $20,000 a year. If that is the case, and the potential entrepreneur already has a job making $50,000 a year, some re-thinking might be in order.
She said comparing businesses in Little Rock and Hot Springs of like nature can sometimes be helpful in determining how a similar new business might turn out.
“We try and show those who tell us they just know they are going to get rich the real path they must take in a particular line of work to achieve success,” she said.
CREDIT WORTHY
Hasley said her program checks credit to make sure the small businesses she sends to lenders are qualified borrowers.
She mentioned that some banks, such as Southern Bancorp, have matching funds to help small businesses. That particular bank will match up to $2,000 borrowed for qualified business ventures that want to do things like expand or buy new equipment.
“A Small Business Administration (SBA) qualified candidate can have from one to 500 employees and make up to $5 million in annual revenue,” she said.
“We won’t deal with the George Pacifics or Warehousers of the world, but we deal with a lot of different sized enterprises in the SBA range.”
Hasley said her program works with Chamber of Commerce personnel in her 10-county territory.
“I also go give talks at schools, such as Gurdon, Arkadelphia and Centerpoint, and tell students about the importance of a good work ethic and encourage them to maintain professionalism.”
Hasley said the Small Business and Technology Development Center also serves minorities, a population interested in small business that are often not seen. But their ideas are seen, and included, with the HSU effort.
The Arkansas Economic Development Committee (AEDC) works with her in discovering such potential business people, start-up small businesses and those already making a go of it for more than a year.
AEDC has a loan mobilizer for loans up to $100,000 to help small businesses. If you have been in business a year, you can be certified by the HSU program and put in an application for a loan.
“A lot of people do a business on the side, but if you have at least one business tax return, we can help you get connected with an SBA lender,” she said.
Hasley said grants to help a for-profit business are generally not available. One exception, she said is through the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas, where banks can borrow money. That fund has been reduced from $1 million to $750,000.
Each bank organization can get $80,000 maximum from the fund and 10 percent is grant money to the small business customers with a maximum of $20,000 per customer given away. For instance, if you borrow $10,000, you can get $1,000 more as a grant that you do not have to repay.

To burn or not to burn…

By DANIELLE COOPER
Tailgate News Reporter
Prescott City Council met in regular session this week and determined that burning leaves until April 30 would be allowed, as no place has been secured to dispose of said leaves as of this writing.
The amendment passed included the burning of leaves and limbs. The original ordinance said that the time to quit burning leaves was around January 15.
Council members extended the burning time due to not being allowed to take the leaves and limbs to Hines or the landfill because of a fire hazard.
Mayor Terry Oliver and city workers are trying to find someone in the country who will allow someone from the city to bring the leaves and limbs from town to burn.
The mayor has one person who will allow the leaves and limbs to be brought out but expects the city to burn everything.
There is another person that will allow it all to be brought out and burn our themselves. There were two incidents mentioned concerning the improper disposal of leaves.
A lady intentionally blocked an area with her leaves to make the city clean them for her. She said the city will either clean them out or it will flood.
The second story was that someone was caught red-handed pouring big bags of leaves down a man hole. They were told they should not do that because it would cause their house to stop up. They just said the leaves will wash away.
There was a long period of silence. The mayor said, “To burn our not to burn is the question.” The City Council sat at the table in silence before finally deciding to accept the amendment to allow residents to continue to burn until an adequate place is found out in the country to take the leaves and limbs.
In other business, Chamber of Commerce Director Mary Godwin came to discuss the economic development.
Every year the hay bidding is advertised. The person accepted is to cut the hay at the industrial park.
This year there was only one bid placed. Mickey Ward presented a bid of $5.26 per row cut. Ward asked about having a contract made up for cutting the hay for three years?
The mayor said he would think about it over the next year. The council voted and accepted to allow Ward to harvest the hay of the industrial park for this year.
Jamie Hillery, from the Chamber, came to discuss the Prescott Chamber of Commerce banquet. It will be held at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 25 in the Prescott high school cafeteria.
It is to give out awards to nominated people of Prescott. State Senator Bruce Malik will be the guest speaker.
There will be a dinner and silent auction as well. Tickets are $20 each. For more information, call the Chamber at: 870-887-2101.
Larry Jones came to give an electrical update. Prescott is waiting on Hope to make a decision. They have power lines that go from Hope to Foulton.
They have to decide to keep or sell their lines. If Hope leases out their lines, it will determine who Prescott has to deal with for the power line between Hope and Prescott.
Water Superintendent Perry Nelson then introduced a resolution to approve the 3rd amendment to the Firestone water contract. Prescott provides Firestone with 650,000 gallons of water a week. The contract is supposed to be renewed every 10 years. It is past due for renewal. So the water superintendent, the mayor and Firestone managers got together and wrote up a new contract to replace the original contract written in 1967. The prices has gone up due to customer increase at Firestone. So the cost of water has went from 53 cents to $1.03 for every 5,000 gallons sent.

Tailgate Traveler: Time for Little League, scholarship awards

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
The high school baseball and softball seasons are coming close to the end.
Malvern will travel to Magnet Cove for a softball match-up Monday night, April 24. Game time is 4:30 p.m.
Then the Leopards baseball team will be hosting the Magnet Cove Leopards on Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. for senior night on the Malvern field.
As to Gurdon, the high school schedule indicates the season is finished. However, the Gurdon soccer team is to host Nashville on Tuesday, April 25, starting at 6 p.m.
I hope to go to Magnet Cove Monday night to get some good photos of the apparently final softball match-up for Malvern this season.
On Tuesday, I have a CD&E meeting in Gurdon at 5:30 p.m. to get an idea on who may be getting the Community Development and Entertainment scholarship this year.
I was told at School Board this week the annual scholarship award ceremony at Gurdon will be at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, May 2.
The Gurdon Spring Sports Awards Banquet will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 18.
It would seem I am always lagging behind on Little League coverage. It is just now getting into full swing, so to speak. I hope to get more award winning photos and encouraging spotlight shots this year than usual.
Time will tell, as is the case with all things on this old earth. So many times the little ones just learning sports get ignored in traditional journalism. This being an independent publication, I have had high hopes of covering the least likely to be covered more often than most.
However, priorities sometimes take over. If my CD&E meeting Tuesday does not run too long, I hope to get to the soccer field and take some shots.
Soccer, in Arkansas, is coming into its own. For many years, softball and baseball were about it. As the singer Bob Dillon once sang, “The times they are a changing.”
We, of course, must meet the challenges of change to continue encouraging our young folk.

Alliance director warns

Gurdon to be ready

for economic blast off!

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
The chairman of the Arkadelphia Regional Economic Development Alliance told Gurdon Rotarians Thursday that Sun Bayou Refinery USA, the pulpwood facility from China that plans to make the Gum Springs Industrial Park its home, should break ground in March of 2018.
Eric Hughes, chairman of AREDA, said the delay has been over permits, which are anticipated to all come through before that date.
Hughes said the refinery is the first like plant from China to be built in 30 years, and is the biggest economic development project in the Arkansas ever!
It is expected to transport its processed wood products by way of a trucking station, which will be built at the plant site, or by way of several railroad track outlets that will also be present. He said 12 days from when they have their product ready to ship it will be in China. It will go from North Little Rock to Fort Worth, Texas to Long Beach, California.
Hughes said building the elaborate facility will take 2,000 construction workers approximately two years. Hiring of those employees has not started and application details will be announced by the company chairman at a later date, Hughes added.
“It is not just the huge number of construction workers that will get work, it is hundreds of log haulers in our area that will be needed. And the log haulers will continue to be needed once the company is up and running,” he said.
“The big thing I want to stress to Gurdon is you need to be getting ready for this company and what it will do to the local economy now, not later.”
Hughes said the 250 permanent jobs, and the increase in piece work the log drivers will have, will mean an economic boost for Gurdon making it necessary to have proper zoning in place for housing proposals and proper water quantities available to accommodate a significant increase in population.
“The school needs to get ready to accommodate a significant increase in students and the city needs to be ready for significant growth.”
Hughes also predicted some traffic problems in Gurdon, as Sun Bayou will need 400 loads of logs a day to come into the plant.
The Rev. Travis Hughes, of the First United Methodist Church in Gurdon, remarked that the town does not even have a full size grocery at this point. Several Rotarians smiled and it was stated that the idea of a grocery for Gurdon had not been scrapped. Hughes said Sun Bayou authorities say at least a third of its base involves the Gurdon community.
JOBS ON COMPUTER
Hughes said the pulp wood permanent employees will not be working in traditional lumber yard fashion, but rather most all activities in this style of plant will be done by computer.
“Much of the equipment they use will be built in Europe, or possibly Australia, and then shipped here,” he said. “And this plant will be very high quality as to the environment. They will only produce about 25 percent of the impurities allowed by the Environmental Protection Agency in the U.S.”
Hughes praised governors Mike Beebe and Asa Hutchinson for securing a state government financial commitment to the project of $18 million.
“Thanks to the Clark County sales tax fund, we were able to commit nearly $600,000 from AEDC,” he said.
Hughes said Sun Bayou will produce a fluff pulp, which could be used in such things as diapers.
“They change their minds about product particulars, but one thing is for sure, Sun will use about 16 million gallons of water per day from the Ouachita River and dump about 11 million gallons back in, but the discharge water is very clear. In China, they fish in the discharge ponds.”
J.L. Griffin, of Griffin Logging, said clear cutting fears are unfounded as you plant more than you cut.

Malvern Council agrees

to funding library water

retaining wall

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
MALVERN – The Malvern City Council passed a request Monday by the Hot Spring County Library to release funds for a retaining wall that is to cost $11,000.
Clare Graham, librarian and interim Hot Spring County Library director, said the money actually already belonged to the library but had been put into the custody of the city.
“The wall is needed behind the building,” she said. “We need it by the De Jones Home so when it rains a lot we do not continue getting our foundation flooded, as that would eventually ruin our building.”
She said the wall construction has already started, but the funding approval is needed to complete the project. Councilman and Finance Director Wayne Reynolds noted he had seen the beginnings of the structure. Council members voted unanimously to approve the project and release the required money.
In other business, Council members approved a Water Works audit, tabled a motion to extend wastewater lines to Highway 270 and approved a resolution to approve the minimum value amount of a city item required on inventory to be $5,000.
This last change was done to simplify inventory taking in the treasurer’s office.
City Clerk Sherry Dial presided over the City Council meeting, as Mayor Brenda Weldon was ill. Dial said the inventory procedure change would make the treasurer’s job “a whole lot easier and not hurt the city books.”
Although the issue of extending wastewater lines was tabled for further discussion, the Council did approve a motion to allow the mayor to sign agreements for engineering evaluation of the project.
Water Department Director David Coston said wastewater extension is part of Malvern’s 20-year plan and allowing the mayor the ability to sign preliminary engineering evaluations is important.
The Council also approved a resolution setting policy for investment of city funds.
Dial said, “We have always gone for the highest rates in our investments, and we always will for my part, but we needed a formal policy so we have something to show.”
The Council tabled a resolution concerning tax funds.
Street Superintendent Mike Smith gave an update on a plan to replace water lines between Pine Bluff and Edmond Streets.
“This is our third section to improve with new lines, but the contractors are now three weeks late in getting started,” he said. “I will call them and get to the bottom of this.”
Smith said the contractor is not only late, but has said they want to bore 12 holes in some new surfacing between the two streets in question.

Sherry’s Corner: Looking for a trash

dump for City wide clean up

By SHERRY KELLEY
Gurdon Mayor
This will be a busy week at The Market On Main. Three events are booked including one to which you are invited. On Friday, April 14, from 4 to 7 p.m. is the Lipsense and Lularoe Open Party.
There will be free demos for Lipsense and Lularoe on site and raffles for those who attend. This event is sponsored by Rachel Gray (Lipsense distributor) and Jodi Ellis (Lularoe distributor). They invite you to come and see what all the hype is about.
Thank you to Clark County Quorum Court member, Brown Hardman. Brown is helping me with the appraisal portion of the USDA Rural Business Enterprise Grant that I am writing to create a small business assistance center in the former First National Bank building on Main. The deadline is May 1.
The Adopt A Cop presentation will be Saturday, April 15, at the Caddo Valley City Hall at noon. All Clark County Officers and donors are invited to attend.
The Gurdon First United Methodist Church held their Easter Contata last week on Palm Sunday. The choir did a wonderful job. Everyone is invited to Easter Sunday services beginning at 10:45. There are so many great churches in Gurdon. That is one of my favorite things about our town.
I especially love the bells at the First Presbyterian Church. They play two melodious hymns on the hour. So beautiful to hear when your outside!Those songs seem to float across the breeze to remind you that God is in charge and life is good.
We hope to schedule the spring curbside pick-up of household junk soon. We are looking for a suitable landfill to take the Gurdon items. I will keep you posted.

Young lady needs

help financially

raising her small daughter

 

By DANIELLE COOPER
Tailgate News Reporter
The following is an example of a young woman and her baby who could use your help. As we celebrate the resurrection of our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, it is only natural to ask what would Jesus do and then do it.
Remember the scriptures of how the Lord favored those who fed and clothed the poor. Doreen lives in Uganda. She got pregnant at the young age of 17 years old.
The young man she was with at the time knew she was pregnant but still left her to fend for herself. He refused to help her and her child.
Doreen struggled from that point on. She had no one that could help her.
Her parents were harsh towards her for keeping the child without a man to care for them. So she ran away from the village to one of the slums to raise the child.
Thanks to God. Three years ago, Doreen gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. She named the little girl, Gabriella. At this point, Doreen is not working and finds it very difficult to get everything they need to eat, live in their home, medical bills for the baby, as well as trying to find better clothes for the two of them.
Christian Missionary Kato Victor Edwards has been visiting Doreen. She told Kato that her rent is $91 a month. Her groceries average $58 a month. Clothes for her and the baby are $41 a month and medicine costs $30 a month. This is to cover her and Gabriella’s survival needs.
Kato has raised enough money to construct a well for fresh water. Doreen lives 28 miles from where the well was built. Because she lives so far from the well, she has to buy water for them to use everyday.
Kato started his own business in Uganda to help the needy children. The organization he opened is called Lukwanga Children Aid. They have only been in operation for a little more than a year. They run on complete faith that God will help.
But they need more help by us. They are currently helping 52 children.
They are staying open by using volunteers and they provide free time without payments for the help they give. If you can help, contact:www.gofundme.com/lukwanda-children-aid.

Malvern and Rockport argue

about city lines of possession

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
MALVERN – Malvern City Council had its regular monthly agenda meeting Monday and heard a report from the city attorney advising them to discontinue double water billing in regard to disputed property ownership with Rockport.
City Attorney Cecilia Ashcraft said it was in the best interest of Malvern to do away with double billing. Council members did not respond, other than to state they would consider the idea at the regular City Council meeting on Monday night, April 10.
“Double rate paying is a big issue,” Ashcraft said. “I think it is in the best interest for Malvern to repeal the double rate policy.”
“Malvern does not have Rockport properties on our water system and double charging folks is not benefiting our city just because there is some dispute over what belongs to Malvern and what belongs to Rockport. For example, the new Dollar General out Rockport way is clearly a property of Malvern’s, yet Rockport is trying their best to claim it. What we need to do is get a court ruling on what belongs to us and what belongs to Rockport.”
Rockport’s people, who are in this property dispute, are not happy paying double rates, she added.
David Coston, Malvern’s water department manager, said since he has been at his present job this double rate problem has been an issue with around six property owners, but so far the court system has not been able to solve the dilemma.
“We will keep operating the way we can operate until this City Council changes the rules.”
Ashcraft said at this point Malvern is bound to put water lines in and serve community members within the city limits “and we can not shut off Rockport.”
Finance Committee Chairman and City Council member Wayne Reynolds said the current policy has been the rule for 20 years between Malvern and Rockport.
Ashcraft said some pay double rates to get hooked up and there is a $5,000 tie on fee on the books. Coston said the tie-on fee is a suggested ordinance, not necessarily a working rule.
However, he admitted Hungry Fisherman paid the tie-on fee to get Malvern water and sewer.
The double-rate rule, he said, does not constitute annexation by the law’s way of looking at it. Coston said a lot of people need the water but are land-locked and can not be annexed into Malvern.
City Council member David Cross spoke out and said, “I say double rates need to go.”
Ashcraft said to the council at large, “Something is getting ready to happen and we need your support on this.”
AUDIT REPORT
In other business to be brought before the City Council Monday, the Hot Spring County Library will be asking for funds for a retaining wall.
Moreover, the Council members heard a 2016 audit report from Blake Rogers.
Rogers said the total assets for Malvern were down approximately $162,000 from the previous year. However, Rogers reported a net cash increase for 2016 of $511,000.
The City Council “passed” the Hot Spring County Library retaining wall funding request but told a library representative, “you realize this has to be officially approved at the regular council meeting.”
As to progress on getting the proposed 1 cent sales tax passed for needed repairs and updates in the city, the group agreed that this needs to be passed if the intra structure deficiencies in downtown Malvern are ever going to be fixed properly.
The Monday, April 10 Malvern City Council meeting will start at 7 p.m. in City Hall.

Gurdon mayor seeks landfill

to carry off city clean up trash

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
The annual spring clean-up at Gurdon will happen, but no date has been set yet as the mayor is negotiating with area landfills to have a place to take the trash.
Gurdon Mayor Sherry Kelley said today that arrangements to dispose of the town’s trash must be made before the dates can be set, as the Clark County Landfill at JoAnn is temporarily closed due to overflow.
“Folks, we will have the clean-up,” Kelley said. “I am negotiating with dumps over Nashville way and in Nevada County to nail down a place to take the trash.
“As soon as I get a commitment from one of the area dumps, I will make sure to announce the traditional annual clean-up week/ treasure hunt.”
Kelley said negotiations with Nevada County are pending, but she will also be contacting the Nashville area dump within the next few days. Gurdon residents are urged to be sorting though stuff they want to dispose of at curb side.

Sherry’s Corner: Tigermart progress

By SHERRY KELLEY
Gurdon Mayor
Gurdon’s new Exxon Tiger Mart is going to be amazing. Not only is this new building located on the busiest corner in town, it has replaced an eyesore. This nearly completed new fuel, restaurant and convenience store is gorgeous.
From the granite in the bathrooms to the lighting fixtures over the booths, our Tiger Mart is first rate. Inside and out, Gurdon’s Tiger Mart looks like it could be in Chenal. The construction is nearly complete. I will keep you posted.
Last Friday the USDA in Little Rock issued the deadline on the Rural Business Development Grant that I am writing. That deadline is May 1. As you know, I have been working on this grant for several months. And last Wednesday I went to Hot Springs to West Central Planning and Development to meet with Darian Piper.
I wanted to go over what I had completed thus far with someone who has an objective eye. Darian seems to think that I can finish this grant in time.
Although I hope that it is awarded to develop the beautiful former First National Bank building on Main Street downtown into a rural business assistance center, I will consider it a victory to turn this rigorous grant in on time.
The FUN Park Grant, which has already been approved by Arkansas State Parks, is moving along. Twin Rivers Architect Mark Overturf and I met last week and discussed the layout for his plans to be submitted to the Parks Department. Not a simple project, there will be plenty of work to be done before hand.
But when completed, this should be nice for families who want a little place to watch the kids play, picnic and shoot some hoops. I love that the location is at the city hall. The police officers said that they are looking forward to the addition, also, and that they will be sure to keep an eye on things.
Pastor Donald Gates held a great surprise party for his wife Peg, at The First Christian Church in Gurdon. The event featured some wonderful gospel music courtesy of The Messengers of Song, The Messengers From the Heart, Steve Reeves and Traci Cooper. Everyone seemed to have a great time and we wish Peg many happy returns.
This Saturday is the annual Jason Frisby Jamboree at the Cabe Ball Fields. Lot’s of fun on the fields and the Old Timer’s Game.
New this year is the Balls and Paws Color Run which starts at 7:30 am at the ball Mark 4:10-11New International Version (NIV)

Tailgate News keeping up with ball games

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Trying to keep up with game make-ups is one of the biggest challenges of a wet spring for a sports photographer.
This week, as perhaps this issue suggests, I did manage to cover a couple of Malvern verses Fountain Lake games in Malvern.
It was Malvern all the way in baseball, as near as I could tell. Now the Lady Cobras did some better, or so I recall.
This coming Friday, on April 14, we are to play Jessieville at home. There is to be both baseball and softball action on the home fields – probably starting about 4:30 p.m.
It is not just the rain that is freaking out this old sports guy. Yesterday I was wearing shorts around the house and porch. Today I have been in a coat most of the day!
As is the famous saying, if you do not like Arkansas weather, just wait a little while and it will change!
Still yet, take me out to the ball game calls my name. I will be looking forward to the Friday games.
Although Gurdon is in a rebuilding year, the kids are trying hard to rack up some wins. Come on out to Go-Devil country next Friday evening and show your support.
One of the baseball player’s fathers was talking to me about our team at Gurdon this year. He felt certain things will go better as the season continues.
I enjoyed the conversation. I will be covering as much ball this spring as possible and a win is so much easier to write about.
Gurdon has a recent history in baseball of many victories and I am sure these younger players will work their way up to their own bragging rights. Here is hoping for many Go-Devil home runs!

Prescott High School Principal

resigns, new one sought

By DANIELLE COOPER
Tailgate News Reporter
Prescott High School Principal Missy Walley has resigned, but will stay on the rest of the school year. She announced her resignation at the March 28 school board meeting.
Her husband received a promotion and it will take her family to either North or South Carolina. Her family will be moving in June. So she regrettably submitted this letter of resignation early so that the school board will have plenty of time to advertise for a new principal.
Robert Poole, superintendent, thanked her for her service. Reed Koger said, “Your influence will be felt for a long time.” School board president Patricia Blake thanked her for the opportunity to advertise early for the position.
Prescott Elementary School staff members Kimberly Grimes and Kathie Janes proposed to start something new called communities. Communities will continue as the students are promoted from kindergarten to the fourth grade. The communities will become a family. The students who are in one grade whom are having problems with one subject will be able to go a couple doors down to get supportive help.
The students who are excelling at a particular subject can go a couple doors down to get a higher learning level. The students who were there before the communities were put in place will be put into communities as well. The special education students will continue as they are.
Grimes said the Waldron school district is doing this and have had success. The communities will give the students one teacher all day.
The ETP, Educational Transition Program, was proposed as an alternative to the current discipline process. The ETP is to help students who are struggling with behavior and academics. It will keep students in a room and help them to over come the behavioral issues they are having problems with. If the student is having academic problems that is causing behavioral problems and vise versa, it will help that student with the academics and support the student with fixing the behavior. The ETP is to be an alternative to corporal punishment, In School Suspension, Out of School Suspension and expulsion.
The state championship ruins for the football team is to be made by the Jostens Recognition Services. The ruins will cost $15,330. The football team has raised $16,598. Robert Poole brought it in front of the school board for permission to get the rings. Nobody declined his request.
The ALE Tuition Agreement with Hope school district for the 2017-2018 school year was brought up for renewal. There are no current students enrolled in this tuition. However, the school board had to decide to keep or let go of this tuition.
Robert Poole gave the superintendent’s reports. The district’s enrollment had a total of 997 students. There were 550 students enrolled in elementary school. There were 447 students enrolled in the high school.
The school is spending 58% of the 59% collection. The 2015-2016 audit report was accepted. The April school board meeting was approved for Tuesday April 18.

Gurdon City Council passes

$5 a month water bill hike

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Gurdon City Council unanimously approved a water bill hike Monday which will raise the water rates in the city by $5 per month starting in April.
Mayor Sherry Kelley said the rates have not been raised in 18 years, but the money generated would be used to create funds for needed water and sewer department repair, such as water tower paneling on Red Springs Road, surprise problems in the system and to pay a $35,000 Clark County imposed court fee that “is not in the budget here and there is no other way to pay.”
Tommy Potter, former mayor’s candidate against Kelley and local hair stylist, did not attend the City Council meeting. Potter had pointed out that the court costs were a police department issue and should be worked out through police department funding.
Mayor Kelley said she gave Potter available funding information in her office prior to the meeting and “he apparently saw that there was indeed no other option to raise this money if we were going to create water and sewer repair funding as well as be able to pay the annual court costs for Gurdon.”
According to Kelley, the police department budget does not have funds for the rising court costs and cutting back on staff is apparently not feasible. Marshal Don Childres was not available for comment.
In other business, an ordinance granting city land easement to Southern Bancorp for the purpose of building a permanent bank near the intersection of Highway 53 and 6th Street was passed. SBC President Bill Wright said the adjacent alley will be left open.
Moreover, a Georgia Pacific representative asked for another easement from the city to fix a problem with discharging water waste by installing bendable tube piping that will not get clogged and eliminate a now existing 90 degree turn in solid pipe.
Mayor Sherry Kelley and the City Council agreed they should fix the discharging fluid problem so that flows to the updated sewer pond were consistently good.
“With all of our updates on the sewer plant, we can not afford to let this problem continue,” Kelley said.
The GP representative said the tube piping would cause the water to flow west to the sewer pond instead of coming in from the north “and that should eliminate the clogging problem.”
The City Council voted to grant an easement for permanent piping through city property by GP. Another easement may be necessary from Otis and Maxine Duncan, who own adjacent property, depending on the engineering of the pipe to make it work.
The Council also voted to allow a five-trailer RV Park to be re-installed behind Whatever Produce and Bait off of Highway 67 in anticipation of needed housing, as 500 or more new logging industry jobs are expected to come to the Gurdon area over the next two years.

Prescott man shot in Gurdon

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
A Prescott man suffered a gun shot wound to his right arm at 10:30 p.m. Monday in the 4th Street area of Gurdon and was hospitalized at the Baptist Memorial Hospital in Arkadelphia.
Gurdon Police Department Investigator and Deputy Marshal Toby Garner said Thursday a person of interest in known to the police but had not been apprehended as of press time.
The victim is 23-year-old Dustin Sockwell of Prescott. Officer Garner said the case is still under investigation and Sockwell did not suffer a wound that appears to be fatalistic in nature.
Garner said the wound is apparently the result of a heated argument on Facebook.

Virtual Reality comes to Gurdon students

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
A teacher at Gurdon High School demonstrated to School Board members Tuesday how a new virtual reality machine, where head gear is placed on the user, can bring General George Patton of World War II into the same room with a student.
Maison Hudgeons, soccer coach and teacher for GHS, said the equipment can bring history alive for members of his classes “and let them go beyond just reading or hearing about famous people and events.”
Board member Bernard Hatley tried out the head gear, which took him back to prehistoric times, and said, “I am there and I am too close to that dinosaur!”
Hudgeons explained that the system worked on an ocular riff principle.
“This allows students the opportunity to meet history that has never been there before this high tech world advance,” Hudgeons said.
DYSLEXIA, READING
After the light-hearted presentation on advances in virtual world teaching, Carla Jester, who is a reading specialist for the district, gave board members a report on new advances being used to help those with dyslexia to learn to read instead of falling further behind at school.
Jester said Gurdon is using all of the advanced techniques available through education, but the challenge to a dyslexia student is learning to read using the opposite side of the brain from the rest of us.
“It means they are decoding every word and that makes it hard to grasp meaning at the same time,” she said.
“I can not diagnose for sure, as I am not a doctor, but I can record markers that show up in our K-2 evaluations which indicate that dyslexia could be present.”
Jester said research indicates if you catch dyslexia in K-2 it is early enough that the brain can be activated on the decoding side and a student will not fall as far behind on reading tasks.
“We have about 20 kids in Tear 2, that means according to the markers seen they may have dyslexia,” she said.
“A child’s brain responds typically until 9 years old, as to learning to read. After that, it is much harder.”
Jester says she has six students in Tear 3 at Gurdon, who have more markers that could indicate the condition. She stressed that no child is told they can not be helped.
Dyslexic children often have average to above average IQ scores, but simply have to be dealt with differently in the learning process to achieve.
According to Jester, there are two or three students at Gurdon beyond Tear 3, “where I have told them there are definite signs of dyslexia.”
Those students receive 120 minutes a day of one on one training in order to read.
Jester said there is no medication that will eliminate dyslexia. It is a condition that has to be dealt with for a life time, but many still do well in life once coping mechanisms are in place.
She said 70 percent of students should learn reading with a whole group. 30 percent need the individual attention.
“Our biggest challenge in teaching any child to read is that so many of them come in with very low language skills, not speaking in complete sentences,” she said.
“Writing is the highest order of reading. We do not want any of our students to fall through the cracks and not learn to read.”
She said dyslexia does not fall under special education, as it is not an intelligence problem.
“Many students have distautia, which is a fancy way of saying that they simply have not been taught,” she said.
Teachers are now getting more instruction on how to cope with the condition.
Jester has a reading specialist degree and is able to pass her dyslexia teaching methods on to other teachers and also let them know what signs to look for when evaluating the condition.
“From what I am seeing,” Superintendent Allen Blackwell said, “Gurdon is ahead of the game in this area.”
GHS Principal Wilma House also gave an activity report for the high school. Among other things, said leadership research indicates giving a perfect attendance award promotes more perfect attendance.
In other business, the School Board went into executive session and came out to pass a personnel package, excluding teacher Jon Pace from the list.
Moreover, the School Board voted to have Superintendent Blackwell work on a classified salary schedule.
“This schedule will be for new employees, as our current employees will be grandfathered in to their current pay arrangement,” Blackwell said.
The next Gurdon School Board meeting will be at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 18.

Sherry’s Corner

Sports color fund raiser at hand

By SHERRY KELLEY
Gurdon Mayor
The Gurdon Little League is hosting an fun and exciting fundraiser. It will be a color run and walk.
Your entry fee will go to supplies and equipment for the young ball players. The color run and walk will feature a starting point and finish line. You will check in at stops along the route and receive a blast of color on your clothes, face or body.
Sounds beautiful and fun. Check the marquee sign on Main Street for entry details. My mom and I are ready for this fun event.
The Adopt A Cop Presentation will be Saturday, April 15, at the Caddo Valley City Hall. At noon all Clark County Officers, as well as those who sponsored the fundraiser are invited to attend. Thank you to Brown Hardman and others for adopting our cops.
Clark County Extension Officer Amy Simpson, Street Department Manager Gary Smith and I examined the grass at the Pee Wee Football/Youth Soccer Field at the Gurdon City Park.
Simpson said that the turf is progressing nicely and right track. Smith is installing the bleachers. Local welder David Williams is going to begin constructing the goal posts soon. I look forward this year to the first competition on the field.
As a board member, I attended a Clark County Industrial Council meeting last week. Everything is moving right along on the Gum Springs project.
The Market on Main is booking up for April. If you would like to inquire about reserving the event center, call me at 406-1396. The rent is $15 an hour.
Saturday evening April 1 the First Christian Church of Gurdon invites everyone to attend a festive musical celebration of Pastor Donald Gates wife’s, Peg’s 80th Birthday. The following are singing Saturday evening: His Story, Steve Reeves, Messengers of Song, and Messengers From The Heart.
Refreshments will be enjoyed after the singing. You are invited to attend as a surprise to Peg. This should be a wonderful joyous time.

Project Prom provides for all night casino

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
The Gurdon High School 2017 Junior and Senior Prom will be from 9 until about midnight at the high school on Saturday, May 6.
Because of a lot of hard work on the parts of organizers Jaime Ledbetter and Paige Reece, there will be an after prom party in the student center called Project Prom from 11:30 p.m. until 6 a.m. on Sunday.
The two organizers presented their plans to Gurdon Rotarians on Thursday of having a Casino theme with black jack, poker, roulette and much more.
Clark County Deputy Thomas Free, whose son is attending this year’s junior and senior prom, will be on hand and in charge of security.
Ledbetter told Rotarians, “The idea is for the kids to have a blast with the Casino night theme and to stay safe during one of the most important events of their high school careers.”
Rotarians voted to donate $500 to the Project Prom cause in the interest of helping this “worthwhile effort to continue.”
Rotarian President David Williams and treasurer Anita Cabe suggested the donation and other members voted unanimously in favor of supporting Project Prom.
Ledbetter said she and Reece are with the junior class and the junior class has taken charge of making this happen.
“We have a large group of moms behind us,” she said. Reece agreed and said, “This is definitely all about the kids.”
Ledbetter said youth attending the prom must be between 15 and 20 years old. It will cost juniors $10 to get in, while seniors can go for free. Guests must pay $25.
Superintendent Allen Blackwell said he believes having the entire event on campus will be better for security and “I am very pleased to see so many moms realizing the idea is to make sure the prom goers have a good time so there is a lot less chance of trouble.”
Ledbetter said Project Prom will be open to all Gurdon juniors/seniors and guests, regardless of whether they attend the prom.
GHS attendees and their guests will be required to sign a waiver of liability contract, which must be returned to the school before Friday, April 7. A photo ID must be presented to prove guests are not over 20 years old. For more information, contact Jaime Ledbetter at: Rithorne74@gmail.com, Paige Reece at: preece0525@gmail.com or Valerie Free at: valeriefree2007@gmail.com.

Potter to address council concerning

water bill hike proposal Monday

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Gurdon Hair Stylist Tommy Potter plans to be present at the 6 p.m. Monday City Council meeting this coming week on March 27 at City Hall to object to the proposed water bill hike of $5 a month for Gurdon residents.
Mayor Sherry Kelley has said at previous council meetings the proposed hike is needed to cover $35,000 a year in court costs imposed by Clark County that is currently not in the city budget.
If passed Monday, the hike will be Gurdon law and represent the first such hike in water bills here for 18 years, according to Mayor Kelley.
“This raise in residential water bills will allow us to pay the high court costs,” Kelley said. “Without the generated money, we will continue to fall behind on the court costs.”
Tommy Potter, who was Kelley’s opponent for mayor in the last election, said Thursday the water department should not have to fund a matter that belongs to the police budget.
Potter stated that there are nine officers in full or part-time employment at Gurdon and eliminating one of those positions would be a more logical choice to pay the unexpectedly high court costs.
“The expense is generated by police business and so should come from the law enforcement budget,” he said.
“The citizens of Gurdon already pay plenty for their water and sanitation service. I believe, with the possibility of more than 500 new jobs and therefore several new prospective residents coming to Gurdon over the next couple of years, the more logical thing would be for the police department itself to absorb the court costs by eliminating one of their positions and placing those duties on the remaining officers.
“The water department is not the place to take up the slack for a police department problem. Too many of our citizens are on fixed incomes and a rate hike of even $5 a month would put an unnecessary burden on our financially struggling population.”
Potter said he is not coming forward for any particular politically motivated reasons, but rather in defense of residents who will suffer if water bills go up.
“Our city government is a business and each section should be accountable for bills that come up in that section. This is a police matter so there is no reason for the money to come from struggling people trying to keep their water from being shut off,” he said.
The water hike proposal will be on the third reading Monday night. If passed by the City Council, it will then be too late to stop the hike.
Anyone wanting to speak on this issue should approach Mayor Sherry Kelley.
Potter said he has presented his position to give the City Council members something to think about in regard to solving the court costs problem.
“If they still pass it, so be it,” he said. “But at least I will have voiced my opinion that each city department should be responsible for its own budget problems and that water bill rates do not have anything to do with the police department.”
Potter is a life long resident of Gurdon.

Hazardous Waste Collection in May

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
The annual household hazardous waste collection will take place at the Clark County Fairgrounds in Arkadelphia on Saturday, May 13.
Those interested should bring their materials before noon. Collections will start at 8 a.m. that day. HHW materials are classified into four general types; 1) toxic if swallowed or inhaled, 2) corrosive, that is causing permanent damage to tissue or a home surface, 3) irritant, that is a substance causing inflamed eyes, nose, throat or skin and 4) readily ignited onto flames or can explode, even when cool.
To get to the fairgrounds, go south on Interstate 30 to Pine Street, east on Pine to Highway 67 South and then turn right into the Clark County Fairgrounds.
The HHW service will also be provided for Garland County residents and those living in Hot Spring County. Garland County residents should bring items to the Hot Springs/Garland County Fairgrounds, 4831 Malvern Avenue (Highway 270 East) from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m. on Saturday, May 13 as well.
Hot Spring County residents may take their household hazardous waste to either site at the designated time. For more information, those using the Hot Springs site should call: 501-321-6911.
If you are planning to use the Arkadelphia collection site and have questions, call: 870-246-9864 or 870-246-1803. Tires and electronic waste will be accepted at the Garland County collection site only.

Sherry’s Corner: Get ready for mosquitoes

By SHERRY KELLEY
Gurdon Mayor
Welcome to spring! Not a bad winter is behind us. Gurdon Schools are on spring break. Little league, T-ball, etc. will be starting up soon. There is an empty box in the entry way of city hall.
This box is for donations of used baseball equipment for the young players. If the spring cleaning urge strikes you and you find some gloves, balls, cleats or other items that some little player can use…please bring it to the box in the entry way of city hall. Let’s put something useful in that very empty box!
Mosquitoes are just around the corner. I haven’t seen my first one yet, but my husband says he has seen a few. You know last year the Zika Virus was in the news. It is extra important that you take a look around your property for places where water pools and puddles.
Tires, especially, can be a problem. It’s nearly impossible to get all the water out of a used tire. Get rid of those mosquito breeders. Calley’s Truck and Trailer on Highway 67/53 is a designated used tire collection site.
Do yourself a favor and bring your tires to the tire trailer and let’s keep those mosquitoes at bay.
Spring time means storm season. Know what you will do and where you will go in the event of severe weather and practice making those moves BEFORE the danger comes.
When you are sure of your procedures, it will be easier to act in an emergency when the adrenaline is flowing.
City Marshal Don Childres and his department will be keeping a careful watch on the weather. But it is important that you have a weather radio or a notification such as “Weather Call 7” in addition to monitoring the local weather stations. Our family uses “Weather Call 7” and we receive phone calls from Ned Perme when the weather threatens.
Mt. Canaan Baptist Church held the Southwest District Youth Day event last Saturday. Baptist churches from the area including, Texarkana and Hot Springs attended. As I one of the judges, I was impressed with the participation and talent of the youngsters.
They are all winners in my book. It takes courage to get up in front of so many people and perform. Hat’s off to Pastor Johnny Harris and all the many people who made the day a great success.

Tailgate Traveler ready to go cover Cobras, Go-Devils, Leopards…

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
By the time you read this, spring break in Gurdon will be over with.
The kids will be going back to school on Monday and our baseball, softball and soccer games, weather permitting, will resume.
In fact, Monday night at Gurdon should be a busy one with Glen Rose coming to town. The Beavers are to play us in baseball and softball, starting about 4:30 p.m. The soccer field will be busy Monday night as well, what with Centerpoint scheduled to travel to Gurdon and try and defeat our boys. Naturally, I will be rooting for the Gurdon Go-Devils, as this has been my adopted hometown since 2004!
Gurdon will go on the road for varsity baseball on Friday, March 31 to take on the Fountain Lake Cobras on their home field.
It is my hope that I will be caught up enough with that Friday paper to be able to make the journey over there to take some action photos.
Looking closer at the schedule, I see the softball game is to be here at 4:30 against those Lady Cobras.
Go to this game yourself if your children are involved.
Cheerleading tryouts were supposed to be over with this week so we are hoping to get a photo of the 2017 cheerleading squads – maybe at the Monday night Go-Devil/Beaver games if possible.
Sports on the high school level is an important element of education. It teaches participants integrity, sportsmanship, as well as the particular sport tips they need to play baseball, softball, football, basketball, soccer or what ever their pleasure.
T-ball should be in full swing at Gurdon this coming week as well. Those little ones are about the ages of my grand kids.
In fact, Rayne and Daniel, my two youngest biological grandchildren, are involved in the Benton area. Grandpa hopes he will get to attend their games this year.
Fountain Lake will travel to Malvern for a Cobra verses Leopard game at 4:30 p.m. on Monday, April 3. That sounds like one I can attend, as I must be in Malvern for a City Council agenda meeting at 6:30 p.m. anyway.
A friend of mine, Richard Garrett, who I believe is still the assistant prosecuting attorney for Hot Spring County, had a grand daughter involved in softball a few years back. Not sure if she has graduated yet, but I will check.
The Glen Rose Beavers are usually a competitive bunch so this coming Monday’s games at Gurdon should be exciting.
Storms are coming as I write to you this Friday afternoon. I have an old storage shed with a bad roof that needs nails real bad.
Remember your Tailgate Traveler in your prayers about that old shed. This is virgin lawn mowing week for me and I want to leave home Saturday with a happy wife about 3 p.m. to go fishing.

Prescott fishing guide clues us in

By Danielle and Eugene Cooper, with contributions by Clifford Stephens
Tailgate News Reporters
You can catch any fish any where. But what if you just wanted to know about what fish is hitting? Here lately we have been fishing at Bois D’arc lake in Springhill, Arkansas.
For those that do not know how to get there, turn beside the last Shell station in Hope headed towards Foulton. Follow that road out until it T’s. Turn right and follow that road out to the end. You will come up on the signs for Bois D’arc.
If you turn right, there will be a steep hill right off, follow that road to the end. There you will be able to launch your boat. We have been using trot lines. We set out two trot lines a piece. Two trot lines were baited with minnows, worms, and night crawlers.
Two trot lines were baited with catfish Charlie blood bait and catfish Charlie type A. The lines that were baited with the worms, minnows, and night crawlers – didn’t hardly get a bite. The lines that were baited with the two types of Charlie got hit on many times.
We have been fishing since the end of February. The weather during this fishing trip has been a little of it all. It’s been warm, mid sixties to upper seventies. It has been clear, cloudy, rainy, and windy. Some people only go fishing when there is a little fish on the calendar.
Some people just go when they feel like it. The calendar has said there aren’t any good fishing days from March 14-24…
But yet we are still getting a bunch of bites. We have been getting a few bites during the day, but most of the hits are coming from 7 p.m. until 5 a.m.
Fishing at different depths usually means you’ll get different sizes of fish. Some people believe the shallower you fish, the smaller your fish will be. We have been fishing between medium to deep. And on all the lines, we have been catching all different sizes fish. We have been catching channel catfish, mud cats, flat heads, and occasionally buffalo and crappie.
It all goes to show that fishermen, who are dedicated to the sport, can have good luck in about any conditions.
See you at the lake – Eugene, Danielle and Clifford.

Editorial: Trust your mayors

We would like to say a thing or two about the prospect of a 1 cent sales tax passing in Malvern to fix dilapidated intra structure problems and also the proposal in Gurdon to raise water bills by $5 a month to cover court costs that are out of the control of city government.
Most of the time, we believe in searching for other alternatives to raising taxes or water bills, as we also have to pay the piper.
But in the case of these two cities, the reasons do seem valid and necessary.
It seems that over the past few years of leftist ruling politics, all sorts of free money has gone to help those who can not help themselves, which we find commendable if said money is there to give, but also money has gone, due to poor vetting in government hand put programs, to folks who are con artists, liars and lazy souls.
Now we have another bunch in the White House that promises job opportunity and decent intra structure to work in.
We agree with that President Donald Trump philosophy. If a person is going to do a job, they need the tools to do it and a conducive environment in which to work.
We sell advertising for a living. We have to drive on the streets of Gurdon and the streets of Malvern to do our job. In Gurdon, so far, we have not noticed any sink holes. This is not the case in Malvern. Malvern has sections where a vehicle has sunk into a street down nearly as far as a body being buried 6-foot under! This is called ridiculous intra structure.
It needs to be fixed. Mayor Brenda Weldon is right in asking her Malvern City Council what they suggest gets done about it if the 1 cent sales tax is not requested?
Well, now it has been requested and there will be a vote on Tuesday, June 13 to see if the people of Malvern want to finance the maintenance of their city or if they would rather just let it fall down around their ears.
In Gurdon, there will be no election. This coming Monday the City Council will either vote yes or no on a $5 a month water bill hike to pay for court costs that Clark County allegedly has in processing those in trouble with the law from our town. Those costs are close to $35,000 a year. This sounds like a rip off to us. But then again, it costs to process a criminal so who knows?
We do not think those court costs should be that high, but we are journalists – not lawyers. So who knows? Whether we agree or not, the bill remains in excess of $35,000 a year and Gurdon has to find a way to pay for something that is not in the budget.
Now we are going to make a personal observation. Mayor Sherry Kelley is a very conservative mayor and conservative person. If she says there is no other way to pay for the court costs than the water hike, we personally figure she is right. Time, and smarter minds than us, may prove things are different than that.
We, however, encourage Gurdon residents to trust Mayor Kelley on this one. If she and your Council raise the monthly water bills $5 for the first time in 18 years, it is not out of meanness. It is out of necessity to balance the books.
Do not get us wrong. We do see Tommy Potter’s point. But cutting our police funds may not be feasible at this time. Our mayor and city marshal know the details of the real budget, whereas Mr. Potter and us are guessing.

Thomerson Drug at Gurdon

becomes Thomerson’s Allcare

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Editor’s Note: The following feature is from an interview done by John Nelson on Thursday, March 16 with pharmacist Larry Thomerson. Thomerson said facts from a story done by editor Joe May of the Standard were accurate and could also be used as needed in this story.
Larry Thomerson, long-term family pharmacist for Gurdon and owner of Thomerson Drug Store, has sold his business to Percy Malone, owner of Allcare Pharmacy in Arkadelphia. Allcare has 23 other locations in Arkansas, including one at Prescott.
Thomerson, who will manage the new store, said he has no plans for retirement and will continue to take care of his hometown residents “until if and when my health stops me from doing so.” The new establishment will be called Thomerson’s Allcare and there are plans to build a larger facility in Gurdon.
Thomerson said no definite spot for the new drug store has been secured, but it will be considerably larger than the approximately 2,700 square feet facility currently in operation. The new store will be modeled after the Allcare facility at Hope – complete with a drive through. In other additions, the larger facility will serve those under Medicare Part B and provide access to medical equipment and supplies which are not currently offered at Thomerson’s.
“The store will also be able to do immunizations,” Thomerson said. “These changes will help me continue to do what I have done all of my nearly 67 years – stay in the pharmacy business in Gurdon and take care of the people I have known all of my life.”
Thomerson said his wife Gwen will continue owning and operating her flower and plant business and that was not included in the sale to Malone.
Thomerson also noted there will be no change in staff with the new ownership agreement. The drug store currently has seven employees, some full time and some part time.
Larry Thomerson is a 1968 graduate of Gurdon High School and did his pre-pharmacy training at Henderson State University in Arkadelphia.
He graduated then Northeast Louisiana University in 1973 as a pharmacist.
“I was born in Arkadelphia and my parents moved me to Gurdon at 4 months old,” Thomerson said. “I have been in a drug store for my entire 66 years of life, ever since my parents bought one in Gurdon when we moved here.”
His parents, Roy and Louise Thomerson bought the Milburn Drug Store at Gurdon in 1950 and then the Bailey Drug Store in 1963.
Larry and Gwen Thomerson have a son, Mark, of Texarkana, and Holly of Okolona. Holly, a former teacher for the Gurdon School District, works at now Thomerson’s Allcare as a pharmacy tech. Larry and Gwen have four grandchildren and one great grand child.
“This sale is not any sort of retirement move,” Thomerson said. “If I would retire, I would rust.”
Thomerson said he also plans to continue being a high school football official, noting the 2017 fall season will be his 40th year of doing so.
Percy Malone, who has served as a state representative and a state senator, is the sole owner of Allcare. Malone said he believes in Gurdon and intends to continue to invest in small communities. Thomerson said he met Malone at age 17 when Malone came to work for his uncle, I.B. Fuller, at Arkadelphia in 1967.
Thomerson said he sees the sale to Malone as a friendly merger. Larry Thomerson took over operations of the Gurdon drug store in 1984.

Malvern passes proposal

to ask for 1 cent sales tax

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Malvern City Council voted Monday to ask residents for a 1 cent sales tax to take care of urgent water and sewer problems and intra structure woes in the city.
Mayor Brenda Weldon said if the tax passes it should generate approximately $1.9 million per year, with nearly $900,000 going for sewer and water upgrades and maintenance and the other half of the money going to improve intra structure problems such as sink hole elimination, better culverts and safer streets.
The council also voted to call a special election for voter approval of the tax to be held on Tuesday, June 13.
The proposal is officially called a 1 percent sales and use tax, with only qualified voters within the City of Malvern being allowed to vote.
The ordinance dictates that the mayor and city clerk are hear by called to do what is necessary to prefer action to collect the sales tax if approved. The tax would be collected until Dec. 31, 2038.
Mayor Weldon said, “Our facilities and service are in crisis and needing attention. It is my hope that by the time the tax is to run out things will be in much better shape.”
Finance chairman Wayne Reynolds said, “I would like to go on record as voting yes for this ordinance because I want it on the ballot for the people to decide. I am not necessarily endorsing the tax.”
Councilman David Cross said he did not favor the tax, but did vote yes to put in on the ballot. The vote to hold the special election was unanimous in favor of it. No other opposition to the tax was expressed.
Mayor Brenda Weldon said the many needs of Malvern in regard to bringing water and sewer facilities up to standards and making the streets and buildings safe for the public must be addressed. She has come out strongly in favor of the 1 cent sales tax, not seeing any other way to maintain Malvern in a respectable and safe way.
Councilman Larry Stiles has endorsed the tax since its proposal, noting the 20 year cap means the people will not have to pay it forever once the major intra structure problems are solved.
“If we go with the alternative of raising the water and sewer bills, or we create a sanitation fee for Malvern residents, that will be there forever,” he said.
“In addition, the 1 cent sales tax will be paid for in part by those who use our facilities but do not live here. A water or sanitation hike would just hit Malvern residents.”
In other business, the City Council passed a request by the Malvern Police Department Chief Donnie Taber to create a social networking early release policy that prohibits those associated with the Malvern police to post photos or information concerning a crime scene or crime still under investigation, as said information needs time to be processed and then official release statements and or photos can be released to the public after the conclusion of an investigation
Jim Bailey, assistant police chief, said the department had a policy against releasing information early but an update was needed to specifically prohibit the early release of police business information on social media.
Moreover, the council passed a request by the mayor to reject a $125,000 bid to repair several city roofs because the insurance companies are only willing to pay $60,000 for said roof damage and Mayor Weldon is seeking a way to fix the roofs cheaper one at a time.
Council approved a request to remove old playground equipment from the Boys and Girls Club to be sold as scrap iron.
They approved a lease of the park tennis courts to the Malvern School District to officially allow both the city and school to pitch in on repairs and resurfacing. Another lease agreement for the reviving of the Junior Babe Ruth Little League program at the park was also approved. Weldon said that lease is also necessary so those behind the Junior Babe Ruth program can make improvements.
In other news, the Malvern City Council approved a rezoning to commercial C2 request by James and Courtina Broomfield to open Broomfield Bakery on Highway 67 near Stanley’s Pawn Shop at 728 West Highland Avenue.
Council voted to extend the cemetery maintenance contract with Enuiro Services for one-year, with continued option to renew. Mayor Weldon said, “We have been very happy with their services.”

Tailgate Traveler to enjoy spring break

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Gurdon, Malvern and many other schools in our area will be on spring break from Monday, March 20 through Friday, March 24.
This means there will be a break, non-rain related, in my ball game photos.
As you can tell, I did manage to get a Centerpoint game at Gurdon this past week.
The game did not go so well for Gurdon, as we were 13 points behind in the fourth quarter. Perhaps the week off will inspire our players when they come back.
Glen Rose is to visit Gurdon for baseball on Monday, March 27, which by the way is my wife Michelle’s birthday.
I have discovered 4:30 seems to be game starting time this year.
Also on the Gurdon Girls softball team is to have a game that night, probably also starting at 4:30 p.m.
This should be some good photo opportunities as I endeavor to give credit to our children of competition.
But let’s consider this break. I will probably wonder out to some fishing holes to get some angler photos and maybe even enjoy a bit of the fishing sport myself.
. By the way, our Gurdon Boys soccer team is also slated to play a home game against Centerpoint on Monday, March 27. I am betting on a 4:30 p.m. starting time there as well. Today I will turn the rest of the column over to the sheriff for some good spring break advice!
From Sheriff Jason Watson
I want to wish everyone a safe Spring Break. If you are going to travel for the break make sure you tell a relative or friend your destination and return date along with any contact numbers or information that may be important.
Know your route your traveling and make sure you have a phone (car) charger and allow yourself plenty of time to get to your destination.
Try to travel with friends and not alone. If you decide to go out and celebrate please be careful of your surroundings and pay attention to what and how much you drink.
Go out in groups if you can and look out for each other! Have a very fun and safe spring break. If an emergency happens and you can’t get help where you are at, call our office (870) 246-2222 or my cell (870) 223-3860 and I will get the proper authorities to you – anywhere you may be, in or out of state.
Try to keep at least a half a tank of gas at all times in your vehicle because you never know when you may be stuck in traffic for unexpected amounts of time. If you need extra patrol at your residence while your gone private message me and I’ll will keep an eye out for you.
Enjoy your vacation and thank you for allowing me to be your Sheriff!

Mayor Kelley enjoys Sunpaper speech

Sunpaper president
world traveler
By SHERRY KELLEY
Gurdon Mayor
It was a pleasure to attend the recent Business Administration Day Luncheon at Ouachita Baptist University. The speaker was Andrzej Bednarski, Vice President, Sun Bio Material (U.S.) Company and International Project Director, Shandong Sun Paper.
Bednarski, a very interesting fellow, immigrated to America from Polland with his family at age 9. He attended higher education with Sun Paper owner Chairman Li’s daughter. A world traveler, Bednarski is also a fencing expert (think swords not boards). His father instructed the Polish Olympic team.
Mr. Bednarski explained that this will be Sun Paper’s first U.S. project and that he and others from the company visited Australia, Finland, Canada, Malaysia and countries in South America and Africa before choosing Gum Springs for the site of their new mill.
Over the last 40 years, Sun Paper has grown from 40 to 10,000 employees. Chariman Li has won several awards as the Asian Businessman Of The Year, most recently in 2015. Shandong is the birthplace of Confuscious.
This weekend I’ve been invited to the Annual Southwest District Youth Service Day at Mt. Canaan Baptist Church. I’m looking forward to seeing all the young people and participating in the many events. Johnny Harris is the pastor of this large church in Gurdon.
Our two major water department repair projects made progress this week. Once again we will drain the Red Springs Road water tank and the Aqua Store representatives will inspect the damage which is causing the tank to leak out of the bottom. Aqua Store is the manufacturer of the steel and fiberglass tank which was purchased and installed many years ago.
The original estimate of the repair was $80,000 to $100,000 to replace the entire floor. We are investigating further to determine the full extent of the damage and to decide if all or only some of the panels need to be replaced. We will bypass the tank and supply water from out of our 10th Street water tower to continue uninterrupted service to the 60 or so meters served by the Red Springs tank.
The second project’s estimate for the repairs to the manhole and sewer main came in at $24,500.

Christian missionary

uses faith to feed many

By DANIELLE COOPER
Tailgate News Reporter
People in America are in the spirit of helping people over seas in the third world countries. Then other people in America have the mindset that we are fine so everyone in all the other countries are too.
Well what if it could be proven that they are not fine? If you go online to Facebook, you can meet someone from one of those third world countries who could desperately use any help that they could receive to give care, food, clothing and education to some of the children there.
Meet Kato Victor Edward. He started his own business in Uganda to help the needy children. The organization he opened is called Lukwanga Children Aid. They have only been in operation for a year. They run on complete faith that God will help.
But they need more help by us. They are currently helping 52 children. They are staying open by using volunteers and they provide free time without payments for the help they give. He started the organization with very limited funds to take care of all the needs of the children. So they decided to go first with the urgent needs like food and clothes. Due to lack of support, the children can only be fed once a day and not all the helpers at the center can be paid.
Many of the Lukwanga Children Aid children are orphans. Other children are children with parents but have no access to food, education, medication or clothing. There are more than 5000 children in their community who are in need of help. Last year they had to leave over 60 to other organizations that are further away from them.
In the past year alone, more than 20 children have passed away due to famine from lack of rain and water for growing their own food. Most families do not have a single dollar to survive.
But good things do happen when people care. The children have recently received mosquito nets. So 200 children will be getting a net to help fight the illness of Malaria that has killed an additional 20 children so far. They have not had help hardly from outside the Uganda country due to not yet establishing online fundraising and lack of volunteers to get the word out about the vast need.
The Lukwanga Children Aid could use help in all areas. They need $2,500 a month for food. They need $1,000 a month for clothing. They need $2,000 to build a well for clean water. They need $3,000 per term for education.
They need $1,500 per month for medication. A day by day total is $5,000 for survival of these children. All of this to just barely make a decent stability for 52 and hopefully more children to live full and healthy lives without the fear of when and how they are going to pass away. If you can help, contact:www.gofundme.com/lukwanda-children-aid.

 

Malvern Council to vote

on 1 cent tax proposal

By JOHN NELSON

Tailgate News Editor
Malvern City Council members agreed at the March 6 agenda meeting to consider an ordinance at the regularly scheduled City Council meeting Monday proposing a 1 cent sales tax for Malvern until sewer system and culvert woes, as well as intra structure problems, can be solved.
Mayor Brenda Weldon said the situation calls for funding not available to bring Malvern’s intra structure up to standards and give the citizens the reliable facilities they deserve.
If the Council passes the ordinance, a Tuesday, June 13 special election will take place. Finance committee chairman and City Council member Wayne Reynolds said in light of the fact that the majority of the Council members “seem in favor of this 1 cent sales tax proposal, I say we put it on the agenda. If the ordinance passes to go ahead with it – put it to a vote and let the people decide.”
Councilman David Cook and Reynolds agreed to put the item on the agenda but said they would probably not vote for the tax. Water Department Administrator David Coston told the Council it will cost $4.4 million to maintain and upgrade Malvern’s sewer system “as it is inadequate to handle the current sewage load and it needs to be revamped to deal with a sewage increase as Malvern continues to grow.”
Weldon said it will take half of the proposed 1 percent (cent) sales tax to finance the sewer and culvert fixes and the city could use the other half for intra structure problems.
A new study indicates half of the sales tax revenue could raise the $4 million to $6 million needed to meet sewer and water expenses for bringing Malvern up to government standards.
Mayor Weldon said she would like a consensus from the aldermen present “as to what else you propose in order to get our sewer and water system capacity up and safety standards met?”
In other business, the City Council agreed to put an ordinance waiving competitive bidding for roofs on city structures and to reject roofing bids. Mayor Weldon said city insurance would only pay half of the approximate $125,000 roofing cost.
“I want the $125,000 bid rejected so I can work on one roof at a time,” the mayor said. “I am focusing on better prices.”
Council members also voted to place the removal of the Rainbow play system from the Boys and Girls Club inventory on Monday’s agenda.
Moreover, the Council will discuss the tennis court lease agreement at City Park. Weldon said the school is contributing $9,000 to redoing the courts and has a 25-year lease agreement on the tennis courts with the City of Malvern. The school currently uses the courts.
Weldon said the city has a $9,000 grant to upgrade the courts. So far,there are three bids to revamp the courts; $19,000, $23,000 and $24,000.
Council members will discuss another lease agreement Monday concerning Junior Babe Ruth, a ball playing group that has been inactive for several seasons.
“There is an effort going on to start Junior Babe Ruth back up,” Mayor Weldon said.
Council agreed to place on the agenda the topic of Internet/social networking for the police department in reference to not showing a Malvern police officer in uniform on the Internet or digitally going to a crime scene. The Sheriff’s Association is said to have similar guidelines.
City Council is to also vote on the 2017 cemetery contract. The Monday, March 13 City Council meeting will be at 7 p.m. in City Hall.

Tailgate Traveler waits out rains to cover baseball, softball, soccer

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Take me out to the ball game. Take me out today. I don’t care if I never come back. Take me anyway…
Those words are from an old song published in the era of my grandparents about the love that many children have for baseball.
I share that love. But my attempts at getting softball photos of a Gurdon/Bismarck game and a Gurdon/Hope game this week both failed due to a soaked diamond and field.
At least that is my conclusion. I will be getting with the Gurdon High School coaches about softball game times this next week’s go-around.
I hope to have more luck after school this coming Monday, as my schedule tells me there will be photo opportunities to take baseball and softball pictures during home game competition where Gurdon hosts Centerpoint on March 13.
The schedule says game times will be announced. Last year, and in years past beyond that, softball usually started around 4 p.m. and baseball around 5 p.m. I will go out there to the Gurdon stadiums about 4 p.m. and hope I catch some playing action.
Although the Tailgate News was named in 2007 because of the habit many local residents have of telling “the real story” while leaning on the tailgate of a pick-up truck, that Tailgate News name also brings to mind sports.
We love to cover high school sports and give the students encouragement as they enjoy themselves, compete and also learn the ins and outs of sportsmanship.
But we realize Southern Arkansas has a history of quite a bit of rain-outs in the spring. Next week we hope to expand our horizons and get some ball game schedules from Prescott, Malvern and Arkadelphia for your review.
If the kids or the grand kids are participating, check out the Tailgate News in subsequent weeks as our pages are free to copy and those photos of your kin folk just might give you some good memories in years to come.
Yahoo News tells me Gurdon is to be 62 and sunny on Monday so the Centerpoint contest will depend on the condition of the ball diamonds in regard to if there was too much precipitation dropped over the weekend.
I sincerely hope the games take place as I am ready to take myself out to the ball games, camera in hand.
When I was a kid, I was on a Little League team and had a blast. I remember the team as the Reds, although that may not have been its full name.
But back then, the rules of conduct were looser. I remember my neighbor buddy stuffing my ball cap in the bottom of a trash can and making fun of me for being too short to retrieve it.
I will leave the boy’s name out, as he is now a well respected Methodist Church preacher in Indiana.
In today’s society, there might have been a bully charge. Ironically, that boy and I struck up a friendship and I still consider him a friend today.
Back then, folks did not let stuff like minor bullying bother us too much. We sorta took things like that with a grain of salt. So kids, stick to the rules today. Do not do anything disrespectful to your team mates or the authorities might spoil your ball game fun.
Even with the added legal agenda, playing baseball and softball remain a healthy way to learn to compete and master the art of team work. I hope to see you there Monday at the Gurdon fields.

Sherry’s Corner – Why a water rate hike

of $5 a month is needed in Gurdon

Update on effort
to raise water bills
By SHERRY KELLEY
Gurdon Mayor
We had the second reading of an ordinance to raise water rates at our City Council meeting last week. The rates have not been raised in 18 years.
However, everything else has gone up. The wages, the fuel, chlorine, electricity; everything costs more now. We have some large repairs looming-the water tank on Red Springs Road and a sewer main and manhole in town. The proposed rate increase would cost the average family approximately $5 a month.
Wednesday I go back to the Municipal League Headquarters in North Little Rock for a safety committee meeting and to further discuss Gurdon’s District Court fees.
The fees are nearly $35,000 a year for about 10 hours of court time a year. This is a heavy burden for our city. I am working with the Municipal League to see if we have any options.
Angela Harper and I attended the Arkadelphia Regional Economic Development Alliance Chamber Banquet at Ouachita Baptist University. There were many things to celebrate throughout the county. This is an exciting time.
Construction on the new Exxon Tiger Mart is moving right along and the store looks marvelous. Dirt work has started on the new Sonic on Highway 67/53 at the junction of Highway 182. American Made Silks is constructing a new warehouse on Front Street and several other projects will begin soon.
Thank you to Clark County Judge Troy Tucker who is helping us with a small road repair.

Prescott Tobacco Store

burns over trash barrel accident

By DANIELLE COOPER
Tailgate News Reporter
A fire that totaled the Prescott Tobacco Superstore, in downtown Prescott, last week has been investigated.
According to Jerroll Taylor, Prescott volunteer firefighter, the cause has been determined to have been a burning trash barrel outside of the tobacco store building.
Firefighters said the fire has been declared an accident. The flames were said to have left the trash barrel and climbed up an outside wall of the facility.
In another Prescott matter, sources say there is no update at this time on the robbery that occurred a couple weeks back at the office of Dr. Michael Young on Highway 67.

ATV accident
results in fatality
Clark County Sheriff’s officers, along with law enforcement from the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, investigated an ATV accident that occurred over the weekend in Southern Clark County.
Sheriff Jason Watson said the accident involved one fatality.
He said the individual is not a resident of Clark County and notifications are being made
” I want to thank all emergency personnel that responded.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of the deceased,” Sheriff Watson said.

Student gets expelled for

threatening a staff member

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Gurdon School Board members voted unanimously to expel a Cabe Middle School male student for one full calendar year because of an alleged verbal threatening on a staff member and a shove.
Superintendent Allen Blackwell said evidence was accepted by the board that the young man became verbally abusive and pushed a staff member. An expulsion hearing was held Tuesday evening before the regular School Board meeting and the student and his family elected not to attend.
Blackwell said the boy would not be allowed back in Gurdon Public Schools until March of 2018. Cabe Middle School Principal Amanda Jones was preparing to make a report to the board on the incident when School Board member Bernard Hatley made a motion to forego the report because board members had already been given the facts of the case. Motion passed.
Then the board voted unanimously for the full calendar year of expulsion due to the extent of the disciplinary behavior violation.
In other action, the School Board approved a district worker’s compensation premium payment of $27,347 for this year.
Board members also approved the 2017-2018 school calendar. The first day of school this fall will be on Monday, August 14.
Blackwell noted that there will be an 11-day Christmas break this coming school year, rather than the traditional 10 days. Teachers and staff had approved the calendar before submitting it to the board. Board approval was unanimous.
The new calendar allows for one snow day make-up in April, according to education curriculum coordinator Jeremy Bell.
Blackwell said because of the early start this year, the new schedule will still contain the required number of school days.
“The next year, it will be more like an August 20 start and Christmas break will more than likely return to being the traditional 10 days,” Blackwell said.
STEP PROPOSAL
In other business, School Board members and the superintendent had a lengthy discussion on the possibility of implementing a “STEP” hiring program for classified salary scheduled personnel, along the same lines that already exists for certified teachers.
Board member Ed Reece made a motion to table the issue to be sure anything passed would include the flexibility to start a person with experience in a technical position elsewhere at a salary based on that previous experience rather than just at a beginning level salary.
Reece’s motion was approved by the board and the proposal was tabled for further research.
Superintendent Blackwell said the district has been facing some reduction in student population and some sort of salary reduction program for future employees must be implemented or else positions must be eliminated to meet the budget.
“Our district is set on a 260-day, 12 month contract system, but the reality is we need to change it to a 240 day system for future hires. This change would not effect the contracts of existing employees, who would be grandfathered in to be paid on their 260 day contracts,” Blackwell said.
“We do not currently have a STEP system for our classified personnel, which means we are not paying them with annual raises coming in steps of experience.
“Bismarck, Blevins, Ouachita schools and more in our area have gone to this. With going to the 240 year, the change would be budget neutral but fairer to the individual employee.”
Blackwell gave an example of a high school secretary with 20 years on the job at Gurdon making about the same as a first year secretary is making. He said Gurdon teachers already have a STEP system all the way up to 19 years on the job.
Blackwell’s proposal for the classified staff would include 10 years of increases for experience rather than all hired in employees settling for the beginning salary of an inexperienced worker. He said the 260-day schedule needs to go no matter what the board decides “because we are paying for 20 days of work that we are not getting.”

Gurdon Council Woman to host

public hearing on water rates

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Gurdon City Council has passed the second reading on raising water rates $5 a customer as of Monday’s meeting.
The proposed ordinance will go on the third and final reading at the Monday, March 27 meeting.
City Council woman Kolby Harper requested permission from Mayor Sherry Kelley to set up a public hearing before the final vote and received the go-ahead from the mayor. Details on the time and the place will be published as the information becomes available.
Harper said she feels it best to gather public opinion on the proposed water bill increase before the final vote by Council members in late March.
“Just let me know when it will be,” Kelley said. “As a Council member, you have the right to set up the hearing.”
Mayor Kelley pointed out that there has been no increase in Gurdon water rates for 18 years and it is the duty of the mayor and City Council to pay court costs that are not allowed for in the current city budget. Plus there are always unexpected maintenance expenses.
Kelley said the Clark County court costs rose from $30,000 last year to $35,000 for this year “and we just do not have the money in Gurdon’s budget to absorb this.”
MAYOR’S REPORT
Mayor Kelley told Council members the water tank on Red Springs Road has been drained because of leaks and will need at least a partial floor replacement. She received an estimate to replace the entire floor of the tank for between $80,000 and $100,000, “but we may be able to solve the leaking cheaper by replacing certain panels.”
On another issue, Kelley said an old brick manhole has been shedding bricks behind the old Pizza Barn on Highway 67 and needs to be replaced as the crumbling means the water system is no longer contained at that location and the collapsed manhole needs replacing to meet safety and sanitation standards.
“We asked what it would cost to put a one-section modern manhole there and I get the impression from the research that we are looking at between $20,000 and $40,000,” the mayor said.
The faulty brick manhole is located in the drive through of the 302 Elm Street convenience store (old Pizza Barn) and would disrupt that business during the job.
Mayor Kelley said the job could take as little as one day. Other tests in the Gurdon sewer system, designed to discover more leaks, will be forthcoming in the spring.
“Residents will be told of the dates the tests for possible sewer system leaks will occur in their areas. We want to be responsible and our system is aging,” she said.

Tailgate Traveler enjoys promoting baseball and softball competitors

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Somewhere in my mind I remember a sports figure saying, “baseball has been good to me.”
I played a little baseball back in the day and I enjoyed it as well. Somewhere around 1983, I started shooting photos of high school baseball and softball games for print publications.
In 2012, I began doing it on the web and started a variation career in weekly blogging – that is putting out the Southern Arkansas Tailgate News every Friday.
At present, I shoot baseball and softball for Gurdon, Malvern, Glen Rose, Prescott, Bismarck – really where ever I can find a live game to attend. I do my best to get names of players and how they did that day scoring wise or how many catches then made that mattered.
This year will be no different. Those games will start up again this month and I will find myself a familiar figure on the sidelines.
The activity gives me some good action shots for my weekly magazine, but more importantly gives the kids some recognition for all of their hard work and dedication to the sports with the bats.
Baseball is a wonderful team sport and ideal for someone who enjoys enthusiasm with a fast pace.
I also like to take photos of the grandparents and parents as they watch their children develop sportsmanship skills and the skills necessary to win.
In order to be a good winner, you have to also be a good loser. Things do not always go your way in baseball, softball or other areas of life. So when you lose, you have to be courteous and attempt to get happy for the winning team.
It is rewarding to me to see the kids learn this and other aspects of being a good sport. Of course, there is no substitute for a good win. Let’s face it, most folks who are at least partially sane would rather win the lottery than be sued for back taxes by the IRS!
But the thing kids, and adults alike, should remember about losing is that it presents a stepping stone to winning. Just like I learned in marketing, that no pushes you closer to a future yes.
Well that strike-out pushes you closer to a home run. I read somewhere that Babe Ruth, when he held the record high for home runs, also held the record high for strike outs. In short, it takes a lot of trying to get up that hill.
Andy Capp, a comic strip I used to read years ago in college, once had a cartoon of Andy holding a woman who said she just felt like she always lost at everything.
As the woman sobbed on Andy’s shoulder, the star of the strip smiled at her and asked, “Mam, don’t you know the only difference between a winner and a loser is that the winner never gave up?”
She smiled back at him and just sat there with something new to think about. It will be the same for our spring baseball players, softball players and even our soccer players.
There will be days when everything they do turns up roses. Other days, all of their efforts will be like snake-eyes in a game of dice. Most dice players do not want to role the losing pitch of double ones, that is snake eyes, because it makes you lose the game. Well at least it did a million or so years ago when this Tailgate Traveler played a little dice.
So the bottom line is go see a baseball game, a softball game or a soccer match this spring. These kids will run our future. Applaud them while they learn how…

Mayor Kelley and office worker

finish 2016 audit, continue code enforcement

Seeing improvments

By SHERRY KELLEY
Gurdon Mayor
Keep on keeping on. Work continues on the USDA Rural Business Development Grant, the FUN Parks Grant implementation, the Pee Wee Football Field, repairs on a manhole and sewer line, the water tank on Red Springs Road, code enforcement, fiscal responsibility and many other endeavors. It’s the constant toil of doing our best to provide good services to our citizens.
We have made some strides recently. At my request, the city is now audited every year. For many years prior, the city was audited every two years. Auditing every year gives us a chance to fix things quickly and this process has paid off. Angie Harper and I just completed our 2016 Legislative Audit.
We have worked very hard over the past two years and have dramatically improved compliance over previous years. Everyone says that it is impossible to receive a perfect audit, there will always be something off. But that is what we are aiming for. We like working with our auditor, she’s tough and she’s a great teacher. When you’re in the trenches every day, so to speak, it’s rare to have such a clear picture of the positive difference that is being made.
Our new code enforcement officer, Jimmy Edwards and I spent some time together canvassing the streets and targeting areas for clean up. We are excited to be started and Officer Edwards has a great way with the public. There is room for improvement and we are looking forward to change.
Monday has a technician on-site at city hall as we officially switch our Internet and phone provider, saving thousands of dollars this year. This is one of several contracts we have and are re-negotiating. Everything is on the table.
The Group Living Fashion Show is this weekend at Ouachita Baptist University’s Verser Theater on Saturday afternoon. I am grateful to be co-emceeing this wonderful event. I hope to see you there.

High speed chase results

in gun shots at Gurdon

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Shots were fired on Thursday night in Gurdon in relation to a high speed chase by GPD and allegedly an 18-year-old perpetrator.
Deputy Marshal Sgt. Toby Garner said Friday the case has been turned over to the Clark County Sheriff’s Department investigative staff for further studying. Garner said Sheriff Jason Watson will be the source of more information on the matter.
It was not confirmed as to the whereabouts of the young man in question, although it was worded as such by Garner that he is believed to be in custody.
“No one was injured during the gun play,” Sgt. Garner said. “I am really not at liberty to give more information. It is a Clark County case now, as gun play always must be investigated by the sheriff and his investigative team.”
In other police incidents at Gurdon this week, Garner confirmed that around five or six car break-ins and thefts occurred this week with a suspect still at large.
“We have determined that none of the cars in question were locked,” he said. “We would like to remind our citizens that it is always in your best interest to lock up a vehicle at night.”
PRESCOTT ROBBERY
Tailgate News reporter Daneille Cooper followed up the robbery from last week at Dr. Michael Young’s office.
Cooper said acting Prescott Police Chief Joseph Beaver told her this week that case is still under investigation.
Beaver confirmed that a cell phone, a purse and a small amount of cash had been taken from the doctor’s office. No one was reported injured.

Gurdon has code enforcer

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Gurdon Police Officer Jimmy Edwards has been named the city’s code enforcement officer by Mayor Sherry Kelley.
Edwards has been a Gurdon policeman for nearly 30 years and is training for his new job under former Gurdon Schools resource officer Thomas Free, now a code enforcement officer at Arkadelphia.
Officer Edwards said Friday, “I know just about every one in Gurdon and they know me. There will be some differences in code enforcement here and out of town.
“For example, while it might be a code violation to park on a lawn in Arkadelphia, I do not believe that appropriate reason for violation here,” he said.
“But if you have a junk car in the front yard, you might want to move it to the back yard to avoid a fine. There is a lot to learn about code enforcement for all of us, but we do have an ordinance outlining the Gurdon version.”
Mayor Kelley said, “I believe Officer Edwards will do just fine in this capacity. He has a good knack for getting along with people, yet he still knows how to enforce the rules.”

Editor recalls good fortune

at baseball game long ago

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
I was probably on my third grade summer when the following event occurred. That would have made the year about 1966.
I was on a Little League team that spring and summer with red hats, white uniforms and some red mixed in. I do not recall the name of the team, but I was the second baseman.
The place was my hometown baseball field in Hagerstown, Indiana. I do not recall the coach’s name, but I do remember a Junior Babe Ruth Coach named Earl Masters who promised to “buy me” for his team the following season after this event happened.
There were two outs and the bases were loaded. It looked like our Reds team was going to lose to the Blue team.
A batter was up that had always hit good hits – usually home runs… I was nervous. My Grandpa was in the stands and I looked at the old man sitting there. He and Grandma Nelson had adopted me at 7 months old, as my doctor daddy and doctor mommy were too busy with their careers to raise a child.
The old farming couple had stepped up to the plate and took the job. For that, I will always be eternally grateful.
But getting back to our baseball story, I got in position for a hit and just in case someone threw a ball to second for an out.
I heard the bat strike the ball and heard someone yell, “Pop up!” The truth of the matter was I looked straight up into the sun and held out my baseball glove. The crowd was going wild. Even Grandpa had risen to his feet.
The ball came down and hit me squarely in the jaw. It hurt like hell. There is no other way to describe the feeling and remain truthful. Then that baseball bounced off of my jaw into my glove.
That was the out our team was looking for! We won the game, 4-3, and I was the hero for the day. Grandpa was clapping right along with the crowd as everyone cheered for his grandson.
Just after the game, Coach Masters promised to put me on this team the next season. I am not sure whose fault it was, mine or his, but that never happened.
At any rate, I was flattered by his proposition. The incident was one of my first testimonials that I had no quit switch. I did not cry or whimper when that baseball nearly knocked me down. This folks is what it takes to succeed in sports or nearly any endeavor; the absence of a quit switch.
Gurdon Go-Devil Head Basketball Coach David Davis told me in an interview this week that although his 2017 team did not have a particularly shining record, he admired the work ethic the boys displayed.
So the moral of the story is never give up. Life may hit you in the face with a baseball or it may just show you that overtime basketball contests do not always go your way.
This could apply to our business world as well. Many of us are experiencing economic down turn in business, hoping President Donald Trump will worry less about what the press is saying and more about fixing our Obama depleted economy.
In the meantime, we all have to hang in there. Quitting, for a dreamer of dreams, is never an option worth taking. Baseball and softball season will start shortly. Be sure and let the kids know you are proud when they face adversity and never quit!

Gurdon basketball ends;

Coach praises player performance

Gurdon coach
praises team
for hard work
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Basketball is over for this year in Go-Devil country and students are preparing for a winning baseball season.
Coach David Davis said today his basketball team lost a regional tournament heart-breaker Thursday night, 67-61, in an overtime battle that saw the teams tied up at 59-59 at the end of regular play on the Prescott court.
“If we had won the game, the Go-Devils would be going to state tournament,” he said. “But this bunch has made me proud with their excellent work ethic -hanging in there this season, even when we were struggling.”
Davis said B.J. Brewer, #10, led the Go-Devils Thursday with 20 points. Senior Cam Gulley, #5, scored 17 points. #12 Caleb Jacobs scored 11 points.
The Go-Devils finished third in the district, defeating Fouke 63-59 in the first round, losing 59-38 in round two to Centerpoint and winning against Cossatot River, 67-66 in round three.
The Go-Devils finished 9-19 for the season in 3A-7 district, with a conference record of 3-13 in the new combo conference, 3A-4A.
Davis commended his seniors, saying they will be missed. Seniors include: Cameron Gulley, Kagon Morrison and DeAndre Barnes.
“These guys have no quit switch and really hung in there this season,” he said. “I would also like to commend Caleb Jacobs for a fine effort on the court.”
Coach Davis also sung praises for leading scorer in the final game B.J. Brewer, who he said “did a terrific job Thursday night of taking care of business.”
This has been Coach Davis’s 20th season for being head basketball coach at Gurdon.

Dillinger Days may get

turned into book

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
A book called “Dillinger Days” was written by the editor a couple of years ago and describes the claimed involvement of his grandfather, John Hans Nelson, wirth the 1933 and 1934 bank robberies allegedly committed by John Herbert Dillinger.
Said book is now under review by two publishing companies who are interested in turning it into a hard back entity and also for sale on Ebay.
The late John Hans Nelson, 1892-1989, was the body double of the famous Dillinger ganster and the stand-in during 18 bank robberies committed during this Great Depression era. Nelson was a life-long farmer and met Dillinger in a “joint” while winning enough money playing pool to pay for a new crop of hogs in Hagerstown, Indiana.
The two switched identities. Nelson met the other gangsters who would be his crew for the bank robberies, while John Herbert Dillinger and Birdie Lawrence farmed Nelson’s land for about 18 months.
You may read the entire 15 chapters on this website. The author, John Hancock Nelson, is currently reviewing said companies of interest in order to make a wise publishing decision.

Prescott City Council accepts lawn care bid

By DANIELLE COOPER
Tailgate News Reporter
The City Council of Prescott met in regular session this week and accepted a mowing bid from the William Colbart Lawn Serivce.
Mary Godwin, of the Prescott Chamber of Commerce, talked about the mowing bids. She said, “ The mowing bids has been bidded out for years because when they had the city do it, it would take a long time to get it done. They would get part of it done and something would come up. Then they would have to start over when they got back to it and it would never get done.” There was only one person who placed a bid this year, William Colbart Lawn Service. He is to be paid $260 each time he mows. Last year he mowed 16 times which brought him $4640. The City Council voted and accepted to allow William Colbart to mow.
The ambulance service contract is to end in 2019. They have an annual payment of $40,000. The county is lowering their payment from $25,000 to $20,000. The City of Prescott pays and is keeping the payment of $20,000. There was a resolution to keep the contract the same as it has been. The resolution was accepted to keep the same.
A Pocket Park is going to be affected and was brought to the City Council. A citizen has bought the old Allcare store which is in connection to the Pocket Park. The purchaser wants to tear down his building but is in fear that if its tore down then it will be a “domino effect.” He was willing to tear down the wall by hand. The City Council have accepted to have a contract written up and presented to the council members that all parties around the Pocket Park accept the building to be torn down and not being responsible if someone gets hurt. The City Council accepted Jacob Brown to be in the Zoning and Planning Commission position in place of a person whom resigned due to personal family problems.
Perry Nelson, street superintendent, explained that he had a small list of projects that could be done within the $300,000 budget. But there is a bunch of projects that has been up off and and passed over to fit the budget they had. He said that these projects could be done and fixed if the city can afford it and accept the $600,000 for the Prescott Sewer and Water. The top three projects in worse condition are: a sewer line on East third street in front of Howard Austin’s house is collapsing and causing road damage; a sewer line on Highway 67 has no access and needs to be replaced and moved to where there is access plus Webb Street has concrete lines that has been desinigrating over the years and needs replacing.
City officials have a project of replacing the cast iron lines on Walnut and Elm Streets. Those lines are pit cast iron which has a lifespan of 80 to 100 years.
He said, “We are in that time frame.” They want to replace the lines with spin cast iron which has a life span of around 70 years.”
City Council members voted and accepted to take the $600,000 budget to get everything done. Malisa Malone has been trying since September of 2016 to remove her mobile home and replace it with a 2016 manufactured home.
She sent out 10 letters to the people around her. Only one was outside the 200 foot perimiter. She had two people respond and deny their permission. One person did not answer. She contacted the Zoning and Planning commission president in December of 2016. She brought it to the City Council for appeal. No answer is available at this time.

Malvern mayor talks of fixing intra structure

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Malvern Mayor Brenda Weldon gave her required annual report to City Council this month, noting improvements in services.
The following is a portion of what she had to say in her address to the city:
Fire Department/Code Enforcement – The Code Enforcement was added to the Fire Department over a year ago and seems to be a good fit with the results going in a positive direction.
There were 1,523 permits issued through the code enforcement for Malvern in 2016. This includes Building/Fence/Roof 560, Electrical 89, Mechanical 76, Plumbing 89, Dog License 92 and Occupational License 353. The city also started selling the cemetery lots at Oakridge Cemetery and have sold 16 lots so far. They are available to the public and can be purchased in the Code Enforcement Office.
The fine ordinance for code violations was changed to a minimum of $250 to up to $1,000. We think this increase will encourage people to clean up their homes and properties.
We know we have a long way to go on cleaning up our town, but we are working every day to improve upon that situation. To speed up the process, we have added a feature to Malvern’s Website where complaints may be turned in. We are also working on a way that contractors and individuals can purchase building permits and pay for them online.
We have made the City Council members familiar with the International Property Maintenance Code and would like to implement it at some point in time. It is more specific in the requirements of enforcement.
The Malvern Fire Department had 516 incident calls for 2016. This covers fires and alarms, automobile accidents or spills and public assistance.
With all of the state requirements and expectations of our departments, both in fire and code enforcement, the staff has completed 2,944 hours of training. This training is designed to meet the needs of the public and also help lower insurance rates.
Police Department – This year was focused more on obtaining grants and using budgeted funds to equip the patrol cars with technology that would not only make our department more efficient, but save valuable time for our officers.
Our police officers received 12,426 calls and worked 357 accidents with an estimated property loss of $918,175 in 2016. They made 2,471 traffic contacts which resulted in 350 traffic citations and 438 criminal citations.
Officers entered 764 warrants and served 634 warrants. The department has a special investigator for Crimes Against Women and Children and continues working with the Child Abduction Response Team.
The city also continues to partner with the Malvern School System to provide Resource Officers for the district. We are also partnering this year with the College of the Ouachitas to furnish an officer at the college.
Malvern Police Department continues to be very involved with the community, and continues to host a Fall Festival and Haunted House free to the public.
Malvern Water Works – The engineering firm completed the study on Malvern’s water and sewer lines and facilities. Some of the short term needs were identified and fixed, including a rehabilitation of the sewer lift station in the city park. That cost would be $37,500. Then replacing and repairing the pipe hangers on the water and sewer lines that go under the I-30 bridge, would cost $87,000 and smaller repairs as needed.
The report did determine that the sewer treatment plant is over capacity and could cause some major issues. Another problem identified was the water tower under the viaduct, the structure is in very bad shape and needs replaced with a pump station.
For security reasons, a fence was installed around the water tower on McHenry and Texas Streets. Other than these projects, our crews work every day on the maintenance issues and overall infra structure of the water and sewer for our city.
For 2017, we need to concentrate on increasing revenues to start fixing some of the problems that have been neglected for several years. For example, our sewer is over capacity and if overflows become a problem, Malvern can be fined and mandated by the state to fix the situation.
I am also concerned about the water tower under the viaduct. It has also been neglected and is beyond repair. It needs to be replaced with a new pump system and a new line to the water treatment plant.
We also have problems with our facilities, as the buildings are old. City Hall has major termite problems, both fire stations have mold and mildew and are not large enough to house female firefighters and our police department is leased and has many problems with the building. It is time that the City Council and myself look at ways we can raise revenues to fix these problems.

Malvern postpones request

for sales tax to fix intra structure

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
MALVERN – Malvern City Council agreed with the mayor Monday night to table the citywide voter request for a 1 cent sales tax designed to pay for the improvement of the city’s intra structure until a “very specific” project list can be compiled.
Mayor Brenda Weldon said, “I want to table the three ordinances concerning the tax until either a called meeting or until next month. We want to make sure our citizens have a chance to comment and also realize how badly our intra structure needs attention.”
In general, the money accumulated from a 1 cent sales tax would go to repair water and sewer system problems, sink holes, culverts and the like. Council members have agreed that this method of raising money is less taxing on Malvern citizens than raising water bills or charging for sanitation, as such hikes would be permanent.
The proposed sales tax could be capped off the books once the repair list was completed. Also, the sales tax would be partially paid for by those who work in Malvern and/or patronize Malvern stores, not just by those who live in the city.
The overall City Council view seems to be that folks who frequent Malvern need safe and functional streets and culverts etc., just like those who live in the city so it is only fair they finance the upgrades as well as the residents.
The two tax ordinances, plus one resolution, that have been tabled include: an ordinance levying a 1 percent sales tax in the city of Malvern; an ordinance calling a special election on the levying of a 1 percent sales tax in the city of Malvern, and a resolution stating the uses of the proposed 1 percent sales tax.
Moreover, Council members passed an ordinance limiting the number of yard sales per year residents may have; an ordinance waving competitive bidding for city health, property and vehicle insurance;
An ordinance waiving competitive bidding for renovation of the east half of 120 West Third Street; a resolution reorganizing the Malvern Parks Committee; authorized the acceptance of a bid for a tractor/Flail mower for the street department; authorized accepting the highest bid for the sale of old city smart phones, and they accepted the 2015 audit report.
In regard to the city insurance, Mayor Weldon said the services provided by the Arkansas Municipal League “make it in the best interest of Malvern to go with them.”
As to renovating the building across from City Hall (120 W. Third) for city offices etc., Weldon said she does not see where repairs will go over the agreed upon $15,000 cap by using current contractors “and I have received a $12,000 grant to help with this project.”
As to the reinstatement of the Malvern Parks advisory committee, Weldon said, “There are projects over there, like us trying to get a bathroom renovation grant and working toward bringing back Junior Babe Ruth baseball, that we know are in need of discussion and this gives us a crew to do some investigating that will be reported back to this Council and hopefully allow us to make the best decisions.”
Weldon said those appointed to the committee include: Bobby Hill, Ward 1; Marshall Tanner, Ward 2; Lisa Carpenter, Ward 3, and Larry Stasac, Ward 4.
The mayor said the city also has topsoil for the park and the committee can give advice on the best places to put it.
MAYOR’S ADDRESS
A more complete Malvern mayor state of the city address is in the possession of the Tailgate News and remaining portions will be published next week.
The following highlights were gleaned for the discussion of said address at Monday’s meeting.
Mayor Weldon said city crews in 2016 completed culvert installation, ditching and drain box repair on the following streets: Olive, Happy, Toler, Sullenberger, Pecan, Harper, Gloster, Section Line, Royal Oaks, Crenshaw, Floyd, Pacific, Shady Lane, Reed, Cherry Lane, Center, Hope, Young and Wilson.
Major drainage projects were on Olive Street and East Page. Plans are to repair the drainage problem on Shady Lane and Reed in 2017.
Railing was added to Walco Road. There were major sink hole repairs in the middle of the street on Highland and Porter.
New LED lights have been installed in the downtown street lamps and on the viaduct.
A new fence was installed at the city park around the bank of the Ozarks stage.
Numerous creek beds and ditches were cleaned to improve drainage, utilizing help from the Arkansas Department of Corrections.
The mayor said she wants to hire an engineering firm to help create a plan to solve storm water drainage issues and formulate a plan to maintain Malvern streets in the future.

County Judge will open

Clark County Landfill

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Clark County Judge Troy Tucker told Gurdon Rotarians Thursday he is making good progress on reopening the Clark County Class 4 Sanitation dump near Joann and expects the facility to be fully functional by May.
Tucker said, “We hope to have it operational within 60 days and it will save our local industry significant money for disposal.
“A Class 4 dump is for brick, mortar, board scraps and such that needs dumping from industry. We would have to have a Class 1 license for the general public to dump general trash and that is not feasible.”
Tucker said the Class 4 landfill has been closed to local industries for two years. Tucker has been meeting with the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) staff and said he had a productive discussion with them last week concerning the old Clark County Landfill.
“We will reach our goal of reopening this facility in the near future,” he said. “Our discussions with ADEQ have been encouraging.”
JAIL STANDARDS
Tucker said he has also been working to get the Clark County Jail up to state compliance standards. Although Tucker did not go into detail about the jail’s shortcomings, he did say the state jail standards representative from Little Rock talked favorable in working toward complete compliance for the local jail.
“I was relieved after the dialog with him, as the state could shut us down if we were uncooperative or the jail was too far gone. Our jail problems are fixable and we are well on the way to a complete compliance status,” he said.
Moreover, Tucker said he has been supervising the building of a public boat ramp on Lake DeGray. He said former County Judge Ron Daniell started the boat ramp project about two months before Tucker took office.
“The county built the road to it and did much of the work,” Tucker said. “It is on Skyline Drive, where there have also recently been bicycle trails constructed.”
Tucker said the Clark County road crew has also put in two bridges in the Amity area, where the old structures were on the verge of being condemned.
In other business, Tucker said he recently appointed Elton Buck, Allen Morgan and Kevin Jester to the Economic Development Committee of Clark County.
“That committee manages your industrial tax money and is involved in such projects as the up and coming Sun Paper pulpwood mill,” he said. “Stacy Blackard Morrow (Southern Bancorp) is also on that board.”
Judge Tucker invited the public to send him a letter if there is any project he should address that is currently unknown. He offered to set up an appointment with anyone who contacts him.
“We have not had a countywide open meeting lately,” he said. “And I believe we should have a county meeting more than once a year to keep up on the problems and needs of Clark County as interpreted by the folks who live here.”
The judge said he is not personally a member of the Economic Development Committee, but feels there are good representatives on it. He asserted that Sun Paper will effect many people in a positive economic growth way and the committee will lend a hand in guiding new developments that economic improvement may bring. He said the project is creating widespread adrenalin and managing the positive changes will be a challenge.
Arkadelphia, he said, will provide water and sewer for Sun Paper. Tucker said 1,100 acres have been purchased by the Sun Paper owners for the project.
“They are talking about shipping the final product to California and then possibly on to China,” he said. “This project will mean a huge economic change for our area.”
Tucker said Economic Development manager Stephen Bell told Quorum Court members Monday Hillshire Farms is looking at purchasing the old chicken plant (at the Gum Springs Industrial Park) and a fence post plant is also considering locating in Clark County.
Moreover, Tucker told Rotarians the roof on the Clark County Courthouse is being replaced, starting this month, and noted the last such replacement happened in 1997.
“We will begin tearing off the old roof this coming Monday,” he said.
HIGH TECH POT HOLES
Tucker said another development is taking a video of county roads to develop a pothole repair plan.
Gurdon Superintendent of Schools Allen Blackwell said pot holes make it hard to maintain school buses and well graded dirt roads are less harmful to them.
Tucker said if the pot hole paving could not be done for economic reasons in a top notch manner, gravel grading dirt roads is a safer way for the school buses, but the video patching project should improve paved roads the buses must travel.

Mayor Kelley praises Lions

for public servant dinner

By SHERRY KELLEY
Gurdon Mayor
The county wide Lions Club First Responder Appreciation Dinner was a well attended and well deserved opportunity to say ‘thank you’ to those who guard our well being.
The Gurdon City Marshal Don Childres and officers, Gurdon Fire Chief Robert Burns and firefighters, and the EMTs of the Gurdon Ambulance Service were on hand for the meal and ceremonies. We owe them and all the other first responders a debt of gratitude.
Last week I completed a grant to provide aluminum can recycling bins at the Gurdon City Park. I continued work on the FUN Park to be located at city hall funded entirely by an already awarded Arkansas State Parks Grant.
And I started the daunting task of writing the USDA Rural Business Development Grant which will keep me very busy for several months.
The construction of the new Exxon Tigermart, located at the junction of Hwys. 67 and 53, is progressing nicely. I predict that this new retail store, restaurant and fuel stop will be a boon the city’s sale tax revenue.
It will look great on the corner of our major gateway to the town. The new state of the art station replaces a former dilapidated and defunct garage and gas station previously located at the same spot. What an improvement!
Construction has began on our new Sonic Drive-in, which will be located at the junction of Hwys. 67/53 and Hwy. 182 (Sticky Road). This new build will also look great on the highways that travel north and south through Gurdon.
In fact, this stretch is becoming ‘restaurant row’. With the Gurdon Grill, Sonic, Redi-Mart, 302 Elm Street, Allen’s Barbeque, Pizza Pro and Casadores, there is quite a selection of dining options.
Something that I have been working on for a while looks like it is about to come to fruition. We expect to roll out our new Gurdon Code Enforcement Office soon. Gurdon patrolman, Jimmy Edwards has been training with Arkadelphia Code Enforcement Officer John Free.
I think Edwards will be a good person for the job and I look forward to working with him on improving our town, very soon.

Prescott doctor’s office

robbed at gun point

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
A doctor’s office was robbed at gun point on Tuesday morning in Prescott, according to another business owner.
Lee Walker, owner of Prescott Auto, whose establishment is just across from Dr. Michael Young’s office on Hale Street (Highway 67) said he heard about the robbery and went over to investigate.
Walker said he was told that two men in trench coats came into the doctor’s office, pointed a gun at the staff and stole a small amount of cash and a cell phone.
According to Walker, nurses at the office said nobody was hurt but the incident did “shake us all up.”
They further told Walker that the two men were thought to be residents of the Prescott public housing project.
Tailgate News reporter Daneille Cooper asked police for a report but was told the incident was under investigation and more information would be released when the investigation was finished.

Carlos and wife

build successful restaurant

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
The American dream, for a young married couple from Mexico, seems to have become a reality in the business world at Prescott.
Carlos Zacarias, 33, and his wife, Yetzely, 29, came to the United States in 2007 from Aguascalientes, Mexico (near Guadalajara) in 2007.
Our Valentine’s Day love story about them involves a successful restaurant venture called Casa Carlos Authentic Mexican Restaurant. The couple has lived at Prescott since 2010. They own the restaurant and have four children.
The kids are Carlos Jr., 13; Yeybeth, 8; Leyla, 4, and Sofia, 8 months. The family has owned and operated Casa Carlos since 2013. The Mexican restaurant is located near Interstate 30 (Exit 46, across from Loves).
Carlos said Tuesday, “We are a successfully established business with a full line of Mexican food. It is not all spicy and full of peppers. Some selections are mild. And we do have salads. Plus, we serve steak and seafood. We hope to see you tomorrow.”
GETTING STARTED
When Carlos first came to Prescott, he said he was working in Murfreesboro and stopped in his future home town for gasoline.
“I decided to drive around and then my brothers and I decided to open a restaurant in Prescott,” he said.
“In 2013, I decided to separate from my brothers. They went to Hope to establish a restaurant and I stayed in Prescott, where my wife and I continued to develop Casa Carlos.”
Carlos said his restaurant currently has seven employees. The popular eatery is open six days a week, closed on Mondays. His restaurant hours are 11 a.m. until 9 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday, but the restaurant is usually open an extra hour on Friday nights.
“We are an established business and I am very grateful,” he said. “My business continues to grow because my customers take the time from their busy lives to come over and eat here.”
Carlos and his wife, Yetzely, are hands-on entrepreneurs. They work side by side with the seven employees to create good quality food and prompt more and more customers to come back day after day.
“When I decided to locate near the interstate, that really has helped my growth. We have our regulars and some traffic from Interstate 30,” he said.
Observation by this reporter indicates a seating capacity of 50 or more. The restaurant has new restroom facilities and a cozy atmosphere for the whole family to enjoy. Prices are very reasonable and there is indeed something on the menu for nearly everyone.
“I admit, like most businesses of today, we have our ups and downs. But we do our best to make it all work out. We want our customers to be happy,” he said.
Carlos said his children go to Prescott schools and he is very conscientious about donating to school projects, as well as to other projects going on in the Prescott community.
“I want to give back to my school system and to our community. They have been so good to us and we believe in helping others whenever we can afford to do so,” he said.
Carlos and Yetzely encourage their children to get involved in baseball, football and more.
“Prescott is home to us. We are so thankful to be here and want everyone to know how much we appreciate being accepted as an established local business and as a Prescott family,” Carlos added.

Malvern considers sales tax,

will vote on it Monday

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Preparations are under way for a vote Monday night in Malvern concerning a proposed city sales tax to be used for water and sewer repair and other intra structure repairs.
Mayor Brenda Weldon will give a state of the city address at the upcoming 7 p.m. City Council meeting on Monday, February 13. In it, she is expected to describe the costs and needs of keeping up Malvern’s intra structure, since sink holes, erosion and other factors associated with natural deterioration are a reality in the Hot Spring County municipality.
At the agenda meeting Monday, Weldon asked the City Council members for permission to put the 1 cent sales tax proposal to a vote on February 13 and they voted unanimously to do so.
Chris Brewster, fire marshal, has been assigned the duties of promoting the tax to the public. If passed, Brewster said Malvern is shooting for a Tuesday, May 9 vote on the matter. The tax, if passed, will more than likely have a cap of extinction on it, but will be in force long enough to create more than $1 million to repair and /or establish a more stable and modernized Malvern.
Council members had previously considered charging residents for sanitation services as a means to create more than $100,000 in specified water and sewer repair money but have apparently tabled that idea.
Although none of the finance committee members wants to see a water bill increase, this alternative has been viewed as “a better than not doing anything move to get rid of our sink holes and culvert erosion.”
Councilman Larry Stiles, who has come out for the sales tax, said he believes it to be a realistic solution to getting Malvern’s intra structure up to standards and would allow city officials the funding to do so.
“It is a fair way to do the repairs, he said. “And we can put a limit on it and take it off the books in a few years. If we raise the water bills, not only would it be too little money, it could mean charging our citizens more for water and sewer from here on out.”
Stiles also pointed out that the sales tax would be collected from non-Malvern residents who frequent Malvern and buy things – “not just our residents.”
At the agenda meeting, Mayor Weldon asked the finance committee and general City Council members present for permission to put on the City Council agenda an ordinance to levy the 1 cent sales tax, a second ordinance to establish a special election date and a resolution to establish specific usage for the collected tax money.
Weldon also asked for emergency clauses on the tax matter in order to put the proposed legalities of putting the tax to a vote on the third reading for Council members to approve or defeat in a more timely manner.
The mayor was given permission to prepare all of the necessary paper work to get the proposed tax before the general Malvern voting population.
In other agenda business, the City Council members agreed to hear the yard sale ordinance for Malvern on its third and final reading Monday. If passed, the new ordinance would limit the number of yard sales per year that residents could have and entice those doing yard saling for a business to seek a business license for their activities.
Citizens wanting to appear at the Council meeting Monday to express opinions on the yard sale ordinance, or other proposed Council actions, should contact Mayor Weldon’s office quickly to see if there is still time to be put on the agenda to speak.
No citizens appeared at the agenda meeting to voice opinions. Moreover, the group OKed an ordinance for vote regarding prices on auto insurance and for computer upkeep.
A discussion to reorganize the Parks Commission for Malvern is also expected to take place at Monday’s meeting.
In other business, the City Council will consider an ordinance for further development of now city-owned buildings across from City Hall.
Weldon said present agreements establish that refurbishing the buildings will max out at a cost of $15,000. The new ordinance would make it legal for her to go ahead with the revamping of the buildings should those costs exceed that limit.
“You need to understand as well that Rockport is requesting some Malvern annexed property go back to Rockport,” Mayor Weldon said. “Malvern will file an injunction to stop this attempt.”
Weldon said citizens in the vicinity of Highways 51 and 270 have requested sewer services.
“We have never went that far out of town before, but those requesting help are still in Malvern rather than Rockport,” she said.
The total cost to Malvern to provide the requested sewer service, which would take in the Diamond Lakes Credit Union area, would be $387,000.
The City Council also agreed to place on the agenda the possibility of accepting a low bid on a Flair mower. In addition, the body is to consider a telephone upgrade.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Editor recalls marriage

advice  from grandparents

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
I want to wish all lovers, married or just starting out, a joyful and happy Valentine’s Day.
The holiday always makes me think of my grandparents, John and Marvel Nelson, who raised me on an Indiana farm.
The adopted me when I was 7 months old, as my parents divorced and both pursued their careers as medical doctors.
I learned a little about love from John and Marvel. They got married in 1918, after a 5-year courtship.
My grandfather lived in Morris, Illinois and my grandmother lived in Hagerstown, Indiana, my boyhood hometown before I ever knew about Gurdon, Arkansas.
John Hans drove in a Model T Ford to see his girl quite often. The 5-hour trip took about 8 hours back then.
Grandpa told me after 5 years people were beginning to talk so he figured he had better make an honest woman out of Marvel.
They were married 69 years. Grandma passed away at the age of 92 on October 31, 1988.
Grandpa died January 22, 1989 at the age of 96. The doctor said the old man died of a broken heart.
Through thick and thin, they carried on. I had them 30 years as parents. I remember listening to the stories of their wild days in the 1930’s and their farming days there after.
The story goes that Grandpa went on a long journey in 1933 and 1934 to liberate about a quarter of a million dollars from Midwestern banks. To read about it, see the book Dillinger Days on this web blog.
Grandma was a flapper in Chicago during those 18 months and returned to a farming life after the money was secured.
They farmed from 1934 until the late 1980’s without bothering a soul and enjoyed the Eden they had created.
As a boy, I also enjoyed the 80 acres we lived on and our woods that was attached. We had 169 other acres about 5 miles from there, which Grandpa farmed and/or hunted on right up until his passing.
One day, when I was about 12 years old, I came in from feeding my rabbits to find my grandmother doing her usual crossword puzzles.
I asked her, “Grandma, have you ever fallen out of love with my grandfather?”
Marvel put her puzzle down and shot me a straight answer. Both of them were big on always telling the truth.
“I have fallen in and out of love with that man out there eight times. Sometimes I would get disgusted because he is such a horse’s ass. But then I realized he is my horse’s ass and how glad I am he is.”
After a short pause, she continued. Marvel May Woolard Nelson put it like this, “My mother told me when I got married that a woman makes her bed and then she lies in it… period. Come what may, that is her husband and it is the job of woman-kind to take the good with the bad and make the best of it.”
Grandpa and Grandma raised me right. Years later, I have finally seen the wisdom of their words.
I learned growing up marriage is a serious commitment. I have now been married to Blondie 19 years and so glad I can not seem to find a quit switch.

Gurdon mayor to try

for small business help grant

By SHERRY KELLEY
Gurdon Mayor
Months ago you may recall reading in this column about a leak in the water tower on Red Springs Road.
At that point we contacted the manufacturer of the tank, a company called Aqua Stone. The representatives came out, looked at the tank and told us we needed to drain it for their inspection.
They will enter the tank, see what needs replacement and order those parts. We will fill the tank back up until the parts arrive. Then drain it again for the installation. Sounds logical. Simple, even. Not so fast.
We don’t want to interrupt the water service to the 60 plus meters that are served by this water tank. So we called Arkansas Rural Water. With their assistance we determined how to bypass the drained tank and provide uninterrupted service to our rural water customers.
We have two pumps in the well house that serves those meters. One had to be repaired in order to insure our ability to bypass.
That done, we must be able to gauge precisely how much water is in our 10th Street tank which will now directly feed those rural customers.
The target (gauge) on the 10th Street tank was malfunctioning. If that tank were to drop too low due to the extra pull, it could be detrimental to our city service and more.
Through contacts and recommendations, we located a reputable company to make the repair. Further inspection of the tower revealed that there is a large colony of wasps located precisely at the top of the tower ladder. No repairs on the target until the weather is cool enough to kill the wasps.
Now, we have those needs met. We will drain the Red Springs tank, bypass that system, monitor the 10th Street tank, get the faulty tower inspected, parts ordered, fill it back up, drain it again when parts arrive and make the necessary repairs.
Many things are not as simple as they seem. And we are facing another challenge regarding some other infrastructure repair in town.
The Market On Main USDA Rural Business Enterprise Grant was a real doozy to write. But in the end it was worth it.
Once again, I am going to try for another USDA Grant. This one is call Rural Business Development Grant. It’s a long shot but if I can complete the writing and if we are awarded the grant, we be able to outfit and remodel the former First National Bank Building.
In order to fill the very specific USDA guidelines, the building will be a Main Street presence to provide technical training services for local small businesses, a business incubator for entrepreneurs (providing low cost office space) and hopefully a resource for capital for revolving loans for business start ups. I will keep you posted on the progress of the writing phase.
Little League season is around the corner. Do you have any used equipment that you could donate to this years’ players?
Older cleats, gloves, etc. can be dropped off at the box in the doorways of the municipal building. The supplies will be distributed to those in need.

Gurdon considers raising

water bills by $5 to make bills

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
The Gurdon City Council voted to hear an ordinance Monday on first reading that if passed three times would raise the residential water rate $5 per household for city and rural customers, the first such water bill hike in 18 years.
Council members passed the first reading. Mayor Sherry Kelley said she believes the $5 increase “is justified and long overdue.”
Mayor Kelley explained that Clark County court costs are nearly $2,500 a month “and there is just no where else to cut our budget in order to pay these mandated fees. Every month, we get further and further behind.”
The February meeting is slated for 6 p.m. on Monday, February 27 and public input is encouraged. At the suggestion of Southern Bancorp president and attorney Bill Wright, a public meeting for discussion of the matter may be scheduled.
If Ordinance 17-003 passes three times, the increase will show up on water bills in April.
Kelley said current arrears on the district court fees amounts to $21,000. She also noted a reuse fund loan to restore the old First National Bank is also owed with no money for the payments.
“We are not a dead beat city,” she said. “When Gurdon can not pay its bills, that bothers me.”
Ordinance 17-003 to raise water rates in Gurdon will be placed on the second of three scheduled readings in February.
In other business, Southern Bancorp bank president Wright asked the Council for an abandonment and assessment of real estate at 600 East Main Street in order to build a permanent bank structure on the site.
He said an adjacent alley was closed in the 1930’s by the Arkansas State Highway Department. Council members offered no objection to Wright proceeding with the necessary legal steps to secure the desired property or his request for the city to abandon the already closed street.
Wright assured the city that the legal procedure to this request would not cost the city anything. Council members passed a resolution to allow Wright to proceed.
Moreover, City Council members passed a 2017 budget with a general fund total gross profit of $625,751 in operating money and $563,400 in projected expenses.
The street department budget came in with a $244,729 gross profit of operating monies and total projected expenses of $181,800.

Police catch burglar

from Doug’s Grocery heist

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Jacob Godwin, 24, of Gurdon, has been arrested and is in the Clark County jail for allegedly breaking into Doug’s Grocery, a place where he was previously employed, on January 17 and removing $666.
Gurdon Police Department Deputy Marshal and Sgt. Toby Garner said Godwin is charged with commercial burglary, a Class C felony, with possible incarceration of 7 to 10 years if convicted.
Garner said Godwin is also charged with breaking and entering, a Class D felony which carries a possible sentence of 5 to 7 years. In addition, Godwin faces a Class A misdemeaner charge for theft of property of the $666.
Sgt. Garner said Godwin had his first appearance before Circuit Judge Robert McCollum on January 24. Godwin was already on parole and is now awaiting a court date.
Judge McCollum set bond at $50,000 but it remains unposted, resulting in Godwin’s continued incarceration. Details of the crime Godwin faces charges for are as follows: Fingerprints and mud indicated a definite person of interest in the early morning burglary and break-in at Doug’s Grocery in Gurdon.
According to investigating officer Garner’s report, the commercial burglary and breaking and entering involved taking the $666 in cash from the store’s safe and else where at 801 South 6th Street location.
Sgt. Garner said inspection of the property indicated the suspect used a brick to break a glass door and gain entry to the store. Doug’s Grocery store owner Paul “Pee Wee” Williams provided police with the exact amount of money that was missing.
Sgt. Garner said Williams told him money was missing from the safe, the registry and a safety deposit box. Garner arrived at the scene to start the investigation at around 5 a.m. on the morning of the commercial burglary, breaking and entering and theft.
No items, other than cash, were reported missing. The sergeant said whomever did this had to know the combination of the safe, as no forced entry was indicated.
Upon arrival, Sgt. Garner said he observed that a side door was cracked open and glass was broken. Moreover, the store was standing open.
After seeing the scene, Garner called store owner Williams. While there, Garner found a brick that was used to break the door glass and gain entry. Williams told Garner the safe had been locked up the night before when the store was closed.
“While investigating, I was able to pull muddy fingerprints off the side door that was used to gain entry,” Sgt. Garner said. “With further investigation, I was able to locate a small amount of glass that came from the door and remove a portion of it to analyze.”

Mayor explains need

for water bill hike

 

City Progress..
By SHERRY KELLEY
Gurdon Mayor
The Central Arkansas Development Council’s Gurdon Senior Adult Activity Center is very popular weekday destination. I had the pleasure of visiting last week.
When I arrived, the Gurdon Bean Bag Baseball Team was busy playing a game in preparation for an upcoming competition with a visiting team. Other seniors were catching up with each other as center director, Royce Ann Barbaree, mingled and handed out fresh snicker doodle cookies, baked warm from the oven.
Several of the baseball players were busy scoring home runs while others at the center inquired about the whereabouts of former mayor and center regular Clayton Franklin. He evidently arrived a few minutes late and is the official popcorn popper. Once the game was over, cookies devoured and popcorn bag in hand, it was time for me to deliver a “state of the city” address. I told the group that the first two years of my four year term have been a challenge. Not quite what I expected. I gave statistics on the progress that we had made; $580,000 upgrade to our waste water treatment plant (100% funded by the Economic Development Corporation of Clark County) in support of the Georgia Pacific expansion, $145,000 purchase and remodel (including grant and donated services) of 917 Main Street, known as The Market On Main and $50,000 (including grant and donated services) to create park facilities at City Hall.
We have also had $70,000 in salary reduction and job elimination, $30,000 in 100% funded grants for radar guns, storm sirens, infield surfacing, paint, mower, weed eaters, defibrillators, soccer goals, Christmas decorations and more, $24,000 through renegotiating uniform, phone, computer and other contracts, $125,000 for sale of city owned acreage and $30,000 in clear revenue from newly created sanitation department.
All of this came to right around a million dollars. That’s the good news. We’ve cut expenses, we’re doing more with less. But the bad news is, we still can’t pay all of our monthly bills. The monthly Clark County District Court fees of $2,500 are a challenge that we can’t meet. The repayment of the nearly $30,000 Clark County Reuse Funds is another difficult obligation, let alone the funding of projects and needs that arise. We also have several looming infrastructure repairs.
That is why I am going to request that the Gurdon City Council support a water rate increase. It has been 18 years since our last hike and our water rates are lower than the surrounding municipalities.
After my address, there were several questions, a few complaints and two compliments. Then it was time to get back to the joys of the center. Chicken spaghetti, garlic bread, all the trimmings and desert. I sure do look forward to being retired one day.

Coach Jackson praises fight

in 2016 football team

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Head Football Coach Kyle Jackson told a crowd of 100 or more parents, fellow students and friends, at Thursday’s football and cheerleading awards banquet “even though 2016 was a rough year for Gurdon football, the 18 young men who stuck it out and did their best learned how to give their all and fight until the end.”
Jackson said the team overall record for fall was 3-7, but “it was not for lack of giving our all and we are certainly proud of the recognition we got from coaches of the opposing teams.”
According to Jackson, more than one coach told him the 2016 Go-Devils fought hard from the time they hit the field until the game was over and were a lot of fun to watch play.
“It is the biggest complement we could get,” he said. “They also told me if I had 18 more like those 18, our team would surely be hard to beat.”
Jackson then recognized his seniors; Matt Bullard. Donald Haynie, Cam Gulley, Kagon Morrison and Cole Harper.
He said “Big” #78 Cole Harper, who received the “Outstanding Offensive Lineman” award had been playing football for the Go-Devils for six years.
“I have always said if you give us your son early, we will instill integrity, competition and an overall willingness to persevere to the end that will make a better man out of him in the long run,” Coach Jackson said.
The coach then announced the permanent team captains and stressed that they are always selected by fellow team mates. For 2016, the three permanent team captains were: Cole Harper, Kagon Morrison and Cam Gulley.
The “Outstanding Offensive Back” award went to Donald Haynie. The “Offensive MVP” was Thomas Muldrow. Muldrow also got the “Outstanding Defensive Back.” KJ Tidwell got the “Outstanding Player/Receiver” award.
The “Outstanding Defensive Lineman” was BJ Brewer. Brewer also got the “Defensive MVP” award. The “Outstanding Linebacker” was Daniel Moreno.
“Special Teams MVP” went to Matt Bullard. Coach Jackson had two he thought were “Most Improved.” They were Parker Rodgers and Bryce Smith.
The “Burlsworth” award went to Kagon Morrison. And the Gurdon Rotary MVP Club award went to Thomas Muldrow, noting Muldrow had 37 tackles and 1,345 yards of passing.
As to cheerleader awards, “Outstanding Jump,” Hannah Dykes; “Outstanding Tumbling,” Keleana Tidwell; “Outstanding Dancer,” Keoyna Jones; “Outstanding Base,” Kylee Wilkins; “Outstanding Flyer,” Kellee Miller; “Go-Devil Gritt,” Mckinsey Malone; “Go-Devil Leadership,” Kylee Wilkins; “Go-Devil Cheer,” Jayden Colbert; “Ronald Baker Go-Devil Spirit Award,” Barbara Allen, of Allen’s Barbecue; and the “Academic Greatness” award for the highest Grade Point Average on the cheerleading squad and in football; Kellee Miller and Matt Bullard.

Prescott School Board

shown appreciation

By DANIELLE COOPER
Tailgate News Reporter
Prescott School Board members voted unanimously Tuesday to start doing accounts payable by electronic transfer, a step taken to be sure more accurate records are kept on outstanding checks.
Superintendent Robert Poole said the school has not been doing the electronic transfer method in the past but the “E Financing” method is better for receiving reoccurring transactions as well as non-reoccurring transactions.
“We will still be able to do traditional checks as well, but this will save time and is easily tracked,” Poole told the board. Passing the resolution will give the disbursing officer the power to begin the new procedure.
In other business, Poole asked board members to pass the word about PHS hosting the regional basketball tournament this year, Feb. 22-25. He said a good turn-out is needed to secure more tournaments in Prescott in the future. He said Arkansas Athletic Association (AAA) has also agreed to hold the state track meet at Prescott on May 2.
“We need to get all the businesses aware that these school events will bring possibly thousands of people to our town. So the town needs to be prepared to upgrade the readiness for more business coming,” Poole said.
BOARD APPRECIATION
Superintendent Poole had surprise desserts for the school board members. Board members include: Robert Poole as superintendent, Patricia Blake as president, Herbert Adams, secretary and Jo Beth Glass as vice president. Other members are: Ryan Harvey, Reed Koger and Freddie Burks as recorder.
The elementary school counselor, Brenda Smith, and a student, Lakyn Crayne, passed out thank you cards that were created by the school students. Each school board member got a card of their own.
Poole said board members were always asking, “Where is the dessert?” So he had a teacher to pass out boxes of personalized desserts to each school board member.
The school board members accepted the 2017 – 2018 calendar proposal, which will be reviewed for final approval.
The superintendent gave an update on school enrollment. There are 535 students enrolled in the elementary school and 449 students enrolled in the high school, making a total of 984 students enrolled in the Prescott School District.
Judy Clampit, the district treasurer, said the school refunded a bond of $14,000, “but district finances are $640,000 to the good and looking great.”
There will be a parent teacher conference Thursday, January 26, 2017 at 6 p.m.
There will be a program February 2 at 6 p.m. called Conscious Discipline in the high school auditorium. There will be no school February 3, 2017.
When the school board came back from their executive cession, there were staff changes to report. Board members hired an elementary school teacher named Jessica Bennett.
They hired a new bus driver named Nicole Moodey. They accepted the resignation of district nurse Laura Arnette.
They decided to renew/extend Superintendent Robert Poole’s contract for one more year. This one year will make his contract to be a total of three years.
The school board meetings usually occur on the fourth Tuesday of every month. The next meeting will be at 6 p.m. on March 28 at the high school.

Malvern editor Mark Bivens

dies this week…

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
I have been involved with journalism full-time since graduating college in 1982. Somewhere toward the end of the 1980’s, I met a sports writer at the Blytheville Courier News named Mark Bivens.
I was a reporter for them at the time. I had gone through my second divorce and was living with then editor Terry Hawkins, before moving out on my own. It was a strange time in my life, but then again back then every day was an adventure.
Mark was part of the adventure. We were not best buddies, like my friend Mike Reddick and I, or my friend Ben Downing and I were, but Mark and I thought a lot a like and got along well in and out of the office.
Mark loved to write. He also loved his boxing and was a golden glove champion in his early years. I seem to recall he has a son in the Blytheville area, but also a loyal wife that I believe most likely stayed with him until he passed away this January 25, 2017. Mark was a native of the Blytheville and Manila area. He loved to fish.
I will not attempt to share any more of his personal life, as I did not know him as well as several others and I do not intend to anger anyone by saying the wrong thing. Let’s just say this, Mark Bivens was a kindred spirit. We had a lot of fun around each other and laughed a lot over old stories as we drank a few left handed soda pops.
I have two or three very humorous Mark Bivens stories that I have shared with my children. But for now, let’s just say I appreciated his friendship. He could be counted on. When 911 hit, I had been the editor and publisher of the Marmaduke Chronicle for four years. The national disaster scared the entrepreneur advertisers and my business financially collapsed.
I called Mark and asked if he knew of any jobs. He said, “Bring your resume so I can give it to my publisher Richard Folds. As for the job, you have been sports editor before. You can do it again here in Malvern if you like.”
I thanked him and my family relocated in about two weeks. Mark trusted me. I trusted Mark. That is a rare thing in this old life. And the older I get, the more I appreciate friends like Mark. Thank you Mr. Bivens for being a professional journalist, a very interesting writer to read and a good friend. So long Mark. God bless you and your family has my sympathy for the loss of a good man. Sincerely, John H. Nelson, editor and publisher of the Southern Arkansas Tailgate News.
Details of his funeral are pending. Friends tell us he was 63 years old and John Funk Funeral Home at Malvern will handle services Saturday, January 28. The following was written about Mr. Bivens by staff on his flag ship employer, the Malvern Daily Record.
MALVERN, AR – Today, Jan. 25, 2017, former Malvern Daily Record editor Mark Bivens passed from this life. The Malvern Daily Record was home to Bivens for nearly two decades.
Bivens began his tenure at Malvern Daily Record in 1991, when he was hired by publisher Larry Boyer. Before coming to the Malvern Daily Record, Bivens had been employed as editor of the Blytheville Courier News in Blytheville.
Although he left the Malvern Daily Record for a brief period for the Daily Siftings Herald, he returned to Malvern, where he called home. He remained at the Malvern Daily Record as editor until his retirement in 2013.
Bivens was proud to be a part of the Malvern Daily Record staff and had a big impact on all those around him. He also became a mentor to many that came through the doors of the Malvern Daily Record from his days as the sports editor through his time as the editor.

Mayor Kelley praises good weather,

talks of working on pee wee field

By SHERRY KELLEY
Gurdon Mayor
It certainly has been a warm and wet winter so far. Recent thunderstorms have caused great devastation in the South. Our prayers go out to our neighbors and our praise that Clark County has been spared.
Work has resumed on the new Gurdon PeeWee Football and Youth Soccer Field. Last week Gary Smith and the street department began installing a 400-foot chain link fence. The fence was purchased with grant money.
The fence will both direct the spectators to the Gurdon City Park entrance and keep four-wheelers off of the field.
Local welder David Williams will soon begin fabricating the goal posts. The posts will be paid for with grant money. Clark County Extension Agent Amy Simpson is scheduled to review the field and advise a winter/spring regimen for the turf.
At the Southwest Arkansas Intermodal Authority meeting, we learned that Sun Paper is very much on track.
Pre-engineering work is under way. Highway Department representatives were on hand for a report and questions. Rail service to the plant was discussed.
This week Matt McNair from Arkansas State Parks and I will meet on site at City Hall with Mark Overturf from Twin Rivers Architecture. This is a scope of work and grant management meeting. As I have mentioned before, Overturf is working on the project free of charge. I’ve invited Gary Smith, Gurdon Street Department manager and Don Childres, Gurdon City Marshall, also.
At the invitation of Royce Ann Barbaree and Jerry Hawley of the Central Arkansas Development Council Gurdon Senior Adult Activity Center, I will speak to the senior’s about the work that we have accomplished in the city, the work that is under way and the challenges that we face.
It’s good to see the sunshine. Have a great week.

Doug’s Grocery undergoes break-in,

burglar takes more than $500

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Fingerprints and mud indicate a definite person of interest in an early morning burglary and break-in at Doug’s Grocery in Gurdon that took place around 3:07 a.m. on Tuesday, January 17.
Investigating officer and Sgt. Toby Garner said the Gurdon Police Department definitely has a prime suspect in the felony crimes, but declined to name that person publicly on Thursday “because we do not have our hands on him to put him in custody just yet.”
According to Garner’s report, the commercial burglary and breaking and entering involved taking between $500 and $1,500 in cash from the store’s safe and elsewhere at 801 South 6th Street.
Sgt. Garner said inspection of the property indicated the suspect used a brick to break a glass door and gain entry to the store. Doug’s Grocery store owner Paul “Pee Wee” Williams provided police with the exact amount of money that was missing, but Garner said he would release the figure after the investigation is completed.
“I will confirm it was between the amounts I indicated and this does mean felony charges for the person who did this,” he said.
Sgt. Garner said Williams told him money was missing from the safe, the registry and a safety deposit box. Garner arrived at the scene to start the investigation at around 5 a.m. on the morning of the break-in and felony theft.
No items, other than cash, were reported missing. The sergeant said whomever did this had to know the combination of the safe, as no forced entry was indicated.
Upon arrival, Sgt. Garner said he observed that a side door was cracked open and glass was broken. Moreover, the store was standing open.
After seeing the scene, Garner called store owner Williams. While there, Garner found a brick that was used to break the door glass and gain entry. Williams told Garner the safe had been locked up the night before when the store was closed.
“While investigating, I was able to pull muddy fingerprints off the side door that was used to gain entry,” Sgt. Garner said. “With further investigation, I was able to locate a small amount of glass that came from the door and remove a portion of it to analyze.”
Sgt. Garner said he feels confident the person of interest in this crime will be located and questioned very shortly. However, at press time, no further information was released.
“I will provide all of the details as soon as we complete the investigation,” he said.

Gurdon School gets perfect audit report;

district considering forestry equipment simulators

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
The Gurdon School District business manager reported to School Board members Tuesday that the district has received a perfect audit report.
Rhonda Spruill, business manager, said she has been working with the same state auditor for the past three years and so problems and recommendations have finally been worked out to the satisfaction of all concerned.
“This is the first time since at least the year 2,000 that our district has not had to deal with changes suggested by an auditor,” she said. “Mr.Elam said our site control extension and maximum accountability for financial transactions is now OK.”
Superintendet Allen Blackwell said one of the main reasons the report came back so well is the government gave Gurdon a chance to work with the same auditor for three years.
“I do not want the board to get used to no flaws in an audit,” he said. “If we get a new person next year, it is very possible there will be a few moe suggestions. Audit reporting is subjective like that. But for now, we are proud to have had such a good report this year.”
Complying with recent past suggestions, Blackwell said, has met more people now look at each financial transaction. The idea being the more accoutability, the less chance for error or theft.
AGRI SIMULATORS
In other business, the School Board gave Blackwell the go-ahead in his request to explore adding heavy forestry equipment simulator training from the agriculture teacher at Gurdon to students planning to work in industry.
The purpose, he said, is to have a one to two semester program that allows students to learn a skill that can help them immediately after they graduate. The idea of pursuing the stimulators was brought to the district by the Economic Development Corporation of Clark County.
Blackwell said, “I agree with the School Board member reaction that hands on training to running heavy equipment is the best way to learn, but we can get these simulators and at least give the kids some exposure before they go looking for work involving the heavy equipment.”
School Board member Bernard Hatley said he was a tank trainer and put soldiers on simulators to learn basic operation.
He said he was all for the new simulator idea but had reservations as to whether the agriculture teacher would have time to work necessary training time into his schedule?
Blackwell said the school district is only talking about acquiring four or five simulators and time management should not be an issue as to their training utilization.
Hatley said, “I am not against getting the simulators. I just want to make sure students get some realistic training on them so they can truly be an asset in regard to preparing our kids to become members of the workforce.
“I would like to see experts come to our school and volunteer their time to give some nuts and bolts training on the simulators.”
Blackwell said this might not be possible because the grant application stipulation to having the simulators is that trainers must be certified teachers.
Blackwell said the district is applying for a $50,000 continuing education type grant, which should buy four or five good quality simulators.
“If we get grant money, this project should not cost our district anything,” the superintendent said. “And the Cabe Foundation is interested. Mrs. Anita Cabe spoke very favorable about the simulators. Although she made no financial commitment, it sounds like they might be willing to help us if we need help with the financing.”
Blackwell said Congressman Bruce Westerman is a forester and is very excited about the simulator idea. Plus John Deer has offered to work out of a deal to where the machines may not cost as much to acquire.
Moreover, School Board member Coach Ed Reece received an award for completing more than 25 hours of School Board member continuing education classes.
Board member Hatley told Gurdon Primary Principal Rusty Manning he is very grateful to have a gym open on Saturdays for Pee Wee basketball.

Mayor applying for animal shelter roof

By SHERRY KELLEY
Gurdon Mayor
This week I will meet with a friend of the Gurdon Animal Shelter who lives in Little Rock. Last week she phoned me with news that she may have a donor who is willing to pay for the cost of re-roofing the building which houses’ the dogs.
When we first looked at this project in 2015, it was determined that the best application will be a Styrofoam type insulation covered by a durable white vinyl membrane.
This is what was used on The Market On Main. Not only is it fairly affordable, but it helps to keep the building warm in the winter and cool in the summer.
As a member of the Southwest Arkansas Regional Intermodal Authority, I look forward to attending a meeting in Arkadelphia this week.
One of the topics our multi-county board will be discussion of the railroad spur in Gum Springs for the Sun Paper project. This new mill is already stirring up real estate action in Gurdon.
The bridge work between Gurdon and Curtis is nearing completion. We expect that all the new bridges should be open this spring if not before. And word is that the new Exxon will also open this spring.

Prescott gets new council members;

to revamp loans for sewer and water repairs

By DANIELLE COOPER
Tailgate News Reporter
Prescott City Council met Tuesday and introduced new City Council members to the public. The newly elected officials included: Carla Christopher of Ward 3, Position 2; Stacie Jester of Ward 2, Position 2; Jerry Hightower of Ward 3, Position 1, Bobbie Brown, Ward 1, Position 1, and Tommy Poole, Ward 1, Position 2.
Robert Loe is City Clerk and Recorder and Prescott Mayor Terry Oliver welcomed the group to their duties. Remaining Council members include: Susie Meeks, Ward 4, Position 1; Patricia Roberts, Ward 2, Position 2 and Howard Austin, Ward 2, Position 1.
The new Prescott Council again discussed refinancing city debts to create a fund for water and sewer projects and repair. Jason Holsclaw, of Stephens Financial Services of Little Rock, came to the council meeting in December and on Tuesday to talk about the amount that could be made to generate additional money. He described a proposal about refinancing city debts which could free up $600,000 to $1 million and involve yearly payments comparable to what Prescott already pays.
Council members voted to hire Stephens as their financial representative in December, but did not decide whether to refinance or how much refinancing to confirm. If they loosen up $600,000, their $100,000 a year payment on the debt will remain about the same. But repair needs are such that the group is considering refinancing the loan debt with payments of around $125,000 a year in order to loosen up the full $1 million for repairs and/or improvements. This would take the note to 30 years for repayment.
Perry Nelson, Prescott Water and Sewer superintendent, told the City Council in December, “Our job is to repair and maintain the properties of Prescott. Much of the piping, culverts and building structures have been here 50 to 100 years. You need to do all we can afford to fix our many structural problems. But even if we have $1 million, it will not cover all of our needs.”
The current debt involves a $1 million bond, according to Holsclaw. The water bond has come and gone for the year of 2009. So the Stephens Public Financing will be paying off the 2009 bonds when filling new ones. The suggested $600,000 bond for the city projects is for an additional 15 years with the same payout. The interest rate is still 4.3%. In the end, the city will be owing Stephens Public Financing $1,600,000 if the Council votes to accept that proposal.
Superintendent Nelson, water and sewer, said in December his department was not going to ask for a large amount of money for the projects they have going on around town. He called their projects a “Catch 22.”The projects will take what they can get for a bunch of small structural improvements.
Some of the small water and sewer projects include, but are not limited to; a sewer line on Webb street needs repair, a water line on Highway 67 to the corporate office needs repair as there is no access to the lines and the Prescott water and sewer employees think a manhole should be put near the new jail so that the water lines are easier accessed when needed. The list that Superintendent Nelson had made prior to the meeting equaled up to at least $300,000. The sewer line repair at Webb Street will cost an estimated $105,000.
There was an additional list made but not yet cost configured. The City Council still needs a detailed list of all the projects that needs to be done including the estimated cost. This list is to also include the sewer project and its estimated cost to fix it. But due to a family emergency, Nelson could not make it to the Tuesday meeting. So the amount of the bonds decision was tabled until February.
In other business, Christopher Hopper, Prescott sanitation department supervisor, was honored by the City Council as “Employee of the Year” and received a plaque and applause from Council members and guests. Mayor Terry Oliver presented the plaque, which had Chris’s favorite saying inscribed, “Team Work makes the Dream Work.”
The times of the 2017 City Council meetings were decided and voted upon. City Council members agreed on the third Monday of each month. The meetings will be at 6:30 p.m. When there are holidays the meetings will be held that following Tuesday.
Moreover, it was noted that Hines has stopped taking leaves. So the leaf burning period was discussed. Christopher Hopper said that there are still a whole lot of leaves on the ground until April. Since Hines is no longer taking leaves, Hopper is in charge of leaf disposal. The landfill will not allow him to let the city bag the leaves and take them there due to combustion and fire hazards.
So the City Council voted to make an amendment to Ordinance 1 of 2017. This amendment was made to where people around the city can burn leaves until April 30 in order to get rid of the leaves that Hines is no longer taking. The extension passed by a vote of seven to one.
Mayor Oliver appointed a citizen to the zoning and planning commission. There were three people total interested in the position. Oliver selected Melissa Malone. Malone is a life-long Prescott resident.

Gurdon  receives $45,000 park grant

to help city bound children feel safe

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Gurdon has received a $45,000 grant to construct a park for inner city children next to City Hall, 103 Maple Street.
Mayor Sherry Kelley said Tuesday, “This grant was given to Gurdon on Dec. 23 by Gov. Asa Hutchinson from Arkansas State Parks. The grant funds 100 percent of the planned park, with no money required from our city.”
Mayor Kelley said the grant is from the parks program Funds for Under served Neighborhoods (FUN). A construction start date has not been determined, but an organizational meeting is to take place at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, January 25 in City Hall.
The new park is to consist of a picnic pavilion, a half-court basketball court and a playground, all on city property near the City Hall and Gurdon Police Department.
The playground will have chain link fence set up so that children do not run the risk of going onto Cherry Street or Maple Street. Mayor Kelley said the playground will be next to the kitchen and meeting hall so that those renting the facility can allow their children to play in safety while a reunion or other gathering is taking place.
“It should enhance the experience of anyone renting the kitchen and meeting hall,” she said.
The picnic pavilion is to be adjacent to the playground and the basketball half court will tentatively be on the back side of the parking lot.
Kelley said Mark Overturf, an architect from Arkadelphia, has volunteered his time for free to help with the project and should be at the organizational meeting.
Overturf, she said, was the designer for Market on Main, another grant project completed a year or so ago in Gurdon.
Kelley said she has been working to get this grant since April and thanked Matt McNair, state district representative, for his efforts to help make it come to pass.
McNair is to go over state guidelines and make suggestions at the organizational meeting on Jan. 25.
“One idea is to put up plywood signs with sketches of police officers offering to help those in need and to be the friend of area children,” Mayor Kelley said.
The area is to be promoted as a child safety zone, she added. One advantage, Kelley said, of the park being located by City Hall is that there will be at least some supervision by way of police and city staff during the day. The park, she said, should also increase real estate value.
Mayor Kelley said the overall purpose of the park is to help children with no reasonable transportation to have a safe place to play where they can walk to, as the existing city park (on Highway 67 between Gurdon and the high school) is too far away for many “town kids” to access without a ride.
“The FUN park will be just one more asset to Gurdon, as we grow, and work together to meet the needs of all of our citizens, regardless of age or status,” she said.

Rotarians honor gifted and talented performers

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Five of the 63 Gifted and Talented students from Gurdon, who had their first tastes of being actors and actresses in a “Christmas Carol” this December, shared their experiences with Rotarians Thursday at the Senior Adult Center.
Gifted and Talented teacher Stephanie Manning brought Malorie Rogers, Kyle Radford, McKinlee Manning, Evan Kinser and Austin White before Gurdon Rotarians to enjoy pizza and recant their acting experiences.
Austin White, an eighth grader and GT student from Cabe Middle School, played Ebenezer Scrooge. White said he is naturally an upbeat person and had to work hard to get into character. Manning said she tried to make him mad at practices to understand his negative role “but it was a challenge because this is a guy who is normally very positive.”
White said after the training his part as Ebenezer felt right on stage. His teacher agreed that he got the feel for the part.
The group watched old versions of a “Christmas Carol” to understand the theme of the play. Malorie Rogers, who played “Ignorance” in a silent role, said she stole the show, apparently pleased with her own performance. She said she loved the scary make-up.
Kyle Radford, who played “Fuzzy Wig,” said he warmed up to his character and enjoyed his training because he had never seen anything but the Disney version of a “Christmas Carol.”
Manning said the group used costumes from Henderson State University theater department. She thanked GHS senior Peyton Bradshaw for volunteering as the crew’s make-up artist.
“She is an excellent make-up artist and could succeed at any school she wants to go to in this field,” Manning said.
She thanked the Dads who volunteered to build the scenes and a rotating stage. Manning added that there are already plans to have a play again next year.
In other Rotary business, Janet Purifoy, president of First State Bank, joined the group as a new member.

Sherry’s Column; welcome Exxon

By SHERRY KELLEY
Gurdon Mayor
There has been a busy start to 2017. Work continues on the new Exxon station at the corner of Highways 53 and 67. I took a walk through with owner David Blackmon and the store is going to be fantastic.
We are glad to have Exxon join our other fueling and convenience stores in town. I hope that this new retail outlet will increase our sales tax revenue for years to come.
This week I will complete my two years of Arkansas Municipal League training. I will participate in my final hours of education in Little Rock and become a Certified Municipal Official.
To my knowledge, I will be the first Gurdon Mayor to complete this voluntary certification program and I will stay certified with continuing education classes every year.
Right before Christmas I received word from Governor Asa Hutchinson that Gurdon has been awarded an Arkansas State Parks Grant. My work on this grant began in April of 2016 and it will continue for much of this year.
It is a 100% funded FUN Parks grant for $45,000. A small three prong park will be constructed at City Hall at no cost to the city. Matt McNair of Arkansas State Parks and I have been working closing together on this project.
FUN stands for Facilities for Underdeveloped Neighborhoods. Once completed this park provide recreational facilities within easy walking distance for our population.
As with The Market On Main’s $98,000 (100% funded at no cost to the city) USDA Grant,which was completed under budget in 2016, Twin Rivers Architecture’s Mark Overturf has volunteered to assist the city at no charge.
Overturf is a former Justice of the Peace and a current Arkadelphia City Board member, as well as an architect. He and I became associated through Lions Club radio work at KIX 106. We were also graduates of the first class of Leadership Clark County. I appreciate his aid immensely.
EDITORIAL: New playground could be good for Gurdon
We are pleased that the City of Gurdon has accoumulated a grant, at last report from the mayor, for a playground near City Hall from Arkansas Parks and Recreation.
Although we share the concerns of many that this park might have been better located over by the walking trail near Gurdon Primary School, we understand that the governing laws and circumstances have made that impossible.
As is our habit, we don’t much like some laws. It would seem to us that a new inner city playground would benefit more children as an extension of the walking trail near an elementary school than it would near a City Hall where government business and police criminal arrest activities were going on.
But we still hope to make the best of the playground offered and support our mayor, Sherry Kelley, in her most valiant efforts to improve Gurdon.
Since the grant has been approved at the City Hall location, we believe we can safely assume that the location is legally appropriate. Perhaps play next to a police station will help to keep down any commotion among older players and the mayor’s goal of convincing youngsters that a policeman can be a friend will be reached.

Malvern passes budget, considers street woes

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Malvern City Council approved resolutions for all three aspects of the 2017 budget Monday, noting the general fund as being $5,458,635.16.
Mayor Brenda Weldon said the street budget came in at $1,295,100.
“We are spending a great deal on street repair,” she said.
Mike Smith, street superintendent for Malvern, said yet another sink hole developed on Highland recently “but we fixed it the same day.”
Malvern City Clerk Phyllis Dial said the 2017 water and sewer budget is $4,758,597.
In other business, the fire chief said there were two house fires over the weekend in Malvern and noted he had just gotten back from a stove fire at Graystone Apartments on Page Street.
The residents were said to be using the stove for heat. No fatalities or injuries were reported
The fire and code enforcement aspect of the Malvern budget for 2017 was approved at $1,343,168.58.
Other detailed aspects of general fund spending were also outlined. For example, the Boys and Girls Club budget is approximately $38,000 for the year.
After the budget resolutions were passed, Mayor Weldon gave a brief report on the state of the city, noting that Street Superintendent Smith has been telling her about how rough the roadway is in front of Fred’s Department Store on Highway 270.
Weldon said, “State highway department officials tell me they have that patch of rough roadway on their list to fix soon.”
The mayor said rough patches of roadway on East Page Street are also on the state’s list to fix, with bids to be opened on, or around, January 18.
“Bad spots in front of the jewelry store and the First National Bank will also be fixed by the state,” she said.
Mayor Weldon said she will deliver a state of the city update in February.
The February City Council agenda meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, February 6 in City Hall.
The February City Council meeting will be held at 7 p.m. on Monday, February 13.

Shuffield caught; felony charges levied

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
The assistant manager of Family Dollar Store in Gurdon is alleged to have taken a large amount of cash from the store safe on Dec. 5, according to a Gurdon Police spokesman.
Tyler Shuffield, 26, is said to have used his entry key to open the store when it was closed and removed the cash. He went missing until being discovered by police on Dec. 19.
Gurdon Police Officer Garry Marshall said the Family Dollar Store surveillance camera did not show anyone else present but Shuffield when the money was being removed from the safe.
Gurdon Sgt.Toby Garner said further investigation has not disclosed any evidence of an abduction and it is currently the opinion of the officers on the case that Shuffield acted alone in removing the money.
According to Sgt. Garner, Tyler Bradley Shuffield was arrested on Dec. 19 in San Angelo, Texas. Shuffield was checking into a hotel there when the hotel clerk recognized him from a Facebook post and contacted law enforcement.
San Angelo Police Department officers took Shuffield into custody for extradition back to Clark County, Arkansas. Shuffield was alone at the time of the arrest.
The former store manager is being held on the following felony charges: one count of commercial burglary, two counts of breaking and entering and one count of theft of property.
Sgt.Garner said, “We at the Gurdon Police Department would like to thank Clark County Sheriff Jason Watson, and his investigators (Lt. Brian Daniels and Investigator Russell Ursery) for assisting with this case.”
GPD Officer Marshall said Thursday he has had no report of court dates thus far for Shuffield.
Man arrested
for Sonic robbery
Diondre Lbraion McCoy, a 20-year-old Gurdon resident, has been charged with aggravated robbery, a Class Y felony and theft of property, a Class D felony, in connection with a robbery and theft which occurred at the Gurdon Sonic Drive-in on Sept. 20.
Clark County Sheriff Jason Watson said McCoy is being held on a $50,000 bond. No court date was noted in the press release.

Quick Tax talks of delayed refunds; government investigation

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Quick Tax of Gurdon and Arkadelphia is busy getting ready for filers and invites customers to take advantage of the new Arkadelphia site for convenience and the same excellent tax filing service.
Sue Uchtman, owner of Quick Tax since 2001, said delayed refunds may be the big news for the 2016-2017 filing season and encourages any questions concerning possible delays to be directed to Donna Giles, contact operator at the Arkadelphia branch and long-time Quick Tax associate, or herself. Both tax professionals have been through the latest IRS training. The following is a summary of pertinent information they gleaned for this tax season.
The first day of IRS filing will be on January 23. If you are claiming Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), Child Tax Credit (CTC) or American Opportunities Tax Credit (AOTC), your refund will be delayed until February 15.
Giles said if you issue 1099-Misc, the new deadline is January 31. The last day of the 2017 tax season will be on Tuesday, April 18.
Uchtman said, “The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is looking closely at returns in which parents are not claiming their own dependents. For example, if you are an aunt or uncle claiming nieces and nephews, there could be a possible delay in receiving your refund.”
Quick Tax in Arkadelphia, as well as the Gurdon office, opened for business full-time this tax season on Monday, Jan. 2. Office hours at both facilities are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. and 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. on Saturdays. Giles and Uchtman are also available by appointment at odd hours.
Sue said Donna has been her right arm in the business for the entire 16 years of operation and always attends the latest tax classes with her.
“Donna Giles and I met at Gurdon Head Start. I worked there and Donna was a parent. I just knew we could get along well in the tax industry,” Sue Uchtman said. “ We opened our new location last year in Arkadelphia at 2901 Main Street (across from Auto Zone) and it was a natural to put Donna in charge of it.”
The phone number for any questions at Arkadelphia is: (870) 245-3833. The website is: 1040.com/quicktax4. Donna and Sue have a couple of rewards you might like. At the Arkadelphia office, you can pick up a flyer and receive $25 off of your tax preparation if you are a new client or have not been a Quick Tax client over the past two years. That office is in the Mockingbird Village square and has served Arkadelphia clients for several years from another location.
See Donna Giles, Arkadelphia tax preparer and office manager, to receive your discount. Both offices will be going through Republic Bank for quick partial refunds. There will be no “up to” clauses. The “Easy Advance Plus!” option works like this: For those who are to receive between $2,501 to $9,999 in a refund check from the IRS, your approved advance will be $1,250. If your net refund is supposed to be between $1,100 and $2,500, your approved advance is $800.
Quick Tax tax preparers have more than 40 years of combined tax industry experience. There is free electronic filing when Quick Tax prepares your return.
The Gurdon website is: 1040.com/quicktax3/. The Gurdon telephone number is: (870) 353-6262. Other experienced tax preparers will work both in the Gurdon and Arkadelphia offices on an as needed basis.
This year’s crew, besides Sue and Donna, includes: Claudia Garcia/Moreno, Ashley Jester, Carla Ramirez, Rhonda Stephens, Yadhira Tumalan and Wanda Dickers.

Prescott considers extending loan to repair water and sewer problems

By DANIELLE COOPER
Tailgate News Reporter
Prescott City Council heard a proposal about refinancing its debts Monday, Dec. 19 which could free up $600,000 to $1 million for needed water and sewer repair projects and involve yearly payments comparable to what Prescott already pays.
The refinancing proposition came from a representative of Stephens Financial Services of Little Rock. The catch, as might be expected, is that the larger the amount of loan money made available, the longer period of time it will take the city to break free of the yearly payments.
Council members, who will have a new roster in January, voted to hire Stephens as their financial representative, but did not decide whether to refinance or how much refinancing to confirm. If they loosen up $600,000, their $100,000 a year payment on the debt will remain about the same. But repair needs are such that the group is considering refinancing the loan debt with payments of around $125,000 a year in order to loosen up the full $1 million for repairs and/or improvements. This would take the note to 30 years for repayment.
Perry Nelson, Prescott Water and Sewer superintendent, told the City Council, “Our job is to repair and maintain the properties of Prescott. Much of the piping, culverts and building structures have been here 50 to 100 years. You need to do all we can afford to fix our many structural problems. But even if we have $1 million, it will not cover all of our needs.”
Jason Holsclaw of the Stephens Public Finance came to talk about the amount that could be made to generate additional money. The current debt involves a $1 million bond, according to Holsclaw. Prescott T.C Trans business owner Ron Glass asked, “ What’s the rate the city is paying now?” Mr Jason Holsclaw replied, “The going rate is 4.30%”
Superintendent Nelson, water and sewer, said they were not going to ask for too much money for the projects they have going on around town. He called their projects a “Catch 22.”The projects will take what they can get for a bunch of small structural improvements. Some of the small water and sewer projects include, but are not limited to; a sewer line on Webb street needs repair, a water line on Highway 67 to the corporate office needs repair as there is no access to the lines and the Prescott water and sewer employees think a manhole should be put near the new jail so that the water lines are easier accessed when needed.
Howard Austin asked, “ That’s all the small projects. So what is the biggest project you have?” The answer to that was a replacement of a 16- inch line that is 5.5 miles in length between Firestone and the Little Missouri River. It was asked if there were extra money left over after the projects are completed, could it be used on extra projects? Stephens representative Holsclaw replied saying that the bonds are between different companies. The companies will be told what their money will be sent on so the city will not be able to use the money for other projects than what the companies are told.
The projected surplus for 2017 is $26,000. Once it was voted to keep Stephens Public Finance as the ones who were helping to finance this year’s city money, then the Little Rock based Stephens could get started on the paperwork as soon as possible.
Once the bond issue is completed, the projects could be started within the next four months. Having to wait until holidays are over, they will be able to get started on the bond issue in late March at the latest. That will put the Water and Sewer Department projects not getting started until about July or August. There is a one time fee, which was counted into the rates in the folder that was provided to the council members, of $30, 000 to $35,000. It was decided to retain or to keep Stephens Public Finance as the company to help get the city the money it needed to do these projects.
In other news, Robert Loe was elected by City Council members to fill the vacancy for city clerk. Mary Godwin said the splash pad has been accepted and will cost a total of $107,514.52. She said the Quorum Court had accepted, and she was asking the mayor and City Council to accept and add the Superintendent of Prescott and Nevada schools to the Economic Development Department. Howard Austin was voted to be the school representative that was added to the EDO Board. The City Council approved the 2017 budget, Lakisha Stuckey was appointed to the parks commission and Rena Brown to zoning and planning.
There was one citizen that had questions about the rates of the sewer and water. Ron Glass said that in September he had a sewer rate of $34. When he got his bill in October, the sewer rate had went up to $179. Once the rate list was brought out, it was explained that there is a summer rate that allows 35,000 gallons of water before new charges are added to the sewer bill.
Glass responded, “ When the city needs a few bucks, it is stuck to us to get it.”
Nelson suggested Glass apply for an extension of summer rates if he plans to water in the fall. The next Prescott City Council meeting is going to be at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday Jan 17.

Malvern business suffers in double billing scam

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
MALVERN – Doug’s Feed and Tack was scammed out of $285 on Wednesday, with owner Doug Robinson telling this reporter he has heard reports of the same Entergy Corporation fraud elsewhere among Malvern’s small business community.
Robinson said he has no proof the individual, calling himself John Walsh, has any association with the light company.
However, the man represented himself as a light company employee and demanded his $285 light bill payment be put on a cash card and dispersed to him immediately “or the lights would be shut off.”
According to Robinson, he has called the Attorney General’s office about this and plans to report it to police and possibly the Better Business Bureau. Entergy denied receiving any payment or any knowledge of an “employee” named John Walsh.
Robinson said, “The Entergy Corporation told me if I did not pay them the shut-off money immediately (again) then my business lights would be turned off. This left me with no choice but to make the same payment twice.”
Robinson said an Entergy truck was parked outside of his Highway 9 business when Walsh negotiated his payment, leading Doug Robinson to believe there was a legitimate association between Walsh and Entergy Corporation, and if the cash card with the $285 was not rendered immediately his establishment would be in the dark.
As of early afternoon on Wednesday, the Arkansas Attorney General’s office staff had not responded to Robinson’s theft by scamming report, but an official report has been made by Robinson in hopes of saving the next business from being scammed by “Mr. Walsh.”
“I mean no disrespect to Entergy Corporation. I just wanted them to be aware of what was going on and for others in Malvern to get this heads up,” Robinson said. “For his sake, I sure hope I never see that Walsh guy again.”

Santa Claus checks out

Tailgate for first grader letters

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Santa Claus is busy reading letters from the first grade classmates at Gurdon Primary School, especially those from the class of Mrs. Ashlee Francis.
Since Santa has recently acquired a computer and reads the Tailgate News, we are providing those particular letters here for Santa’s enjoyment, as well as the pleasure reading of parents, grandparents and friends.
Mrs. Francis’s class is pictured on page 11 so Santa can get a look at the gift seekers.
Dear Santa, I want a Mr. Madtel for me so I can put it on to swim. From Sasha and Love Sasha
Dear Santa, I want a “Hife for Trims” and an I-Pad and I want a “Fash Dog and a Wochanda” video game. Love, Maddox
I want some Christmas cats from my cat and I want a little dog – and one more thing – the best Christmas! Love Carlee
I want a Wee Lagos, Love Luke
All I want for Christmas is I would like a track and I would like a gun. Love, Carter
Dear Santa, I want a Barbie doll houe for Christmas and a stuffed toy. Plus Santa, I love Christmas. You are looking so little! Love, Samantha Leon
Dear Santa, I want a phone. I want a Mister High School with a doll. I want a Canader that has babies. I want a kite that has babies. Love, Tamia
Dear Santa, I want a Mocrchru Grave Digger. I want a black gun. I want a Merkln Flat train set. I want a guitar.
I want a pair of house shoes and house jeans. I want a new Bible. Love, Tucker
Dear Santa, I want a Tesel. Please give me a Tesel. Can you give me four?
Me to Tesels please. I love you Santa. Riley also wants a Tesel. Love, Lane
Dear Santa, I want a toy Nurf gun and a toy Mincroft. Love, Lucasa
Dear Santa, I want an Ipod. I want a Frozen doll. Love, Ja’Nya Nettles
Dear Santa, I want an elf and a reindeer. Love, Benji
Dear Santa, I want a robete. Love, Ella
Dear Santa, I want a Sardhtet in fact. And I want a truck heist that is a toy. Love, Trinton
Dear Santa, I want a puppy dog and a will you with Mr. Reimer maker. Love, Triton Swayze
Dear Santa, I want Presde Legos for Christmas. Love, Chris
Dear Santa, I want a cat for Christmas and I want an elf four Christmas. Love, Linda

Community Pantry relocates,

now serves 170 groceries per month

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
The Community Pantry of Gurdon serves a variety of groceries to approximately 170 Southern Clark County residents a month and has relocated to a larger facility at 106 Walnut Street (the old Austin Capps grocery building) during this past year.
Director Velvet Gonzales said Monday, “We usually distribute on the third Monday of the month, but we are looking at the second Monday come January.”
Gozales ran the Community Pantry out of Faith Mission on Main Street for more than three years, but needed additional room. Some of the old grocery store purchased by the organization was demolished but the remaining portion will be remodeled.
The director said approximately 25 volunteers are involved in the monthly distribution at this time. On food distribution day, senior citizens are served from noon until 1:30 p.m.
Gonzales said, “From 2 until 4 p.m., anyone can come get food. They just need some identification proving they are from our service area.”
To become a Community Pantry volunteer, Gonzales said those interested are welcome to call her at: (870) 353-6410 and leave a message. Or they can come by on distribution day and talk to her in person.
NO SHUT-IN SERVICE
In the past, Tommy Potter, former volunteer and owner of the Faith Mission, had spearheaded an effort to deliver the groceries to nearly 80 shut-ins.
When other activities stopped Potter from volunteering for this effort with the Community Pantry, the shut-in delivery program dwindled and eventually stopped.
Potter has some food still at the mission and makes an effort to continue shut-in food delivery on a smaller scale, but this is not associated with efforts by the Community Pantry.
Gonzales said her and the 25 volunteers at the Community Pantry do help get food to vehicles on distribution day and those who can not get there themselves are encouraged to send their identification items with a friend to pick up a portion to be taken to the shut-in.
“We just do not have the staff or the time to do a full-blown shut-in program right now,” Gonzales said.
According to Gurdon School District Superintendent Allen Blackwell, more than 76 percent of the children attending Gurdon schools are eligible for free or reduced price school lunches. With such statistical proof available concerning hunger in Gurdon, the school has also made an effort to provide free breakfast items to eligible students.
Gonzales said her effort will continue as long as possible and other members of the community are encouraged to start helping the Community Food Pantry.
“We do what we are able to do,” she said. “This new facility is much larger than what we had at Faith Mission. The Rev. Kevin Sims, of Evergreen Church in Gurdon, knows the square footage here at the old Austin Capps grocery.
“We demolished what we could not use and hope to have the remodeling done on the remaining portion of our current building within the next few years.”
Evergreen Church members make up a good portion of the Community Pantry volunteers, but other members of the Southern Clark County community do help – including some local business men and women.
The new facility is located just across from the First United Methodist Church at Gurdon and that church has opened up restroom facilities as needed, plus gives other help to the pantry from time to time.
On Monday, a state-wide food distribution representative talked with Gonzales and the volunteers just before the Christian prayer that traditionally starts the Good Samaritan effort.
Food that goes out of the facility includes meats, vegetables, fruits and such dried items as cereal, macaroni and cheese and beans.

Mayor Sherry thanks

those who made Christmas parade

an exciting success

By SHERRY KELLEY
Gurdon Mayor
Thank you to everyone who participated and turned out for the Gurdon Chamber of Commerce Christmas Parade. It was a big parade filled with lots of excitement.
We appreciate Stephen Bell and Troy Tucker, our judges. The float winners were; First Place – Sonic, Second Place – Melissa Ferguson and Third Place – Gurdon Baptist Family Clinic. The vehicle winners were; First Place – Palmer’s Service Center, Second Place – Kylie Wilkins and Third Place – The Tractor Club. The ATV winners were; First Place – Kenzie Harper and Blaise Childres, Second Place – Shane McBride and Third Place – Miles McDonald. The motorcycle winners were; First Place – Jim Vance, Second Place – Frank Ross and Third Place – Eddie Uchtman.
This week I am looking forward to reading a Christmas story to the Gurdon Head Start Children, calling BINGO for the Group Living Christmas Bingo at the Honeycomb Restaurant and attending an Arkansas Municipal League meeting in Arkadelphia, among other things.
There are quite a few events this week at The Market On Main including Margaret Burton’s Pop Up Restaurant on Sunday.
The Exxon Tigermart construction is well under way. It’s exciting to see the building going up on our busiest intersection (Highway 67 and Highway 53). There are at least two other as yet unannounced commercial construction projects that are in development.
Be sure to visit the “Wake Up Santa” window in the former Bill’s Dollar Store next to The Market On Main. The store on the other side of The Market is gearing up to open soon. AND Teresa Pennington has opened her shop Mama T’s Place.
The store, filled with antiques and treasures, is located at the corner of First and Walnut Streets. Mark Carter has opened his tire and auto repair shop on Front Street near the historic old Gurdon jail. Lots of deals on good used tires.

Malvern School Board will

ask for millage to build new high school

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Malvern School Board met in regular session Monday and made plans to ask for a millage increase in order to build a new high school.
Superintendent Brian Golden said it has been nine years since voters were asked to finance a new high school and that if it is placed on the ballot all School Board members and the district’s staff need to put worth a unified front for the effort to pass.
“We can only do one tax increase ballot per year,” he said. “And we have four years to get the building complex. This will take some careful planning.”
Golden noted that nine years ago the district received 1,283 votes in favor of the new high school, but it failed because of extensive publicity of negative information. He said there are 4,000 voting patrons in the Malvern School District.
Jessie Clark, School Board presiding president for the evening, said getting a new high school will require not just School Board and staff desire, “but a concentrated effort to get prominent members of the community to preach it to everyone they know so Malvern at large wants this as much as we do.”
Golden said he will be talking to school officials at Arkadelphia to learn how they received their approval so quickly. He added that 20 percent of the voting population always votes no, but the key is to sell the rest of the voters.
“One key Arkadelphia used was a fact finder,” Golden said. “Every time a negative comment was discovered on social media, facts were revealed to dispute it in a timely manner.”
Golden said the kids will be a big part in selling the proposal to parents. He noted that the current Malvern High School is more than 50 years old “and this district needs one that is more technologically friendly.”
Moreover, a special School Board meeting has been set up for 10 a.m. Saturday to discuss strategy with an Arkadelphia school representative and find a successful way to get the new high school funding passed.
The January meeting of the Malvern School Board will be at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, January 23.
The board went into executive session to discuss the contract of Superintendent Golden.
Board member Clark was honored for completing 400 hours of School Board updating education.
In other business, the board approved a crosswalk bid, approved the financial report and approved the previous School Board meeting minutes. January is School Board appreciation month.
The district will be on Christmas break next week. Happy New Year!

Santa Claus takes orders

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Santa letters will soon be on their way to the North Pole from the first grade class of Gurdon Primary School, as we are certain Santa reads the Tailgate News on line every weekend.
Those letters will be published this week and also in the Christmas issue on Friday, Dec. 16.
Class members writing the letters are from the classes of teachers Tonya Kinser and Ashlee Francis. Ms. Kinser’s class is pictured on page 11 of this issue. Names of the first graders who would like a gift, from both classes, are: Minnie Jo’Vette Allen, Lucas Brennan Anderson, Maddox Blake Boyce, Katherine Mae Clark, Chassidy Tae’onna, Caleb Dylan Davis, Cashton Coy Dickerson, Tucker Drake Dillard, Lucas Braeden Dunn, Benjamin Cole Evans, Jimena Garcia, Jamal Davion Dwightg Garland, Christopher Lee Gibson Jr., Alexeya LeeAnn Griffin, Lillian Leigh Hastings, Eric ray Hughes, Jonah Charles Jester, Tamia Caleis Kennedy, Jesse Dewitt Kent, Ja’Mia Rayonna Lacy, Samantha Leon, trinton Calet Luna-Breeden, Melissa Jayden Melvin, James Landon Myers, Ja’Nya Shantae, Nettles, Sash Alexandria Payne, Carter Allen Rhodes, Conner Drey Riley, Kaylee Grae Rutherford, Carlee Bristol Salinas, Yajaira Santiago, Jeremiah Mizell Smith, Robert Lane Smith, Triton Reid Swayze, Ellen Lee Thomas, Gavin Lane Wells, Makhlaa Shaniece Williams, Hermelinda Yazmine Yanez and Jikya Emorie Yarbrough.
Santa Letters
Mr. Kinser
Dear Santa, I love your elves. I really want a Dran! Thank you. Love, Conner
Dear Santa, I like your beard. Please can I have an Ipod? Thank you for my Ipod. Love, Jesse
Dear Santa, I love your job. I want skates. Thank you for the presents for all of the kids. Love, Katie
Dear Santa, I like your beard. Can you please get me an Xbox game, grand-theft-atou. Thank you. Love, Caleb – to the North Pole.
Dear Santa, I love you. I want a tablet. Thank you. Love, Eric
Dear Santa, I love you Santa. I want a tablet. Thank you for my present. Love, Gavin
Dear Santa, Santa I love you. I want some roller skates. I really thank you very much. Love Grace.
Hello Santa. I love you. I want an Ifon7. I hope you bring me my gift. Thank you if you do. Love, Makayla
Dear Santa, You are nice. Will you bring me some Wokefokes. Thank you. Love Jonah
Dear Santa, I love you. I want my remote control truck. I thank you for my remote control truck. Love, Jeremiah
Dear Santa, I love Santa so much. I love you Santa. Can I get a toy gun? I love you Santa and thank you! Love Jamal
Dear Santa, I love your job. I want you to bring me a toy robut. Thank you Santa. Love, Cash
Dear Santa, I love you Santa. Santa, I want an Iphone. Thank you Santa. I will set you out some cookies. Love, Jikaya
Dear Santa, You are nice. I wish I had a Barbie toy. Thank you for the Barbie. Love, Yajaira
Dear Santa, I love you. I want a toy elf. Thank you for a toy elf. Love, Lilly
First place for this week: Dear Santa, I love you. You are nice. I wish I could see my Mom. Thank you for my Mom. Love, Lexy
Dear Santa, I love you. Can you get me an American on doll? Thank you for the toy. Love, Missy
Editor’s Note: Ashlee Francis’s class letters will be presented in the Dec. 16 Christmas issue. Merry Christmas to everyone, the Tailgate News staff Her class photo will also be published.

Man still missing

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
The assistant manager of Family Dollar Store in Gurdon is alleged to have taken a large amount of cash from the store this past week and is still at large.
Tyler Shuffield, 26, is said to have used his entry key to open the store. A broadcast from Channel 4 Little Rock news indicated Shuffield may have committed what would qualify as felony theft under force.
Gurdon Police Officer Garry Marshall said the store surveillance camera did not show anyone else present but Shuffield when the money was being removed.
Gurdon Deputy Marshal Toby Garner said Thursday further investigation has not disclosed any evidence of an abduction and it is currently the opinion of the officers on the case that Shuffield acted alone in removing the money.

Gurdon nearly beats Arkadelphia

in three overtime basketball battle

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
The Gurdon Go-Devils lost 74-68 in a triple overtime battle against the Arkadelphia Badgers on the Go-Devils home court Tuesday.
Head Coach David Davis said foul trouble finally eliminated his top players and that was the end of the close contest.
He said Go-Devil #10 B.J. Brewer was the player of the game with 30 points and 16 rebounds.
Coach Davis said the Senior Go-Devils are now 3-4 for the season, while the Junior High Go-Devils are 1-3.
“Both teams are inconsistent right now,” Davis said. “They are terrible at times and play basketball really great at other times.”
As to Tuesday’s Arkadelphia game, the Badgers were ahead by 1 point, 14-13 after the first period; 36-32 at the half and the teams were tied at 41-41 after three.
The score was 52-52 at the end of regulation play. The game would continue for three overtime battles.
In the first one, Go-Devil #1 Donald Haynie made 5 points, then #10 B.J. Brewer scored, ending it at 59-59.
Coach Davis said Arkadelphia Badger #22 Jayvonte Brown scored 5 points in the second overtime contest, but Go-Devil #23 Isaiah Harper saved Gurdon with a 3-pointer to turn things around once again. Harper’s 3-pointer went in with 8 seconds to go and threw the game into a third overtime, yielding a score of 65-65.
Coach Davis said his star player for the game, B.J. Brewer, fouled out during that third overtime contest.
“This was not our only foul out problem,” Davis said. “Cameron Gulley, #4, fouled out in the fourth quarter and Donald Haynie fouled out during the second overtime contest.
“We also lost K.J. Tidwell, #2, in the third quarter. But when we lost Brewer, Arkadelphia took over the scoring and that was the game, 74-68.”
Davis said the 2016 Go-Devils show a lot of potential but new district revisions mean they are usually playing higher population schools and the season will be abnormally challenging.
Upcoming Schedule
Fri. 12/9@Sparkman JB, Srs 5:30; Mon. 12/12@ Arkadelphia (Jr JV, Jrs) 4:30
Tue. 12/13..v. Haskell Harmony Grove; (JB,SG,SB) 5:30

Malvern to propose 1 cent sales tax

for culvert, sink hole, street repair and more

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Malvern City Council voted Monday to approve the construction of a 1 cent sales tax proposal to solve repair needs throughout the city’s water and sewer system, streets and general intra structure.
The sales tax proposal is expected to come up for a vote at this coming Monday’s City Council meeting.
Finance Committee Chairman Wayne Russell said, “I am not in favor of raising sales tax, but I say let’s put it on the ballot and let the people decide.”
The discussion was to divide the money evenly between needs in the fire department, police, streets and administration.
The Council had previously considered raising water rates to take care of culverts, sink holes etc by charging citizens for sewer, which had not been done in at least the recent past.
Councilman Larry Stiles had said in several meetings that a 1 cent sales tax would put the burden on all who traded in Malvern rather than just water users and create several hundred thousand dollars in monies that could repair Malvern’s deteriorating intra structure.
“I don’t want to charge for sewer,” he said, “because the money would not be enough for our needs and it would also create a permanently higher bill structure for our residents. The 1 cent sales tax proposal can be written with a cap of time on it and when the work is done it can be removed.”
Mayor Brenda Weldon said she sees the necessity of the tax because of the extensive needs Malvern has in the areas of bad drainage, sinkholes, deteriorating culverts and general repairs.
“After visiting with the department heads, we feel we need to go after the 1 cent sales tax,” she said.
“We can talk about our city’s water and sewer rates after we see how this tax proposal goes. There may not be a need to raise them.”
Councilman David Cook said the City Council needs a clear and specific lists of needs that exist in Malvern to present to the public before putting the proposed tax on the ballet “so people can understand why we need this help.”
In other business, the City Council approved agenda items for their regular meeting concerning the approval of the annual budget, a yard sale ordinance to limit the times someone can hold a yard sale per year and an amended budget for the water works.

Mayor welcomes Southern Bancorp

By SHERRY KELLEY
Gurdon Mayor
The new Gurdon branch of Southern Bancorp is now open for business and ready to serve you. We are very proud to have this philanthropic bank in Gurdon and look forward to our community partnership.
The Gurdon Christmas Parade was held on Tuesday evening at 6 p.m. We had a bigger parade this year, featuring lots of festive lights.
Thank you to the Gurdon Chamber of Commerce for sponsoring this holiday event. There were cash prizes in several categories for top entries.
Congratulations to Sonic for having the first place float!
I signed the closing papers for the sale of the city owned 98 acres. Buckeye Land Company was the top bidder at $127,500. By the time you read this, the money will be safely deposited and growing.
Christmas decorating for Gurdon’s Holiday Trail of Lights continues. Come and check out our progress. All should be completed by Friday.
Many events were held at The Market On Main last week and more are scheduled. The current rent for the venue is $12.50 an hour.
Look for that rate to rise a little in 2017. Call 406-1396 to reserve for next year at this year’s pricing.
The First United Methodist Church will hold their annual Christmas Cantata on Sunday at 6 p.m. Everyone is welcome.

Assistant manager no where to be found

in Family Dollar robbery case

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
The assistant manager of Family Dollar Store in Gurdon is alleged to have taken a large amount of cash from the store safe Monday, according to a Gurdon Police spokesman.
Tyler Shuffield, 26, is said to have used his entry key to open the store when it was closed and removed the cash.
A broadcast from Channel 4 Little Rock news indicated Shuffield may have believed his family was in danger and committed what would qualify as felony theft in order to alleviate that danger.
Officer Garry Marshall, of the Gurdon Police Department, said Thursday Shuffield had not been taken into custody as of that day and that the investigation was ongoing.
Marshall said the Family Dollar Store surveillance camera did not show anyone else present but Shuffield when the money was being removed from the safe and that the assistant manager made no attempt to hide his identity.
Gurdon Deputy Marshal Toby Garner was quoted in the Standard newspaper as saying Shuffield was last seen around 2 a.m. on Monday when he entered the closed business using his code and was captured on video surveillance taking money and cigarettes. Garner said the first priority of the police at this time is to find Shuffield and determine he has not be harmed.
“He will have several felony issues to deal with at some point, when he is found,” Garner said. “Right now we just want to find him safe.”
The television Channel 4 broadcast indicated that an abduction may have been possible. Deputy Marshal Garner said that although family sources have reported that Shuffield may have been abducted, police are skeptical of this theory. The family sources say Shuffield could be in the company of three unidentified adult males. Police did not give any indication that Shuffield has any prior criminal history.
One family member, speaking on Channel 4 television news, said, “This is just not like the Tyler we know. If he were truly trying to get away with a large amount of cash from the place where he worked for personal gain, I believe he would have tried to hide himself from the surveillance cameras. To me, somebody threatened him or his family, got away with the money and that leaves us all the question of what happened to Tyler?”

Santa to visit GPS Dec. 8

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Santa Claus already has two appointments in Gurdon, Arkansas.
Tomorrow morning (Saturday, Dec. 3) he will be taking breakfast with children and their parents at the Market on Main in the downtown area, as he is the guest of Evergreen Church and in need of some food and company.
Mr. Claus will also be taking gift orders from all children present. But that is not all. On Thursday, Dec. 8, Santa will be eating chili at 3 p.m. in the Gurdon Primary School cafeteria.
Santa will adjourn about 5 p.m. to the GPS library after filling up with chili and begin having his picture taken with any interested area children. And with all lap sitting, there will naturally be plenty of toys and other gifts ordered from the white-bearded old gentleman.
“I look forward to visiting with all of the boys and girls,” he said.

 

Sherry names Dec. 6 parade

By SHERRY KELLEY
Gurdon Mayor
The Christmas season begins! The Cabe Middle School’s Gifted and Talented students present “A Christmas Story” at the Cabe Auditorium. There will be two performances; Thursday, Dec. 1, at 7 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 4, at 2 p.m. The production includes both Cabe Middle School and Gurdon Primary School students under the direction of Stephanie Manning. Don’t miss this special holiday treat. Tickets are available at the door.
Santa Claus will be at The Market On Main on Saturday, Dec. 3, for Breakfast With Santa!
The event is sponsored by the Evergreen Church, Santa wants to hear all the Christmas wishes of boys and girls in the Gurdon area.
A delicious hot breakfast will be served. Be sure to attend this festive, delicious event.
The Gurdon Christmas Parade will be Tuesday, Dec. 6, at 6 p.m. with line-up around 5:15 at the Gurdon City Hall. Sponsored by the Gurdon Chamber of Commerce there will be cash prizes in several divisions.
This year’s parade theme is The Twelve Days of Christmas. It is shaping up to be a big parade. Vendors are welcome to offer hot chocolate and other treats on Main Street. The Market On Main will be open for Christmas shopping hosted by Heather Nolan and Haley Netherly and Hanna McDaniel.
A very special window display will be featured this season on Main Street for all the children, both naughty and nice! Be sure to keep an eye on the former Bill’s Dollar Store windows next to The Market On Main. Very exciting.
Margaret Burton will be serving a Sunday meal from 10 to 2 at The Market On Main. This is rescheduled from last week. Salisbury steak, macaroni and cheese and much more.
Decorations are going up all over town. Be the first on your block to get your lights glowing.

Tommy Wells retires

from bulls, loves new wife

(Continued from November 25 Tailgate News)
By Tommy & Ginger Wells
I have had just about every bone broken in my day. I’ve had a blood clot in my head, where I thought I wasn’t going to make it, but thanks to our Good Lord I did.
The rodeo is a hard and rough life, but it can be fun and rewarding. You have to want it, eat it, live it to make it work and go with the ups and downs.
There is more downs that ups, but the rodeo life gets in your blood. It is an addiction and a rush like no other.
As your ass is going round and round on the back of that bull, you are in a world of your own – holding on for that 8 second ride.
I have loved this life, although I have spent a lot of time alone. I thought I would be alone for the rest of my life, but God did not want that.
He sent me a really great woman. Her name is Ginger. We have been friends for a few years. She is from South Carolina.
Ginger came to visit me to get away from her pain. She said she was going back in two weeks and I told her, “Nope, you aint going back.”
When I first saw her, I said damn what a woman. I could not get over how beautiful she was. I told her that when I saw her I would give her a hug and a big kiss. I said I would lay that kiss on her and sweep her off of her feet. I did.
We talked all of that night and into the next morning. I was a gentleman cowboy. She got the bed and I slept on the couch.
We fell hard for each other. I found my soul mate. She stands up with me. She loves me. This old cowboy is happy and finally has a good woman who cares for him.
We got married on September 19, 2015 at Gurdon Lake. It was the best day of my life. We are happy and she is with me all of the time. I gained a new brother and two more parents that I love as well.
I also have three more kids from my beautiful wife; Zachry, Elijah and Adrian.
I was supposed to ride a bull on the night of my wedding, but the rodeo at Clark County Fair got rained out.
Together, Ginger and I have seven kids; my four and her three. Mine are Virginia Lynn, Tammy Wynn, Belinda Jo and Tommy Wade.
Hers are Zachry Tanner, Elijah Benjamin (11 years old Rest In Peace) and Andriana Sophia – my side kick.
We are very happy. I may be 11 years older than Ginger, but boy she makes me feel young again. I am 60 years old now and a semi-retired bull rider. She is 49 and keeps me on my toes.
I spoil her, I will admit, but she is well worth it. She is a damn good woman and takes care of this old cowboy. She is my life.
So hopefully this cowboy will get to ride again next year. I don’t know what God has planned for me, but whatever it is I am here for it and have a good woman to share it with.
I love my wife Ginger with all of my heart, mind, body and soul!! She is from a small town in South Carolina called Easley and she is the best thing that ever happened to me! I love all of my kids, grand kids, friends and fans.
Most of all, I love God. He is the one who gave me this life. Yes, it was hard at times, but it is the life I was given. The only thing I would change is getting Ginger here sooner, a whole hell of a lot sooner. So there may be another chapter in this old cowboy’s life.
I love you all – Tommy J. Wells

Gurdon Council sells

timberland, development delayed

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
The Gurdon City Council met Monday and voted to confirm and approve a resolution concerning the sale of about 90 acres of timber and a pond area in need of a levy just off of Go-Devil Road toward Beirne.
Mayor Sherry Kelley said the sale is now official from the City of Gurdon to Buckeye Timber (Rowdy Prince) and went through Kingswood Forest broker in Arkadelphia for $127,500.
“I had a brief conversation with Mr. Prince concerning his plans for the property,” Mayor Kelley said. “He told me he was in no big hurry to develop it and may wait a couple of years before deciding which direction to go.”
The property site had once had an active lake and the timberland was donated to Gurdon through government funding. Tommy Potter, Gurdon hairstylist, said Prince had mentioned to him the possibility of fixing the lake levy and creating an RV park on site.
However, Kelley said Prince did not voice such plans to her during their brief discussion concerning the property’s future.
In other business, the City Council approved raises for city employees, including the mayor, city office worker and members of the police department.
Moreover, traditional Christmas bonuses were approved for city employees and elected officials.
The mayor accepted a part-time employee bonus because of auditing regulations.
The aldermen also agreed to start paying Mayor Kelley a small clean-up fee for the Market on Main to be effective when tenants neglect to clean up their own messes.
In other business, the Council tabled the renewal of the Hoo Hoo building contract until a discussion could be held with local Hoo Hoo manager Beth Thomas.
Moreover, the mayor welcomed Southern Bancorp to town, as the bank branch in Gurdon is scheduled to open Dec. 1.
Kelley said, “This will make three working banks in Gurdon. Our small city continues to be on a growth path.
“What with the expected new jobs from the lumber industry, and the reasonable cost of real estate in Gurdon, things just might be on the upswing here over the next couple of years.”

Southern Bancorp sets

Gurdon opening date

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
The Southern Bancorp Gurdon branch is scheduled to open for business next to the Senior Adult Center on Thursday, Dec. 1.
SBC Marketing Director Carrie Price made the announcement of the tentative date on Tuesday. Price said the first few days would be filled with testing out equipment efficiency before any sort of grand opening will take place.
“We have not decided yet whether to have the grand opening in a couple of weeks or wait until our permanent bank building in Gurdon is constructed and ready to go,” she said. “We are excited about serving the people of Gurdon and would like everyone to come see us.”
Branch manager for Gurdon will be Steve Orsburn, former long-time First State Bank manager. Sheena Massey, a Clark County native and former Georgia Pacific security guard, will be a teller at the branch.

Shuffield Music Company tells

story of serving musician lifestyle

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
The Shuffied Music Company, at 610 Main Street in Arkadelphia, is the place to go if your desire is to be outfitted for the lifestyle of a music man.
Paul Shuffield, who started the company in 2008, said Tuesday he was raised in a musician household and so it was just natural for him to promote and do music for a career.
“I know music people,” he said. “We want an instrument loving, or singing person, to feel like he or she can rely on us when it comes to getting equipment and all the particulars that they will need to be a music man or woman.
“We do sound for people, provide all sorts of instruments and can easily fill the needs of the beginning band student as well.”
Shuffield and his family enjoy what they do and he emphasized that he knows what music folk need because he is one. He talked of his many enjoyable hours performing at the Ohio Club on Central Avenue in Hot Springs as a house guitar player and performer.
Shuffied, 48, is a 1986 Bismarck High School graduate. He received his bachelor’s degree studying psychology from Henderson State University in 1990. He has a bachelor of arts in history, minoring in sociology, but his career is based on being an active musician for more than 30 years.
“It was just natural. My father, Paul Shuffield Sr., has been involved in Southern Gospel music for 75 years,” the music man said. “When you grow up around all of that, your path in life just blooms. I love what I do.”
PRODUCTS
Shuffield first opened his store on Caddo Street in 2008. After about three years, he moved to Clinton Street, next to what is now Slim and Shorties.
Wanting more traffic and space, Paul did what he calls his final relocation to Main Street, just across from Southern Bancorp in Arkadelphia in May of this year.
Store hours are from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday. If you have questions on sound systems, guitars, pianos or other keyboards, band instruments and more, give him a call at: (870) 230-1733.
“We have a full line of musical instruments, regardless of what you need. We can get you going if you need a professional sound system and lighting system,” he said. “And we invite parents to bring in young aspiring band members to come here to be outfitted in whatever instrument they choose to play.”
Shuffied said his interest in one day opening a music store of his own was peaked in the 1980s, when he was asked to give guitar lessons in a store located in a neighboring town. Then, in 2008, when an Arkadelphia music store closed after six years of business, Paul saw his chance.
Shuffield worked in fundraising and community development just after college and when the opening in Arkadelphia came for a new music store he had a long discussion with his family. They backed his dream and still do to this day.
Shuffield is married to Christy, a speech pathologist at Dawson Co-op in Arkadelphia. The couple has three sons; Nick, 23, who attended the University of Arkansas but now works full-time with his father at the music shop, Bradley, 19, who is a student at Ouachita Baptist University, and Harrison, 16, who is a first chair trumpet player and student at Arkadelphia High School.
Although Shuffield was raised in Bismarck, he lives with his family in Arkadelphia. Weekends are for the Ohio Club gig, in many cases. However, Shuffield does do the sound for special events. He has been the sound man for the Gurdon Forest Festival for the past two years and hopes to continue in that capacity.
Looking back on his raising, Paul said he attended concerts and musical events on many weekends with his parents.
“Growing up, I always wanted to be involved with music. I was just one of those people lucky enough to get his dream,” Shuffield said.
Shuffield Music Company is designed to customize anyone’s music game and help create uniqueness in any music lifestyle.
“We are going to be doing a performance at PK Grill in Little Rock soon,” he said. “We are the Harmonics and go where ever we can, whenever we can, to help earn a living from our music and for pure enjoyment.”
As to the future, Paul said he is adding a line of skateboard and long board accessories for diversified musicians who want to skate to their destination and sit down for a jam session.
“The additional line is in keeping with our philosophy of catering to any music lifestyle, young or old,” he said. “And we of course encourage any club to give our band a chance who wants to chill out with the Harmonics.
“You can catch us at the Ohio Club and see what you think.”
Shuffield said his group does sound for the Jazz Festival at Hot Springs every September.
“We run full phase sound for all of the musicians there, and we love doing benefits for our community.”
An example of Shuffield putting action to his love for benefits is the semi-annual Strings for Food he does to support the local “Little Free Pantry Project.”
Although other music stores are more than 30 miles away, Internet purchases compete with his establishment every day. As to continued success, Shuffied said great customer service is a must, and making sure you understand needs really helps. He also said lesson programs are available for any instrument he and his family provides.
“We all help,” he said. “Two of my sons are very active and even my parents are also involved in the business.”

Tommy Wells talks of retiring

from bull riding career

Chapter 2
(Continued from November 18 Tailgate News)
By Ginger Wells and Tommy
So we separated. I sent money home for my kids when I came home from logging and construction work.
I slept in the recliner and Sarah took the bed. I wanted to continue to be involved with my kids’ lives.
I went on like this for years. In 1992, I rode a bull again. This would be my first ride for years.
Before that, in 1991, I started my painting business to bring more money into the home.
In 1997, my Sarah was killed in a car wreck. I was raising my 14-year-old son. The girls were all grown and out of the house.
In 1999, I became a double-dare – three spades and high roller. I got rammed in the shoulder after my 8 second ride. I was walking away when the bull turned and came at me.
I tried to get away, but tripped over my chaps and went down. He got me in the shoulder with his horn. I now have a quarter-sized hole and scar there from the injury.
But I enjoyed helping my friend. It felt good to be on the bulls again. I also rode in Clark County.
This was to be my retirement ride. I got high spade. I rode only 4 seconds because my bull rope was not set up right by someone I did not know.
The rope caught my foot and sucked me right under the bull. He tried to get away from me, but his hoof came down on my right leg. It tore a hunk out of my leg and broke my ankle, messing it up real good.
I have a big scar from this. They were going to let me have a re-ride but my leg would not allow it. Everyone was shouting, “One more time, one more time.”
Oh, I wanted to, but I just couldn’t. I don’t blame the bulls for my injuries. That is just part of their nature. Let’s put it this way – if you had your balls tied tight toward your rear end, wouldn’t you try your best to get that cowboy off your back and that rope off of your balls?
The rope is called a bucking strap. My life has had many ups and downs, but I have rode many bulls. The rodeo life gets in your blood.
Over the years – mostly in my younger days – I have ridden some great bulls. Red Man Chew is a good example. That bull broke my leg and slipped some discs in my back.
Then there was Black Tornado. I got hurt bad on that ride, but still got 89 points. And there was Bodashes in Cheyenne, Wyoming. I scored 86 points in that ride.
I have done any day job I could find to support my family. I have worked broken up and sick so my family members would have their needs met.
I am not complaining, no far from it. I am just saying you have to do what is needed to support your family and there are a lot of young bucks out there who just do not get it.
You have to WORK to live. It is all right to dream, but you have to work if you want those dreams to come true.
I did not choose bull riding. It chose me. The rodeo life comes with a hell of a price – broken bones, broken marriages and wondering how you are going to get to the next ride.
(To Be Continued in the Dec. 2 Tailgate News)

Sherry’s Corner: Being thankful

for what we have in Gurdon

Thanksgiving thought: Be thankful for what you have while you have it
BY SHERRY KELLEY
GURDON MAYOR
A very Happy Thanksgiving to all. Pastor Travis Langley, at the Gurdon First United Methodist Church, told us to be thankful for what we have while we have it. That’s a very good perspective to own.
Gurdon has a lot to be thankful for; great schools, safe streets, affordable real estate and friendly neighborly people, among many other things. Plus there’s a rustling in the leaves, a scent on the breeze that whispers progress is in store. A very Happy Thanksgiving, indeed.
A couple of larger grant and recreational projects are pending. Some smaller grants are beginning and I have the opportunity to write a grant (a very difficult and technical grant similar to the USDA Rural Business Enterprise Grant which funded 100% of The Market On Main) to fund a business technology assistance center on Main Street.
A qualified tenant is necessary to fulfill the purpose. I have some ideas and will keep you posted. Some key issues will need to be handled before I undertake this challenge. But, you never know unless you try.
Margaret Burton will host her Sunday dinner at The Market On Main next Sunday from 9 to 2. Her menu will include Salisbury Steak, Lima beans, macaroni and cheese, with dessert, drink and other items $10 dine in or carryout. The hamburger steak and gravy that she served last Sunday was REAL good. Burton passed the National Restaurant’s ServSafe Class in October.
Breakfast with Santa will be held on Saturday morning, December 3, at The Market On Main hosted by The Evergreen Church. Don’t miss it. Also the Gurdon Chamber of Commerce Christmas Parade will be Tuesday, December 6.

Poems

Life Is Short;
Be Thankful
for the Ride
This poem was written by
a terminally ill young girl in a
New York Hospital.
It was sent by a medical doctor.

SLOW DANCE
Have you ever watched kids
on a merry-go-round?
Or listened to the rain
slapping on the ground?

Ever followed a butterfly’s
erratic flight?
Or gazed at the sun
into the fading night?

You better slow down.
Don’t dance so fast.
Time is short.
The music won’t last.

Do you run through
each day on the fly?
When you ask, “How are you?”
Do you hear the reply?

When the day is done,
do you lie in your bed,
with the next hundred chores
running through your head?

You’d better slow down
Don’t dance so fast.
Time is short
The music won’t last.

Ever told your child,
We’ll do it tomorrow?
And in your haste,
Not see his sorrow?

Ever lost touch,
let a good friendship die
Cause you never had time
To call and say,’Hi’

You’d better slow down.
Don’t dance so fast.
Time is short.
The music won’t last..

When you run so fast
to get somewhere,
You miss half the fun
of getting there.

When you worry and hurry
through your day,
It is like an unopened gift….
Thrown away.

Life is not a race.
Do take it slower
Hear the music
Before the song is over.

The girl in
the bottle
Once upon a time,
or so the story goes,
a girl lived in a bottle,
where no one knows.

I talked with her
one evening, through
a hole in the cork.
I knew it was crazy,
folks would think
I had a snort.

But there she was
in the bottle, just
next to that old peer.
I asked her how she
got there? She answered very clear.

I came from across the
ocean, somewhere down that way. My people
need your help, so
they sent me your way.

I scratched my head
in wonder. What if this
was really true? Can
people shrink a woman,
bottle her up and send
her to you?

I smiled at the girl
in the bottle. She smiled back at me. Then a wave came in from the shoreline and washed my girl away.

I walked the beach that evening, and in the distance clear, I thought I heard that girl saying, “Hey stranger, over here!”
JOHN NELSON
GURDON

How to Cook a Turkey

by GPS Second Grade

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Thanksgiving is this coming Thursday, Nov. 24 and the students of the Gurdon School District will be off for a full week to enjoy the holiday of being thankful.
Teachers and office workers at Gurdon Primary School said Wednesday the big things they are looking forward to is the time off from school and family time with loved ones as they enjoy traditional turkey dinners.
The following students submitted a second grade perspective as to how a family needs to cook and prepare their turkey Thanksgiving dinner.
Teachers of the second grade at GPS this year are: Susan Norris , Diane Jones and Lee Purifoy.
Here are some of the recipes submitted. Tailgate News editor John Nelson must warn you that if you use these recipes to cook your turkey Thursday, this magazine will claim no responsibility for the results.
On the other hand, some of these kids seem to have cooking insights worth investigating in the holiday kitchen. Enjoy!
RECIPES
Kharsy Radford – Me and my mom go to WalMart to go get the turkey. First you need to thaw it out. Then you wash it so it can be clean to eat. Next, you cook it in the oven. Finally, you eat it for Thanksgiving. My mom is with me.
Anabelle Davis – First, my mom will go to WalMart and buy a turkey.
Next, we will thaw the turkey out in the frige. Then we put the turkey in the oven.
Finally, we have Thanksgiving and all the family comes; Lihe, Mimi, Eric, Mamo, Papo, Aunt Christey, Seth, Brady, Corey and… it is at my house!
Braelei I. Collums – My grama buys the turkey and then she turns to the stove. She lets it boil for a minute. Then it is finally done!
Tristan David Gober – First, you buy the turkey from WalMart. Then you put the turkey in the refrigerator. Next you take it out and put it in a hot tub to get the ice off of the Thanksgiving turkey.
Finally, you get the Thanksgiving turkey in the oven for three days. Now, let’s eat! (FIRST PLACE)
Braxton Nolan – First you kill the turkey with a gun. Then, you take the turkey home and pluck it’s feathers. Next, you freeze the turkey. Then you cook it. Finally, you eat the turkey with your family.
Kinrell Block – First, I go to the store and get a turkey. Then, put it in the stove. Next, take my turkey out. Finally, eat my turkey with my family.
Maggie Abernathy – First, you buy a turkey. Then you bring it home. Next, you stuff vegetables in your turkey and cook it.
Finally, you eat the turkey with the ones you love. I am sorry turkey. Don’t be mad.
Jovann Smith – First, go buy the turkey where it is fresh. Then put the turkey in a big pot of water. Next, put the turkey in the oven. Finally, the whole family will eat it.
Emily Medina – First, you go buy the turkey from WalMart. Then you take the turkey home. Then you put the turkey in the refrigerator for three days. Then you put it in hot water for one day.
Next, you have to cook the turkey. Next, you put food inside of the turkey. Finally, you can eat the turkey with your family if you want.
Alan Martinez – First we will stuff the turkey. Then, chop it’s head off. Next we will cook the turkey. Finally, we are eating the turkey at the dining room table with my friends. (SECOND PLACE)
Hayden Smith – First, you kill the turkey with a bow and arrow. Then you take your turkey in your truck to your house.
Next, you put the turkey in your ice box. Finally, you put your turkey in oil and watch it cook good for 10 hours. Then you eat it.
Jakkia Burton – First, you get the turkey from somewhere. Then you can wash it really good with soap. Next, you put it in the oven for a long time. Finally, you can eat the yummy turkey. I’m eating dressing. That is yummy too!
Sadie Griffin – First, you go buy a turkey from WalMart and you let it thaw. Then you turn the oven on to 375 degrees. You will put it in the oven and let it cook. Next, you will cut the turkey and take it to the houses and you will put it on plates. Finally, you will go to your family and you will eat it.
Tess Plyler – First, you kill the turkey by shooting it. Then you clean the turkey by putting it in water. Next, you cook it by putting it on the pan. Then you put it in the oven.
Finally, you eat the turkey. I am going to my Mammy’s to eat for Thanksgiving, and my Meme and Pap’s.
Daniel Cruz – First you get the turkey out of the fridge and let it thaw out. Then, after four hours, you put the stuffing in the turkey. Then you put it in the oven at 270 degrees and finally you eat it.
Eder Sesena – I will buy the turkey. I will put it in the oven and cook the turkey for five hours. We will take the turkey out and set the table up. Then me and my family will pray and eat.
Marilyn Alba – First, you go get the turkey at a store. Then, you put it in the kitchen. Next you cook it on the oven and you put it in five hours. That is, if you want to eat a noon.
Finally, you eat it and you are gonna invite my family. Hopefully, you will have a good Thanksgiving because I will.
Emilee Davis – First, get the turkey somewhere and put it in the freezer. Get out the turkey and put it in the pot. Wait for it to cook. Take it out and eat it with your family and friends.
Lyla Shehane – My family and I see lots of turkeys. First you put some water in the sink and let it thaw out. You get a pen and lay it down on the stove. Next, you let it sit for one hour. Finally, you get to eat it and have a big feast.
Jordan Henry – First you have to buy the turkey. Then you can freeze it. Next, you bake the turkey.
Finally, you say your thanks and eat with your family. And that is how to make a turkey.
Venus Cruz – First you buy a turkey at the store and then take it home. My grandma is gonna cook it.
Then you put it in the oven and you cook it for five hours. Finally, you go to the table with who you plan to eat with. Then you eat your yummy, juicy turkey.
Alexis Ricketts – First, pot it in the freezer. Then you can thaw it. Next you cook it. Finally, you eat it.

Malvern food service begins

to make a profit soon

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Malvern School Board met in regular session on Monday and received a positive report concerning the district’s food service from Jason Kuhn, food services site director.
Kuhn told board members the district is still losing money, but the losses have been cut significantly. Kuhn, who said he has had success to the tune of $100,000 savings on food services in another district, is working to do that for Malvern. So far, he said, his efforts have pushed the Malvern food services $28,000 toward that goal.
“We are looking for great numbers at Malvern,” he said. “I do a cash based system. We are still in the red, but by less than $8,000. We should be making a profit by the end of November.”
Kuhn said he is a former business owner and takes pride in the encouraging results. He anticipates the district making a profit “and being in the solid black” during December.
He said the Malvern food service program has spent the past two years losing money, that is in the red.
“We now serve 100 percent compliance menus, that is we are in line with what the government has mandated,” he said.
“We serve no fried foods. This change has actually increased our patronage participation.”
Kuhn had no prediction as to changes that may be forth coming from President Elect Donald Trump’s administration but assured the board he would be on top of any new menu requirements.
According to Kuhn, a free application for smart phones has been created so students can monitor day to day menus.
The food expert said he envisions a change in atmosphere in the district’s cafeteria settings to a more cafe type atmosphere in the future.
In other business, the School Board approved graduation requirements, approved a Malvern Junior High School demolition bid package, approved a request by Superintendent Brian Golden to remove certain obsolete inventory from school facilities, heard a report on the district’s academic scorecard and surveys, approved a March 2017 millage, and accepted the following resignations: Emily Harmon, special education aide; Charles Krontz, assistant bus mechanic; and James Serate, ALE and bus maintenance.
Golden told the board he was very impressed with recent high marks received by the GHS band and said, “The kids did a tremendous job and had excitement that was amazing. This is the best we have done in the music classroom field in a very long time.”
The Malvern School Board will meet at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 12 in regular session at the administration building.
Golden noted that the National School Board Association (NSBA) conference in Denver, Colorado will be coming up March 25-27.
A discussion was held at the end of the meeting about the Malvern district’s need for a new bus repair shop.
Golden said he would not be opposed to asking for a special millage to accomplish building a new bus shop facility and estimated the cost to be around $750,000.
It was noted that the demolition bid for MJHS was $110,000 and would involve the removal of four add-on classrooms built in the 1980’s that are not in use.
Golden said the inventory removal that the board passed includes some MJHS chairs “and lots of junk that we might rid ourselves of with a rummage sale.”
In Golden’s administrative report, he said the Malvern District ACT score this year was 19.4 on average, which is the same as it was last school year.
“The state average is 21.2 and we’d like to get our school system above it,” Golden added.
He said Malvern did have three students with a 30 ACT or above and five above 27.

School Board honors

Gurdon band for good job

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
The Gurdon School Board met in regular session Tuesday and heard a report from GHS Band Director Devon West on how numbers are up in his band classes and hard work coupled with talent has resulted in Gurdon’s band being voted third best band in Arkansas.
West, who came to the district last year but has been in full contest mode since August, said the band has received a total of 33 trophies so far this year.
“We had 39 beginning band members this year and have already signed up 42 of the fifth graders for beginning band next year,” he said. “All but three of the upcoming fifth grade class have opted to participate.”
Superintendent Allen Blackwell said, “We appreciate all of the hard work you and the band members have done.”
West said he has gone to Indianapolis, Indiana for innovative ideas for band instruments and “hopefully we may even give Prescott a run for their money.”
In other business, the School Board approved special education assurances with a budget of $37,000 and a stipend fund of $7,000.
Blackwell said the plan is to go back through Dawson Co-op instead of continuing an in-house special education policy “which means this budget approval is simply money in and then money out.”
Tammy Shumate, district special education coordinator/teacher, explained the program to the board and lobbied for its passage.
Moreover, the board accepted the highest bid of $650 for some pre-school playground equipment from Marcus Crawley of the First Baptist Church in Emmett.
Blackwell told board members they must all meet School Board educational requirements and that he had hopes that could be done by way of Dawson meeting recordings instead of board members having to attend a conference in Little Rock.
“If we have to use the conference, you would get 5 hours for attending a whole day or 3 hours for a half day as some of you only need 3 hours to complete the School Board Association requirement,” he said.

Sherry Kelley Corner: Thanks for voting

By SHERRY KELLEY
Gurdon Mayor
Once again, the Gurdon Public Schools organized a very fine community salute to our veterans at the Cabe Auditorium.
Big crowds attended the event that was both educational and inspirational. Our new county head of Veterans Affairs is Gurdon’s Michael Rhodes.
He replaces the retiring Bob Palmer, who has served our veterans for many years. Thank you to Bob and best wishes to Michael.
Clark County had a great turnout during the recent elections. We have an appreciation for all who voted, those that worked the polls and for County Clerk Rhonda Cole and her staff. Congratulations to all who prevailed.
Win or lose, it is not easy to run for an office and often difficult to serve.
It takes a deep commitment to put your name on the ballot. Thank you to Clark County Judge Ron Daniel for his 14 years as County Judge.
I learned a lot from Ron during my two terms as Justice of the Peace. Throughout my first two years as the Mayor of Gurdon he has been very helpful to the city and to county.
Congratulations to new Clark County Judge Troy Tucker.
I look forward to working together with him in the future for the benefit of our town and county.

Mobster threat changes

life of Tommy Wells

Chapter 1:

Autobiography
(Introduction is in November 11 issue)
Chapter 1
By Tommy J. Wells
Retired Bull Rider
I did not know that the $5 was marked. I had no idea what the cops were up to until they busted the man they were after.
The man they arrested put the word out that me and my wife were going to die. We found out that he was tied up with the mob.
He put them after us. They were looking for us with guns. When my Dad got wind of it, he came to me and asked what I was going to do?
I told him that I was not going to testify against them because I was tricked into being used by the police and now I was scared for my family.
I told Dad that when I got enough money up Sarah and I would leave town. I asked my Dad if he and my Mom could take care of our daughter Virginia until things settled down?
He said yes they would gladly do it. I told him that when I got a job I would send money to him for the baby, which I did.
Dad told me to wait right there until he got back. He said that he was going to City Hall to get the money.
Dad went to City Hall on Main Street and talked to the city marshal.
Dad told them that they were the ones who tricked me into using the marked money. And because of that, people were after Tommy and Sarah.
Dad told them that they were going to come up with the money and give it to him so he could give it to me in order for me to be able to leave town with my wife.
He told them I was not going to testify. Dad also told them he would camp out on the City Hall door steps until they gave him the money.
The city officials and police department knew my Dad well. They knew he would do exactly that, so they gave him the money.
Dad took the money and us to the Arkadelphia bus station. The county law and a state investigator were there too. They were there to make sure we left safely. We went to Cape Girardeau, Missouri.
One of the last things my Dad said to me before we left was to keep my eyes and ears open!
We were there two days when we joined the Mighty Blue Grass Fair. Sarah sold tickets for the rides that I ran. I ran the Spider, the Scrambler and the Tilt-a-Whirl.
BULL RIDING
I worked the rides on Monday through Thursday. Then on Friday, I would ride bulls where ever we went. We would go from town to town, doing what jobs the fair had us to do.
Because of the people who were after us, we had to use many names so we could not be found. Even in my bull riding, I had to use other names. I wasn’t taking any chances with our lives.
My Dad kept me up to date on what was going on and told me there was people still looking. I made sure I called my parents every other week.
I was very under cover! The way we did it, with the owner working with us, there was no record of me or my wife.
The fair where we worked moved from Missouri to Wako, Texas. My first bull there was Red Man Chew.
He broke me up, injuring my leg, my collar bone and my back. I was out of the bull riding scene for the rest of that season.
I called home to check on my Mom, who was three months pregnant with my baby sister, Shanna. And I called to check on my baby girl.
I could not get anyone to answer the telephone, so I kept trying. I finally got someone when I called my PawPaw.
He told me that my Mom was not doing good – and he would have to tell me some bad news…
He told me my Dad had been killed two weeks before. PawPaw told me that the cops had an All Points Bulletin (APB) out on me and Sarah nationwide.
They were trying to find us to let us know about Dad.
I called my uncle and he told me the same thing. He also told me he was going to get us home. He bought our bus tickets and a meal. We met him in Albany, Georgia at the bus station.
We then left with him and headed home. My Dad was killed on Oct. 17, 1977. I found out on Oct. 30, 1977.
We stayed home for awhile. In 1979, I was going to go back to the Mighty Blue Grass Fair. Sarah decided to stay home.
I went from place to place, living the life of a rodeo man. I went from town to town, riding bulls and working for the fair.
I was sending money home like always, helping with my two daughters. Yep, I had two daughters then. Tammy Wynn was born in 1978. When I got hurt bull riding, I came home. I had to work, so I worked in the log woods and on construction sites.
I had to do what was needed so I took what I could get to support my family.
In 1980, another daughter was born – Belinda Jo. I went back to the rodeo life, sending money home and coming home when I could.
I was on the road a lot. Space grew between Sarah and me. We divorced in 1982, only to get back together soon there after.
In 1983, a son was born – Tommy Wade. Sarah and I tried to make things work, but me being on the road a lot just took its toll on our marriage.

Arkansas backs Trump,

elects Tucker county judge

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
The 2016 election has given the nation President Elect Donald Trump, with a majority of his fellow Republicans controlling the House and Senate for at least the next two years.
Trump defeated Democratic challenger Hillary Clinton 306 to 232 in electoral college votes, with Wisconsin going Republican being a highly significant factor to turn the tide. All six Arkansas electoral votes went to Trump, who defeated Clinton in Arkansas by approximately 60 to 35 percent.
Trump has announced that revamping the nation’s health care, stabilizing the immigration system and securing more jobs for Americans by putting the United States economy growth first on a world-wide scale are his top three priorities after taking office in January.
He has also pledged to perform his duties in a fashion that will uphold the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights, respecting religious freedom for all, respecting the rights of all races and to work toward uniting all Americans as they seek to develop their talents and grow in prosperity.
Trump has said he will appoint Supreme Court judges who will uphold the Constitution and that he will support the nation’s law enforcement and military in order to “Make America Great Again.” He has also pledged a pro-life stance in regard to abortion.
On the local level, long-time incumbent Clark County Judge Ron Daniell was defeated by former Clark County Sheriff Troy Tucker by a margin of 51.4 to 48.6 percent of vote totals. Tucker said he will work toward the construction and establishment of a Clark County sanitation dump in order to serve a growing lumber industry base.

Malvern judge to go

full time district, city

discusses culverts, repairs

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
The Malvern City Council had its regular agenda meeting Monday, hearing from soon to be full-time District Judge Sherry Burnett about cost sharing the salary for a judge’s administrator position and from experts on revamping Malvern’s water and sewer drainage system to minimize future flooding problems with such things as culverts and sink holes.
There is an ongoing debate amongst Council members concerning intrastructure problems that need attention and whether or not an increase in water or sewer rates would take care of the problem financially. Councilman Wayne Reynolds said people do not like taxes and raising water and sewer rates would generate money to take care of immediate needs.
Councilman Larry Stiles has said on several occasions that a temporary sales tax would generate the entire revamping financial needs for Malvern and then could be capped and discontinued, but a new sanitation fee would be a permanent new expense for residents and may still not generate enough money to get the Malvern drainage problems fixed in a timely manner.
In specific discussion Monday, Judge Burnett was told by Mayor Brenda Weldon that the Malvern cost sharing salary approval was set to go at this coming Monday’s regular City Council meeting “and I believe you can count on us voting in favor of paying our share.”
Burnett said the salary for a judge’s administrator is around $17 per hour, with Malvern’s part being approximately $3.50 per hour in the cost sharing between Malvern, Rockport, Sheridan and Grant County.
Burnett told the group her personal secretary has kept her docket schedule since 2005, and there has been no increase in her office staff since 1990.
She said going full-time district judge will mean at least tripling her case load. Her current case load is at 5,000 per year and the change may take it as high as 25,000.
Burnett said items to be added will include such matters as orders by the prosecutor, child support issues, “and basically anything else they want to assign me.”
Judge Burnett said her administrator will also be in charge of keeping track of jail pick-up.
“We need excellent communication with jail authorities so people are not put in jail that are not supposed to be,” she said.
WATER SYSTEM
Moreover, the City Council heard from Roger Dodds, an FTN engineer out of Little Rock, concerning Malvern’s storm water system, which was installed nearly 30 years ago and a need discovered by the engineer that the city requires at least $50,000 to $60,000 in culvert repairs. He used an incident on Shirley Lane at Malvern on March 29 and 30 where excessive water could not be handled by the aging storm water system.
“If you do decide to go through with creating a storm water system to handle the needs of Malvern’s current population, be careful to figure your maintenance costs and have an upkeep plan in mind to pursue,” the engineer said.
Mayor Weldon said the water system repair and maintenance in Malvern is ongoing and expensive. She sited the recent repair problem on Walco Road as to culverts and drainage, ongoing sinkholes and now the Shirley Lane culverts.
“These Malvern culverts were put in 30 to 40 years ago and they are wearing out,” she said. “It is costing us about $30,000 every time we have to fix one.”
In other business, council members were told about the need for updating Malvern’s 911 emergency location system by spokesman Josh Anderson. Anderson said new funding from Malvern has not been updated for 15 years.
He said Hot Spring County paid $200,000 of unbudgeted expenses this year and 52 percent of the county’s 911 calls come from Malvern.
Mayor Weldon said, “We are like anyone else. If the money is there to pay for more of the 911 operating budget, we will pay it. We will certainly look at this.”
Finance Committee Chairman Councilman Wayne Reynolds said, “We will try and come up with a formula fair to both the county and the city.”

GHS celebrates Veterans day,

honors all soldiers

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
The annual Gurdon High School Veteran’s Day honor breakfast and convocation was held at the Cabe Auditorium early today, Friday, Nov. 11.
Students from grades K-12 were present to honor area veterans with a military medley, the Pledge of Allegiance by Briana Smith, the “Star Spangled Banner” by the sixth to 12 grade choir, a prayer by Rebekah Sims and a welcome from the school district by GHS Principal Wilma House.
The history of the national anthem, a march by the kindergartners, a history of the American flag and histories of the various branches of the United States services were also presented.
Veterans in attendance were recognized by teacher/sponsor Tabitha Stroud. Delton Simpson, a veteran and former Gurdon resident, was then asked to respond. Jayden Colbert gave the conclusion to the program, followed by Taps, played by Madelyn Self. Then the Color Guard was retired.
The program was presented in cooperation with Mrs. Stroud’s AP U.S. history class. Student Rebekah Leamons spoke to the group about the U.S. Army being the oldest branch of service in this country. She talked of it originally being established in 1775 as the Continental Army and then being re-established as the U.S. Army in June of 1784.
The Army was to defend the country and primarily be responsible for national security.
It was stated that the Air Force, established in 1947, is the youngest branch of the service – with possibly the most technologically advanced air craft in the world.

Sherry’s Corner: Great Honeycomb Gala

By SHERRY KELLEY
Gurdon Mayor
Several Gurdon High School EAST Lab students have volunteered to improve the appearance of the city as part of a class project. They call themselves “G Force” and I am glad to have their assistance. The boys; Austin Taylor, Brady Purifoy, Chandler Walker, Jose Chacon and Donald Haynie said that they want to go beyond improving their school, they want to improve their community. They are mapping and pinpointing specific areas for clean up.
Other Gurdon young people were in attendance at the Group Living Gala on Saturday night at the Honeycomb Restaurant. Blakely Williams, Kylie Jo Baker and Brandon Buck helped to make it a special evening for a wonderful and very worthwhile organization. I had the pleasure of emceeing the event. Thank you to Jane Lucas and all for the opportunity to be involved.
The Gurdon Pee Wee Football group held a banquet at The Market On Main. The city and community is so proud of these fine players, their coaches and their families.
Thank you to Gwen Thomerson and Thomerson’s Drug and Gift Store for donating flats of pansies and dusty miller for our Main Street planters.
ServSafe Restaurant Manager graduate, Margaret Butler held the first pop up restaurant at The Market On Main on Sunday. She said it went very well and her staff said that it was amazing. Look for more dining opportunities at the venue coming soon. Also we are taking names for an upcoming class of safe food handling practices.
Mark your calendars for breakfast with Santa at The Market On Main Saturday, December 3rd, hosted and sponsored by the Evergreen Church. This will be a festive and yummy occasion to visit with Santa.
The Gurdon Chamber of Commerce Christmas Parade will Tuesday, December 6th. The theme is The Twelve Days of Christmas and there are cash prizes in several divisions.
This month I will begin work on writing several new grants and redouble efforts regarding ongoing projects.

The Tommy Wells Story

Autobiography
Introduction:
By Tommy J. Wells
I was born August 13, 1956, the son of Jewell and Betty Brown Wells of Gurdon, Arkansas.
I later had two sisters and a brother, Joann, Carl and Shanna. My mother was expecting Shanna when my father passed away.
My Dad worked hard to provide for all of us. He worked at the Cabe Mill Flooring in Beirne, Arkansas. He took what jobs he could to make sure we had what we needed.
I guess growing up and watching how he worked grew on me too. When I was 10 years old, I started mowing yards and raking leaves to help out. It allowed me to buy the things I needed so my Dad would not have to put out as much money from his efforts.
He told me that I did not have to work at such a young age, but I told him that I wanted to. Tears came to his eyes.
When I was 11 years old, I still mowed and raked leaves, but I also started helping Mr. Alnut, a land surveyor.
He helped me get my Social Security card so I started paying taxes out of my checks. I worked with him until I started working at IGA (a small Gurdon grocery store) when I was almost 16. My job title was stocker and carry out. I worked at IGA until I was 18 years old.
While I was working there, I met Sarah Rogers. She was 15 and I was 17. I wanted more time and the store could not give it to me so I applied for and got a new job at the mill with Dad.
I worked there for a year and then they laid a bunch of us off. That was 1974.
Sarah and I dated for two and a half years. We got married in 1976. She was 17 and I was 19.
In 1974, I started working at Delta Farms. I was still working there when we got married.
My first daughter, Virginia Lynn, was born on Jan. 4, 1977.
Life Got Odd
When Virginia was 8 months old, my parents had to start raising her because of attempt by me to assist the local police department.
I was given $5 by an officer to buy some beer from a bootlegger. (Editor’s Note: Tommy’s story will continue for the next several issues)

Football season over at Gurdon;

coach plans deer hunting trip

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
The Gurdon Go-Devils fell to the Glen Rose Beavers 57-14 during the last game of the season, which was also senior night.
Quarter by quarter, it was 21-0 Beavers after the first, 40-14 at the half, 57-14 after three and the same after the fourth.
Coach Kyle Jackson said his team ended the season with a 3-7 record and 1-6 in the conference. Gurdon will graduate five football team seniors.
Coach Jackson said, “The boys fought hard and never gave up. I am sorry that the seniors had to end their career with this season’s record, but we are already looking forward to a successful and winning season in 2017.
“Gurdon is used to winning, and with hard work and desire, we will not have to get used to losing.”
Jackson said he will be taking a few days to go deer hunting and to get a new perspective before planning a winning strategy for next year.
Football awards night will be on Thursday, Jan. 26. The first home basketball game will be at 5 p.m. this coming Friday, Nov. 18.
Although Coach Jackson said no MVPs were selected for the Glen Rose game, he did mention #3 Thomas Muldrow did an outstanding job on offense. Muldrow had 130 yards passing plus a touchdown, and 75 yards rushing and a touchdown.
Matt Bullard, #12, successfully kicked the 2 extra points after TD, giving the Go-Devils 14 points going into halftime.
Defensively, Go-Devil #2 B.J. Brewer had 13 tackles.
Coach Jackson said it was the year for injuries, academic problems with players “and trouble aroud every corner.”
“But the team learned a lot and they know what we expect next year,” he said. “We are a good 2A team with just one more year in 3A, where we meet 9-1 teams with twice as many kids like Glen Rose.”

Rotary at Gurdon needs

new members, fights polio

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Gurdon Rotarians heard Thursday from their district governor about the benefits of continued service, even in a small community, and about how Rotary International is in the process of eradicating polio worldwide.
Allen Morgan, district governor of Rotary out of Arkadelphia, said, “I am over 36 clubs and each one has it’s own personality. I enjoy Gurdon, as it feels like a second home to me.”
Morgan said the Arkansas clubs in his 36 are from mostly small towns, skipping Little Rock and the urban environment. He praised Gurdon for its accomplishments in giving scholarships, sponsoring school functions, hosting auctions “and working behind the scenes, as Rotarians often do, in order to improve their communities through hard work, kindness and the promotion of integrity by showing respect to all.”
Morgan described Rotarians as the salt of the earth, adding flavor to a community through the creation of scholarships to help people reach their dreams and change the world in a positive way. He mentioned the student exchange program and how many young people have broadened their world views because Rotarians have cared enough to fund the efforts.
He noted a program called Polio Plus, which is a current Rotarian effort to eradicate polio from places like Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria. He said the last reported case of crippling polio in the United States was back in 1979, but polio victims and carriers in the afore named countries are still in the hundreds and funds are needed for vaccines that can prevent this disease and to wipe it off the face of the earth by the Rotarian goal of 2019.
Morgan said an inoculation for polio prevention costs 67 cents. The Gurdon club agreed to make a donation at the end of the meeting of an undisclosed amount.
Morgan thanked the local donors for their help and made mention of former Rotarian President Leonard Gills, now deceased, and all of the hard work and fund raising efforts that Gills had been a part of over the years.
“Getting rid of polio worldwide is possible,” he said. “There are 27 paralyzing cases of polio known about in Pakistan and Afghanistan, as well as four in Nigeria. But hundreds more may be carriers so the vaccine is still very much needed. For each case of paralysis polio, there are about 200 carriers of the disease.”
In addition to small club donations to the Polio Plus effort, Morgan said computer millionaire Bill Gates has donated $500,000 to Rotary International to put wings on the dream.
Morgan noted that John Germ, president or Rotary International, is currently leading a celebration of 100 years of Rotary serving humanity.
“We have a vest that is worn in international intervention travel signifying Rotarian service and the folks wearing it go into some dangerous places to help others,” Morgan said.
“There were 24 Rotarians who lost their lives last year wearing that vest. I am not worthy to be counted a vest wearer, but I can recruit donations to fund those who are wiling to go to places of great danger to help someone.”
Morgan said Rotary is about the local club and local needs, but also about helping in such international help efforts such as Polio Plus. He praised the many accomplishments created by working together.
“I know the Gurdon club is looking for new members to carry on its rich tradition of being there for this community and for Rotary International,” he said.
“Polio Plus is just one example of how dedication, integrity, a giving spirit and hard work can change the world. Surely more Gurdon area men and women will read this and come forward to be that salt that gives a community flavor and new hope.”

Gurdon Band achieves

awards, blames hard work

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
The Gurdon High School Band received third place in 2A out of nine bands competing Tuesday in their category on the state level.
GHS Band Director Devin West said Friday the event took place at North Little Rock High School. This year’s band show for Gurdon was Spartacus, with the 31-member band putting a total number of practice hours of 12,643.
West said, “All of their hard work paid off. We received 36 trophies this year in a variety of stiff competitions. The Gurdon band program continues to grow.”
West said there are 28 members of the Junior High School band and 39 fifth graders are participating in beginning band. The following is a partial list of October high school band contests and awards won by GHS: Championship of the Rock, War Memorial Stadium – first in class, overall outstanding musical performance, visual performance, general effect and color guard.
West said GHS made it to the finals, which is a first in school history. He said 12 bands competed in the GHS category. Going back to Oct. 25, GHS competed at Lakeside on a regional basis. Gurdon got a first rating there as well.
The band went to Jessieville Oct. 22 for marching instrumental competition and received a first place. They received a third place for overall contest. GHS got a trophy for outstanding drum major, outstanding special effects overall and outstanding musical performance.
GHS earned first division band, first division percussion and first division color guard.
On Oct. 8, Gurdon received high marks in the showcase of nine bands competition. GHS got a first division color guard and presentation, and second division overall band.
The GHS competed well at Cabot on Oct. 1, receiving an outstanding woodwind award among other positive recognition.

High School plans

Veterans breakfast, convocation

The administration, faculty, staff, and students of Gurdon High School are planning a celebration commemoration Veterans Day on Friday, November 11, 2016.
We are inviting all area veterans and guests to participate in the ceremonies and be honored guests at the assembly. Registration and breakfast will be in the Cabe Student Center, with an assembly to follow at 8:30 a.m. in Cabe Auditorium.
It would be greatly appreciated if you would also send a picture of yourself when you were serving(we will return it) along with information such as your rank, branch, when and where you served and so on. Please come and help celebrate those who now serve, have served, and those who have given their lives so all Americans can live free.
It is our intention that youth of today more fully realize and appreciate the sacrifice, impact, and dedication that our veterans have given and continue to give our nation. Please let us know by November 5 if you plan to attend, please call Gurdon High School at 870-353-5123, between the hours of 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
We are looking forward to seeing you on November 11. Your presence will be greatly appreciated.
Sincerely,
Mrs. Tabitha Stroud
History Teacher Gurdon High School

Forest Festival Saturday,

schedule of events fun

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
The 36th annual Gurdon Forest Festival will take place all day Saturday, Oct. 29 in downtown Gurdon with all free rides for the children to enjoy.
According to CD&E festival organizer Heather Nolan, rides will include an inflatable slide, an inflatable obstacle, a four-person jumper, tubs of fun, a giant slide and a jungle gym.
In addition to the scheduled items to be listed shortly, Nolan said Fire Chief Robert Burns will fill up a dunking booth to help GHS Close-up members raise money for their spring trip to Washington D.C.
The events will start at 6 a.m., with registration and set-up in front of Kuhn’s Hardware. At 8 a.m. there will be an antique car show registraton in the First State Bank parking lot. The arts and crafts booths will also open at 8. At 9 a.m., the Forest Festival parade line-up will take place at the Old Bell High School.
Those entering the Jack-O-Lantern decorating contest should place their pumpkins on the main stage at 9 as judging will take place during the parade.
The annual Forest Festival Parade will wind its way through the downtown area at 10 a.m. Kiddie Fun Land also opens at 10 a.m.
At 10:30 a.m., Kendall Laughard will offer musical entertainment on the Main Stage. Cutest Kid contest winners will be announced under the old US Bank drive-through. Jack-O-Lantern winners will also be posted. There will be a motorcycle display at First State Bank and the dunking at the Close-up booth will get under way.
At 11 a.m., the Messengers of Hope will perform on the Main Street stage. Log loader competitors will sign up. Marco Giles will sing on the Main Street stand at 11:30 a.m. Log loader competition will begin beside Kuhn’s Hardware.
At noon, Mayor Sherry Kelley will give the grand opening speech, introduce Forest Festival royalty and Hoo Hoo guests.
At 12:30 p.m., the CD&E auction will be held on the Main stage. Teresa and Doug Higginbotham will sing at 1:30 p.m. on the Main stage. Ashley and Harry Blanton will perform at 2 p.m. The Eric Griffin Memorial run will also be at 2 p.m. on the GHS track. The BMX bike show will take place at 2 p.m. The kids dance party is on Main Stage at 2:30 p.m. At 3 p.m., antique car show awards and raffle winners will be announced.
The Chamber of Commerce kids costume contest is at 3:30 p.m., ages 8 and under, on the Main stage. A dog costume contest will follow. 4 p.m. Second BMX bike stunt show; 4:30 p.m. California Connections, Main stage.
The traditional street band entertainment will be held from 7 until 10 p.m. The band will be Robert D and the Infamous 3. Bring lawn chairs. Band on the Main stage. Enjoy!

Treasure Hunt happy

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
The First Annual Forest Festival Treasure Hunt, sponsored by the Gurdon CD&E Club was solved by Jill Morris, a grandmother from Gurdon.
According to club secretary Angie Harper, Morris was given her $350 reward on Thursday morning.
“She was very excited to discover the treasure bag and note in a tree by the Presbyterian Church on Main Street. To hear her tell it, she even shook her grandchild’s baby buggy!”
Harper said the Community Development and Entertainment Club (CD&E) was very pleased with the hundreds of people looking for the treasure and analyzing the clues on Forest Festival facebook and the Chamber of Commerce sign downtown. She said the club plans to sponsor the treasure hunt for Forest Festival next year as well.

sherry and monster mash

By SHERRY KELLEY
GURDON MAYOR
Red Ribbon Week kicks off with a Gurdon Primary School Just Say No To Drugs Walk to City Hall on Monday. The weather is great for this important event. Also a beautiful forecast for the Gurdon Forest Festival, Saturday, Oct. 29, and the Monster Mash On Main, Monday, Oct. 31.
The Forest Festival is filled with fun and entertainment from early morning until late at night this Saturday. All rides are free for all the kids throughout the festival. There are too many things for me to mention in this column, plan to attend for a memorable family time. Check out the Gurdon Forest Festival Facebook Page for all the information.
The Fourth Annual Monster Mash On Main Halloween Trunk or Treat Event will be held on Monday, Oct. 31. Set up anytime with trick or treating and games starting around 5 p.m. Downtown is decorated for the occasion. Be sure to check out the “Deadly Diner” at the corner of 2nd and Main Street. Everyone is welcome to attend this free event and all businesses, churches, organizations and individuals are invited to set up and hand out candy and offer games and activities for the children during this fun and safe Halloween event.
I will be traveling to Little Rock this week for the Arkansas State Parks Fun Park Grant application. We are applying for a grant to outfit city hall with a playground, pavilion and half court. The results of the funding will be learned later this year or early next year. If we do not receive this 100% funded grant, we will apply for others through the state parks.
Have a great week in this lovely autumn weather and I will see you on Main Street!

Editorial: Vote Trump

We early voted on Monday, Oct. 24 and we voted for Donald Trump to be the next president of the United States.
We are tired of Obama rule and seeing our country turned away from basic Christian definitions of right from wrong. While Trump sins like the rest of humanity, he seems to have a clearer definition of right from wrong than a known habitual liar, that is Hillary Clinton.
We also are not thrilled with Mr. Trump’s arrogance but at least he has basic business knowledge on how to win. We too have to take advantage of tax write offs and the rest of the laws set up for when a businessman falls. But we respect Mr. Trump for getting back up and making a success of his personal business life.
We also look at his children and his wife. They respect him. Another reason we can not vote for the baby-killing ticket (you all heard Mrs. Clinton say she was in favor of full-term abortion at the debate) is because Bill Clinton has come out and said he loves his wife but has never said he agrees with her killing field ways. She is a loose cannon way worse than Donald Trump.
She sold out to socialism when she backed our current socialist president Barack Obama, who is by far the worst president we have ever seen in the past 50 years. Obama has made America the laughing stock of the world with his red line jargon. Don’t cross this line Russia or we will retaliate. We wonder what the folks who were sold down the river in Ukraine think of Mr. Obama and his cowardly response ways.
Sure, he kept us out of war. He did this by selling our economy and our freedoms down the river with his executive orders and anti Constitutional ways. Obama continues to by pass our Congress whenever possible. Mrs. Clinton is of the same might set. And look at her email problem with security leaks. Now look at those folks, including an ambassador, that died in Benghazi because Hillary was asleep at the switch.
Now the national smut sheets say Mrs. Clinton prefers girls. If there is any truth in that, who could blame Bill Clinton for seeking comfort with other women? Face it, the Clintons and Donald Trump to boot probably have a combined moral outlook similar to most alley cats. But let’s look at a Christian radio analysis a moment.
Donald Trump is for the Constitution, freedom of speech, the right to bear arms etc. Hillary wants to restrict all of that. Donald Trump is for the Keystone Pipeline, trade agreements to help American workers and putting America first economically. Hillary is worried about global warming and offending her Islamic friends.
The Christian analysis is this. If you have a choice of two drunk mechanics to fix your car, with one of them very competent when he is sober and the other one with unproven skills to fix a bicycle and lying every other breath to you about past accomplishments that never happened, which would you vote for? Money talks, lies walk.
Trump is a successful businessman who is willing to share winning, although difficult, formulas, on how the whole country can win in the market place. He also believes in religious freedom and does not appear to be anti-Christian in his views.
Hillary is a bought off, used up politician with a horrible track record of bad security practices, lie after lie in her career and even criminal action cover-up. And personally, we do not believe she could fix a bicycle.

Red Ribbon Week tauted

by GPS principal

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Gurdon Primary School Principal Rusty Manning described the annual Red Ribbon Week activities to School Board members Tuesday.
The anti illegal drug effort, known as “Just Say No,” was started many years ago and is repeated every year.
Manning said the week started with the annual Red Ribbon walk.
Then Tuesday was picture day and an explanation of how a current photo could help find a person missing in connection with drug abuse.
Wednesday was Cameo Day, with the theme of being invisible to requests to take drugs.
Thursday was pet day and the students brought pet food, siting that pets could help protect you when being approached to take drugs.
Friday was a Halloween party with the idea of how scary drug abuse can be. Each student promised to stay drug free.
The second grade was to break away from the party at 11 a.m. in order to provide a choir singing at the Gurdon Senior Center.
Superintendent Blackwell noted that at 8:30 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 11, there will be a Veteran’s Day celebration at Cabe Auditorium with the public invited The play “Christmas Carol” will be presented on Dec. 2.
In other business, the School Board approved the sale of Pre-K Playground Equipment, re-elected Mark Sanford as board president; elected Bernard Hatley vice president and Chris Harper as secretary.
The School Board approved a $7,500 stipend to Coach John Pace for his work this past semester as Dean of Students that will be on top of his regular salary. Pace helped with principal duties until Wilma House could be hired as the new GHS principal.

New Gurdon principal works

toward all seniors graduating

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Wilma Faye House, a retired educator, administrator and Gurdon native, went back to work on Oct. 3 as the new principal at Gurdon High School with the intent to do all she can to be sure students keep up with their homework, keep their eyes on graduation and realize success in high school can help them achieve goals later in life.
“Coming out of retirement to serve as GHS principal is a perfect opportunity to give back to the community where I grew up,” she said. “My main concern is the kids getting behind on the homework they are assigned and then falling too far behind to catch up. I think my main job is to save them from failing to graduate so they can go on to reach their dreams and that is what I am trying to do.”
House said encouraging students to be academically responsible will help them live up to their full potentials and create a healthy work ethic that will bring rewards to them all through life.
“Our students must realize we are not going to just hand them success. They have to fight to earn it and keep on fighting once they are out of school for continued success in whatever they pursue. I try and encourage my seniors especially to realize the hard work and persistence they learn to do here will pay off no matter what their path is when they get done with high school,” she said.
As to goals of change, House said she is more concerned with learning the current routines of staff and students before she suggests improvements, “and for the most part I like what I see.”
Principal House stated being a principal in Grady, Arkansas, where she served 3 years. Then she accepted a principal’s job at Malvern for another 3 years.
Then she was principal at Blevins for 2 years before serving 11 years at Camden Fairview High School (a 5A school).
“I retired from Camden in 2004 but they convinced me to come back one more year a little later on,” she said. “They convinced me I needed to be there another year for the students.”
Before her administration days ever began, House had a long teaching history.
She started out on her educational road by graduating from Henry Bell High School at Gurdon in 1966.
House graduated Ouachita Baptist University, after three and a half years, in December of 1970. She earned a college degree in science and education.
She returned to OBU in 1980 and got her master’s degree. She then worked on her administration credentials at a variety of institutions as she taught school, becoming administration certified in 1992.
Teaching wise, House taught special education in Gurdon from 1972-77. Then she got her masters and taught a variety of subjects at the Gurdon Middle School for another 11 years.
“After that my husband Roosevelt got a job in Portland, Oregon but he did not like it so we moved back to Arkansas,” she said.
“We came back in 1992 and I embarked on the administration part of my career,” she said.
Mrs. House will have been married to Roosevelt for 48 years, as of Dec. 21 “if we both make it that long,” she said.
They have three children, five grandchildren and one great grandchild.
“When I retired this last time from Camden Fairview, I figured I was retired for good,” she said.
“But this principal’s job at Gurdon came open and they said they needed me. I took it and I love it here.”
Mrs. House said her husband asked her when she applied for her current GHS principal’s job what she thought she was going to do if they offered it to her?
“I told him, well I will take it and go to work helping kids any way I can silly,” she said.
The new principal said she teaches her students that if you work hard in school and life, “it makes it to where we all have the same shot.”
She added, “The main thing is to keep learning, pay close attention to what is required of you and graduate.”

Gurdon homecoming royalty

enjoys moment of fame

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
The 2016 Gurdon High School Coronation ceremony for homecoming royalty took place Tuesday evening.
The Homecoming queen is senior Bryanna Shumate and her captain and escort is senior and Go-Devil center/linebacker #50 Kagon Morrison.
Escorts are Donald Haynie, Cameron Gulley and Matthew Bullard, with maids Jyden Colbert, Ashley Shaver and Rebekah Sims. Royalty attendants are Brayden Thompson and Penelope Lanton.
Co-Captain and Maid of Honor are Cole Harper and Kylee wilkins, with Royalty attendants Jonas Martinex and Avery Salinas.
Royalty are to report to the Cabe Library at 6 p.m. tonight (Oct. 21) and the football field ceremony will begin promptly at 6:30 p.m. Kickoff is at 7 p.m. Be there to cheer on a Gurdon victory over Bismarck. Head GHS Kyle Jackson said Gurdon is now 2-5 and the Bismarck Lions are 0-7.

Gurdon has great first half

during Jessieville game

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
The Gurdon Go-Devils lost to Jessieville 47-21 after leading the Lions 21-7 at the half
Gurdon Head Football Coach Kyle Jackson said Thursday, “We are 2-5 going into homecoming against Bismarck tonight. The Bismark team (also the Lions) is 0-7 going into tonight’s battle and our chances are good if we do what we know to do to play our game.”
Against Jessieville, it was 7-7 after the first quarter, but Gurdon made two quick touchdowns, leading 21-7 at halftime.
Jackson said things went down hill in the third, leaving Gurdon trailing 35-21 and on the way to a 47-21 loss.
The offensive MVP for the Go-Devils was #6 KJ Tidwell, who had 5 receptions, 85 yards and two touchdowns.
The defensive Go-Devil MVP was #77 Bryce Smith, who had 9 tackles, 2 tackles on loss and one sack.
As to the Jessieville night, Coach Jackson said, “Our first half was really good. The players did just what we have been teaching. Defensively, we played great.
“The one TD by the Lions came after a fumble. But offensively we put up 21 points, which is the best we have done in a first half all year long.
“We told the Go-Devils in the locker room how important the first 5 minutes of the third quarter would be and I believe they were psyched up to win.
“Then with 8 minutes or so left in the third, the Lions threw a pass that tip-bounced off of one player to another Lion who ran in a TD. This is a very unusual thing to happen in football.
“That left it 21-14 us and then the exact same tip-bounce pass thing happened again. It put us 21-21. I had not seen rare plays like this in 5 years. Our kids lost heart after that. We have a lot of young players in positions that a stable five older players should be in but can not due to injuries. Still, we have winning hearts. We have a good chance to win tonight, but we must learn to play bold and consistent, even when we get bad breaks.”

Sherry’s Corner – Restaurant course graduates two

By SHERRY KELLEY
Gurdon Mayor
Three people attended all day training at The Market On Main instructed by Clark County Extension Officer JoAnn Vann. The participants were Margaret Butler, Mary Lewis and myself.
We studied the National Restaurant Association’s ServSafe Food Handling Class. Following the course we were tested on our knowledge. Those who pass will be certified to manage a commercial restaurant. Only certified ServSafe individuals will be able to sell food to the public at The Market On Main.
Two participants passed the National Restaurant Association ServSafe Food Handling Test. The class and 90 question test took 8 hours. The instructor, Clark County Extension Officer Vann, did an excellent job teaching the safe food ordering, preparation, handling, cooking, serving and storing rules. Vann is a hard worker with a thorough knowledge which she passed on to her students. With certificates in hand, the course participants will now be able to serve and sell food to the public at The Market On Main.
The First Annual Gurdon Flu Shot Clinic at city hall was a success and plans are already in the works for next year. Gurdon citizens of all ages, nearly 90 in all, enjoyed the good service provided by the Clark County Health Department in conjunction with the Gurdon Public School’s Wellness Center.
Last Saturday the Gurdon High School Class of 1976 celebrated their 40 year reunion at The Market On Main. Revelers enjoyed Allen’s Barbecue as they took a stroll down memory lane and caught up with their classmates. Some visitors traveled from Memphis and Orlando to attend the event.
I will be traveling to Fordyce this week to attend the Southwest Arkansas Intermodal Authority meeting. We are working on the transload facility at the Clark County Industrial Park and other projects.
This week is homecoming for Gurdon. There will be a pep rally and parade on Friday on Main Street beginning at 4 p.m. Then the game and homecoming court will be at the Go-Devil Stadium at 7 p.m.
Don’t forget the Gurdon Forest Festival on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 28 and 29. We, at the Community Development and Entertainment Club, are working very hard to ensure that all the rides will be free again this year.
Also remember the Monster Mash On Main will be on Monday, Halloween beginning around 5 p.m. Trunk or Treat!

CADC offers assessment survey

Central Arkansas Community Development (CADC) is seeking input from area citizens by way of its 2016 Community Assessment Survey.
The Community Assessment Survey collects information from individuals, families, volunteers, partners and many more about the current strengths, concerns and conditions of CADC’s service area. This includes Saline, Clark, Pike, Montgomery, Dallas, Ouachita, Columbia, Calhoun, Union, Pulaski and Lonoke Counties.
The Assessment focuses on the local assets, resources and activities in those 12 counties, as well as gaps, barriers, and emerging needs.
The process of identifying and appraising information will help CADC clearly understand the context in which the individuals, families and communities the CADC serve on a daily basis live. Results will be compiled into CADC’s goals and strategies for addressing poverty among individuals, families and communities.
The 2016 Community Assessment is available on paper and online at www.cadc.com. All completed forms may be returned to your local CADC office or to the CADC Administrative Office at 321 Edison in Benton.
For more information about how to complete the survey or to request a survey, contact Evelyn Reed at 501-778-1133 or email ereed@cadc.com.
CADC offers USDA Commodities, Community Participation, Family Development, Free Tax Preparation, Head Start, Individual Development Accounts, Economic Literacy, LIHEAP, Public and Medicaid Transportation, Senior Activity Centers, Single Parent Scholarship Fund and Weatherization.
For more information, please contact your local CADC office.

CD&E plans Forest Festival;

to present Rocking Charlie

and treasure hunt

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
The Gurdon Community Development and Entertainment Club (CD&E) met Tuesday and announced a partial schedule for the upcoming Forest Festival to be held in downtown Gurdon on Saturday, Oct. 29.
Schedule director Heather Nolan said Olivia Moore has agreed to one of the singing spots and four other new singing groups, and or individuals, will be announced next week.
After the morning walk through and musical entertaiment, the annual parade will take place at 10 a.m. Then a welcome speech will be given by Mayor Sherry Kelley at noon.
The annual CD&E auction will take place at 12:30 p.m., with Forest Festival beauty pageant winners assisting with the passing out of purchased items.
After the auction, the jack-o-lantern contest is to take place at 2:30 p.m. Rocking Charlie will take the stage at 3 p.m., just before the annual Halloween Costume contest, sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce at 3:30 p.m.
Rocking Charlie will then sing again from 4:30 until 5:30 p.m.
The stunt bicycle show will perform again this year, with acts at 12, 2 and 4 p.m.
The treasure hunt winners will be announced on the day of the festival. The time for that announcement has yet to be determined.
Daily clues on the treasure hunt will be posted on the Forest Festival website, tentatively starting Monday, Oct. 24.
The CD&E club is offering a $350 cash prize for the one who discovers the treasure.
T-Shirts for the Forest Festival are available through Angie Harper at City Hall and will also be for sale the day of the festival. Get yours early and wear it that day. The price per shirt; $15.

Forest Festival Pageant has good turn out

chooses Queen Wilkins, Princess Harper

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
The 2016 Forest Festival Beauty Pagent was held Saturday at Cabe Auditorium on the Gurdon High School campus with Kylee Wilkins being selected as the new Forest Festival queen.
Other winners included: Princess, Kenzie Harper; Junior Miss, Jordan LeMay; Petite Miss, Brylee Hughes; Little Miss, Brinley Woolf; Tiny Miss, Nia McClure; Teeny Miss, Tatum Collier, and Baby Miss, Karafaye White.
Many of the other 46 contestants were cheered on by the 200 plus crowd. For example, in the Baby Miss contest Clarie Cooper was the People’s Choice.
All winners are invited to ride in the 2016 Forest Festival parade at 10 a.m. on the day of the festival, Saturday, Oct. 29. Line up for the parade is traditionally at the old Bell High School around 9:15 a.m. for those interested in riding in the parade.
Winners are also encouraged to help pass out auctioneer donations at the CADC auction, scheduled in this year’s Forest Festival at 1 p.m.
CADC President Clayton Franklin said, “Our pageant was another winner this year, and the money goes toward our Forest Festival expenses.
“I would like to personally thank everyone who came out to support your children, grandchildren and friends at this year’s beauty pageant.”
Pageant Director Heather Nolan said profits for the pageant were very good again this year “and turnout was fantastic.”

Assembly of God minister

enjoys three years of church growth

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Pastor Andrew Goodwin, of Gurdon’s First Assembly of God Church off of 10th Street, said Thursday he believes God has sent his family to the small city “and we hope to make it home as long as the church will have us.”
Goodwin acknowledged that the Great I Am might have other plans, and would move if God told him to, “but we have a heart for the people here and want to stay and continue developing a church where people want to come and they can find a relationship with Jesus Christ.”
Brother Andrew said he is not just interested in folks from other Christian churches transferring to his congregation, but considers reaching the unchurched and/or the lost as a top goal.
“We want folks to know they are welcome here,” he said. “Your clothes are always just fine. We want you to come to church with us and be a part of a congregation truly seeking a relationship with God.”
The pastor said his Gurdon reception has been inspiring. When he took over as pastor in 2013, Sunday morning worship service attendance was around 35. Now the average Sunday morning crowd is about 85. In addition to regular service, Assembly of God offers a 10 a.m. Sunday School and a 5 p.m. evening worship service on Sundays.
During the week, Daniel Francis is the teacher for Spark Youth Ministry on Tuesdays at 7 p.m. Austen Halliday also helps with Spark. The group is for those ranging in age from 12 to 19.
Wednesday night the Assembly takes up at 6:30 p.m. with Pastor Goodwin teaching an adult Bible study.
At that same time, His Kidz, for children 2-11, meets. His Kidz is taught by Carla Jester on Sunday during morning worship. Jester also teaches an adult Sunday School class at 10 a.m. on Sundays.
His Kidz on Wednesdays is taught by a variety of church members, including Leandra Dillard, Ashley Francis, Elizabeth Garner, April Rhodes and pastor’s wife Sarah Goodwin.
“His Kidz Sunday School is growing too,” Pastor Goodwin said. “We had 25 last Sunday. In fact, it has become big enough on Sunday morning that we split the kids up into a group of 2 to 5 year olds and 6 to 11.”
Pastor Goodwin added, “ We are planning to have our Fall Festival our Wednesday Nov. 2, at 6:30 p.m. Everyone is invited.”
Andrew Goodwin, 29, is on his first church to pastor. He is a graduate of Free Gospel Bible Institute in Pennsylvania. He graduated in 2010 and also married Sarah that year. They met at Bible School. Andrew is from Dallas, Texas and his wife from Dayton, Ohio. They have two children; Audreanna, 4, and Anthony, 2.
The Goodwins love to perform live gospel music and invite everyone to come to the First Assembly of God “for the experience with Jesus Christ.”
Brother Andrew said his goal is to build a church that people will love to attend and where they can encounter God in a real way.
He said, “I want to see people saved, marriages healed, our kids educated at a young age to live for God and to enable the believers to share their faith. There is so much poverty, both physically and spiritually, and we want to heal the Gurdon community any way we can.”
The pastor said it is encouraging to see people come to church who have not been for as long as 25 years.
“I am excited about this. We want the power of the gospel to change their lives. We want them to experience the power of God that is able to transform their lives,” Pastor Goodwin said.

Malvern City Council contemplates

water bill hike, new sales tax

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
MALVERN – Malvern City Council members said at Monday’s regular meeting that they are still considering a water bill hike by making people pay for sanitation service that residents have been exempt from for many years.
Finance Committee Chairman Wayne Russell said if a sales tax were passed, instead of the water bill hike, the tax would have to be posed to voters for a specific purpose and money is needed for a variety of deterioration issues, such as sink holes, culverts etc.
Councilman Larry Stiles lobbied for a tax because it could raise a lot more funds and have a cap to where when designated repair work is done the tax can be retired.
Stiles said he would prefer a moderate water bill increase and then a moderate sales tax proposition so the public could understand the needs and Malvern would best be served. It was agreed that the subject would be brought up at the November agenda meeting at 6:30 p.m. Monday, November 7.
In other business, a proposal to charge late fees on a $66,000 back bill in water payments from Pearla failed. The argument was that if Pearla will continue to make payments toward retiring the debt that will be sufficient. Councilman David Cook voted for the late fees.
The remaining members voted to forget it. Councilman Stiles said, “If we have to take over the Pearla water system, it will cost us a lot of money to get it up to good standards.”
Moreover, a lease was approved with Malvern special school district, as was an administrative assistant position in district court.

Sherry’s Corner

By SHERRY KELLEY
Gurdon Mayor
Last week at a special called meeting the Gurdon City Council voted unanimously to accept the highest bid for the sale of the city owned timberland, formerly known as the old Gurdon Pond. The sale was conducted through Kingwood Forestry in Arkadelphia and the high bidder was Buckeye Timber owned by Rowdy Prince.
Four bids were received in all. The proceeds from the sale will be placed in a secure investment and reserved for possible water department needs. I believe that the sale will be beneficial to both parties and I am glad that we are able to restore funds back to our water department. The council also unanimously voted to raise the building permit rates for both residential and commercial construction in the city limits.
Eight City of Gurdon employees took part in all day training at the Gurdon High School. Gary Marshall, Brandon Ellis, Toby Garner, Chris Russell, Jimmy Edwards and Marshal Don Childres (all of the City Marshal’s Office) and Angie Harper and myself were instructed by Gurdon Schools’ RN Dee Blackwell in first aid, CPR and AED for infants, children and adults. All eight of us completed the training and were certified. The training is a result of a grant I wrote which paid for 100% of the purchase of three new defibrillators for the Gurdon Police cars.
Marshal Don Childres, Chris Russell and Toby Garner attended the Attorney General’s Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Luncheon at Camp Robinson. Childres was honored as the Clark County Officer of the Year and received a certificate and pin.
Three people attended all day training at The Market On Main instructed by Clark County Extension Officer JoAnn Vann. The participants were Margaret Butler, Mary Lewis and myself. We studied the National Restaurant Association’s ServSafe Food Handling Class. Following the course we were tested on our knowledge. The results will be announced in two weeks. Those who pass will be certified to manage a commercial restaurant. Only certified ServSafe individuals will be able to sell food to the public at The Market On Main.
The improvements on Main Street continue and recent sale of the former Kuhn’s Hardware has the new owners working hard to get their new venture under way.

McCoy charged with aggravated robbery and theft of property

in Gurdon Sonic Stick up caper

 

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Diondra Labraion McCoy, 20, of Gurdon, has been charged with aggravated robbery, a Class Y felony, and theft of property, a Class D felony, in connection with an incident occurring at the Gurdon Sonic on September 20 where an employee was held at gunpoint and told to place approximately $2,500 in a bag.
Gurdon Police Department Sgt. Toby Garner said the Class Y felony charge alone could result in a 10 to 40 year prison term if McCoy is convicted. Garner said the theft of property, Class D felony, sentence would depend on the amount of the theft.
Clark County Sheriff Jason Watson summarized this case: On the 20th day of September, 2016 an aggravated robbery and theft of property occurred at the Sonic Drive-in Restaurant in Gurdon, Arkansas.
Through the collaborative efforts of the Gurdon City Marshal’s Office and the Criminal Investigation Division of the Clark County Sheriff’s Department, an arrest has been made regarding this crime.
Diondra Labraion McCoy, a 20-year-old resident of Gurdon, has been charged with aggravated robbery, a Class Y felony and theft of property, a Class D felony. McCoy is currently being held on a $50,000 bond.
“I would like to thank all of the law enforcement officers involved in solving the crime. It is through diligence and cooperation of the law enforcement agencies that Clark County remains a safe community,” Sheriff Watson said.
GPD Sgt. Garner released the particulars of the case through a police report this morning. It reads as follows.
On the morning of September 20, I Sgt. Toby Garner was called to Sonic Drive In at 5:36 a.m. in reference to an armed robbery that had just occurred.
Upon my arrival, I spoke with assistant manager Madeline Yanex, 25. She said that while she was attempting to open the front door, a male approached her with a handgun and ordered her to open the door and go to the safe.
Yanex told the armed robber that if she did not turn off the alarm the siren would sound. The suspect allowed her to disarm the alarm.
Once it was disarmed, the suspect ordered Madeline Yanex by gun point to go open the safe.
Once she opened the safe, the suspect handed her a black mesh backpack and told her to put the money inside. Madeline Yanex complied and did what she was told. The suspect then took the backpack and ran out the front door.
According to Sgt. Garner, police are investigating to determine if the robbery, which has been alleged to be committed by McCoy, was a one-man-job or if there may have been an accomplice.
“We have wondered if he had a driver waiting or possibly someone told him that the deposit would be in the safe,” he said.

Gurdon sells old pond land and timber

to Rowdy Prince, developer; raises building

permit fees in city limits

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
The Gurdon City Council met in special session on Monday and accepted a bid from Rowdy Prince, former owner of the now defunct Rowdy’s Adventures by Okolona, of $127,500 to buy the deserted and long sense dry Gurdon Pond out toward Beirne plus the approximately 90 acres of timber that surrounds it.
The land purchase was through Prince’s Buckeye Land Company. Local hair stylist Tommy Potter of Gurdon had approached the council about the pond area and timber this past spring, stating that Prince has plans to fix the levy, get the pond functional and create an RV Park.
Mayor Kelley said Monday she has not heard anymore about those plans since that meeting, “but I hope Mr. Prince does do that, as it would be very good for Gurdon.”
In other business, the City Council passed Resolution 16-003, which amends the city’s building permit ordinance and raises the rates of new constructions in the city limits.
The change means there is now a $250 building permit fee for construction of a single family home or mobile home in Gurdon, a $500 fee to construct multi-family homes or a commercial manufacturing facility and a $50 building fee for a shop add-on, room addition or to put up a storage building.

Forest Festival Beauty Pageant

Saturday, 7 p.m. Cabe Auditorium

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
The annual Forest Festival Beauty Contest will be held at 7 p.m. on Saturday in the Cabe Auditorium.
Pageant Chairwoman Heather Nolan said there are 46 contestants this year and general admittance for the public is $5.
The 2016 pageant is for Clark County girls only. There are six in the baby category, three in the 2-year-olds, 11 in the 3 and 4 year olds, five in the 5 and 6 year olds, 10 entries in the 7 to 9 year olds, 5 in the 10 to 12 year olds, 2 in the 13-15 year olds and four 16 to 18 year old girls trying out to be Forest Festival queen.
The CD&E Club, which sponsors the event, will give $100 prize to the queen. Other first place young ladies will receive trophies. All contestants will get a certificate of participation. Winners will also receive a crown.
Family and friends should bring extra cash for the People’s Choice awards in each category.
Nolan said all pageant profits go toward the Forest Festival, which is always on the last Saturday of October, this year October 29. Beauty pageant judges are from out of town.
Contestants may get ready in the Gurdon High School student center, starting at 5:30 p.m. before the pageant.
All beauty contestant winners are invited to ride in the Forest Festival parade, typically at 10 a.m. on the day of the festival.
The festival is financed through donations and organized by the CD&E Club.
It was announced at the CD&E meeting that festival T-Shirts, a sky blue this year, are in at City Hall. They are $15. Come get yours from Angie Harper and wear it the day of the festival.
If you need a Forest Festival booth, contact Angie at City Hall or Heather Nolan.
Harper said there were 25 T-Shirt sponsors this year and all will have their names, or company names on the backs of the shirt.
Clayton Franklin, president of the CD&E, said the group is adding a scavenger hunt this year to the festival agenda. Clues will be coming later on.
The annual CD&E auction, which helps finance the next year’s festival, will be right after lunch on Forest Festival day. If you have auction items to donate, contact Angie at City Hall.
This year’s event will include a carnival with arm bands so you can ride all day for one price. Game and Fish will bring their big tank to display a variety of large fish. Close-Up, from GHS, is planning a dunking booth fundraiser.
CD&E will meet at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 11 to continue to organize the festival.

Gurdon family wins rabbit awards

The Davis family did an outstanding job of taking the rabbit show in Hope at the Southwest District Fair .
Father of the crew, Coach David Davis of Gurdon, listed the following rabbit honors that his children and area children won: Alyssa Davis, Youth Show: 1st in Class Californian Sr. Doe. Best of Breed Californian/1st Reserve in Show. Rabbit’s name is Eureka.
1st in Class Sr. Buck, Best of Breed Mini Satin. Rabbit’s name is JR Ewing. 1st in Class Sr. Doe, Best Opposite Sex of Breed Mini Satin. Rabbit’s name is Kristin Shepherd. 1st in Class Sr. Doe, Best Opposite Sex of Variety Mini Rex. Rabbit’s name is Farrah Fawcett. Emilee Davis in Open Show at Southwest Arkansas District Fair.
1st in Class Sr. Doe, Best of Breed Netherland Dwarf. Rabbit’s name is Deborah Harry. 1st in Class Sr. Doe Mini Satin. Rabbit’s name is Mrs. Roper. 1st in Class, Best Opposite Sex of Breed Mini Rex. Rabbit’s name is Mr. Roper. 1st in Class Jr. Buck Mini Rex. Rabbit’s name is Van Morrison. Colton Miller from Curtis won Reserve Grand Champion Single Fryer. Tyler Thompson of Arkadelphia, Grand Champion Single Fryer, Californian. Colby Daniels/Arkadelphia,open show, 1st in Class Californian Sr. Doe. Brady Daniels/Arkadelphia, open show 1st in Class Sr. Doe, Best Opposite Sex in Variety Mini Rex. Colby and Brady Daniels, Drake Givens/ Richwoods……Best of Breed Lionhead in open show and youth show. Best of Breed Dwarf Hotot in open show.

Curtis Yard Sale has good success

By SHERRY KELLEY
Gurdon Mayor
A beautiful weekend in Clark County provided a big turnout. Curtis Country Mile Yard Sale organizer, Joy Chitwood said that there were approximately 70 simultaneous yard sales last Saturday.
The weather was perfect and shoppers and sellers lingered long into the afternoon.
This year the Curtis Volunteer Fire Department added silent auction items to there fundraising booth. The sixth annual event was a success for this great community.
The Class of “1991” will be celebrating there reunion October 21 at the Go-Devil football Homecoming Game.
The Class of 1976 will hold a reunion at The Market On Main on Saturday, Oct. 15.
Congratulations to the Gurdon High School Band for making ALL ONES in all categories at the Marching Contest in Cabot. The Community Development and Entertainment Club is gearing up for the Gurdon Forest Festival on Saturday, Oct. 29. The Forest Festival Pageant is this Saturday at the Cabe Auditorium.
The Annual Trick or Treat Event “The Monster Mash On Main” will be held on Monday, Oct. 31. Main Street will be blocked off and churches, businesses, and organizations will set up on the sidewalk with games and candy for all the children.
The store fronts will be decorated in Halloween fashion.
Some good financial news for the city should be announced after a special called City Council meeting early this week.

Sonic alleged robber

detained in jail

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Gurdon police are detaining a 20-year-old Gurdon High School graduate for the robbery that occurred last week at the Sonic. The suspect is currently in the Clark County Jail.
Sgt. Toby Garner, of the Gurdon Police Department, said today, “The young man is in jail, but at the moment is being detained rather than charged.”
Garner said the police department investigation is still in process, as it is suspected that someone else may have informed the alleged robber that the Tuesday morning of the robbery would be a good time “to hit” Sonic and pick up a good chunk of cash.
If charged and convicted, the GHS graduate will be charged with aggravated robbery, a Class Y felony. This, according to Sgt. Garner, could carry a sentence of 10 to 40 years in prison, or possibly even a life sentence.
The circumstances of the robbery, known to date, are as follows: a lone assistant manager, who was a young woman about 25 years of age, was opening the Gurdon Sonic at approximately 5:30 a.m. on a Tuesday last week when a man with a pistol, clothed in a hoody and gloves, stuck a gun in her direction and demanded money.
According to Garner, the motion of the man entering the premises triggered the security system video recorder at Sonic. The officer showed this reporter the results of that footage and said it was how they determined who should be detained in connection with the crime.
“I can not release the name of the assistant manager at this time, as we are not through with the investigation and no official arrests have been made as of yet,” Garner said. “I can tell you that the manager there said from now on at least two people will be opening her restaurant.”
As to the amount of money taken during last week’s robbery, Garner admitted it was more than what Gurdon rumors have deduced.
“It was a chunk and someone probably told our alleged robber that Tuesday would be a good day to rob the place because of a bank deposit schedule.”
Garner said GPD and the Clark County Sheriff’s Department are continuing to follow up leads on any possible suspects who may have tipped the alleged robber off about a larger amount of money being present.
“This is a long and involved investigation,” Garner said. “All we have been able to tell Sonic so far is that we are working hard to solve this crime all the way. It is just a shame that this alleged robber pulled something like this. Once his name is released, this is a small town. People will know just who he is and this will hurt his future a lot – even if his sentence turns out to be lighter than expected.”
Garner complemented the assistant manager involved on keeping her cool during the robbery and coming out of the incident unharmed.
“A lot of people would have panicked in her situation,” he said. “I might have freaked out myself.”

Chamber and Rotary Auction

clears record amount; $9,000

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
The Gurdon Chamber of Commerce and Rotary auction brought in a record profit Tuesday night of close to $9,100!
Anita Cabe, spokes lady for the auction, said the money was split evenly between the two clubs. The first $1,000 for Rotary went to the Leonard Gills scholarship fund at Henderson State University.
The first $1,000 that belonged to the Chamber was given to the Gurdon High School Band.
Mrs. Cabe said this leaves a little more than $3,500 per club for other projects such as scholarships, the Close-Up trip expenses, the annual Chamber Christmas Parade etc. She said the event was well attended with about 125 participating.
“I want to thank everyone for coming and being so generous. I also want to thank each one of our sponsors and everyone who worked so hard so that we had so many great items to auction,” she said.

Curtis Yard Sale Saturday, annual event

By SHERRY KELLEY
Gurdon Mayor
The Curtis Country Mile Yard Sale will be held on Saturday, Oct. 1, on Highway 67 in Curtis.
Our law enforcement CPR, AED, and first aid training is set for Tuesday, Oct. 4, in the Alumni Room at the Cabe Auditorium on the campus of the Gurdon High School. Gurdon Public Schools’ Wellness Center RN Dee Blackwell has volunteered to instruct the class. Marshal Don Childres, his officers and myself will attend.
Marshal Childres will be honored by Attorney General Leslie Rutledge for his selection as Clark County Law Enforcement Officer of the Year during a special luncheon at Camp Robinson on Wednesday, Oct. 5.
At least three people will attend ServSafe Restaurant Food Handling Class at The Market On Main taught by Clark County Extension Officer JoAnn Vann on Thursday, Oct. 6.
The Gurdon Forest Festival Pageant will be held at the Cabe Auditorium on Saturday, Oct. 8. There are several parties scheduled for The Market on Main this week.
The downtown Monster Mash on Main decorations as well as the Gurdon Light window are nearing completion. These are just a few of the many things going on in Gurdon this week. By know means is this a complete list.
Real estate is starting to get active in Gurdon. Contractors and buyers are showing interest in properties and buildings all over town. This is an exciting time in Gurdon.

Gurdon loses to Horatio;

13-7, readies for Prescott

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Every game the Go-Devils seem to experience injury and putting in players that would have stood on the sidelines, so Coach Kyle Jackson assserted Thursday.
In the home game against first conference rival Horatio, things were no different. Go-Devil defensive star Cole Harper, #78, twisted his ankle and will be absent from the Gurdon roster a couple of weeks for recovery.
In the mind of Coach Jackson, this was definitely a contributing factor to the 7-13 Gurdon loss this past Friday. The defeat put Gurdon at 2-2 going into tonight’s match-up with Prescott over there.
During the Horatio game, it was 13-0 Lions after one, 13-7 Lions at the half and then the back and forth began. No scoring was noted for either team during the second half of play.
For Gurdon, Cam Gulley, #7, ran the sole 45-yard touchdown, making it 13-6 early in the second quarter. Matt Bullard, #12, kicker for the Go-Devils, made the extra point.
Coach Jackson said the MVP for offense during the Horatio game was J.J. Tidwell, #6, who had 5 receptions.
B.J. Brewer, #2, was the defensive Most Valuable Player with 14 tackles.
Special teams honors went to Thomas Muldrow, #3, for having 49 yards in kicking returns after the first half.
Jackson said, “We lost over our injuries. There were lots of people playing in different spots. Harper got hurt during the first quarter. As to Prescott this week, you never know what enthusiasm can do in a rivalry game.”

Gurdon Sonic robbed;

pot pushers go to court

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
A man allegedly placed a gun in the back of a young lady Sonic shift opener at around 5:30 a.m. on Tuesday morning and demanded cash. Multiple sources say she gave him several hundred dollars and he then left the premises quickly.
Gurdon Police Department Deputy Marshal Toby Garner said Thursday his department received a 911 call at 5:36 a.m. on the day of the robbery and the incident is under investigation. Marshal Don Childres has instructed Garner not to release the name of the Sonic employee until the robber is in custody.
“We hope to catch this individual shortly,” Garner said, noting the police department has a video recording of the incident.
Garner said the official statement is, “We are pursuing leads.” As to whether the robber worked alone, or had a driver waiting for him outside of the restaurant, Garner had no comment.
He did say Clark County Sheriff Jason Watson and his officers were assisting Gurdon in the attempt to get the alleged robber into custody.
Deputy Garner noted an apparently unrelated attempted robbery at the Arkadelphia Sonic occurred Sunday evening, but said the arrival of law enforcement officers stopped its success.
POT PUSHERS
In other Gurdon police matters, a list of four individuals who have been arrested for the illegal sale and distribution of marijuana has been made available.
Deputy Marshal Garner said the distribution (and sale) of marijuana is a Class A misdemeanor, with a maximum one year in jail for each incident and a maximum fine of $1,500 for each incident.
“We approached four individuals in Gurdon and gave them court dates for the marijuana distribution charge. Two have already went to court and plead guilty,” Garner said.
Those charged with the illegal distribution of marijuana as a result of GPD investigations will appear, or have appeared, in front of Judge Randy Hill.
Garner said the “pot pusher” crew was part of operation “nodrugG”, which busted the better part of 25 individuals in the Gurdon area on Feb. 12 for the felony distribution of drugs such as Crystal Meth.
As to the marijuana distribution status, Deputy Garner said two suspects have already been to court and pled guilty and two are awaiting court dates.
Pleading guilty to one incident of the sale and distribution of marijuana, according to police records, is Dustin Alan Hulsey of Gurdon.
Garner said Davian Devon Richardson, also of Gurdon, pled guilty to three incidents of the sale and distribution of marijuana.
According to police, Tony Len Dixon, of Gurdon, has been given a court date on the charges of sale and distribution of marijuana on two incidents.
Deputy Marshal Garner said a court date notice on a charge of one incident of sale and distribution of marijuana has been given to Kentrell Chiffvon Green of Gurdon.
Garner said there may be more warrants issued for marijuana distribution in the near future.
“The whole idea of nodrugG is to get Gurdon as drug free as possible and this department continues to be dedicated to that mission,” he said.
Deputy Marshal Garner said nodrugG began with the February round-up, which resulted in the arrest of approximately 20 individuals who were on the list of 25 suspects for felony drug distribution charges – predominately the sale of Chrystal Meth.
“Our prosecution of those arrested has been very close to 100 percent successful,” he said. “We plan to release a list of all arrested in nodrugG, and their sentences for their crimes – probably in December.”
The success rate of nodrugG was a determining factor in Marshal Don Childres receiving an award last week proclaiming him “Clark County Officer of the Year” by the Arkansas Attorney General. Gurdon Mayor Sherry Kelley nominated Childres.

CD& E Club to sell Forest Festival shirts;

Beauty Pageant slated for Oct. 8

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
The Gurdon Community Development and Entertainment (CD&E) club met Tuesday and announced that T-Shirts for Forest Festival will be available for sale after Oct. 1 at City Hall.
Clayton Franklin, CD&E president, said the cost this year will be $15 a shirt for adults, with last year’s Camo shirts that are left over from the 2015 festival for sale at $5 for as long as they last. A table will also be set up at the festival to sell shirts.
The new blue 2016 shirts will be $10 in children’s sizes. Booth rentals for the Saturday, Oct. 29 Forest Festival continue to go well and several downtown spots are available.
Heather Nolan is in charge and can be reached at: (870) 353-7080. Regular booths are $25 each and food vender booths are $150. You may also contact Angie Harper at City Hall to rent a booth.
Nolan said Wells Fun Company out of Malvern will provide carnival rides at this year’s festival. Arm bands will be for sale at $15. CD&E President Clayton Franklin said there will be a few free “kiddie” rides for all to enjoy. Nolan said in addition to the larger carnival rides, Wells will set up games.
As to the annual Forest Festival beauty pageant, it will take place at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 8. Applications are due at City Hall by close of business day today, Sept. 23, but you may call Nolan for possible late entries (353-7080). Categories will be the same as in 2015. They are: Baby Miss, 0-1; Teeny Miss, 2; Tiny Miss, 3&4; Little Miss, 5&6; Petite Miss, 7, 8&9; Junior Miss, 10, 11&12; Princess, 13, 14&15; and Queen, 16, 17&18. Winners will receive trophies and are invited to ride in the Forest Festival parade. Basic entry fee is $35 with $50 getting you into all special categories.
Entries must be Clark County residents. According to Nolan, every girl who participates will go home with at least “something.” The club donated a cash prize to the queen last year and intends to do the same this go around.

Sherry’s Corner Curtis Yard Sale Oct. 1

By SHERRY KELLEY
Gurdon Mayor
I am very proud of Gurdon City Marshal Don Childres and his police force. Childres is a leader who has cultivated relationships throughout this community. Last week Childres was named The Arkansas Attorney General’s 2016 Clark County Law Enforcement Officer of the Year.
I was glad to nominate him for this award in part for the success of Operation Nodrug, for his request for AED heart defibrillators for the squad cars and for his many years of service.
As a side note; I wrote a grant for the defibrillators and it was awarded through Representative Richard Womack and Senator Bruce Malloch. The training for the officers’ AED, First Aid and CPR Certification will be performed by Dee Blackwell at the Gurdon Public Schools Wellness Center.
It is great to see everyone working together for the betterment of Gurdon citizens. Childres explained that he and his officers are often the first responders when there is an emergency. Carrying heart defibrillators in the cars and being trained to deliver emergency treatment can save lives.
I am also proud of Gurdon Water Department’s Virginia Childres. She renegotiated the department’s uniform service contract and has saved us more than $3,000 annually. In the past 20 months, together, we have been able to save the water department’s budget more than $18,000.
This week I am attending an Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality Reporting Class in Hot Springs. Department head James Cox is attending two days of training, also in Hot Springs.
Dee Blackwell, at the Gurdon Public Schools Wellness Center, reminds teachers and students that the deadline to submit your flu vaccination forms is September 30. Blackwell and I are working on the first annual Gurdon Flu Vaccination Clinic for the public tentatively slated for mid-October. I will keep you informed.
Work continues on Main Street as the store windows will be transformed with a Halloween theme for the Gurdon Forest Festival (Friday and Saturday, Oct. 28 and 29) and the Monster Mash on Main (Monday, Oct. 31). For more information concerning either event call me at 406-1396 or Angie at 353-2514. Don’t forget the Curtis Yard Sale Saturday, Oct. 1!

Bearden beats Gurdon, 14-11

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Gurdon fell to the Bearden Bears on Friday, Sept. 16 despite a heartfelt effort in the fourth quarter to conquer the negative effects of too many turnovers, penalties and bad field position.
The Bears walked away with a 14-11 victory, leaving the Go-Devils 2-1 for the season. Gurdon will have a second home game tonight, Sept. 23 against conference rival Horatio. The Lions come to Gurdon with a 1-2 overall record.
Against Bearden, the Go-Devils trailed 0-8 after the first quarter, 3-8 at the half, 3-14 after the third but rallied with enthusiasm in the fourth to lose by just 3 points, 11-14.
Gurdon Head Coach Kyle Jackson said Thursday, “The combination of too many turnovers, penalties and bad field position just could not be conquered.
“On an encouraging note, the players did what we told them to do and played their hearts out the entire game.”
The Go-Devils had 4 turnovers and 100 yards of penalties, which resulted in the very difficult field positions.
The 3-point field goal in the second quarter was done by Matt Bullard, #12, kicker for the Go-Devils. Donald Haynie, #4, made the loan touchdown in the fourth, with Cam Gulley, #7 securing the 2 point conversion.
Offensive Most Valuable Player for the game was Go-Devil Kagen Morrison, #50, who had 85 percent success in carrying out plays for the evening.
Defensive MVP was Daniel Moreno, #14, who had 6 tackles and a fumble recovery.
Coach Jackson said Quarterback Thomas Muldrow, #3, suffered a 20-yard field position penalty in the first quarter “which killed our scoring ability over a judgment call.”
The coach said the judgment was for unnecessary roughness, but he disagreed. Jackson said what happened was just normal football play.
Xavier Green, #5, was hit hard and suffered a severe ACL knee tear, putting him out for the year.
“As for the Horatio game, we can do well if we just do not turn over the ball,” Coach Jackson said. “Tonight is youth night and pee wee players wearing jerseys get in free. Game time is 7 p.m. from now on.”

Gurdon fixes major water leak

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
The huge water leak beneath the property at the old Gurdon hospital has been capped, a water department worker said Thursday.
J.D. Smith, Gurdon Water Department worker, said the crew capped the leak at the 6-inch pipe “that was attached to several smaller lines that ran a sprinkler system and more.”
City Water Department workers dug down 8 feet Sept. 1 at the old Gurdon Hospital’s emergency room in an attempt to find a shut-off valve so a major water leak could be stopped just across from Sonic.
A working shut-off valve was never discovered, according to Smith. He said the decision was made to cap the large water vein in the interest of stopping the leak as quickly as possible “and because the hospital/emergency room building is not currently being used.”
Water Department Supervisor James Cox said Sept. 1 that all efforts would be made to fix the problem without shutting off the water to a large portion of Gurdon water users. Capping the leak apparently avoided such a shut down of service.
According to Cox, the expenses of terminating the water leak may very well be assigned to the property owner – once his location can be determined.

Malvern School to buy

two new buses, recruit new drivers

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Malvern School Board members met Monday and approved traditional raises, appointed a delegate for an upcoming Arkansas School Board Association meeting and discovered a need for two more school buses in the district fleet.
Board President Debbie Smith inquired of school bus administrative personnel if there were enough drivers and buses to haul the district’s children efficiently?
The bus administrative representative told Smith the district needs two more buses and has a hard time keeping enough drivers and substitutes.
Superintendent Brian Golden stated he had been previously unaware that two more school buses were needed by the district “and we can figure out how to do something about that.”
Golden said he believed the district was one of the highest paying in Arkansas, when it comes to bus driver salaries, and he feels like Malvern has a good substitute driver program.
Board President Smith urged Golden to make arrangements to buy those two needed school buses and to get the needed number of drivers on staff.
“We can get a couple of buses if need be,” Golden repeated, “but as far as making drivers stay on the job once hired, that is a lot bigger challenge.”
Golden said keeping bus drivers who were dependable and willing to work the necessary extra hours for extra curricular activities was an ongoing problem “but we will continue to work on it for the sake of our students.”
In other business, the School Board: approved a 3 percent bonus for contracted staff; approved a resolution involving a state salary increase of 5 percent or more from FY 15 to FY 16; approved board member Vonda Cranford as Malvern’s Arkansas School Board Association Delegate to attend an ASBA conference in Little Rock; approved a minority teacher and administrator recruitment plan; approved 2016-2017 Arkansas Department of Education assurances for elementary and secondary education and approved the removal of certain inventory.
The board heard a Malvern High School profile report, noting improvement points but also noting the school does not offer cross country track.
Emily Harmon was hired by the board as a special education aide. Angel Owens was hired as a bus driver, assigned to 1/2 route.
Under new business, Golden said Tuesday, Sept. 20 will be school board elections.
The October Malvern School Board meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on Monday, October 10 and will include the district’s annual report to the public.

Coach wants more obedience

from Go-Devils against Bearden

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
The Gurdon Go-Devils went on the road last week and defeated the Dierks Outlaws, 41-28, pushing their season record to 2-0.
Head Gurdon Coach Kyle Jackson said turnovers were high against the Outlaws “and I would like to see our players come out stronger at the beginning of the game.”
At the end of the first quarter, it was Dierks Outlaws 7 and the Go-Devils 0.
Things were tied up at the half, 7-7. Then Gurdon got its second wind and led the game 27-7 after three.
“Overall, our performance was sloppy,” Coach Jackson said. “We had 4 turnovers and 14 penalties. Admittedly, some of the penalties were not valid.”
Jackson said the Go-Devils simply did not do what their coaches told them to against Dierks.
“They heard about it in practice this week and I expect a lot more obedience against the Bearden Bears,” he added.
“Still, we came back and beat Dierks. I would rather have an ugly win like that than a pretty defeat.”
Coach Jackson said the Most Valuable Player on defense for the Go-Devils was #78 Cole Harper.
The offensive MVP was Gurdon #7 Cam Gulley.
Harper had four tackles and one fumble recovery. Jackson said two of the Harper tackles helped sway the momentum of the game.
Gulley had seven carries, 43 yards of rushing and caught four passes for 116 yards and two touchdowns.
Quarterback Thomas Muldrow, #3, rushed two TDs. #4 Donald Haynie made the remaining TD with 7 yards of rushing.
BEARDEN
As to this Friday night’s game, Coach Jackson said he is very glad the Go-Devils are to play at home.
“We have been on the road too much this season,” he said. “We need some home town crowd enthusiasm to get inspired and pumped up.”
Coach Jackson said the playing style of the Bears has remained constant since their last match-up with the Go-Devils “and they know how we play too so there should not be too many surprises.”
Bearden is 0-2, but Coach Jackson said they played two very good teams. The game is non-conference, but the first home game for the Go-Devils.
“If our guys do what they are supposed to out there, I feel comfortable with this contest,” Coach Jackson said. “I am proud of our endurance. So far this season, we have still had energy in the fourth quarter.”

Marshal Childres gets

‘Clark County Officer of the Year’
Gurdon Marshal Don Childres has been named Clark County “Officer of the Year” by the Arkansas Attorney General.
Gurdon Mayor Sherry Kelley said the 30-year veteran police officer received the award, at least in part, because of operation nodrugG. Eight or more felony drug pushers from the Gurdon area were busted and taken off of the streets this past year because of a joint effort between Gurdon and other law enforcement agencies.
Childres told the Siftings Herald, a daily newspaper in Arkadelphia, that he gives credit for the success of nodrugG to the team effort involved. Childres said having good officers to work with on any law enforcement effort is a must.
GPD Lt. Chris Russell called his boss a hard working man and said he is proud to work for Marshal Childres. According to the Siftings report, Childres was to be presented with a plaque of appreciation at the Bearden football game Friday night.
His “Officer of the Year” status will be recognized on Oct. 5 at Camp Robinson in North Little Rock. Mayor Kelley nominated Childres for his award.

Curtis plans annual yard sale Oct. 1

By SHERRY KELLEY
Gurdon Mayor
The Curtis Country Mile Yard Sale is coming up. As always, it will take place on the first Saturday in October. This year that will be October 1.
Historically, you will find buyers and sellers, traders and looky lous strolling under the oak trees along Highway 67 as it passes through Curtis. It is a country mile long shopping extravaganza, a yard sale on steroids. If you would like a booth call 246-4797 or 246-5664.
All proceeds from the booths will go to the Curtis Volunteer Fire Department. You can also donate items for the fire department to sell at their booth. I believe that this will be the sixth year for the event, which I started as a newly elected Justice of the Peace for the Curtis area before I took office.
During the 13 years I was on the radio, I traveled through Curtis twice a day on weekdays and those beautiful trees and big lawns seemed well equipped for a series of yard sales. Working with the very capable and good people involved with the Curtis Fire Department made the idea come to life. They quickly took the initiative and now handle every facet of this event among themselves.
If you have ever dreamed of having your own restaurant but don’t have the time and the money for a full time operation, or if your family and friends have ever told you that your specialty dish (chili, meatloaf, casserole, cheese dip, etc.) is so good that you could make some money serving to the public, then The Market On Main Pop Up Restaurant is for you.
JoAnn Vann at the Clark County Extension Office will teach a restaurant and health department approved ServSafe Class at The Market on Oct. 6. Pre-registration is required and your fee for the class and the test is $110. That includes all study materials and 8 hours of time running your restaurant at The Market On Main.
A restaurant license ($30) will be required before selling to the public. Then you will be ready to open for business at the high traffic Main Street location. Once you use your free 8 hours as you like, you can continue to rent The Market for $12.50 an hour to serve the public and keep all the proceeds.
Serve a two hour lunch, a four hour game night, three hours after church on a Sunday; as you wish whenever The Market is available.
The venue will still be an event center for parties, meeting and get togethers. The concept is fresh and it’s called a restaurant incubator. My mom and I are going to participate and we hope you will, too. Being an innovative idea, it may take awhile to catch on. In order to give those that want to sign up after the Oct. 6 class a chance to join in, we will offer another class next year. I know that you may have many questions so please call me at 406-1396 to learn all about this no risk and fun opportunity. I have many people asking when will The Market On Main be a restaurant so I feel that there is a customer base out there. We’ll see. I will keep you posted.
At our last City Council meeting the members approved a resolution to support a grant I wrote for a Fun Park at City Hall. Through Arkansas State Parks, this $45,000 grant if awarded would create a pavilion, play ground and basketball half court at the municipal building. The council, city employees, marshal’s office and myself believe that this will enhance the property and its usage by the public.
And when families reserve the community room for special parties they will have the opportunity to enjoy the expanded recreational facilities.
This will give families a place right in town to enjoy healthy activities any time that they wish. This grant is very competitive. I will travel to the state park headquarters later this year to encourage them to award Gurdon with the new facilities.
If you would like to write a letter in support for me to present to the state park officials, please do so. Your letter would be important to the project which would be completed at no cost to the City of Gurdon.

Reddick Files: A love for a dog named Mugsy

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Mike Reddick had a softer side that few people ever knew about.
In his younger years, his travels met he could not take care of any pets, but something happened before his brother Phil died somewhere around 7 years ago that changed all of that.
Phil had a bad heart and knew his time on earth was going to be short. But he had a little dog, mostly Jack Russell, weighing probably 20 pounds.
The dog’s name was Mugsy and he made Mike promise him a home forever more.
I will let Michael tell you the rest of the story.
MY DOG MUGSY
It happened about 7 years ago that my brother Phil was in the habit of visiting me nearly every day in Paragould.
He always brought his dog Mugsy and I would play with the dog while my brother sang along with the radio.
Phil had a weak heart and I was very worried about him. I was always glad to see him show up and the dog and music routine became part of what I expected from my day.
When you live mostly in a wheelchair, the simple things become very important. One day Phil showed up with Mugsy and gave me a little history on his pet.
“He used to belong out at Cliff’s, our nephew’s, but our sister Sharon said the poor little guy got very little attention,” Phil said. “And I knew he was a good dog and deserved so much better. Sharon knew it too and convinced Cliff to give me Mugsy.”
Phil had Musgy for a couple of years before I got him. And yes, I got him. Phil told me his heart was getting worse and made me promise that Mugsy would have a home with me for as long as he lived. I kept that promise.
When I moved to Gurdon to be near Nelson, I brought Mugsy with me. He died about six months before me from a tragic car accident. The little guy got off of his chain.
I was very upset about the loss and the dog catcher, a Mr. Ty Opplet, found me another one. I enjoyed my time with the new dog too, but no dog could ever take the place of the original Mugsy.
Nelson always spent the last weekend of the month at my house to help with my bills and enjoy a visit. Sometimes we went fishing.
I wish I could say Mugsy went too, but he was left home to man the fort. You see, Mugsy loved to run and explore, which was eventually his demise.
My friend John Nelson, when he was with me, always helped me get Mugsy back to home when he went on one of his adventures. That was one fast dog and he had no trouble sneaking out. One night we looked for about an hour and decided to go back to my house and rest a bit. Mugsy was waiting for us on the couch!
My neighbor lady, Jerine, said he just came on back up my ramp and went inside. I suppose my mutt was tired. Me and him both got that way altogether too much.
Mugsy loved to sleep with me. He would wait until I got situated on my couch and then sleep on my legs – every night.
And I had Mugsy spoiled as far as his eating habits. He ate mostly hamburger, which I cooked for him. The appreciation he offered me in those tender eyes made the effort worth it to me.
When poor Mugsy died, Nelson came over and got the body. He buried him in his backyard, where I could visit when I wanted to.
I know it sounds silly from a 30-year United States government employee, but losing my dog Mugsy was like losing a person to me.
You see, as I have shared, I tried marriage three times but the family world just never seemed to have a place for me. I remained Uncle Mike, the guy who loved to pass out candy to neighborhood kids. And for the last seven years on earth, I also had a partner closer even than me and my best friend Nelson – Mugsy, the best dog in the world, according to Mike.
A man like me, with an admittedly complicated life, needed a constant companion there toward the end. And Mugsy did just fine.
Nelson was always trying to get me to acquire another woman, but those critters talked back too much.
I did have a girlfriend of sorts, named Nancy, who came over now and again to chat, but for some reason she never stacked up with old Mugsy. She did love him too though, and for that I was grateful.
It was a big day when I moved from my trailer in Gurdon to my new apartment. It was nicer and a lot cheaper. Mugsy rode with Nelson so he would not get lost.
I just wish the little guy would have been more careful the day that car got him. Even to the end, we shared things in life.
You see, about 15 years before my passing, I was also hit by a car. I made it through and recovered to a point. I am glad I did or I would never have known Mugsy. In appearance, Mugsy was brown with a little white here and there. He was heavy set, probably from all of that hamburger.
I will always believe he smiled a lot. My Indian heritage theory would be that Mugsy might have had gas, but to me he had a beautiful smile that just wouldn’t quit. I bet Nelson would agree with me. When you live in a wheelchair, the time gets long. Visits from John did not happen that often and my other friends were not around that often either.
I did love them all though. Gurdon was very good to me the last five years of my life. Stress was low and that was good for me. For you see, I fought post traumatic stress syndrome from my active duty service as an Airborne Ranger in Vietnam.
By living secluded, that PSDT stuff bothered me very little during my last little while on the planet. And I was never really lonely. Mugsy and I watched a lot of Sci Fi together, a lot of news casts and sat staring at each other while we shared bacon and eggs for breakfast.
I would put my coffee on and Mugsy knew what was next. If I ate, he had to have a bite too.
I think you get the picture. Now that Mugsy and I live in West Heaven, we can run, jump, hunt together and even go deer hunting. It is beautiful up here and God has been so good to me to allow me to reunite with Mugsy.
In Chapter 10, we will get back to a Reddick and Nelson adventure called: The Refrigerator. It should bring you a few belly laughs!

Tailgate Traveler makes game plans

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
My motor will be running again on Friday evening as I journey to take photos at the Fountain Lake Homecoming.
The Cobras will host Smackover, with royal festivities expected before the game.
Then this Tailgate Traveler will head home to Gurdon to catch the last half of the Go-Devil’s first home game against Bearden.
If time permits, there may be a jaunt to Malvern for a photo or two at the Malvern/Lakeside contest, which is a first home game for the Leopards.
If all goes as planned, the photos selected will be included in this publication, which should be on the web site late Friday night.
Scores will be noted above the page PDFs, as available, on Saturday morning.
Gurdon Head Coach Kyle Jackson, whose team is now 2-0 after beating Lafayette County and Dierks, said he feels good about the Bearden game as long as his team members “remember what the coach told them in practice and execute plays as we went over them.”
Coach Jackson confirmed my assumption that the burning of the Curley Wolf ceremony will take place at dusk on Thursday, Sept. 29, just after the Junior Go-Devil game against Prescott at Gurdon.
The senior Go-Devils will travel to Prescott, who is now a conference rival, on Friday, Sept. 30.
As to next Friday, Sept. 23, Gurdon will be at home against its first conference competitor, Horatio.
Coach Jackson said Thursday he is glad the next two games are at home before the Go-Devils travel to Prescott for the annual rivalry “because home town crowds always stir enthusiasm in the players.”
Be sure and come out next Friday to see Gurdon play Horatio at the Go-Devil Stadium. Here is hoping we will be taking note of a Gurdon over Bearden Bears victory by then!

Malvern considers charging

garbage bill to fix streets

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
MALVERN – Malvern City Council members are considering shifting garbage fee responsibilities from the general fund to the city’s 3,600 households to free up nearly $400,000 a year in tax revenue to take care of sink holes, other serious street repair needs and “general improvement to intra structure.”
Mayor Brenda Weldon said something has to be done about the repairs and asking the city for a tax hike would be the only other feasible alternative, “which would take a lot longer than the garbage bill shift.”
An ordinance shifting a $10.45 per month per household from being paid out of Malvern’s general fund over to individual household users is being considered, but may not be ready by the City Council meeting this coming Monday at 7 p.m.
Wayne Reynolds, chairman of the finance committee, said a recommendation from his group may be needed. When Malvern started paying garbage fees out of general fund in 1993, the cost per household was $4.43.
City Councilman David Cook said, “If we do this change, we should go all the way with it. I mean there is no sense in the general fund eating the difference between that 1993 $4.43 cost and the current $10.45 cost.
“To me, the best thing to do is shift the break even cost of $10.45 per household on to the citizens so we can use that $400,000 a year to make the streets safe with their tax revenue.”
Weldon said the Malvern streets are beginning to fall apart and it is only going to get worse without some funding for repairs.
“That $400,000 per year would certainly help us get the jobs done on sink holes and other problems that are really pressing right now,” she said. “We have a sink hole, for example, on Reed Street, that we just can not ignore.”
Weldon said problems with intra structure deterioration are not unique to Malvern, as other area mayors have told her of similar woes.
City Attorney Cecilia Ashcraft started the discussion about the possibility of shifting the garbage fees to direct household billing and said, “Our City Council has had the right to do that because of an expiration clause in the original ordinance concerning garbage fees coming out of general fund. The ordinance said billing could be changed back to the Water Department as of May in 1996, but the City Council has elected to leave it the same.”
Ashcraft assured the council they now have the power to change this back, using current garbage fee rates of $10.45 per household. The change would amount to freeing up $38,000 per month in the general fund for street repairs and/or other maintenance needs of Malvern.
Councilman Larry Stiles said the garbage fees being paid out of general fund was a great taxpayer benefit “and I hate to see it go away.”
Councilman Reynolds said freeing up money through household garbage billing could create a quicker way to take care of some major drainage problems in Malvern.
Overall, the City Council is in favor of the change to individual household garbage fees of the at-cost rate of $10.45, but asked the city attorney to be sure that the tax revenue freed up in the general fund would be free to do needed repairs legally – not legally earmarked for garbage payments only.
Cook said,”As long as the legalities check out, I say go ahead and do this all the way.”
Stiles said the prospect of asking for a 1/2 cent sales tax to do the needed intra structure repairs should be explored, as the tax could generate around $1,913,000.
Mayor Weldon said a sales tax proposal would have to be put on the ballot in November and funding, if it passed, would take 90 days or longer to show up for city use.
Russell said, “Right now we are just looking at folks paying for a $10.45 a month garbage fee that we as a council can implement. I think we need to see how that goes before considering a sales tax.”
Weldon stressed the need for street and other intra structure repair is immediate “and whatever we decide to do we need to straighten out the garbage ordinance to reflect what the city is doing, rather than it reading like we have just been ignoring the instructions to revert back to household billing.”
In other business, Fire Marshall Chris Brewster told the City Council has held its 5 ISO rating for building code and for fire the 3 ISO held.
A discussion followed after Brewster said tall grass was an issue. Mayor Weldon said there is a $50 fine in Malvern for grass over 12 inches high, but recommended if that is changed the fee should go up to $250 -or even $400.
David Coston, Malvern Water Department manager, said he would like some tax revenue money to take care of wash outs, culvert needs and “to get started on improvements targeted in Malvern’s master plan.”
He said the needs amount to around $40,000 in expenses and the revenue is available, just not yet budgeted. Russell said the finance committee has agreed to this money for drainage clean-outs, culverts etc.
Coston gave an update on the Pearla water bill situation and said regular payments are coming in from the mayor of Pearla.
“Pearla paid $17,663.30 on August 31and owes another $73,611, which they will pay on in September,” he said.
Coston said a new gated community of houses will be built off of Sulfur Springs Road. It will be for senior citizens not on low income.

Traveler ready for three

home games Sept. 16

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
By the time you read this, my plans will be forming for the Sept. 16 football tour.
Gurdon will be at home against Bearden. Malvern will be at home against Lakeside, and Haskell Harmony Grove will host Magnet Cove.
I hope to be at all three stadiums for photos. Time will tell you if I am.
This current paper is full of Gurdon photos and Malvern School Board news because I had to cut my travels a bit short for my grandchildren.
Sometimes a family man has to do what he has to do. Even so, I will bet you there are some exciting action shots in this publication that certain parents will be ready to receive.
Although I take the advertising part of my business seriously, as we all must make a living if we are to eat on a regular basis, the reason for my journalism career over all is to bring a little joy to my readers that perhaps is lacking in today’s main stream media.
Oh I realize there are other good news publications in this old world besides the Southern Arkansas Tailgate News, and my hat is off to all of them. But you have to admit, we have more than our fair share of bad news to cope with in today’s world.
Before I go on with any more philosophical comments, I want to point out to you something I am very proud of; Gurdon has a perfect record at this point in time!
Our junior high school and our varsity Go-Devils came out victoriously over Lafayette County.
Now this issue may very well reflect a change in that perfect status, depending on how we do against Dierks. Then again, those Outlaws are beatable this year, according to Gurdon Head Coach Kyle Jackson. Coach Jackson told me this afternoon (Thursday) that it will all depend on who controls the lines. Here is hoping our hometown Go-Devils pull off another couple of victories this weekend.
Before I forget to tell you, in order to speed up things on what I want to be an early morning Saturday publication from now on, the scoreboard will be on Current Issue, just above out pdfs for the week so I can add them without having to hold space in the actual pages.
Thank you for your understanding as I evolve the efficiency of our publication. My travels took me to Gurdon Primary School this week, as should be reflected on page 15. It seems the annual cookie dough sales are getting under way for the Parent Teacher Organization (PTO). One teacher told me this is the 12th annual cookie dough fundraiser at GPS and the effort usually does pretty well.
That same teacher told me the children are encouraged to sell the dough through their parents and family friends, rather than to go door to door, as the world has become too dangerous to ask very much of any strangers.
I had told her when I was a youth in Hagerstown, Indiana, our band sold fruit cakes every year, door to door, as an annual fundraiser. Times they are a changing, as the song says.
And some of those changes are down right pitiful. Sure, I understand the caution of the modern day school systems, formed that way so our kids can stay safe. I am just sorry it has to be that way.
GLEN ROSE OVER
MALVERN, 36-13
Before I get too far off base from football, I would like to congratulate the Glen Rose Beavers for a fine performance in their annual rivalry game with the Malvern Leopards on Sept. 2.
As the photography of last week’s magazine reflects, I was on hand during the first quarter to get a good shot of that first Beaver touchdown, which set the stage for victory.
Retired Coach John Pace of Gurdon used to tell me that in about 80 percent of the cases, if a football team made the first touchdown they were on their way to victory! His theory was sure accurate for the Glen Rose Beavers!
It was a game to remember for the Red and White. Under normal circumstances, considering how many more players the Malvern Leopards have to choose from for effectiveness, Malvern should beat Glen Rose hands down. But you just never know what adrenaline and the excitement in a crowd of enthusiastic fans can produce until game night arrives.
Glen Rose has another home game match-up with Bauxite this weekend. Hopefully, this will be reflected in this week’s Saturday scores on the website, again under Current Issue above the pdf pages.
Malvern will play Lake Hamilton on the road. Hopefully, things will go better for the Leopards this week.
Sometime this season, it is my intention to interview Coach Paul Calley. He is a Gurdon native who has had a lot of success coaching the Bryant Hornets.
This year he moved to Haskell Harmony Grove and told me in the pre-season his team would be awesome this year. I wish him the best of luck at the helm with the Cardinals.
So I had better wrap this up for the week, as the Junior High School Go-Devils will be kicking off against the Dierks Outlaws in about an hour and I need a bite to eat before going after our photos.
I was excited to publish their win last week against Lafayette County. I am also very grateful to Coach Cody Fortner for calling in some game details that gave us a great story of victory.
It seems his team pulled a rabbit out of a hat and beat down those Lafayette County boys right at the last of the game.
That is what it is all about; endurance, top performance and a lot of prayer. Good luck Junior Go-Devils tonight and may the photos in this week’s Tailgate News reflect another victory in the making! Have another great football season weekend fans! Hope to see you at the game!

The man with dirty shoes…

Minister Al Lyons
Georgia correspondent
I showered and shaved. I adjusted my tie. I got there and sat in a pew just in time, bowing my head in prayer as I closed my eyes.
I saw the shoes of the man next to me touching my own. I sighed. With plenty of room on either side, I thought, ‘Why must our soles touch?’
It bothered me, his shoe touching mine… But it didn’t bother him much. A prayer began: ‘Our Father.’ I thought, ‘This man with the shoes, has no pride. They’re dusty, worn, and scratched. Even worse, there are holes on the side!’
‘Thank You for blessings,’ the prayer went on. The shoe man said a quiet ‘Amen.’
I tried to focus on the prayer, but my thoughts were on his shoes again. Aren’t we supposed to look our best when walking through that door?
‘Well, this certainly isn’t it,’ I thought, glancing toward the floor. Then the prayer was ended and the songs of praise began.
The shoe man was certainly loud, sounding proud as he sang. His voice lifted the rafters. His hands were raised high.
The Lord could surely hear the shoe man’s voice from the sky. It was time for the offering and what I threw in was steep.
I watched as the shoe man reached into his pockets so deep. I saw what was pulled out, what the shoe man put in.
Then I heard a soft ‘clink’ as when silver hits tin. The sermon really bored me to tears, and that’s no lie.
It was the same for the shoe man, for tears fell from his eyes. At the end of the service, as is the custom here, we must greet new visitors and show them all good cheer.
But I felt moved somehow and wanted to meet the shoe man. So after the closing prayer, I reached over and shook his hand. He was old and his skin was dark. His hair was truly a mess.
But I thanked him for coming, for being our guest.
He said, “My name’s Charlie. I’m glad to meet you, my friend.” There were tears in his eyes, but he had a large, wide grin.
“Let me explain,” he said, wiping tears from his eyes. “I’ve been coming here for months. And you’re the first to say ‘Hi.’’
“I know that my appearance, it is not like all the rest. But I really do try to always look my best.
“I always clean and polish my shoes before my very long walk. But by the time I get here, they’re dirty and dusty, like chalk.”
My heart filled with pain and I swallowed to hide my tears, as he continued to apologize for daring to sit so near.
He said, “When I get here, I know I must look a sight. But I thought if I could touch you….Then maybe our souls might unite.”
I was silent for a moment, knowing whatever was said, would pale in comparison. I spoke from my heart, not my head.
“Oh, you’ve touched me,” I said, and taught me, in part, That the best of any man Is what is found in his heart.”
The rest, I thought, this shoe man will never know.
Like just how thankful I really am that his dirty old shoe touched my soul.

Reddick Files: The secret of sweat lodges

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
The entire procedure of sweat lodge worship made me curious as Mike Reddick revealed certain particulars of the story.
But to be specific, the thing that fascinated me the most was the relationship of the medicine man and the person needing spiritual relaxation.
To understand this subject, without it appearing to be crazy and worthless, I offer this preliminary explanation before turning it over to Mike’s ghost to narrate. If I understand it, for a $20 donation, the person wanting the spiritual relaxation came into the tent, got in front of the medicine man and began worshipping the arrival of the “Great White Buffalo.” The Christian Bible speaks of Jesus Christ preaching in other lands while in human form on this earth.
It is the contention of the Indians that he came in the form of the Great White Buffalo, or at least that site attracted them, and then either Christ appeared and spoke or that animal delivered the sermons of salvation.
My imagination and speculation tells me Jesus Christ appeared in His human form and that Great White Buffalo was similar as a prop as the ass who appeared out of nowhere in preparation for the Last Supper mentioned in the Christian Bible New Testament. At any rate, I do not pretend to be a sweat lodge expert. The following account is what I learned about it during my 22-year friendship with Michael. It is, as they say, what it is. If the procedure helped the person involved come closer to our Savior on a spiritual level, then who am I to criticize just another form of praying to the Great I Am.
SWEAT LODGE HELP
Nelson did not really hear my whole story of my sweat lodge days. But he heard enough that he has asked me to repeat what I told him to you. The sweat lodge ceremony, for the Native American, is as sacred as an upper room prayer meeting to the traditional United States Christian.
I learned about sweat lodges during my years working for the government full-time. In the last half of the nearly 30 years stretch of employment as a United States assassin, special forces trained, Navy seal trained, human weapon, Uncle Sam did provide me with transportation.
It was usually a nearly new Tacoma pick-up truck, similar to a Chevy S-10, that was strong and got great gas mileage. Subsequently, I did a lot of traveling. Because of my fascination with the Native America culture, I went to the Bureau of Indian Affairs, had my genealogy authenticated and used the Osha/Shawnee tribe in Ohio to authenticate me so I could have benefits offered to tribal members. I showed my membership card to Nelson. The benefits, along with donations from the Arkansas State Police, paid the majority of my hospital bills when I got ran over by the double-cab pick-up truck years later. But let’s get back to my traveling around the country getting to know various Native American tribes and their ways.
They are a survivalist people, but have spiritual battles just like in “the white man’s world.” I was never a prejudice person by way of skin color. Like my best friend John Nelson, I always believed it was the raising that mattered, not the race.
We had that discussion concerning our mutual dislike and distrust of America’s first “black” president. Barack Obama is a closet Muslim, who was raised communist in Kenya by a man and a woman who wanted the United States to adhere to third world rules and Shariah Law instead of the U.S. Constitution. And he nearly got us switched over in many respects. I told Nelson before I died that Donald Trump would be the next president and the pendulum of politics in the United States would swing back to the right. What I did not mention is the new right in the United States is about the same as the Yellow Dog Democrat of the 1970’s because socialist/communist thoughts have taken over the current “Democratic” party.
If you are reading this book after the November 2016 election, you will know if my prediction was correct. Look at it this way, I had a lot of connections nation-wide and international-wide while on earth because of my government job. And the rule of thumb is, the larger the knowledge base, the more accurate the prediction.
But all that aside, the government took care of me financially while I was an active assassin, so I had a lot of freedom to explore the United States and the Native American sovereign nations while I was between killing assignments. As to the Native American nations, I saw starvation, disease beyond one’s imagination and reservations that were set up in a kill or be killed fashion. They called me Outlaw. I was a feared Indian while on each of their soils because I would kill an enemy of the chief, take the body to a huge canyon and simply push it down the thing to never be discovered again.
So I gained a great deal of respect out of fear among the braves of those nations. As to the Osha/Shawnee group out of Ohio, they made me a medicine man, which is the equivalent of a United States doctor in their way of thinking.
As I stated before, that nation helped me get my Bureau of Indian Affairs authentication. The BIA was a big deal in my day. As for me, the value of the card gave me credibility amongst various Native American tribes and allowed me to see what was really going on in our country behind some scenes that most will never see.
It is no wonder that Indians are such strong volunteers in our military. They have traditions to protect that remain from generation to generation. I think the white man has lost a lot of that in the current culture. To quote an old saying, the baby has been thrown out with the bath water in many cases.
As to sweat lodges, it was quite an experience. I never really went into much detail with Nelson about how it worked, but the sage smoke and the peaceful prayer time were the real keys. Anytime a man of the Christian faith takes time to relax and simply be with Jehovah God, it gives the spirit a renewal that is hard to describe in words.
Other races on earth would do well to reserve times to relax with the Lord. It always amazed me how folks who claimed to accept the same Jesus Christ of Nazareth could be so condescending to each other. Even now that I am dead, I still do not understand the logic of such thoughts.
So no, I had not gone bonkers when I set up a sweat lodge tent out at Beech Grove near Paragould. I simply wanted others in my home town area to experience this very effective way to relax. I believe the ones who tried it went away with a new perspective on Jesus and Father God. I think Nelson could have benefited from such a Native American melt down. I was always telling him he worried too much. Next I will tell you a bit of simpler story.
It will be the tale of how I happened to acquire my favorite dog Mugsy and how much joy the little guy brought to my lonesome heart. Being an active journalist, my friend Nelson often had to work long hours. He came to see me as he could, but Mugsy always had time for me – right until the very end of his days.
Oh the Gurdon dog catcher found me a Mugsy II, but nothing could have taken over the spot in my heart that belonged to my beloved Mugsy.
And yes, for those of you who wonder, Mugsy is right up here in West Heaven with me. In closing, I will have to take a break and go for a run with him. For you see, my legs and such work just fine right now. I always wanted to run with Mugsy on earth, but the injuries from my accident would not allow it.

Ready for Monster Mash?

By SHERRY KELLEY
Gurdon Mayor
The hot weather continues to challenge our outdoor workers in the street and water departments. The street department is filling pot holes with cold mix this week and the water department is performing maintenance and working on the hospital leak.
The Market On Main will be the site for a Clark County Extension Office class conducted by Agent JoAnn Vann on October 6. Once completed you will be on your way to opening your very own pop-up restaurant at The Market On Main.
Free hours of rental are included with the class. Call me to get started at 406-1396..I am participating and I hope that you will, too. Or tell a friend. The Gurdon Go-Devil and Gurdon Public School Banners will be up on Main Street next week before the first home game.
It’s time to start planning for your trunk or treat table at The Monster Mash on Main. The downtown trick or treat event will be held on Monday, October 31. Remind your church, organization or business to mark the date on the calendar.

Coach Jackson praises Go-Devils

for Lafayette County win

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Gurdon won its first football game against Lafayette County this past week, 26-13.
Head Coach Kyle Jackson said neither team scored in the first quarter, but Gurdon was in the lead 3-0 at halftime.
It was 13-6 Gurdon at the end of three and ended with the Go-Devil 26-13 victory.
Coach Jackson said there were two field goals by #12 Matt Bullard, the team’s kicker.
There were two rushing touchdowns by #2 Thomas Muldrow, quarterback, and then one ran in by #5 Yavier Green, wide receiver.
Muldrow had 17 rushes for 110 yards and threw for 121 yards.
Defensively, Coach Jackson said #7 Safety Cam Gulley was the Most Valuable Player of the game with 5 tackles and one interception.
“We forced 5 take-aways from them and had no turnovers,” Jackson said.
“There were also two key interceptions and three fumble recoveries.”
The coach said overall things started out slow, but field execution went well.
“We dropped three touchdown passes, but our energy kept coming and things got better,” Coach Jackson said.
“Defensively, we played well at times. But with five take-aways, we were bound to win.”
Jackson noted how hot it was on the playing field and said for a first game of the year things went pretty well.
“The guys held their endurance all four quarters, with no particular signs of fatigue, and that is very important,” he said.
DIERKS THIS WEEKEND
Coach Jackson said he feels good about the Dierks Outlaw competition this weekend, “but they do have a good quarterback and a great defensive tackle.”
The coach said Dierks has some big linemen, but so does Gurdon. The game, he said, will depend on who can control the lines.
“The hot weather will play a part as well,” Jackson said. “They have a big offensive and defensive drive, but if we do what we are supposed to do on the field, the Go-Devils can do well.”
Dierks is the second non-conference game of this season. Next week, on Sept. 16, the Go-Devils will host Bearden at Go-Devil Stadium.
That will also be a non-conference competition. Gurdon will play its first conference game against Horatio at home on Friday, Sept. 23.
Then it will be rivalry game time on Sept. 30, when Gurdon travels to Prescott for the Go-Devils to face the Curley Wolves. Prescott is now a conference competitor to Gurdon.
The date and time of the annual burning of the Curley Wolves ceremony will be announced closer to date, but historically will be just after the Junior High School competition at Gurdon on Sept. 29.

 

Gurdon copes with huge

water leak by old hospital

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
City Water Department workers dug down 8 feet Thursday at the old Gurdon Hospital’s emergency room in an attempt to find a shut-off valve so a major water leak could be stopped just across from Sonic.
Water Department Supervisor James Cox said the leak will have to be stopped “even if we find no valve and have to temporarily turn off the water for half of Gurdon so we can install a new valve.”
Cox did say he believes a water shut-off valve still exists as the old emergency room was in use about five years ago as Tony’s Restaurant “and surely they had a way to shut off their water.”
According to Cox, the water meter for the Gurdon hospital was removed years ago.
He said there is no way to tell how long stopping this leak will take until a diligent search for an existing water valve is completed.
“We can not let this go,” Cox said. “We are just trying to avoid any interruption of residential water service if we possibly can.”
The crew created a temporary draining system out into the street while the digging continued. Cox said the number of weeks or even months that this major leak has been going can not be determined “so we have no way of knowing how many gallons of water have already been spilled.”
Cox said the old hospital and old emergency room structures “are owned by a guy from Arizona and we have been trying to get a hold of him.”
According to Cox, the expenses of terminating the water leak may very well be assigned to the property owner – once his location can be determined.

Retired Gurdon Principal Gills passes

Leonard Autry Gills, 78, of Gurdon, AR went to be with the Lord on August 26, 2016.
Mr. Gills was born October 2, 1937 in the Red Springs Community of Clark County to Louis and Mollie Pugh Gills.
He was a graduate of Gurdon High School, Class of 1955 and served in the U.S. Army before receiving his B.S. Degree from Henderson State University, Class of 1959.
Upon graduation he went to work for Gurdon Lumber Company and then Reynolds Aluminum. He retired early, then furthered his education, receiving his Master’s Degree (HSU 1982) and became counselor at Gurdon Public Schools.
He then served as Principal at Gurdon for 16 years before retiring.
He was an accomplished pianist and a longtime member of First Baptist Church of Gurdon, where he served as pianist, Sunday School teacher and Secretary/Treasurer for many years.
Mr. Gills was the current president of the Gurdon Rotary Club.
He was preceded in death by his parents; two brothers: Hartis and J.W. Gills; and a niece Gail Gills Castleberry.
He is survived by 10 nephews and nieces who loved him and will miss him dearly, 23 grand nephews and nieces and numerous cousins.
Visitation was to be Sunday, August 28, 2016 from 5 until 7 p.m. at the Pharr Funeral Home of Gurdon. Funeral services were to be Monday, August 29, 2016 at 2 p.m. at First Baptist Church of Gurdon with Bro. Jerry Evans officiating.
Interment was to follow in Bethlehem Cemetery, Gurdon, AR, under the direction of Pharr Funeral Home of Gurdon.
In lieu of flowers send memorials to CARTI of Arkansas, 8901 Carti Way, Little Rock, AR 72205; Henderson State University, Arkadelphia, AR or First Baptist Church of Gurdon, AR.

Doyle Collins
Veteran/Educator
Doyle E. Collins of Arkadelphia, Arkansas, passed away on August 25, 2016. Born in Sharp County, Arkansas on September 9, 1928, Mr. Collins graduated from Ash Flat High School and then attended Arkansas College (Lyon College) where he played basketball and baseball until enlisting in the Air Force during the Korean War.
He came back from the service and earned his undergraduate degree from Arkansas State Teachers College (University of Central Arkansas).
He went on to earn a Master’s Degree in math from the University of Illinois. He also continued advanced study programs in science and math at both the University of Cincinnati and Northeastern University (Boston, Massachusetts).
His 50 plus year career in education included teaching math and serving as an administrator and basketball coach. Four of his players from Royal, Illinois would go on to earn athletic scholarships in the Big 10.
His coaching impact was such there is an endowed basketball scholarship named for Mr. Collins at the University of Illinois. Mr. Collins married Charlene Shell in 1950.
His parents, Thomas Andrew and Minnie Worel Collins, five brothers, Oleus, Elijah, Wylie, Commodore and T.A., and four sisters, Pleasant, Beulah, Audrey and Doris, preceded Mr. Collins in death.
Survivors include his wife, Charlene, his son, Andrew “Ace” Collins, daughter-in-law Kathy Collins, grandsons, Clint and Rance and great granddaughter, Aidan, as well as thousands of former students and many friends. Mr. Collins was a Baptist and a member of First Baptist Church in Arkadelphia, He was a Mason.
In lieu of flowers the family asks that Mr. Collins be remembered through donations to the Shelby Seabaugh Scholarship Fund at Ouachita Baptist University, Ouachita Development Office, OBU Box 3754, Arkadelphia, Arkansas 71998.
Mr. Collins’s services were to be held at the Ruggles-Wilcox Funeral Home in Arkadelphia, Arkansas on Saturday, August 27, 2016 at 11 a.m. A private burial will take place in Salem, Arkansas.

Julia Voss
Teacher
Julia Harrington Voss age 83, of Arkadelphia, passed away on Wednesday, August 24, 2016 at the Plaza in Arkadelphia.
She was born September 7, 1932 in the Degray Community to the late Bill and Eunice Still Harrington. She was a retired teacher and a Baptist.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Harold Voss; a daughter, Susan Voss Johnson and a daughter-in-law, Sandra Voss.
Survivors are one son, Mike Voss of Nashville, TN; one granddaughter, Jennifer Burns and husband, Barclay; two great-grandchildren, Caroline and Isabell Burns and one brother, James Harrington of Arkadelphia.
Graveside services were to be at 11 a.m. on Monday, August 29 at Rest Haven Memorial Gardens with Stan Parris officiating. Visitation was to be at 10 a.m. on Monday at the Ruggles-Wilcox funeral home.

Cloyce Seale
Truck Driver
Rupert Cloyce Seale, 89, passed away in his sleep due to natural causes early Monday morning surrounded by family in Arkadelphia, Arkansas.
He was born April 4, 1927, in Pine Grove, Arkansas, the son of the late Thomas Jasper and Sue Gaston Seale. Cloyce was preceded in death by his wife, Jessie Verda James Seale, and six siblings, Eunice Randle, Doris Seale, Eula Mae Rucker, Mavis Huneycutt, Cecil Seale and Evelyn Sanders.
Survivors are one son, Irwin (Lloydine) Seale of Sparkman, three daughters, Verda Sue (C.B.) Goins of Little Rock, Brenda (Allen) Garrett of Sparkman and Glenda Bordelon (David Brazeale) of Sparkman, eight grandchildren, Rev. Gary Jackson, Jr., Dr. Justin Seale, Jathan Seale, Joshua Seale, Jessica Ross, Sam Garrett, Scottie Bordelon and C.J. Bordelon, 12 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild.
Cloyce, a World War II veteran of the United States Navy, was also a member of the Sparkman First Baptist Church, a Sunday School teacher and retired truck driver for Thermo-Gas. He adored being surrounded by family, working on cars, old or new, camping and boating, traveling with loved ones in his motorhome to various state lakes and attending bluegrass festivals.
Funeral services were to be held at 6 p.m. Wednesday, August 31 at Sparkman First Baptist Church with the Revs. Wendell Miller, James Guthrie and Lee Denton officiating.
Family graveside services were to be held at 9 a.m. Thursday at Chapel Hill Cemetery in Sparkman.
Pallbearers were to be grandsons. The family was to receive friends from 5-6 p.m. Wednesday at First Baptist Church in Sparkman.
Memorials may be made to Chapel Hill Cemetery Fund, c/o Brenda Garrett at P.O. Box 104, Sparkman, AR, 71763.
Final arrangements are entrusted to The Welch Funeral Home of Arkadelphia.

Update on search for principal

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Superintendent and current Principal of Gurdon High School Allen Blackwell said Thursday the search committee for a permanent principal to replace Harvey Sellers, who resigned, is in progress and the committee plans to interview seven, or possibly eight, of the now approximately 22 applicants.
“Our goal is to narrow it down to three top candidates for the job and then turn the final selection over to the School Board at a special meeting to take place at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 28,” he said.
Blackwell said Coach John Pace is doing a fine job as Dean of Students but “there is still a lot more for me to do as the official principal at the high school.”
“I believe the students have accepted this transitional situation well,” he said. “And after the selection is made, we may very well wait until the semester ends before the new principal starts work. That will just depend on who it is and what the School Board decides to do in regard to my recommendations.”
Blackwell said one of the principal candidates is already employed by the Gurdon School System and may very well be one of those top three recommended for the job.

Reddick Files: Native Americans hunt and gather,

not into farming forced on them by the US government

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
One of the things that fascinated me about Michael Reddick’s life was his stories of our government trying to force his Native American brothers and sisters to adopt the white man’s ways.
Listening to his stories also made me realize that Indians sure do have a great sense of humor and a very positive way of teaching folks that they have no plans to change their traditions.
The following story is about how the U.S. government, probably in the 1970’s, tried to make an Indian Chief accept some government land to begin a farming effort they had no need of and no interest in working.
Here is what Mike had to say about this memory.
G## D##N A POTATO!
Nelson hit the nail on the head with allowing me to tell you this tale about Native American ways. In my life, I gave money, time and spiritual comfort to many of my Native American brothers and sisters.
They each had certain traditions to live by and all had a common thread of wanting to live out those traditions in peace – without intervention from a do-gooder, controlling government.
At the time of this particular assignment, I was a young man just starting out in a whirlwind of 30 years serving Uncle Sam after my Army days were over with. It was somewhere in the 1970’s or 1980’s and our government was dealing with the Indians, thinking if they could just change their ways of looking at survival, those Indians would prosper and be happy.
The lesson here is simple. Making someone happy does not mean imposing your ways on them. It means understanding their version of success and seeing if you might be of assistance in helping them achieve it.
I will not embarrass the tribe that this happened to by mentioning their name. But I will say the day in question caused our governmental minds to rethink how to help folks who have a sovereign nation status.
The day started out innocent enough. Many do-gooders and federal officials were present. There were senators, Congress men and Congress women – and even our United States president on hand to congratulate each other on their wonderful achievement of creating a means to teach a Native American tribe how to farm potatoes and avoid hunger for a long time to come.
Members of this tribe fed their young by hunting buffalo, deer, rabbits etc. and bringing said game to their women to clean and prepare for meals. They also grew gardens in their own fashion.
You might recall the story of the Indians teaching the Pilgrims from England how to grow corn for survival. It is not so much that the Native Americans did not appreciate the governmental effort to help them survive.
It was the authority, which had always belonged to their tribal chiefs, being taken away by those who thought they knew more than the Indians and wanted to take control that created the situation I am about to recant.
The president, at the time, which may very well have been Ronald Reagan or Jimmy Carter, was clearing his throat to give a beautiful speech of accomplishment. The Indian chief in question was supposed to cross over to the farm land next to his sovereign nation land, complete with United States laws and ways, in exchange for acre after acre of planted potatoes for him and his tribe to tend to and help feed their families. The catch was the Indians would have to farm it themselves…
All he had to do to accept the gift was to cross from one territory to the next. He came up to the line of dispute and sat down on his native land’s side of the line. The chief was in full head dress. He refused to move and was surrounded by his peers. This was not in the script of the ceremony that day!
The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) supposedly came to an agreement with this chief that in exchange for all of the land and equipment to farm thousands and acres of potatoes, he would allow the United States to teach his people how to grow and harvest potatoes so they would quit hunting game in United States territory. After directing us agents to gather the chief up off the ground and haul him to the microphone on the USA side, the president asked him quite bluntly, “Did you not agree to this treaty between our two nations in exchange for us teaching you how to farm this very important part of your diet and keep your people from starving to death?”
The president went on to continue trying to pull the wool over the eyes of the old Indian, saying his tribe would still own their original land and could work growing and harvesting the potatoes, learning to use the equipment and benefiting from the potatoes grown on United States soil. It was simply a gesture of kindness, he said.
After a long moment of silence, the old chief began to speak. Instead of accepting the offer, he chose to keep the ways of his people in tact. The chief simply said to the president, the senators and members of the United Congress, “God damn a potato.” After uttering the profanity, he immediately left the podium and went back to his territory…
We agents looked at each other. Silence was the only thing going on for about 30 seconds. Then I laughed, as did other members of the FBI.
You want to talk about a bunch of red faced old white guys. Oh, I could see both sides of this treaty. And pragmatically, it might not have been so bad. But it goes to show that you can not take a bunch of folks who have always lived by hunting, gathering and preparing their food and turn them into potato farmers.
It was back to the drawing board after that incident. The situation never gained much press, until now. President Jimmy Cater, who was the brain stormer behind it, realized that the claws of socialism and foreign rule were not going to be put around the necks of Indians – no matter how hungry they got. It was later decided to give those potato acres to Americans who farmed them and subsequently sold or traded some of them to the tribe in question.
But the situation made me realize something. There was an old saying that you can lead a horse to water but you can not make him drink. I suppose that must apply to old Indian chiefs also. Or at least it sure did apply to one in particular.
I told Nelson, who was laughing at my story, that not everything that our government has tried has made headlines. The failures, like this effort to make Indians potato farmers, were usually swept under the rug. Making your own way in life is a choice that we can make for our lifestyles or even our finances.
I broke even on finances at the end of mine. I would rather have died not owing anyone like I did than to have a bunch of bills to pass on to my kid. I knew I would not need any money once I was dead so why not use it in life?
I learned a lot from old Indians. I had one old chief for a friend who made it a business never to turn anyone away and to take up a collection every time there was a disaster, like a family fire, in his tribe and community. When he got old, that man died on the streets. Nobody would help him but me and a handful of others.
He told me personal help was not his goal in life. Old Chief Sam just wanted to know inside his own mind that he had done everything he could to help the next man in need.
Some people are like that. They give because they want to give instead of giving to get.
In Chapter 8, I will tell you about my experiences with sweat lodges. Although I was a Church of Christ Christian, I was also a Native American Christian and sweat lodges were an Indian ritual associated with prayer to Jehovah God and a cleansing of the spirit. I enjoyed my sweat lodge days, even though my family thought I had gone bonkers at the time.
Bringing unusual ways to the closed off society of Paragould in Greene County, Arkansas was challenging at best. But the sweat lodge did get pretty popular out near the town of Beech Grove, where my sister lived.

Band gives preview performance

By SHERRY KELLEY
Gurdon Mayor
Back to school went smoothly in Gurdon. The Gurdon Public Schools and Gurdon Go-Devil Banners will go up soon on Main Street. It’s a great time of year and everyone is excited about Go-Devil Football, cheerleaders and the band.
The Gurdon Go-Devil Band Mini Concert was a great success on Saturday. A big crowd turned out on The Plaza to enjoy a preview of this year’s Spartacus Program. The large band sounded wonderful. Band director Devin West has tripled the number of students in two short years. He plans to quadruple the size next year.
The Gurdon Go-Devils first game is non-conference action this Friday at Lafayette County. The Gurdon Pee Wee Football Jamboree will be held Saturday, September 10. Gurdon will host teams from Camden, Bearden, Parker’s Chapel and Lafayette County.
The Gurdon City Park Tennis Courts will be the home for a meet on August 30. Fordyce and Prescott will be coming to play Gurdon.
I am getting ready for the Curtis Country Mile Yard Sale, are you? This great event to benefit the Curtis Volunteer Fire Department will be held on Saturday, Oct. 1, under the oak trees along Highway 67 in Curtis. I will have phone numbers for you to reserve your space next week.
Things have been busy at The Market On Main. JoAnn Vann at the Clark County Extension Office will be presenting the National Restaurant Association Serve Safe food handling class on Thursday, Oct. 6, at The Market On Main.
Completing this class and purchasing a restaurant license will enable you to use The Market On Main as your very own restaurant, for a breakfast, lunch, supper or brunch serving. The cost of the class is $110. This fee can be used toward reserving your time at The Market On Main.
It’s a great deal! You can try your hand at operating a restaurant and see how the public likes your favorite recipes. The Market On Main is a beautiful space, can seat more than 60 guests and you will keep the proceeds from the sale of your food. There is also a large screen television. Call me for further details at 406-1396.
Work continues on the Gurdon Light Main Street storefront window. Thank you to Mary Lewis for her volunteerism. It’s going to be awesome.

Tailgate Traveler Enjoys Competition; football coverage

 

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Well folks, it is finally here! First Football Friday for Southern Arkansas 2016 “Boys of Fall” is no longer a dream but a reality.
If all goes as planned, you are reading this on Saturday morning in our football season weekender first issue. The delay in publication is justified by the fact that most of you would like to see your children and grandchildren making touchdowns from the night before instead of waiting a week to see those photos.
It is my intentions to place current photos in the current week’s magazine for timely keepsakes. Hopefully, the football fans will appreciate the extra effort.
I first started covering home football games for Gurdon in 2004, back when the radio stations had play by play game coverage for those who had to stay home to listen to and enjoy.
Times have changed a lot since then, what with the economic downturns of the past 10 years – at least in Southern Arkansas.
I do not put this out there because of some political evaluation. I am in the advertising business. In the 1990’s weekly collection averages were nearly double what they are now and have steadily declined until just here recently.
We are seeing a bit of revitalization on the horizon in my opinion. Georgia Pacific has undergone a $37 million expansion – to result in about 200 new jobs for the area, a pulpwood factory is being built at Gum Springs that should mean another couple hundred jobs and the Amity lumber yard has reopened – hopefully giving us another 100 permanent jobs.
That pulpwood factory construction over the next two years is also requiring about 1,000 construction workers – not to mention the independent lumber haulers who will benefit from this growth.
What that means for football programs and community involvement in the encouragement of our youth is that things are looking up.
I would even go so far as to say folks may start advertising again by 2018 like they did in 1998. Time, of course will tell.
So by the time you read this, there should be evidence on pages 9 and 11 that I attended the Glen Rose/Malvern rivalry game and the Arkadelphia/Stuttgart game.
It has always given me a rush to be on the sidelines and present when our young athletes give it all they have for school victories. Such dedication developed early usually translates into the making of adults with integrity.
Once in awhile there is even a bit of humor on the field. I have upon occasion seen such fast running quarterbacks that they have slowed down a touchdown run just to smile at me and let me get a good picture for their fans.
Such was the case on more than one occasion with Gurdon running back Jackie Harvel last year. On one particular night, Harvel made a 60-yard run for touchdown with nobody even close to him as he ran in.
I yelled picture! Harvel slowed down, smiled and turned toward the camera. Now that is celebration of talent! Here is wishing him the best of luck in continuing his football career as he works toward his higher education.
Going to games also gives me a chance to get fan reaction to things. After 12 years in this area, folks at Gurdon, Malvern and surrounding schools don’t seem to mind me showing up and will even pose for photos as they cheer and play music, or just smile and converse.
Being a reporter is not all fun and games, but football season is special. I like talking with the players and getting their views on how the season is going, as well as getting a coach’s report as often as possible.
Gurdon Head Coach Kyle Jackson is especially easy to talk to about team progress with the Go-Devils.
Although Gurdon will be in a more difficult conference this year, Coach Jackson has already told me he believes endurance and stamina from intense weight training, tough practices and determination should mean the Go-Devils will win more games than they will lose.
In football, as in life, winning is important to us all, but learning respect, sportsmanship and how to compete in a healthy yet aggressive manner go a long way when it comes time to build a career, a marriage and a home.
So Friday night, I will leave home about 6 p.m. and should be situated at the Glen Rose Beavers stadium sidelines to get some action shots from both sides of the field.
The Glen Rose and Malvern rivalry game is a big deal to the folks involved and therefore it is also important to me. I will probably stay until halftime and then head for the Arkadelphia stadium to photographically record how the Badgers are fairing against Stuttgart.
Gurdon is on the road this week and will play a non-conference, first game of the season, against Lafayette County.
Superintendent of Gurdon Schools Allen Blackwell said he believes the Go-Devils will rack up a victory tonight. I agree.
I have seen Gurdon beat Lafayette County more often than not over the years so if we do win it will be a great confidence builder for the Go-Devils. And the momentum of enthusiasm after a victory can go a long way toward future wins.
Here is hoping to see you at the games tonight. We have been blessed with a forecast for cooler temperatures so that should be players, fans, coaches and band performers all in good spirits. Plus it will make those cheerleading routines a whole lot easier to accomplish for the dedicated girls involved.
Hope to see you this season cheering on your high school team from kickoff to last touchdown. Enjoy the excitement brought to you by the 2016 “Boys of Fall.”

Editorial: So Long Mr. Gills…
We would like to express our sympathy to the family of Mr. Leonard Gills, who passed away this week and will be missed in Gurdon.
We first met Mr. Gills in 2004, during his tenure as high school principal at Gurdon. He was most helpful to this reporter, especially during those first few months of orientation to the Gurdon schools.
We could tell right away this man truly cared for all of his students. He started out in the school system as a counselor and perhaps that is when he began to have a heart for the futures of all of the children.
He was a true Go-Devil fan at the games and was always the first offer a smile and a wave to co-workers, parents and friends.
After retiring from his 16 years as the GHS principal, Mr. Gills kept active in the community. Even when cancer slowed him down, he beat the disease and became the president of the local Rotary Club.
A gifted piano player at First Baptist Church, performing for many decades, his Christian joy was evident to all who knew him.
Gurdon High School is currently searching for a new principal. We had hoped Mr. Gills would be called out of retirement to fill the gap for a few months, but the School Board appointed Coach John Pace as Dean of Students instead.
We understand Coach Pace is doing a fine job, but somehow, in our minds, that principal seat will always belong to Leonard Gills. Thank you Mr. Gills for your long service to the community of Gurdon. You will long be remembered as a man of integrity.

Junior Go-Devils slip by Lafayette County

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
The Junior High School Gurdon Go-Devils started the season out on a winning note Thursday night at home when Gurdon caught a 5-yard winning touchdown with 5 seconds left on the clock – making it a Go-Devil 26-24 victory over Lafayette County!
Go-Devil Head Coach Cody Fortner said Garrett White, #5, caught the winning touchdown pass and also earned offensive player of the week with 3 catches for 54 yards and 2 TDs.
Quarterback Caleb Jacobs, #12, had 3 passing touchdowns. Leading rusher was running back Jameson Threadgill, #2, with 15 carries for 52 yards and 1 TD.
Coach Fortner said wide receiver Garrin Orsburn, #6, was the leading receiver with 3 catches for 88 yards and 1 TD.
Quarterback/Safety Caleb Jacobs was defensive player of the week with a total of 10 tackles. That included 8 solo tackles, 2 assaults and 2 tackles for loss.
Garrin Orsburn was special teams player of the week.
Coach Fortner said, “We were down 24-19 with 2 minutes to go in the fourth quarter.
“Caleb Jacobs and Garrin Orsburn got a 29-yard reception which led to the game winning touchdown.
“Garret White caught the ball and ran it in 5 yards for TD with 5 seconds to go.”
Daniel Chacon, #7, made 2 out of 4 PAT attempts.
Coach Fortner said, “It was a great game and we invite everyone to come out and see us at home again this coming week against Dierks at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 8 in the Go-Devil Stadium.
“We played hard against Lafayette County, and although the hard-fought win was a bit nerve racking, these boys deserve a lot of praise for a job well done.”

 

CD&E to bring carnival

to Forest Festival Oct. 29

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
The Gurdon Forest Festival, which is always held on the last Saturday in October (Oct. 29 for 2016), will include a carnival this year out of Malvern.
Program Chairwoman Heather Nolan confirmed that the carnival has been booked at the Tuesday CD&E meeting. In addition, Nolan has scheduled the Forest Festival Beauty Pageant for 2016 to be on Saturday, Oct. 8 in Cabe Auditorium at Gurdon High School.
Nolan said Wells Fun Company out of Malvern will provide the carnival rides. Arm bands will be for sale at $15. CD&E President Clayton Franklin said there will still be a few free “kiddie” rides for those who just want to come and enjoy.
Nolan said in addition to the larger carnival rides, Wells will set up a variety of games.
As to the beauty pageant, she said to get a hold of Angie Harper at Gurdon City Hall to pick up an application. Categories this year will be the same as in 2015. They are: Baby Miss, 0-1; Teeny Miss, 2; Tiny Miss, 3&4; Little Miss, 5&6; Petite Miss, 7, 8&9; Junior Miss, 10, 11&12; Princess, 13, 14&15; and Queen, 16, 17&18. Winners will receive trophies and are invited to ride in the Forest Festival parade.
Nolan said details about the pageant will be announced closer to date. She said the Baby category was a hit last year, so she decided to keep it going.
Categories to enter will include beauty/photogenic ($35), best dressed ($5), prettiest eyes ($5), prettiest smile ($5) and best personality ($5). Or you may enter all categories for $50.
Nolan added, “This year’s pageant will just be for Gurdon area residents. Last year it was open to folks from everywhere and that just did not work out like we planned.”
According to Nolan, every girl who participates will go home with at least “something.” The club donated a cash prize to the queen last year.
In other business, Paul Shuffield, of Shuffield Music in Arkadelphia, has agreed to be the sound man again this year.
T-Shirt advertising sales are in process. Sponsors who want their name and business on the backs will be charged $175. Contact Angie Harper at City Hall for details. This year’s shirts will be ocean blue. The 2016 shirt design is yet to be determined.
Shirts will be available before the event, if delivery goes as planned. Cost for a Forest Festival shirt will be $15 Some Camo shirts from last year are available through Harper at City Hall for a smaller amount.
Harper said, “No Way Pulpwood has agreed to pay for our night band again this year. There is a band that plays Boogies in Hot Springs that he recommends.”
The club tabled the band choice issue for now, but President Clayton Franklin said the Boogies band sounds like it would be popular. They play a variety of dance music.No way Pulpwood has also agreed to bring logging equipment for demonstration purposes.
Auctioneer Bob Goodwin will MC the annual auction. Last year the auction time was moved up to happen about 1 p.m. before the costume contests and the club plans to do that again. Bunny Childres and Angie Harper will collect auction donations. Proceeds go toward the following year’s festival costs.
According to Nolan, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission has agreed to bring their large aquarium with the big fish swimming around to entertain young and old.
Booths for this year’s Forest Festival are already being scouted out and rented around the downtown area. Heather Nolan is in charge and can be reached at: (870) 353-7080. Regular booths are $25 each and food vender booths are $150.
The Community Development and Entertainment Club plans to add a scavenger hunt to the Forest Festival program for 2016, with clues being given out every day for a week before the event. The hidden prize, according to CD&E President Clayton Franklin, will be $500!
Harper said the event works well at the Hope Watermelon Festival and she is friends with the person in charge from the Hope Chamber of Commerce.
Franklin said, “Even if we have to pay some, we should get somebody to help us organize ours that knows what they are doing.”
Harper said she would talk with her friend, who has already volunteered to help all she can and let her know that her hard work will be rewarded.
The next organizational meeting for Forest Festival 2016 will be at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 13. Those interested in joining CD&E are welcome to participate.

Mayor applies for playground grant

in Gurdon for $45,000

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Gurdon City Council approved the mayor’s request Monday to apply for a $45,000 Arkansas State Park grant designed to create a new neighborhood playground area.
Mayor Sherry Kelley said her plans are to put the playground equipment in a strip of land close to the police department and construct a half-court basketball court on the City Hall parking lot.
The due date to apply for the grant was today, Friday, August 26 and the approval should come in some time this winter if Gurdon gets the money.
“I looked at several locations to submit, as far as placement for the new playground, but there always seemed to be some problem in other areas,” she said. “If we get the playground, it will be free to the public and a fence will be put up between the play area and Cherry Street so children do not run the risk of running out in traffic.”
The mayor took her City Council members outside during the meeting and explained where she had in mind to put slides, swings and more.
The Arkansas State Parks money falls under the category of a “fun grant” for under developed neighborhoods.
In other business, the City Council approved a new water department budget
. Mayor Kelley complemented Virginia Childres, water department employee, for running her department alone and efficiently.
“Since we lost the girl who was working with Virginia, that budget is $12,000 less than last year,” she said.
“We are putting a lot of that back for repairs.”
Councilman Danny Paull asked the mayor to look into fixing some water leaks over by the old Gurdon Hospital.
She said she will bring it to the attention of her city workers and take care of the problem. Mayor Kelley complemented her two city workers who do most of those repairs.
She said her new worker, J.D. Smith is doing a fine job, as is her more seasoned worker, Ricky Evans.
Moreover, the council voted to replace the late Doug Quillin with Jeremy Williams on the Housing Authority Board.
Mayor Kelley said the Gurdon Police Department is writing quite a few speeding tickets now, using a new radar gun.
“I believe this will make us a little needed money and it is a good thing for the community,” she said.
“They wrote one guy a ticket for going 98 mph in a 55 mph zone. It turns out the guy has had 28 speeding tickets. I was real happy they stopped him.”
City office worker Angie Harper asked the City Council to adjust vacation times to where everyone’s year began on Jan. 1, regardless of starting date.
“As it is, you have to go by their actual starting date of employment and that gets confusing,” she said.
Councilman John Pace suggested a city employee should work a year before any holiday time is allowed.
The issue was tabled and may come up again at the Monday, Sept. 26 City Council meeting.
Mayor Kelley told the City Council the annual audit report looks good this time and auditor’s have already started on another one.
“I told them to keep right on doing it, year after year, so we can stop any problem they may find early,” she said.
As to the now defunct Gurdon Pond out toward Beirne, Kelley said Kingswood put in a bid in to clear cut the area and buy the wood. Council members agreed to invite Rowdy Prince to make a new bid, as the RV Park and restored lake appeals to them.
Moreover, the City Council placed the solid waste budget ordinance 16-005 on third reading and it was approved.
Mayor Kelley gave an update on the Gurdon Light path effort and said things were still up in the air but she has not given up hope.
The mayor said the path to the light, which will be around 150 feet long, could be built and ready for business by January.
She mentioned the Market on Main will host a “serve safely” seminar on Thursday and Friday, Oct. 6 and 7. The class is taught and tested during the seminar.
“Once someone passes the class, they can open their own restaurant there for a year. The class will cost $110.”
Mayor Kelley said a new Sonic Drive-in will open at the corner of Highway 67 and Sticky Road.
The old Gurdon Sonic on Main Street will remain open until the new one is built and functional, according to the Sonic manager.

Gurdon School Board searchs

for new GHS principal

Search on for new principal…
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Superintendent Allen Blackwell told Gurdon School Board members Tuesday his office has received between 15 and 20 applications for the position of GHS principal and has “already checked out four or five that look pretty good.”
“We have a retired or unemployed file, and we have a file with names of qualified candidates who could mostly likely get loose from their contracts and come to work for us,” he said.
Blackwell told the board that Mark Price of Foredyce “may be my best personal pick so far, but this decision will be made by committee and certainly not by me alone.”
Blackwell did say that Price has revealed that he could get out of his present contract as an assistant principal. School Board member Gary Kirkpatrick said he would like to see the committee narrow the playing field down to three potential principals and then let the School Board make the call. Blackwell seemed agreeable to the suggestion, but said if board members were to have the final say so it was probably not necessary for there to be School Board members on the application committee itself.
“When faced with hiring someone in the past, we have created a hiring committee with representation from our teaching staff, the athletic department, administration and the School Board,” he said.
“It may not be necessary for a couple of board members to be on the committee since the entire School Board will be involved in making a final decision (from a field of the top three candidates).”
School Board member Bernard Hatley expressed concern that some of the applicants who are qualified but did not make the cut will have questions. Blackwell said the other remaining two principals, for Cabe Middle School and Gurdon Primary School, will be involved with the committee and can answer many questions applicants may have.
He said the next School Board meeting will be at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 20 and he suggested a special interview meeting for those top three candidates to be questioned by the School Board be set for 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 28.
His suggestion came after board members expressed concern that they do not want to be burdened with regular monthly business at the same time they are trying to determine which applicant would make the best Gurdon High School principal. School Board members agreed to the special meeting on Sept. 28.
In other business, Board member Hatley asked about a possible change in policy to where students can no longer defend their positions if there is an argument between a student and a teacher.
Blackwell said, “This is not true. We want to hear both sides before any penalty is considered. True enough, we will listen to our teachers first if there is a problem, but we do want to continue to hear from the student side of things as well.”
Moreover, Track Coach Brandie Kirkpatrick was hired by the School Board as the new tennis coach. A discussion of nepotism policies proceeded that approval but Gary Kirkpatrick being on School Board was determined to be no problem in the additional job approval for his wife.
Tammy Sanders will help with special education “because one of our special needs students has severe assessment issues and we need another person,” Blackwell said.
“Coach Pace’s starting date was Aug. 8 as Dean of Students and all is going well at the high school.”
Blackwell told the School Board that Ms. Cena Clark, the school librarian, is teaching three classes of English and will get a pay raise.
“If a teacher is willing to do it, we can even utilize a prep period for student benefit,” he said.
The School Board approved participation in migrant education, reviewed Act 1120-5 percent salary increase, approved the 2016-17 certified and classified salary schedules and reviewed new state policies.
The committee to hire a new GHS principal will begin immediately upon solidifying its formation with the task at hand. Although Coach Pace is doing well in the interim, it is the desire of the School Board to have a more permanent “principal” in place.

Tailgate Traveler praises

football programs for teaching

competitive integrity

by John Nelson, Tailgate News editor

Next weekend, that is Sept. 2, I will begin my annual route around area high schools to shoot football action pictures.
I always enjoy encouraging the new “Boys of Fall,” the band members, the cheerleaders and fans in the crowds with action photos I can publish and create fodder for their scrapbooks.
After all, their young ladies and young men will soon be grown and moved away. Children turn into men and women and parents get a bit older.
Michelle and I have five kids between us and seven grandchildren. I am 57 and she is 49. Sometimes we feel too young to be grandparents, but our oldest boys are 10 and 9. Our youngest grandchild in not 2 just yet.
And we have one child, Jacob, 27, who has yet to start his own family. There is always a late bloomer, so to speak.
At any rate, I entitled this column “Looking forward to a peaceful weekend.”
I did that because this is the last weekend before I get busy with football coverage and the first weekend in five that my wife and I have not been babysitting grand kids.
Sometimes us young grandparents need a bit of time to ourselves. I am hoping this weekend will be such a time.
Gurdon has been getting a lot of rain here lately. We did have a small break in the weather and I mowed down our 8 inch high lawn. I sure am glad I did, as it rained again this afternoon.
My idea of a peaceful weekend is to publish this magazine, make my weekly adjustments to the web site and get caught up on some karaoke entertainment. Oh, don’t get me wrong, she and I do not go out very much, but I enjoy singing a lot. I usually sit back in my room after she goes to sleep on a Friday or Saturday night and sing along on You tube with old classic rock and roll and old country music tunes.
I also enjoy gospel and sing some of that as well. Michelle and I go to the Assembly of God Church in Gurdon and I enjoy their old fashioned Christian music quite a lot.
I also really enjoy their Sunday School and hope to make Carla Jester’s class this weekend. When we do not have grand kids to look after, we can normally go to both Sunday morning services.
I may also go walking at Gurdon Pond and park. I love that place and have been a park and pond area dweller since arriving in Gurdon back in 2004.
I also love fishing and may try my hand at a bit of that this weekend as well. That will depend on how much of this unusual August rain we continue to get.
In addition, I love to read. I read a lot of romance novels and also mysteries. My dad, Dr. John W. Nelson, was a medical school professor for many years in Oklahoma. Dad used to tell me that no matter what a person likes to read, moving the eyes across pages is very important. It is the essence of much learning and keeps the brain working.
He also recommended I do a lot of walking. I don’t do as much as I should, but walking up and down the Gurdon Pond bank is my favorite spot to get with it.
It also gives me some solitude in a healthy, natural environment. I am half Cherokee, one fourth English and one fourth Swedish. I suppose my desire to be outdoors in nature has something to do with my genetics.
I have a suspicion it may have even more to do with the fact that I was raised on an Indiana farm by my father’s parents as an only child.
I spent a lot of time walking in our woods and dreaming of things I wanted to do as a teenager. I still have a few dreams left. I pray the Good Lord above grants me a bit more time to achieve them.
Our kids in school have a lot of dreams too. Hearing about what they want is my favorite part of attending games. Whether it is a football player, a band person, a cheerleader or a teenage fan attending the game, talking with young people is my favorite part of being a school reporter and a sports writer. The games are important, in that life is a game of competition and those games get youngsters used to the idea that life can still be good whether you win, lose or draw.
Of course, like most of us, I like to see them win as much as possible. One of the things that bothers me about our changing times is the discouragement of competition coming out of our public schools.
My grand daughter, Rayne, is 5. She is in kindergarten in the Benton area. She told me this past weekend that her teachers give her high beams if she does a task well. Me, I would rather have an A for an excellent accomplishment. The high beam stuff is just not as good of a tool of accomplishment.
And folks, children are as different as bees are from butterflies. It is OK. In my Baby Boomer generation, we were encouraged to develop who and what we were and pursue the development of the talents we have and enjoy from cradle to grave.
I believe in choices. I do not believe people are entitled to much of anything, although I am in favor of charity for the disabled. As far as someone who is able bodied, I feel as George Washington did, “If you will not work, you will not eat.”
So I encourage our teenagers to learn to work, learn that integrity pays off and treating folks like you want to be treated is about the nicest thing you can do for your friends and acquaintances. So come on to the games if you get a chance. I will be on the football sidelines, as is my habit, taking photos of touchdowns, sacks and good runs.
Football is a game of strategy and strength. So is life. Participating in such a competition is good for these young souls.
Come on out. Be a fan in your local town and let the coaches and team member know you are alive. As the music stars in my past have said in humbleness, “We do it all for the fans.”

Water…

By Debbie Arthur

Paragould Contributor
I awoke this morning to the rain tapping against my window. There is something extraordinarily comforting about the sound of rain coming down, the distant rumbling of thunder, the stillness of the house in early morning, a cozy down comforter to snuggle back into, and knowing you don’t have to be anywhere anytime soon. The absolute luxury of sheets, silky and cool on the skin. Stretching arms and legs to all four corners of the mattress, nobody obstructing the way. Oh my goodness, absolutely divine!!!
Amazing, the fascination we have with water! The sounds it makes, whether it be rain falling, ocean waves crashing, a fountain splashing or waterfalls tumbling over the rocks. How refreshing to dive into the pool on a hot day, or to float weightlessly buoyant on a dive or just paddling around observing the fish and sea creatures when snorkeling.
I can sit and stare at the reflections as they play off the surface of a pond, or watch the waves push and pull the sand into countless shapes on the edge of the sea.
There is such force in water. Something so awesome in the way a single raindrop can turn into a raging flood. A gentle wave can build to tsunami force, destroying all in it’s path. Demanding respect, making man feel so insignificant. Shaping our lives at its whim. Absolutely nothing can survive without it. Yet the spring rains falling lightly on the earth feeds and nurtures her, coaxing the seeds to sprout and life return to a sleeping world.
And I don’t care what anyone says or argues, there is nothing more thirst quenching than a good ol’ glass of ice water! Maybe it’s because we are made up primarily of water?! Nothing like H2O!!!!!

 

EDITORIAL – Good Times Ahead…
Gurdon is getting two new banks within this next year. They are Southern BanCorp and the Bank of Delight.
We have always been told to follow the money if you want to know about positive progress. This theory is backed up by the anticipated 500 new permanent jobs in the area.
The jobs are to come from the lumber industry and should be good enough in pay to help many families in the area.
We would like to congratulate our residents for their good fortune to be and say that we believe it will give a lot of folks a better life.
The first set of jobs will come from the area’s biggest employer, Georgia Pacific Lumber. The second set will be from a new pulpwood facility being built at the industrial park in Gum Springs.
The third set of jobs will be available through yet a third lumber business in Amity.
In fact, the building of the pulpwood facility will also create nearly 1,000 temporary construction jobs to last around two years.
Moreover, many independent lumber haulers should have a noticeable increase in business due to all of this expansion.
We came to Gurdon in 2004 and were told about a dozen or so businesses that used to occupy our town. We are waiting with anticipation for their reopening.
A friend in Malvern told us rumor has it that Gurdon will grow like Bryant did a few years back. We are very glad to have settled in what we thought was a sleepy little city. We just might be around to see Gurdon in another “hay day.”

Reddick Files: Chapter 6: My first love Marianne

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Mike and I had a lot of long talks during the 22 years we knew each other. On one such night, he told me of a love that happened when he was just too young to settle down.
I am not really sure how to spell the name of his first wife, but for purposes of this story we will call her Marianne.
It is a story of a first love that happened before he went away to be in the Army. Mike said he was 18 when they married and she could not have been much older.
Apparently Mike Reddick went to New Mexico in a trip away from Paragould, Arkansas and met a girl who he claimed as his first bride. Now we will come to the part where Michael tells you what he told me about the relationship.
THE FIRST MATRIMONY
Nelson is right. I was very young. Too young really to take on anything as serious as marriage. But I jumped in head first, something I did many times in my 65 years on earth. Fortunately, I married a very nice woman. She was my friend right up until the end of my days.
Marianne had a big heart. We had a daughter together named Rachel. She had a daughter named Kayla. I never got to meet my grand daughter, which was one of my regrets in life.
Marianne got pregnant and I had to do two tours in Vietnam. When I got out of the service, we tried to make it work but both of us agreed we had just been too young for marriage responsibilities. She met another fellow somewhere in there and after our divorce Mr. Davis became her husband and raised Rachel. I knew I would not be around so I signed the papers and let Marianne and her new husband adopt my daughter.
That way Rachel would have a stable upbringing. I did not really know what I wanted out of life back then, but I was determined to go find out. The government recruited me shortly there after because of my sharp shooting ability and so I ended up working for them just shy of 30 years. This kept me traveling a lot, but I did visit Rachel quite a bit in those early days.
Marianne used to send me chili that was really hot because she knew I loved to cook and really appreciated those spices. John’s daughter Kelley likes hot things too and I gave her some one time. When I cooked it for John, I had to make it a little milder.
Nelson kept asking me what happened to Marianne so I gave him a tale. The adventure about Marianne involves how she and her husband Bill inherited a bunch of money and raised 19 kids. Nelson never knew whether to believe me or not when I told him about their huge fortune. Far be it from me to clarify it now. If Rachel ever reads this, she knows the truth. I laid it on thick, saying the couple inherited millions.
I even told John that Rachel went to medical school and became a heart surgeon. I went into a lot of detail, but my daughter told old Nelson the truth at the funeral. She works in emergency rooms and such, much like his daughter Kelley does. Ok, so I exaggerated. But it is a little late to sue a ghost…
I used to go out to New Mexico and visit with Rachel and tell her jokes. She was a bright girl and a joy for me to be around. I had a cabin out there in New Mexico for years and loved to stay in it so I could hunt and fish. I told Nelson about how I collected Bear Root (O’Sage) from up in the New Mexico mountains. I used to make a pretty good living doing that.
New Mexico was sort of my hide-out when I was between government jobs. There were huge holes up in those mountains where I could dispose of anything I needed to without fear of anyone ever finding out. In my profession as an assassin, this came in handy from time to time. I guess you could say i finally admitted where the bodies were buried.
Just like Nelson, Marianne was never really afraid of me. I liked that. When you are a government assassin with a name like Eagle Thunder, finding kind hearted souls who can accept you as you are is difficult to say the least.
I would tease with Nelson about how people changed so much over the years. I told him Marianne had gained a lot of weight but sure was a jolly person. The bottom line was that nice lady needed a stable husband and I was just not a guy who fit her needs.
I traveled too much and lived life too close to the edge. I seemed to thrive on danger and hunting. Whether I was hunting other animals or the human animal, I loved hunting.
Nelson still has something I was proud to have received. I was a lifetime member of the North American Hunting Club out of Minneapolis, Minnesota. If there was anything really normal about my life, it was those years in New Mexico and the years I spent as best friends with John. The rest of it was a series of wild times and adventures – courtesy of Uncle Sam.
So as to Marianne, sure, I regretted not being stable enough to be her husband in many ways. But her new husband, Bill Davis, was a good friend and a good father to my daughter.
Sometimes you just have to keep the good thoughts in your mind and cut loose the stuff you can not change. I suppose that is the Michael Reddick version of the serenity prayer.
When I had my accident 15 years before I passed away, I went to New Mexico after I got well enough to travel. As I may have mentioned, I was ran over by a double-cab pick-up truck, ironically driven by a Baptist preacher, in Chattanooga, Tenn. and spent months in Roots Hospital at Little Rock, not expected to live.
I told Nelson that was one reason I attended the Church of Christ and pretty well stayed away from Baptist churches.
Ironically, the accident hurt the minister more than it did me. It left me crippled for life, but it left mental scars on him. He had to be hospitalized for awhile to get his head together. I visited him when he got out and told him I was OK so not to worry about anything.
I did learn to take care of myself after being ran over, despite having to deal with wheelchairs and scooters for the rest of my life. I had 28 operations to relieve pressure on my brain as a result of nearly being road kill.
And I was in a coma for several weeks. When I woke up, Rachel was there for me. I finished my rehabilitation and moved to New Mexico for a time, with Marianne taking care of the details.
I spent time with Marianne and Rachel, but missed Arkansas, my mother, my brothers and my sisters – and of course, Nelson. Even though the life in New Mexico was not so bad, I eventually returned to my home town of Paragould, Arkansas to take care of my sick mother and sick brother, Phil.
Besides feeling needed by my Arkansas family, I am afraid I just felt too out of place in New Mexico without being physically able to hunt and explore those mountains like I did in my youth. I needed purpose in my life. When I got home, I renewed my friendship with Nelson. That made me smile. Nelson always did make me laugh. And as I told him, that is why I never killed him.
As to Marianne, we kept in touch. And she kept sending me chili until my last days. In truth, we could have had a good life together if I had been a bit more traditional in my lifestyle.
But as it was, when I lived there near her as a cripple, I felt like a fifth wheel. Some things in life are just over and then you move on – even first loves.
Moving on to another subject, my work for the government was not always about snuffing some poor soul out of existence. Sometimes I was just assigned to special events.
I remember a lot about my dealings with the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). In the next chapter, I will tell you a funny story about an Indian Chief who refused to become a potato farmer.
Although embarrassing to some of our national leaders at the time. this next adventure does show the true way many Native Americans view life – with a streak of stubbornness when it comes to the old ways of hunting and gathering for a living.
So get ready to laugh again in Chapter 7. I am afraid I was always better at comical stuff than things from the heart.
This next story really did happen. Really. Well, it will be up to you to decide. I need to get to bed after I feed my favorite dog Mugsy. Yes, even our deceased pets are welcome in West Heaven.

Edward Jones representative says

election year effects market very little

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Blake Bell, Edward Jones representative from Arkadelphia, told Gurdon Rotarians Thursday that political changes rarely effect investments and the real essence of successful investing is to inspect products and how well they are selling in the current market.
“The market is based on goods and services being bought and sold,” Bell said.
“Millionaire Warren Buffet once said you invest not with your heart but with your head.”
Bell said people get concerned with events such as Great Britain leaving the European Alliance and terrorist attacks, but the secret of making investments work is to stay the course and use tried and true techniques of researching the marketability of products, not who is elected president.
He noted of the past 20 presidencies, the stock market has gone up 18 times and only dropped twice on an overall basis. The downturns came in the year 2000 and again in 2008.
“Overall, buyers and sellers do not care about who is elected president,” he said.
Bell said a better measuring stick is to check how top U.S. company Apple is doing in sales. That fact, he said, effects the market a lot more than United States President Barack Obama.
Bell noted that banks pay savings customers less than 1 percent in interest money in current times.
“As to investments, we use rule 72 and it is pretty accurate,” he said.
“In other words, if you can get in a conservative program making 10 percent interest, then in 7.2 years you will double your money.
“If you stick with a bank and 1 percent interest, it will take you 72 years to do so.”
Bell said his biggest complaint is from people who don’t understand that succeeding in the investment world does take time. He recommended a person invest what they can leave invested and give it time to grow.
“Robbing Peter to pay Paul and pulling your money out to pay a cell phone bill does not help you in the long run,” he said.
Bell said 61 percent of people think the market will be more uncertain in an election year but historically this does not seem to be the case.
He said stock market rises since 1961 have risen on the average of 8.7 percent while Republicans were in the presidency and 13.1 under Democrat presidents.
He said 35 percent of S&P 500 is effected by the national economy, where a president’s policies could make a difference, but in the modern world 40 percent of the market is based on economic relationships with other countries in regard to products and sales.
He noted President Bill Clinton had a 17 percent growth in S&P, which has been the highest during the past 20 presidencies.
“Clinton did a good job with foreign relations,” Bell said. “Edward Jones sticks with products and services not effected by the weather. Commodities are not included in our investments. We are also not about non-proven penny stocks. We stick with what time has proven will work.”
Bell said an investment of $50 a month ($600 a year) can be a good starter point with Edward Jones.
“I like what I do and the people I work with,” he said. “Growing up on a farm, I appreciate the honesty at Edward Jones and watching people have success.”

American lady missionaries

help less fortunate in Nigeria

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
A 28-year-old college educated woman from Arlington, Virginia made a decision in 2013 to forego traditional career climbing to undergo a long-term mission trip with her retired mother to Nigeria in order to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ and assist a third-world type people in the areas of food supply, medical care, shelter and spiritual hope.
When asked about her quest, Dorborah Ann Harrison said, “I will not stop my mission at any point because I want a good life for these people. Whether it is me that is directly involved, or whether God moves me to another mission field, this is my Christian calling.”
Her organization is called Deb Charity Innovation Outreach/Deb Feeding Outreach for the Poor, Needy and Homeless. The organization is in need of financing their effort but has survived for 4 years with many victories in improving the lives of people who did not understand how to help themselves out of their very difficult economic situation.
Deborah said they have had success at spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the many states they have traveled in Nigeria, with around 200 souls accepting salvation every year. However, she admitted, feeding them and getting them medical attention has been a big priority “as when someone is hungry or sick it is hard to make them listen to the Gospel.”
“My mother, a retired United States government worker, came here to do what she could years ago and I came to see what it was all about,” Harrison said. “Seeing them fed, educated on how to farm and feed themselves in the future touched my heart. And seeing them accept Jesus Christ and his New Testament teachings has been awesome. I do not regret my decision to stay.”
The following is Deborah’s story of what she has been through in Nigeria. Her mother started the missionary work in 2012 and she joined her in 2013. Current funding spent on those in need by the Innovation Outreach ranges from $30,000 to $40,000 per year. Deborah’s mother, Ann Harrison, started the growing effort with seven people involved. She used some savings and even sold her home in Arlington, Virginia to put her equity into the outreach effort.
Her daughter said, “Our mission has been helping these people for almost 4 years now. We have been able to reach out to the poor, needy and homeless people down here in Nigeria. We are missionaries sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ who go around the world to save lives – reaching out to suffering and homeless people.
“Innovation Outreach workers have been to several states down here in Nigeria. We chose to be here in Nigeria because we did research on that urban and rural environment and found out that there are a lot of suffering people with hardly anywhere to turn.
“They lack so many things. Some of them are suffering from all kinds of diseases, such as severe malaria, and they desperately need medical care.
“The state of the Nigerian economic is very bad right now because the government officials here are not ready, or apparently willing, to help the situation. As to the Deb Charity Outreach efforts, so far so good. We have been able to feed many people who were practically starving and save a lot of dying children suffering from all kinds of diseases.”
Deborah said the mission of the Outreach in Nigeria “is to make sure we help them in terms of good food, clothes and shelter – and to introduce them to the Gospel.”
“We motivate and inspire them with the word of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and give their lives a very good meaning. We want them to believe in the word of God through the evidence of Christian service in our donation and support.”
In addition to the food, clothing and shelter, Innovation Outreach provides the people of Nigeria with medical equipment, medical care and medicine.
“We also give them writing materials. We want to give them a very sound education and our goal and future plan is to build a very large rehabilitation center to teach various skills and empowerment,” Deborah said.
“We are here to make a good and positive impact in the lives of these people with our Gospel missionary work. We continue to trust God and believe with the help and donation of the people around the world we will achieve our aim.
“The Innovation Outreach Mission has a lot of crucial needs. We need funds to put a lot in place to make life easier for the poor, needy and homeless dying people down here. Together we can make this happen. We need more regular contributors so we can help the Nigerian people even more in the future. We have done a lot of massive feeding through Deb Feeding Outreach for the Poor, Needy and Homeless, and these grateful people are very kind and accommodating.
“I will not stop my effort until I see our goal reached of these people being able to take care of themselves. I will stay here for as many years as it takes because I want a good life for the people of Nigeria.”
Deborah did say that when the current mission work stabilizes, probably after quite a few years of development, she and her mother have plans to return to the United States and continue their missionary work state-side “but we will cross that bridge when we come to it.”
If you have a heart for the suffering people in Nigeria and want to help them with their physical and Christian spiritual needs, donations may be made through the closest Western Union service.
Churches and individuals who can are encouraged to send monthly allotments and enjoy the blessings you will receive from All Mighty God for your generosity. The Western Union connection is: Name….Oshio Emmanuel Ehis, Address….16, Ojetolu Street , City…..Onipan, State….Lagos, Zip code…..23401, Country…..Nigeria, Text Question…My best color, Answer…Pink.
Pray about it and then do however much Jehovah God directs you to do. If we all do our part, a child will live that would have died from starvation or malaria and that child just might grow up to be the next Billy Graham.

Tailgate Traveler gets ready for football!

By John Nelson

Tailgate News Editor

Things are going to get interesting for football fans on Friday, Sept. 2.
I will be going to Glen Rose to cover the annual rivalry game between the Glen Rose Beavers and the Malvern Leopards. Then, on the way home, I plan to stop by Arkadelphia Badger Country for a few photos of the Badgers verses Stuttgart.
Once I have the photography action of those two games, it will be officially Football Friday in my mind. The Southern Arkansas “Boys of Fall” for 2016 will go from getting ready to football action for real.
The Tailgate News started in 2007 and we are happy to be serving nine seasons as of this year. If you want to know which teams I will concentrate on taking home game photography shots for in 2016, see page 12.
Rather than continuing to go over the obvious liking I have for football season, let me tell you why. Football is a strategy game and is built on strength of players, understanding how to take orders from a trusted coach and a concentrated effort to win games by all players and coaches involved. Without the goal of winning, it would not qualify as a competitive sport.
But much like life in general, it is undeniably a quest to win. Football, cheerleading and band get students ready for what they will face post-high school.
That is they will get a taste of the amount of cooperative effort it takes to win at anything – whether that is a football game, a marriage, a career or a hobby of great importance to an individual.
I have a friend in Arkadelphia who pours his heart into mechanically preparing and racing cars. He has been doing that for probably more than 40 years.
Although car racing is not his livelihood, Sonny Reeves enjoys the competition and the friendships he has made over the years at the various tracks.
And like myself, he loves the thrill of winning. I see a lot of that in our “Boys of Fall” at the various stadiums I visit, such as Gurdon, Malvern, Arkadelphia, Glen Rose and Fountain Lake.
I was part of a discussion about the character of the American people Thursday at a Gurdon Rotary Club meeting.
It was asked if any of us thought the presidential election would make or break the American way of life and all of us said no it would not.
So whether we have another four years of the same socialist type policies as the Barack Obama administration has shown or if our capitalist billionaire businessman wins the election, the American spirit of freedom and competition was thought to be strong enough to prevail.
The city where I live is Gurdon, Arkansas. We still have respect there for God and country and no amount of political manipulation is likely to make us give up praying at football games or deer hunting with our guns. Strength, integrity and an exceptional lifestyle begins when you are young.
So go to the football games this fall and cheer on your future heroes. Some may be just hometown heroes, while some may go on to cure cancer or even be president of our country some day.
Give these young men some pleasant memories by letting them know you care.
Some of the players will start and end their football playing careers in high school. Others will extend their playing years to college ball or even the professional level. But all will need our moral support in order to succeed on whatever level their talents place them. See you at the game.

Reddick Files: Chapter 5: Two young guys having a blast

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Once upon a time, probably about 1995, I lived at Frankie Joe Parkinson’s Trailer Park on 707 Road near Paragould. I was between wives so Mike stayed with me quite a bit.
He told me a lot of stories back then. I had a girlfriend at the time named Linda, but she traveled a lot and was not home much. Linda Harris loved to hitch rides on trains and also to go places on the backs of motorcycles across country with friends she met just about everywhere.
During my separation and subsequent second and last divorce from my now ex-wife Doris, Linda and I got together. I found her again taking classes at Arkansas State University when I thought I might swap my writing career for a public school teaching license.
I had met Linda the first time in Marianna, Arkansas back in 1982 where I had my first reporter’s job out of college. But in this particular story, Mike and I were relaxing one evening after consuming some of his favorite chili recipe and old Linda showed up with one of her wild and wooly biker buddies. What happened next, well Mike would tell it better than me.
THE BIG SALE
Nelson and I laughed about the sale of the oregano in this story for years. Heck, I had brought it back from my cabin in New Mexico and all I wanted to do was give it to my brother Phil because I knew he liked to cook with it and all. So did Mom when she was living. But I sacrificed the whole five pounds of it in the biggest “drug” deal of my life. As I may have mentioned, I worked for the government undercover for nearly 30 years. But I was never able to find anything in the rule book about it being illegal to sell a numb skull, want to be road biker, five pounds of oregano for $500 cash while said biker was under the illusion it was marijuana.
While I was living, our law did not have a penalty for pulling one over on someone who was just plain dumb. At first I could not believe my good fortune. But what happened in the next few days was even funnier. Nelson was always broke, being a journalist and all.
Well, I should be more accurate. He lived ad sale to ad sale, or if he happened to be employed by a corporation from small paycheck to small paycheck.
The boy must have loved his journalism because he sure was not getting rich. So we lived simple those few weeks at the trailer park, while I was between assignments for Uncle Sam.
One of his other friends got drunk and was about to plow into me, but Nelson called Daniel off letting him know I was a Navy Seal and Special Forces and my training just might do him more harm than he expected. I used to tell Nelson I was planning to kill old Daniel free of charge, but I was just kidding him. I would have never intentionally hurt anyone he considered a friend.
So there we sat on the night I pulled the great oregano caper. I kept it to myself a few hours and then, after a couple of beers each, I explained to Nelson what I had done. He gave me that you have got to be kidding me look? Yes, he sure did. And then came roar after roar of belly laughing.
Needless to say, I bought the beer and food around there for at least a week. I stashed the other half of the money for travel pay. But we sure did have a good time. About three days after the incident, Linda and her biker friend showed back up. The biker told me that was the best pot he had ever smoked and wanted me to get him some more.
Linda’s face dropped in embarrassment. She ran him off shortly after that and asked him never to return. After a few days went by, Linda hit the road again. Nelson and I were stuck one night with nothing to do and no women to entertain us. What happened next was also pretty humorous.
Nelson never was much on drinking and driving so I had to do a lot of convincing. Fortunately, I knew all the cops in Green County so I was not too worried. I convinced him to go to the 412 Club uptown. I told him there was never any trouble there and oh were those single women who went in there built to the hilt. Four beers later, I had old Nelson convinced I knew all the back roads to get there and promised him there would be no violence or funny business. I even offered to pay his way in.
We slowly but surely got his blue and white Escort started and headed for town. This, he said, was my big chance to show him I knew my stuff about where to find the wild and willing females of Paragould. And like I said, I promised him there would be no violence to worry about…
We breezed on into the parking lot and got out. I strutted my stuff on up to the entrance way (at the time I was in good health and had my full head of Native American long hair) with my friend Nelson right behind me.
But the entrance way was blocked. Two guys were having one terrible fist fight. One of them ripped the other one’s shirt. Naturally, they were arguing over a woman. She stood by looking sort of sheepish.
Nelson gave me that look and said, “No violence right Mike?” I smiled like a Cheshire cat and said, “Oh this is just a little scuffle.”
One guy looked at the other and said, “Mom is going to kill you. I mean yes I am your brother and all, and Mom knows we like to tie up, but when she finds out you ripped this new shirt she bought me you are gonna get it!”
I smiled at Nelson. He started laughing. So did I. We asked the brother sluggers to step aside and let us get in the place and they did so with courtesy and smiles.
Once inside, we were in the presence of more beer, ample young ladies on the dance floor and even more sitting around the tables. Nelson began to cheer up right off. He sure always did love the ladies.
Well, we had not hardly got sat down until a young brunette with a decent figure and pretty face came over to our table and asked Nelson to dance. I tipped my beer and told John, “I told you so.”
Naturally old Nelson began cutting a rug with this broad and laughing, joking and holding her tight for quite a few slow dances. But then, he came back to the table and said, “I think I will just sit here with you.”
I asked him if he had made the gal mad or something. He said, “No Mike, she said I could take her back to the trailer and do whatever I wanted to do.”
I looked at my friend curiously, wondering if old Nelson were coming down with some sort of illness or something. I mean I had been under the impression that picking up a wild and willing woman had been his ultimate purpose for the evening.
After sitting and listening to the music for awhile, and sipping on our beers, I asked him what happened.
He looked at me and said, “Mike, even a pole cat like me has had some raising. That little girl whispered in my ear and said, “Honey you can take me back to your place anytime you get ready, but I will have to be all cleaned up and back here by 2 a.m., as that is when my husband always picks me up.”
I gave him that you gotta be kidding me look and we both started laughing. Needless to say, we left the 412 just as we came, two old friends, alone for the evening.
But it is not every day you run into a wife that has her stepping out down to a science like that little lady apparently did.
I am afraid if she had said that to me, I might have went for it. I was never as particular about such things as my best buddy Nelson.
So there we were, home again, safe and sound. Being home there in his trailer, and pretty well ready to bed down for the night, the reporter side of Nelson came out.
He started thinking of his two daughters and soon to be failed marriage to Doris and you know the routine. We both started crying in our beer.
He asked me did I ever think about my kid Rachel and wonder what it would have been like to raise her instead of her mother remarrying a step-dad who did the job?
I told him the whole story, adding a few things that Rachel never really did, just to make it more interesting.
After I died, Rachel told Nelson I was a story teller just like him, except I liked the adventure stories the most where I spiced up the adventures. She was right, but don’t worry Nelson, much of what I told you about me really was true – especially the part about how I loved you like family and always would.
So in Chapter 6, we will leave the realm of humor and I will tell you what happened between my first wife Mary Ann and I, all those many years ago.
For now, I think I will go have a glass of wine in my cabin here in West Heaven and turn in for the night.
Our next chapter takes place in New Mexico. I will try and be as truthful as possible, but still might have to exaggerate just a smidgen. After all, a story teller has to hold the attention of his audience right? I thought you might agree…

Editorial: The Silent Majority Needs to Vote

Editorial – The Power of the Silent Majority
We would like to say that voting in November is not optional for those of us who would like to elect a president who will not just be the equivalent of another four years of Barack Obama – or worse.
Despite proof that Democratic Nominee Hillary Clinton lied about her classified email mishandlings, favors 36-week (full term) abortion and has announced plans to continue a spending spree that Obama pushed full throttle ahead to the tune of putting our country $21 trillion in debt (the largest of any president) Mrs. Clinton is leading the polls.
If excessive borrowing from China and others were going to get America back to work, we ask why statistics show that manufacturing jobs nationwide have fallen 43 percent during Obama’s tenure? Is this what you want for the next four years? And do you want a continuation of executive orders given by a commander in chief who lacks the diplomacy to work with the United States Congress?
It sounds like to us that the only way to stop Hillary Clinton, whose honesty is questionable at best, from winning this election is for the silent majority of Christian oriented Americans to go to the polls and vote against her instead of staying at home and wringing their hands.
Donald Trump may not be perfect but his speeches are beginning to make sense. Donald Trump Jr. said in a nomination acceptance speech his father stressed that to make it in life and business you need a doctorate in common sense.
For example, while addressing a crowd in Ohio, Trump stressed the importance of extreme vetting of potential immigrants to curb the ISIS threat here. He said the vetting would include questions about backing the American Constitution over Muslim Shariah law and would attempt to allow only people to come into America who want to assimilate with United States values, not replace them.
He said those with values about hatred and bigotry would not be allowed in if he were president, as all Americans; Christians and non-Christians, straight or gay, have rights in this country and deserve to feel safe and protected by our legal system. The laws of this land recognize equality for women, not some Shariah law, Islamic perspective where women are property owned by men.
During his speech in Youngstown, Ohio, Trump called for working “very closely with NATO,” describing radical Islamic terrorism as the dominant global threat and one that must be confronted at all levels.
“We cannot let this evil continue,” Trump said of the radical Islam threat. “We can never choose our friends, but we can never fail to recognize our enemies.”
Mrs. Clinton assumes Americans are buying that everything she is saying is true. Perhaps it is time we the voters change politics as usual…

Pee Wee at Gurdon Sept. 10

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
The Pee Wee football game schedule for Gurdon was provided by Coach Quincy Dickens.
Highlights for Gurdon are as follows: On Saturday, Aug. 27, for 2016 Big South Pee Wee football, Gurdon will play at Coleman Stadium in Camden from noon until 3 p.m. against Hampton.
On Sept. 3, Gurdon pee wee team members will play Bearden from 3 until 6 p.m. at Bearden.
Sept.10 – Gurdon’s pee wee crew will play Lafayette County at the GHS home stadium from 6 until 9 p.m. Come on out and give them your support!
On Sept. 17, the Pee Wee Go-Devils play the Camden Bulldogs from noon until 3 p.m. at the Coleman Stadium in Camden.
On Saturday, Sept. 24, it is Gurdon verses the Camden Panthers from noon until 3 p.m. at Smackover in Norphlet.
On Oct. 1, Gurdon will play the Camden Lions at Harmony Grove from 3 until 6 p.m.
On Saturday, Oct. 8, the Pee Wee Go-Devils will play Magnolia from 9 a.m. until noon at Lafayette County. Then on Saturday, Oct. 15, Gurdon plays Harmony Grove from 9 until noon at Eldorado White.
Playoff schedules are to be determined and begin on Oct. 22.

Sherry’s Column: Things looking up at Main Street Market

By SHERRY KELLEY

Gurdon Mayor
Many of you may know that Gurdon is going to be the home of a new Southern Bancorp Branch. Last week I attended a Southern Bancorp reception at the Captain Henderson House. All of the Southern team, from as far as Mississippi, are excited about locating in Gurdon and being a part of our community. Bill Wright said that the new building will look great, the location is on Main Street near the Central Arkansas Development Council’s Gurdon Senior Adult Activity Center.
Speaking of the Center, last week at Rotary when our guest was Velvet Gonzales from the Gurdon Food Pantry, Royce Ann Barbaree prepared a special dessert. It was strawberry cake with 2 and 1/2 inches of fluffy white icing on top. She poured strawberry juice into the cake and the piled on the beautiful frosting. If you know Royce Ann, then you know that it was exceptionally delicious.
JoAnn Vann from the Clark County Extension Office will be coming to the Market On Main this fall to teach ‘Serve Safe’ a certified restaurant food handling class. I will let you know the date as soon as it is set. When you complete the class you can use the Market On Main as your very own restaurant and keep the proceeds. I am excited about this phase of the Market and this opportunity for would be restaurateurs. It’s a great deal and I will be happy to explain it to you in a future article or you can call me anytime at 406-1396.
Late July and early August were our slowest time at The Market, but that has worked well for our Main Street window campaign. Much of the work was performed in the air conditioned space. The store front improvements will continue into the fall. This past week has shown a real increase in booking for the public event space. Call the number above to reserve your date.
Our friends and partners at the Arkadelphia Regional Economic Development Alliance are working diligently on the Sun Paper project. It is an exciting time for all of us in Clark County. I am still working on two unannounced projects and hope to have something to report next week.

Malvern School Board accepts

minimum wage hike early

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
MALVERN – Malvern School Board members approved a governmental mandated minimum wage hike Monday that was not legally to go into effect until January in order to form a more accurate budget for the upcoming school year.
Superintendent Brian Golden told board members the hike would go from $8.30 an hour to $8.50 an hour and effect some employees who may not have salaries above the minimum wage – such as some custodial or food service workers.
“I say do it now so we can include the increase with our September budget,” he said. “We need to look at all phases of bus drivers and substitute teachers; places where we may not be paying above the minimum wage.”
Jace Roberts, Malvern schools chief of staff, agreed with Golden’s assessment of the situation. Not only would the 20 cents an hour wage hike help those currently in the district’s employ who are on minimum wage, it would save the board and Golden from having to redo a budget in January when the hike becomes law.
School Board members voted unanimously to accept the recommendation made by Golden and Roberts.
In other business, the board talked about keeping up its 27 school buses and how the current repair shop was very hot to work in. It was noted that it got up to 121 degrees in the bus repair shop this past week.
Although the idea of improving repair site conditions was discussed, no action was taken.
Golden noted the Malvern School District has 1,760 students riding school buses of the 2,050 total student population.
“This means 80 to 90 percent of our students ride a bus,” he said. “And repairs on our fleet do happen quite often.”
Golden further said that the Malvern School District buses are also used to transport students to the Boys and Girls Club.
In other business, the board approved the following candidates for recognition on the “Wall of Honor;” Richard Folds, Neome Crain, Margaret Baker and Deborah Taylor.
Moreover, the School Board approved a resolution for school board elections, changing the method of voting to absentee instead of open poll voting on September 20 because of there only being one candidate per position running.
Golden told board members passing the election resolution would save the district around $3,000.
In other business, the School Board members approved a tuition agreement with First Step Inc. Golden said First Step is paid through the special education department with funds derived from the federal government at $8,678 per student per semester.
The board also approved the 2016-17 pay rate for Sub Tech USA Inc., classified and certified substitutes.
After going into executive session for personnel discussion, the School Board accepted the following resignations, effective the end of the 2015-16 school year: Paula Cogburn, bus driver; Kristy English, bus driver, contract only; Cristi Nitch, Wilson School aide and Octavia Whitaker, special education aide.
The following new hires were also accepted by the board: Trinity Hughes, Wilson School special education teacher; Brittney Jobe, special education aide, David Jordan, bus driver and Brigitte Morehead, bus driver.
Under new business, Golden said the regular School Board meeting for September will be at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 12.
Moreover, the annual Malvern Leopard Golf Tournament will be at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 13. Golden encouraged participation in the 28th annual tournament “as it is a huge fundraiser for us.”
It was also noted that Blair Cox has been selected as “Teacher of the Year.”

Joann family buys Sears,

Arkadelphia will prosper with them

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
The Ledford family took over the Arkadelphia Sears store on Pine Street July 17 and are all working together to make the hometown store a continued success.
The store is now owned and operated by Harold and Kari Ledford of Joann. Kari said she is in charge of the back office and building relationships out in the community, while her husband Harold is the hands on the business kind of guy.
“Harold started working for Sears in 2009, under owner Jesse Taylor at Malvern, and managed that store until the first part of July this year,” Mrs. Ledford said.
Sears Hometown Store at Arkadelphia will continue to carry home appliances, Craftsmen tools (as well as other brands), lawn and garden equipment, electronics, parts plus continue a customer satisfaction service policy. For a complete run-down on what the store offers, visit it at 2919 West Pine Street in Arkadelphia.
Kari said, “James Calhoun had this store for 11 years and did a great job with the business and the community.”
She added that her family is excited to continue building the business and establishing even more ties to the Arkadelphia community and surrounding area.
“We intend to sponsor Arkadelphia Badger teams and more,” she said. “We are big Badger boosters.”
Kari said she and Harold are Badger sponsors for football, soccer, golf, band and cheerleading.
In addition to owning the Sears store, Harold Ledford owns a surveillance business that was previously owned by him and the late Daniel Pugh of Arkadelphia. Pugh was Kari’s brother and passed away of pancreatic cancer in September of 2015 – just six weeks after being diagnosed at the age of 42.
So the Ledfords support pancreatic cancer cure research at: lustgarten.org. The organization deals with pancreatic cancer assessment.
The couple also contributes to the Humane Society through the surveillance business.
Their big interest in the Arkadelphia Badgers stems, at least in part, from their children being involved at the school. Mrs. Ledford said their oldest son is Justin, 21, who will be a junior in college; daughter Madision, 17, who will be a senior at Arkadelphia High School and Jason, 15, who will be a sophomore at Arkadelphia High School.
CHANGES
Kari said she and her family and work crew will do some remodeling at the store to qualify it as an “America’s Appliance Expert.”
“This change will allow our customers to see a demonstration of washer and dryer, or a refrigerator, before they purchase it,” she said.
The floor space remodeling will start in about two weeks and take approximately six to eight months to complete. The change-over is offered through Sears, although Mrs. Ledford said, “The Arkadelphia store is our franchise.”
JUSTIN’S PLANS
Mrs. Ledford said her son Justin has been a big help getting the store started and that he will be missed this fall, as he travels back to Culver Stockton College in Canton, Missouri.
Justin said before leaving for college, as he has already done so as you read this, “I live at school, but am looking forward to working at Sears with my family during the summer and on other break times.
“I worked for the former owner, James Calhoun, for about three months. I helped with deliveries and got a bit of education about how things work at Sears in a hands-on manner. Of course, Dad has a lot of experience and I have also learned from listening to him (Harold Ledford) talk about his work.”
Justin is majoring in sports communication and coaching. He will complete his bachelor’s degree at Culver and then return to attend Henderson State University for his master’s.
Harold Ledford said buying the Arkadelphia franchise has been a great opportunity to get his family working together to build something that will help all of them to have a more secure future “and to understand how prompt and efficient customer service helps a business earn community trust through maintaining integrity in the operation.”

Reddick Files: Chapter 4, Yippie Yi Yae, Ride Um Cowboy!

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Mike and I lived together in Trumann, Arkansas, back in 1996, for nearly a year. We worked together on a newspaper called the East Poinsett County Progress.
It was before Mike’s tragic accident, where he was ran over by a double-cab pick-up in Chattanooga, Tenn. That accident left the special forces/navy seal crippled for the rest of his life. So this story is about Mike when he was in full form. It definitely stands out in my mind as one of the funniest things that ever happened in our friendship. I will let his ghost tell you the tale.
THE TRIP TO TUNICA
I suppose it was early winter of 1996 and I was living with Nelson in a shotgun house over Trumann, Arkansas way. I sold ads for him and he put out a newspaper for the area around Lepanto and Marked Tree.
But times were lean to say the least. We were barely making our bills and food was skimpy. It even got so bad we had to sell the refrigerator to his ex-wife Doris for $35 to buy enough food to survive. Still, we had a lot of laughs and good talks that year.
I was helping the FBI with some undercover work on the Wilson family there in Eastern Arkansas over some drug violation issues so my reason for being there was really two-fold. It was while we were living in Trumann together that then President Bill Clinton called our house and gave me something to do of a different nature.
It was a quick trip out of the country and back and hardly worth mentioning. Still, I had to make out a will and let Nelson know what I wanted done if I did not make it home. But Nelson seemed impressed that Clinton called us. I was glad he did and that John got to talk with him, as the encounter increased my reputability in the eyes of my sometimes skeptical friend. His grandfather had taught him a pinch of cynicism, which is probably a healthy quality for the most part.
So there we were, at our home in Trumann. I looked at a very dejected Nelson. The timing of our printing was in jeopardy over slim finances.
We were supposed to ride to Blytheville the next day and have David Tennyson print our East Poinsett County Progress for the week, but we only had $150 of the $250 we needed to get the job done.
Although we missed print deadline occasionally, we did our best not to. It was, after all, supposed to be a Thursday weekly. But since we had no backing but our own sales skills, things got nearly impossible from time to time. It never made Nelson quit though. I admired him for his tenacity.
On this particular Wednesday night, the Peckerhead Press (my pet name for our newspaper to irritate John) was done and it was about 8 p.m. We were ready to go to Blytheville except for the bucks. Even if I had given Nelson everything in my pockets, we still came up short. The times we missed deadline we went ahead and printed on a Friday morning and threw the yards late. I do not recall ever really missing a week completely, as the extra day of selling always did the trick to raise the money.
So there we were on that faithful Wednesday night. Neither of us had switched from coffee to beer just yet so we were stone sober, looking into each other’s eyes. I told Nelson we should go to Tunica and gamble $100 of what we had to see if we could raise the other $100 we needed. That way we could print on Thursday.
I gave him a big story about how I was a skilled gambler and this would be a sure thing. All he had to do was get me to the gambling houses. Since my friend was desperate, we got in his car and drove to Tunica, which was nearly a two hour drive.
It looked like snow that night but we had the money for the gambling $100 and to get a cheap motel. The food and drinks were free there.
We got to some Irish joint and I went to the slot machines. We cashed in our hundred so I would have the change. I waited to time the machines and watch them pay off and then I found an impatient looking fellow. Soon he left and I hit the jackpot. It gave us $150 instead of the $100 we came in with. I told Nelson I would win the rest at the black jack tables. Looking back, I should have just stayed on the slot machines. It turns out the black jack dealer was dealing from the bottom of the deck and we lost it all… It was one time when I was just trying to be way too impressive. See there, even a person with a genius IQ like I have screws up.
Not only that, we lost the $50 we had for the motel and ended up writing yet another $50 in checks before we went home.
By some miracle, Nelson sold well enough the next day that we paid all of this back and still got a paper printed, but boy was he mad. Probably the way we left the gambling hall was what set him off.
I came in there where the girly show was going on and Nelson was drinking free margaritas because I was actively gambling. I sat down and reported my losses. He was none too happy.
We went out to the car to leave and he got confused as to where the parking lot exit was. It was snowing goose feathers by then. Nelson hit the gas and the old Ford Granada went airborne into a plowed up field. I was in the back seat under a blanket, pretending to be asleep.
When we went airborne, I piped up, “Kawa Bunga! Yippie Yi Yae, Ride Um Cowboy!” Then we plopped down in the mud, stuck to say the least.
I stayed quiet under the blanket, uttering a few fake snores. John got out of the car and went for help. John had on dress clothes and his best and only overcoat. He ended up muddy up to his knees.
Nelson found a fireman that was gambling who had a heart. The guy came and dragged us out of the mud with his fire truck. The old Ford restarted and we headed back to Trumann.
I finally sat up and we stared at each other. We realized this situation sucked so bad it was funny. We laughed and shook our heads for what seemed like forever.
The next day we got things together and sold and sold ads until all was solvent. Still, we printed a day late. I never encouraged John to go to the gambling halls anymore, as I knew he would not take that chance again. After the money was made to stay in business that Thursday night, we were on our way home and the subject of food came up.
We stopped at a local grocery to get a few items. All of a sudden, I screamed through the store microphone, “Yippie Yi Yae, Ride Um Cowboy!” Nelson was at the back of the store shopping and not too amused. We made it home in silence. Then the laughter came again!
In Chapter 5, I will tell you about the time I sold five pounds of oregano for $500 to a biker who was convinced it was the best smelling marijuana he had ever smelled.
That happened when Nelson and I were at his trailer out at Frankie Joe Parkinson’s trailer park in Paragould, also somewhere in the mid-90’s. I will let you know those details after I think on it a spell.
I do remember it was before he met his third wife Tania, just before his second divorce from Doris, his second wife.
I suppose that would have put the time table somewhere in the year 1995. Gotta go now. I want to do some deer hunting here in West Heaven, where the outlaws never die.

Tailgate Travels: School days…

By John Nelson, editor

School begins at Gurdon and elsewhere in our region on Monday, Aug. 15.
I had the privilege of being part of the lives of four children going to school in my history.
They were my biological daughter, Kelley and my three adopted in my heart step kids, Charity, Danielle and Jacob.
My mother-in-law used to tell me that every child’s personality is unique, even when they are from the same family. I found that to be true.
But the experiences on the first day of school were usually predictable. There always had to be a psyching up for the experience.
I must say I wish I would have had the school days experience with my oldest daughter Erin, but she was raised three states away and I only got to visit her once or twice a year.
I love all five of my children very much, but they are, as Ms. Thelma said, very different critters. And that is the way it should be.
Erin told me she enjoyed school and loved band just like I did when I went. She is now a computer programmer in Fort Wayne, Indiana and seems fairly well adjusted from what I have heard.
Kelley enjoyed school and especially art and dancing. She is now a medical professional, working at an emergency room and with a blood drive company.
I can tell you a few first day of school memories with Kelley but suffice to say she seemed to be OK with learning and has turned out to be a dedicated medical professional and mother of three.
Charity was a bright kid and very curious about everything. She seemed to enjoy her school days and attended Henderson State University for a time, telling me she wanted to become a teacher.
At present, she works in the convenience store business and takes care of her two young children. Her school dreams got put on hold until her children reach school age themselves.
Danielle was quiet natured but also academically inclined. She has taken classes online, pursing a nursing degree, but is a stay at home mother taking care of her two children – once again postponing her career decisions until her youngest is at least school age.
And then there is Jacob. My son Jacob never liked school. He is mechanically inclined and works as a body shop man. He did graduate high school and has always seemed to be fascinated by history and odd things found in pawn shops.
Getting that boy to go to school was a challenge. I remember one occasion where we sent him off walking to class, some three blocks away in Marmaduke, Arkansas, and he simply waited around a little while and then went home. The principal saw him through our window and his hooky day did not go unnoticed.
So yes, every child is different in my family. I would be willing to bet it is the same with yours. But there are common elements with this school days thing.
Each child needs school clothes, lunch money and school supplies. This is never easy on the parents, unless they happen to be independently wealthy.
Organizations like the one where my wife Michelle works have been known to have programs in the past to help those who are struggling with the expenses of school supplies. I would like to offer a big thank you to Central Arkansas Development Council (CADC), churches and private businesses that help ease the burden on parents.
In Gurdon, breakfast as well as lunch is served to the kids. I had occasion to interview one first-time school goer a few years ago who told me he was looking forward to the good eats.
With the availability of food stamps etc., one does not think about hunger in America but it does exist. One poll a few years ago in Gurdon indicated 76 percent of the student body was eligible for free or reduced lunches.
Our kind hearted school staff has also been known to help hungry kids and to use personal funds to furnish backpacks and other school supplies. Again, they all deserve a big thank you.
One thing I always told my kids was to explore their talents, find a dream and keep hammering at it until the dream came true. I believe all five have done that in their own ways.
I have also told them, as I tell others, that my physics professor, Mr. Greg Swackhammer, was right, “You can not guide a parked truck.”
Life is a serious of experiments. I dreamed of being a writer and have done that professionally since 1980. I feel very blessed to have been allowed to by my God, my family and through the freedoms offered in the United States so far in my lifetime.
Life, to me, is about doing what you can to help others and staying busy using the talents Jehovah God gave you to use.
But to a kindergartner in 2016, it just might be more about exploring the minds of fellow students, understanding how to play well on the playground and being accepted by classmates and teachers.
For some kids this is easy. For the disabled, it especially challenging. So when you watch your kids get on the bus this year, encourage them to learn all they can about everything they can and be sure to give them a big hug before they go.

Editorial: Transenders disabled folk?

While we are sympathetic to folks with any sort of disability, we now read that a transgender mother is upset over a gender neutral bathroom provided by a school district.
When we were very young, our grandparents told us that if our ways were completely opposite of everyone else, maybe we should consider changing them. We also have a disability involving the nervous system which has been sympton free for 10 years.
Living a normal life with any disability is challenging. Sometimes counseling helps, but prayer to Jehovah God seems to help the most. The girl in the Yahoo News article tells us she is an ordained Christian minister with a 5-year-old transgender “daughter,” who was born with male sex organs.
The mother further states that the school district her kindergartner is attending is willing to allow her biological son to use a gender-neutral restroom. To us, this should suffice.
It is a public school system and the transgender issue has not been set into law. It is just a suggestion put forth by President Barack Obama that school districts accomodate transgender children and do not force them to use their biologically based restroom.
While the issue seems to have fallen by the way side somewhat in recent months, we do appreciate the school district in question for allowing said child to use a gender neutral bathroom.
If the mother continues to have a problem with the district’s policy, the answer for her is to go through proper channels and advocate a change in law. As the law stands now, the district would not have to accomodate her transgender child’s wishes at all. We commend them for having a heart and doing what they can.
Since the law is what it currently is, perhaps said mother would be better off home schooling her youngster and finding a Christian psychiatrist to take the case. The young biological boy will one day have to decide if it is more important to fit into society or to display his odd behavior. All moral issues aside, it would appear to us to be a psychological disability in need of treatment.
This world is no perfect place. If her child continues in a public school, a boy claiming he is a girl, it would seem to us that it would be like telling the other students at recess “now here is someone to make fun of…”

Henderson State University teacher

talks of succeeding in spite of dyslexia

By JOHN NELSON

Tailgate News Editor
Gurdon School District held its annual back to school breakfast Monday morning with close to 200 on hand to eat bacon and eggs.
Superintendent Allen Blackwell said all of the district’s employees usually come, along with sponsors and guests.
Dr. Patrick Winpie, of Henderson State University and previously from the University of South Dakota, was the guest speaker.
He noted how important never giving up can be to reaching a goal and said he had been diagnosed with dyslexia when he was young but still managed to eventually succeed academically.
“Sports saved me from becoming a school drop out, as when I was young and school was so hard I had that desire,” he said.
“When I was a high school sophomore, my coach gave me a test and let me into football. I could not read very well but could photograph things in my memory. I got by.”
Winpie said he had an art teacher who was trying to show him right and left brushing during his junior year. Winpie tried to cope with that and other tasks but was accused of cheating. He said he was not cheating, just suffering from dyslexia.
“My mother read an article on dyslexia and they had me tested,” he said. “They gave me two types of IQ tests. One was traditional and the other was about how fast you can put blocks together. I got a 60 and 160, which was way beyond the acceptable margin of error.
Winpie said he finished high school with a second grade reading level, due to his disability.
“All of this happened before the disability act of 1988, so my parents put out a lot of money to a psychiatrist every day for two and a half years,” he said.
“Then I went to the University of South Dakota, but spent more time playing football than I did studying.”
Winpie then went in the Navy for six years and was a code breaker. He said his dyslexia was an advantage in that type of work.
“Yes, I have dyslexia, but I would never change that if I could. It has helped shape me into an overcomer. Things you overcome do that,” he said.
Winpie said after the Navy he went back to the University of South Dakota and improved a .77 GPA to all A’s and one B.
“I retook 78 hours and got only one B in four years, the rest A’s,” he said. “I asked a teacher why abortion was not illegal and she told me to keep my personal opinions to myself.”
Dr. Winpie said he came from a family of educators so he ended up a teacher and loves learning and being around the kids.
“Dyslexia used to be my disability. Now it is my strength,” he said. “I don’t want excuses. I want solutions for my kids.”

Sherry’s Corner: Hard work paying off at Gurdon

By SHERRY KELLEY
Gurdon Mayor
Last week was a busy one. The water department has been working successfully on repairs. The street department has been keeping up with the mowing. Challenging work, especially in the extreme and dangerous heat.
I met a few new residents; one from Malvern and one from Pennsylvania. Both people said that they enjoy living in Gurdon and one said that they wished they had moved here sooner. They like our schools, affordable real estate, safe neighborhoods and maybe most of all our friendly people. Speaking of friendly these folks fit right in.
School Superintendent Alan Blackwell spoke at Rotary about ‘back to school’. It is going to be another great year at Gurdon Public Schools and the football players are gearing up for competition in the new division. Go Go-Devils!
The work on the store front on Main Street is moving along. The legend of the Gurdon Light is now on display next to The Market On Main. This week more will be added and eventually in addition to the legend will be a train, trees, night sky and a figure holding a lantern. The Gurdon Rotary Club has agreed to create a Rotary display in one of the windows and we will get to work on that, shortly.
Our community partners at Union Pacific Railroad awarded the city a grant to further develop The Plaza. The space received a real boost when the marquee sign was added last winter and now we hope to include three flag poles and flags; United States, Arkansas and Gurdon. I will keep you posted on the progress.
A positive appearance is important to encourage out-of-towners to take a closer look at our fine little town. Once they do they will discover, like our newest residents, this is a great place to live. Then they, too, will wish they had moved here sooner.

Chamber and Rotary Auction
set for Tuesday, Sept. 27
The annual Gurdon Chamber of Commerce and Rotary Auction/Banquet will be held at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 27 at the Gurdon High School Cafeteria.
Chamber and Rotary member Anita Cabe made the announcement on Wednesday.
Tickets to the event are $15 and will be available after Sept. 1 at Cabe Land Offices in Gurdon as well as in the First State Bank.
Funds from the auction are used for such projects as the Forest Festival costume contest, the annual Christmas Parade and Rotarian scholarships to upcoming Gurdon graduates. All purchases are very appreciated.

Principal leaves

on short notice

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Gurdon School Board met in special session on Thursday night to accept the resignations of the high school principal and an English teacher and to come up with a solution to fill the vacancies.
Superintendent Allen Blackwell, and School Board members, accepted the resignations of Harvey Sellers, Gurdon High School principal, and Ashley Blanton, GHS Englsih and journalism teacher.
“Both had signed on contractually to serve Gurdon schools another year, but the School Board and I do not believe in stopping someone from moving on if that is their choice,” Blackwell said.
School Board members went into executive session for an hour and came up with the following solution to the vacancies. John Pace, long-time retired head football coach for Gurdon and still a teacher, has accepted the job of Dean of Students at the high school. Blackwell explained that he will officially be superintendent and Gurdon High School principal until another full-time principal can be hired and Coach Pace will be in the GHS principal’s office “to help with matters of discipline and day to day operations.”
As for the English department at GHS, Cena Clark, school librarian who has an English degree, will take over those classes for Blanton. No new hire in the English department is anticipated at this time. The solution saves the district the cost of a certified teacher salary.

Malvern to accept FAA grant

for airport improvements

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Malvern City Council heard a research report done on the needed improvements and expansions for the Malvern Airport at the agenda meeting Monday, noting Pioneer as the low bidder for the $459,000 project.
Mitch McClelland, of McClelland Engineering, said Pioneer was the lowest bid of two for the Federal Aviation Association (FAA) grant project “and FAA just might pay all of it if you go with the low bid.”
McClelland noted that the other bid was for $506,376. He said FAA had originally pledged a grant that would pay 90 percent of the improvements, leaving Malvern responsible for the other 10 percent, but with Pioneer’s low bid “FAA should pay it all.”
A resolution to accept the FAA airport grant will be presented at the Monday, Aug. 8 City Council meeting, and the Council members are expected to decide formally to accept the low bid for the 1,000 feet of taxi-way and other upgrades.
McClelland said his engineering crew has noted there is no parallel taxi-way currently in existence at the Malvern Airport “and FAA considers this a safety issue.”
As to the hoped for changes at the airport, McClelland said the taxi-way creation is for sure because of the safety factor, the hanger could be replaced or upgraded, and the runway could be improved.
Council members and the mayor favored accepting Pioneer’s bid at the agenda meeting. If those plans follow through, Pioneer will do a workmanship and safety inspection of the new taxi-way and other accomplished improvements once the job is completed. FAA will also inspect and sign off on the project.
In other business, Council will place the proposed “Jake Brake” ordinance on the third reading Monday, bids will be accepted for water works repair under the Interstate 30 bridge, and an ordinance or resolution will be considered for levying taxes for 2017.
Mayor Weldon said, “We can pass a budget by resolution, rather than by ordinance, and passing it by resolution does not require paying to have it published in the newspaper. I think a resolution is the way to go in this case.”
Moreover, the mayor of Pearla came to report he had made a recent payment on Pearla’s long-standing water bill with Malvern “and I am doing all I can to get this paid off.”
Mayor Adams mentioned the figure of $69,000 and assured Council members the debt will be caught up.
In other business, Mayor Weldon noted Malvern has new LED lights at the VyDoc and recommended LED lighting for all of the downtown area. She said the cost would be $400 more to do the downtown as well.
The mayor said the bridge project is going slow because of a sink hole discovered on private property “and it makes me afraid to work on the bridge.”
Weldon said monies are currently available to work on city property roofs and she intends to repair the fire department roof and the roof on the new city building.
She said a leak on the police building has already been fixed. Moreover, a bus stop on rural Walcott could need repair.
CITIZEN FOR FOUR-WAYS
Michael Meyers addressed the City Council to propose a four-way stop for McKinley and Mississippi Streets, noting it is a block for the high school and the change is needed for safety.
Meyers said there are two existing stop signs on neighboring McHenry Street but two more are needed on Mississippi.
“If you have a four-way, maybe people will stop. As it is, I have had folks pull out in front of me after I stop and begin again,” he said.
Police Chief Donnie Taber said a special patrol will monitor that area.

Gurdon Mayor continues goal

of path to Gurdon Light

BY SHERRY KELLEY
GURDON MAYOR
The heat continues and I am cautioning our city workers and others to drink plenty of water and take frequent rests.
Rotarians gave me permission to display a Rotary sign up town. I will gather my workers and get on this venture.
The Gurdon Light historical resarch board is now on display in the store window next to the Market on Main Street.
Although it is slow go, I still have high hopes of creating a maintained path to the Light in the future for a tourism addition to our city.
We are hoping to get a grant to fund this and then use our city workers to maintain the mowing and such so that visitors can comfortably reach the site of the Gurdon Light.
I hope to bring a positive report to the City Council meeting this month. The August meeting will be held at 6 p.m. in City Hall on Monday, August 29.

Rotary hears optimisitic

speech from superintendent

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Gurdon Superintendent of Schools Allen Blackwell told Rotarians Thursday that the projected K-12 population for the upcoming school year is 710, which is four more students than when the school year came to an end this spring.
“There is really no way to tell the exact number at this time of the year,” he said. “But things are looking like we may be growing just a little.”
Blackwell said the projection does not include Pre-K because the district does not get an allotment for Pre-K students. Even so, he said, we seem to be growing in Pre-K enrollment as well.
Blackwell noted Pre-K has expanded from serving 40 students to serving 60. He said after school care is available for students K-4, and there are normally between five and 10 students in attendance.
The superintendent said the projected new jobs in this area, to become a reality over the next couple of years, probably has something to do with the slight increase in school population. As for the August 15 school year kickoff, Blackwell said school buildings and facilities are “ready to go for the students.”
“We did buy a new school bus this summer, which will be used for school trips,” Blackwell said. “The old trip bus will be used on a route.”
The superintendent said the overall school budget is tight this year because of a student population drop-off that occurred two school years ago.
“I am optimistic that our population will continue to increase which will mean the budget will get easier as time goes on,” he said.
Blackwell said an engine will have to be replaced in one of the school’s buses “and that engine blow-up was why we had to get a new one.” He said safety is the main concern and pledged never to put a dangerous bus on the highway.
“We try and get them fixed in a timely manner,” he said. “We did get our flat-nosed one back in working order. But the fleet had to be ready to go by the first day of school and now that we have the one new one it will be.”
Blackwell praised the school’s bus maintenance crew, siting “Jimmy and Darren do an excellent job keeping our bus fleet going.”
In sports, he said the Gurdon Go-Devils are now in 3A for football season, but this could be a good thing. The conference change could be temporary and comes up for review in two years.
“Since we will be playing harder teams this year in our conference, this should be great preparation for the playoffs,” he said.
Blackwell added that the re-doing of the conference agendas was supposed to create a situation where schools would have shorter bus rides to away games, but in the case of Gurdon he estimated the miles traveled “to actually be about the same.”
The superintendent said he is grateful for the school buildings he has to work with, but noted they are nearly 20 years old so repair work and painting will probably have to increase in the near future.
“We had to replace four air conditioning units this summer, due to the last two storms,” he said.
Darren Robbins, air conditioning repairman from Okolona, is in charge of fixing the school air conditioners and Blackwell said he told him the units were fried.
Blackwell said the cost to the district to get the air units replaced was between $14,000 and $15,000, “which was probably our biggest project for the summer.”
He noted work done on the high school gym as a big project that was finished before school let out and said this summer was mostly maintenance work such as getting the athletic fields ready for play.
As to staff changes, Blackwell said Amy Ledbetter is the new Gurdon High School guidance counselor, replacing Rita Guthrie, who retired.
“We are looking forward to a quiet school year,” he said. “We will miss Ms. Guthrie’s counseling and Pam Runyan’s great science fairs, but wish them well in their retirements.”
. Blackwell said Marcia Griffin also retired after 24 years in education at Gurdon.
“We are still looking for a new Spanish teacher, but in the mean time we will teach Spanish online,” Blackwell said.
Letha Duke, special education coordinator, left Gurdon to work at Hope and Leslie White went to Lakeside. White was the school’s speech therapist. Blackwell said the district will go with another speech therapist through a private company rather than to put one on contract.
“We have had them on contract before, but White worked for a co-op. That seemed to work better.”
The superintendent said the ACT style testing now offered in Arkansas will reveal more after a couple of years “when we have apples to apples to compare.”
“I would like to invite everyone to our annual school breakfast which will take place in the cafeteria at 8 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 8,” he said.

Reddick Files: Julie, the one…

By JOHN NELSON
Talgate News Editor
I heard it said that everyone falls in love sometimes. Nelson and I used to listen to a lot of records together when we lived in the same house at Trumann, Arkansas.
One such evening, back in 1996, the East Poinsett County Progress Weekly Newspaper that we worked on together was put to bed for the night and we were sitting around listening to old Harry Chapin albums.
Maybe you remember his famous single, “Cat’s In the Cradle.” It was a song about how time slips away from a father through work and responsibility and many fathers simply don’t make the time to create memories with their children that will last a life time.
Well Chapin also wrote many a love song and Nelson noticed I was crying when one particular one was playing. It was about a man who thought he had everything when he convinced the woman of his dreams to marry him but somehow she slipped away.
After a few more beers, Nelson sat and listened as I recanted a yarn about being married 3 years to the daughter of the man who ran the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) back in the early 1980’s. Her name was Julie and she was my everything. I told my friend of the time I spent in awe of her beauty and how I would have done anything humanly possible to make her happy.
We went dancing. We went to concerts. We took long walks in the woods. I even taught her to shoot a few of my guns. Honestly, she was not a bad shot. We shared a lot of laughs and a lot of romantic dinner dates together, before and after I put that ring on her finger.
What brought her to my mind was the fact that we went to a Harry Chapin concert together. It was one of our first dates, as Harry was killed in a car wreck in March of 1980. I was moonstruck by Julie. My heart soared like it never had before or has since.
We did not just make love. We melted together as one body, one soul, one spirit; or so I thought. You know the drill, Romeo and Juliet.
Well my fantasy love life got canceled out by not being able to get along with her Dad and something called green-eyed jealousy. Every time we went to see her father he insulted me. One day my knee jerk reactions caught up with me and I hit the old man. He went flying across the room. This was probably the beginning of the end for Julie and I.
My temper as a young man was hair-trigger at best. And my tolerance for bigotry against my Native American heritage was even less. I don’t recall the old IRS wind bag ever calling me a worthless Indian again, but the price I paid when I saw Julie’s eyes was much too big. She had seen too much of my dark side and that was something I could not take back.
My wife tried to make peace between me and her father, but hitting him with that wine bottle never seemed to be something he could get over. This was when I realized that unconditional love, at least in my life, was probably going to be only between me and my Creator. Other people seemed to be just too fickle for such a concept – and too thin skinned.
We lived together another year after that, but normally Julie went to visit her Dad without me. It was best for everyone’s sake. Arlington, Virginia was my home for nearly 20 years. I mostly deer hunted when I was not out on assignment. Julie knew very well what it met when the president of the United States called me.
When I was called into action as a government assassin, I had to make out my updated will, conclude all of my affairs as though I would never be back and then let Uncle Sam ship me to some foreign land to wait on a perfect moment to rid the world of someone our country believed to be a threat to our national security.
About six months before our marriage ended, I got a call from then President George Bush Sr. about a trip to an Islamic nation. It took about three weeks, but me, my weapons and my body in one piece, made it back home to Arlington. I opened the door to find a note.
“Dear Mike, I have gone to see Daddy. Will return in the morning. Love, Julie.” I found this unusual since my coming home normally met a passionate reunion, but I shrugged it off and went to bed. When my wife returned at breakfast time, she smiled but I could tell something was very wrong.
Nelson taught me one of his grandfather’s famous lines a few years later that applies to what happened. Old John Hans Nelson used to say that if someone is accusing you of some wrong that you never did, it probably met they were guilty of that specific wrong and trying to find some sort of justification. The line was, “The smeller is the feller.”
Back in the day, my looks and demeanor seemed to get me a lot of propositions from comparatively pretty women. Maybe they thought of me as some sort of handsome protector. All I know is I got a lot of offers, as maybe many young men do for any number of reasons. Julie accused me of taking these ladies up on their invitations to sample their wares pretty consistently the entire three years.
Being head over heels in love with my wife, these accusations were unfounded. But there she stood on that horrible morning, next to our kitchen table, with that look in her eyes like she had just been in the arms of another man. If any of you have ever been in a marriage, or relationship, where your partner cheated, you know exactly what I am talking about.
The tears began to well up in my eyes. “Who is he Julie?” I asked her. She stood there in silence but there was no denial. We lived together another couple of months with barely two words a day exchanged between us. Finally, she moved out without a word…
I went deer hunting in the snow the day she left. Although I had shot more than 120 deer in Arlington over the years, and I saw plenty of candidates that morning, I did not fire – not even once. I just roamed around the woods near my home, stunned and thinking.
It was the saddest day of my life at that point. The day my mother died and the day my brother Phil passed away would come many years later and be even sadder in many ways, but losing Julie changed me. Nelson’s father, Dr. John Woolard Nelson of Oklahoma, told Nelson, who told me, that divorce is the closet thing to a death in the family as exists in the world. Even though I would not hear those words until years later, the definitely rang true somehow the day Julie closed our door for the last time.
I was disillusioned with life. I had loved Julie unconditionally and even lived with her after she did not deny the cheating. But she left me mentally many months before the break-up. I sat in silence years later after telling this story to Nelson. He played his Harry Chapin album over and over at my request. Some say it is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.
I agree with them, but when you lose at love you never get over it entirely. At least I never did. It cuts you down deep, like the Rod Stewart version of “The First Cut is the Deepest” says. It leaves you feeling like your innocence has died. And for me, I never got it back.
I recanted my historical stories of adventure and love to you first in this book of yarns because I wanted you to get a feel for the human side of Eagle Thunder, a bought and paid for weapon of destruction belonging to the United States government. Being an assassin, most people were afraid of me. Some, like ole Nelson, were just cautious. He was different. John Hancock Nelson bothered to look beyond my professional actions to the man I was underneath all of that military training. Nelson went even further into my psyche. He got to know the little boy from Mounds, Arkansas that was still hidden underneath all of my training and gruff exterior. In short, I let him in.
I even called ole Nelson “Jackson.” When I fished for food at Mounds as a very young lad, I had an imaginary friend who always stayed by my side until I had some food to take back home. That friend’s name was Jackson, and like Nelson, Jackson was there for Mike.
In Chapter 4, I will move this book up a notch to an adventure of a much less serious nature that I had with Nelson back when we lived in Trumann. We will call the chapter “Kow-wa-Bunga, Yippie Yi Ya, Ride Um Cowboy!” It is the story of Nelson and me going to Tunica, Mississippi to gamble one snowy night when funds were low and a print bill was due.
I invite you to read it and get ready for some healthy belly laughs. Friendships, when they are any good, are built on love, laughter, loyalty and aggravation. That, at least, was my formula during my 65 years on planet earth.

Editorial:

President Obama gives Iran $400 million;

justice department knows it was illegal…

We would like to congratulate Barack Obama for being president of the United States after illegally paying an Islamic nation $400 million in ransom money for four American prisoners.
If it were not bad enough that Iran fleeced American for billions of dollars in an alleged attempt at diplomatically slowing down the nuclear power development of Iran, now President Barack Obama has once again bypassed Congressional approval and just plain done what he wanted to do.
According to Fox News on Aug. 3, Charles Krauthammer reacted to a new Wall Street Journal report that the Justice Department objected to the Obama Administration sending $400 million in non-U.S. currency just hours before Iran released four imprisoned Americans. The DOJ was overruled by the State Department, according to the report.
Krauthammer said “of course the Justice Department objected; it was illegal.”
He said that not only was the payment bad optics and a quid pro quo for the release of the Americans, but it skirted statute against dealing with Iran in U.S. dollars.
“They had to print the money here, ship it over to Switzerland, turn it into Swiss francs and Euros and ship it over to Iran,” he said. “If a private company had done this, this is called money laundering. The CEO would be in jail right now.”
It is the contention of this editor that Obama is so bent on establishing a significant green light to Iran, who has stated they want to kill us Americans and take over our free nation because we are “the great Satan,” that our current president will stop at nothing to empower his Muslim Brotherhood friends.
Yahoo News has also reported that given the choice, according to a quote from a book written by Obama, “If I have to choose between the Christians and Muslims, my heart is with the Muslims.”
Whereas we realize that Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump has a bad case of foot in mouth disease, we still contend that Trump is a better choice to replace Obama than his robotic friend, Hillary Clinton.
We urge you to consider your vote very seriously this fall. If the Islamic State (ISIS) is allowed to get eight more years of a toe-hold in the United States, Shariah Law is just around the corner.
And Clinton, with her pledge to more or less follow in her hero Barack’s footsteps, is apparently so bought off she has agreed to sell America down the ISIS river by continuing the Muslim oriented, non-Constitutional policies of Obama.
Trump is far from perfect, but is still the best horse running. We urge you to consider that Clinton proposes to keep the Iran deal in tact. With an added $400 million, the Iranian goal of achieving a nuclear bomb in much less than the agreed upon 10 years seems almost certain to be met.
Mrs. Clinton also wants to legalize 36-week abortions. For those unaware, those would be full-term babies! Have you no shame Hillary?
As to the $400 million that Obama claims was not a ransom for Iran to release four prisoners, we are very interested in his explanation as to why it was given to an enemy of the United States who has pledged to destroy us?
Again, congratulations Obama. You have gotten away with an illegal, immoral and flat out dangerous act to hurt the United States of America once again…
Face it folks, Obama is thumbing his nose at our Constitution, our checks and balances system of government and at our legal system overall.
A few years ago, this $400 million gift to the Islamic nation, under the table, would have resulted in impeachment. But not with our untouchable dictator oriented Barack Obama. Hail to the chief?

Tailgate Traveler predicts

bright future for Southern Arkansas

It has been a good sales week. I made quota plus, which does not happen all that often.
I write to you on Wednesday night and will have the full Thursday and Friday for news gathering and processing.
This makes the old Tailgater very happy, as I am still a writer by choice and a salesman by necessity.
Even so, over the years I have grown to enjoy the advertising business a lot more than I ever thought I would. I have found that helping other businesses succeed gives me a satisfaction. And, as a businessman, it does not hurt than when they succeed I usually get a bit more advertising to help in my survival pursuits.
I am currently promoting two banks that are coming to Gurdon, but have not forgotten our loyal and long-standing bank as well. I wish all three the best of luck in their business ventures and I must say I am very impressed with this new development for Gurdon.
My grandfather was a Swedish farmer and boy did he have a lot of old sayings about success. One comes to mind when thinking about our new financial institutions coming to town. Here it is, as best I can remember:
“One for the money, two for the show, three to get ready and four to go. And remember son, if there aint no money, there will be no show!”
Although I did not believe when I started being the Gurdon Times editor in 2004 that I was taking on Go-Devil country to get prosperous, but stranger things have happened.
Back in May, a source from Malvern, who is a registered nurse with a clothing store on the side, told me business people from the area were keeping an eye on Gurdon as a possible place to grow like Bryant, Arkansas did in the 1990’s. I looked at Ginger rather curiously, but she went on to explain that the rumor was based on the fact that Gurdon residents will be exposed to around 500 new permanent jobs over the next two years.
Those jobs are to be there from the lumber industry. Southern Bancorp President Bill Wright, who is on the Clark County Industrial Committee if I understand it right, told me Monday it was even better than that. Wright said more than 1,000 lumber haulers in the area will also get a lot more work due to the Pulpwood factory to open at Gum Springs, Georgia Pacific expansion and a lumber yard re-opening at Amity.
Mitch Pennington, a local business owner and lumber industry worker, told me last week at the Go-Devil football fundraiser meeting that there were also lumber company expansions going on in El Dorado.
He suggested I contact some lumber yards and offer a section on lumber business news. I think that is a very good idea and may very well test the waters.
So there seems to be more than football firing up around me. Much is changing in my little hometown base. Who knows, in spite of the political strangeness going on, the national news that Arkansas is now the most growing state in our 50 just might be right. Keep praying folks. It never hurts to get the good Lord’s blessings on these hopes and dreams. Have a great week sports fans!

Comment: How nice should we be to Muslims?

We are not too happy with our Presidential Candidate Donald Trump for his remarks about the Muslim mom who chose not to talk during her Gold Star ceremony about her dead soldier son.
However, we do understand the perhaps future president wanting to know if the Muslim religion of the couple mandated a Shariah law code of silence for a woman?
If so, it is evidence of colonization desires rather than assimilation… This could be seen as discrimination, but we are at war with ISIS. And only an ISIS sympathizer would restrict his wife to silence in such a tragic situation.
On the other hand, an assimilation Muslim, which is probably the case since the couple’s son gave his life for America, might have just chose to speak for the family.
The gentleman said Donald Trump has a black heart. No, he does not. He has an American, Constitution and Bill of Rights, and 10 commandment based legal heart!
If Trump had wanted to insult the man, instead of asking about the mother being silent, he might have said something like, “All your whole family wants sir is to take over America and you folks will do anything it takes to colonize – even sacrifice a son.”
This was not the case. We agree Trump should apologize to the Gold Star family. It would be the right and decent thing to do. But again, we are at war with ISIS and Trump wants Americans to know that no Shariah law tradition will go unquestioned, least one more terrorist prone person should be allowed to slip though the cracks and mow down innocent Americans, be they Christians or not.
Hillary Clinton continues to lie about emails and the insubordination involved with the ambassador that was killed. She also continues to tout that she will favor 36-week legal murder, pardon us abortions.
These are difficult political times. But as Christian radio announcers are saying, Trump is at least for religious freedom of speech, be it Christian or otherwise.

Two more banks plan to join

First State in Gurdon over

the next year

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Sometime during 2016 or 2017, two new bank branches will open at Gurdon.
Carrie Price, marketing director for Southern Bancorp, confirmed that her institution will be placing a bank branch just across from Pharr Funeral Home.
According to Gurdon Mayor Sherry Kelley, Southern Bancorp President Bill Wright has revealed plans to put a bank trailer up in the near future and then build a more permanent structure.
Wright said earlier this summer Southern Bancorp had considered buying the old U.S. Bank facility “but we found the terms unsatisfactory.”
According to Wright, the corporation policy for selling the deserted bank building involved an agreement not to place another financial institution in said building for a period of two years.
“We already own property in Gurdon and so building our own facility to ensure a timely branch opening was our best option,” Wright said.
Wright, a Gurdon High School graduate, told Price he is looking forward to serving in Go-Devil country. He is the bank president at Southern Bancorp in Arkadelphia.
Southern Bancorp sent Hunter Johnson, loan officer and son of Gurdon City Clerk Tambra Childres, to represent the bank at the Gurdon High School football team equipment dinner and auction Thursday night.
BANK OF DELIGHT
While at the football fundraiser, Terry Bird, vice president of the Bank of DeLight, commented to this reporter that the Bank of DeLight will also be opening a branch office in Gurdon “sometime during the third quarter of this year.”
The Bank of DeLight at Gurdon will be located at 600 Smith Street on Highway 53/Main Street; just past where Rickett’s Auto Parts was for many years.
“We are remodeling the old Missouri Timber building there,” Bird said. “Ashley Pennington (of the Gurdon area) will be the branch manager and we are in the process of hiring two tellers.”
Bird said the Bank of Delight branch at Gurdon “will be open as soon as possible.”
Mitch Pennington, co-owner of Little Mo’s Liquor Store on Highway 67, said at the football fundraiser that the expectation of new jobs in the lumber industry “could have something to do with the new banks coming to town.”
Mayor Sherry Kelley said the area is expected to get around 500 new lumber industry jobs, from three sources, over the next two years.
Pennington, who works in the lumber industry, said there will also be some new lumber jobs at El Dorado. The three job sources Kelley spoke of are the new pulp wood factory being constructed at the Gum Springs Industrial Park, an expansion at Georgia Pacific and a lumber plant reopening at Amity.
“Gurdon will grow,” Kelley said. “That is why we are working so hard to improve downtown.”

Benton Beauty Academy

is accepted by Arkansas Workforce

to use unemployment benefits for tuition

By JOHN NELSON

Tailgate News Editor
If you can not find a job, are currently drawing unemployment and have a desire to have a career in cosmetology that can earn you a living for a life time, contact Misty Wright about how you can use your unemployment benefits to pay for beauty school training.
“We have already had one student do this who is now a practicing cosmetologist at Bryant,” Wright, who is director at the school and co-owner of the business with Andrew Gentry Jr., said Tuesday.
Wright said her former cosmetology student, Wendy McMillian, previously worked at Ace Veneer in Benton and was laid off.
After taking the normally 10 month cosmetology course, which is approved training through the state employment office (Arkansas Workforce), she had her tuition paid for and began working in 2014.
“Wendy is now in Bryant earning a good living as a cosmetologist,” Wright said.
The director said her school charges $5,800 for the cosmetology training – about a third of what larger schools usually charge.
“It works out to monthly payments of $556 for 10 months or 333 a month if you choose the part-time training route, which takes 15 and a half months to finish.”
During the training, Wright said the unemployment office does not require job searches to receive unemployment benefits “if you are in an approved training course and Benton Beauty Academy is so approved.”
Wright said this program is approved and encouraged by the Arkansas Workforce Services.
“With our low tuition and pay as you go program, this option may work for you. You could finish your education without owing any debt at the end of the course,” she said.
Other financial options, such as the Arkansa Rural Endowment Fund, are available to attend Benton Beauty Academy. (See the advertisement on this page for programs, estimated completion times and prices.)
Financial assistance is also available through the Veterans Association, that is military training benefits for cosmetology school. Continued population growth insures job security.
The school director has been a licensed cosmetologist for five years and involved in the hair profession for 15.
Instructor Mattie Woods, who has worked at Benton Beauty Academy since 2012, has been teaching for 40 years in the field of cosmetology.
“I put in 20 years as an Arkansas State Inspector for hair facilities of all kinds,” she said.
In addition to Ms. Woods, Deanne Speer is also an instructor for the beauty academy.
To be eligible to enroll, prospective students must be at least 16 years old with a high school diploma, GED or home school equivalent. Since its 2011 inception, Wright said the oldest student to go through cosmetology training so far has been 56, although there is no real upper age limit.
Wright said the mission of Benton Beauty Academy is to provide a quality education to our students so they are able to pass their State Board Examination and be successful in the chosen cosmetology industry professions.
According to Wright, the United States Department of Labor reports the average salary range for cosmetology salon professionals is up to $50,000 a year, depending on size and location of the salon. Earnings can be considerably higher for those with more experience. Like to do hair or love working on your nails?
Cosmetology, nail technician work or aesthetics may be for you. Contact Misty Wright at: (501) 860-6100 and see if you belong in the world of enhancing beauty.

Success in football means

giving all you have all the time

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
The Gurdon Go-Devils of 2016 had their annual kick-off fundraising banquet and auction Thursday night, with Marty Burlsworth as the guest speaker.
Head GHS Football Coach Kyle Jackson gave introductory remarks and then turned the program over to Burlsworth, brother of the famous Razorback and Indianapolis Colt football star who was killed in a tragic car accident.
Marty Burlsworth spoke to a crowd of around 150 well wishers who came to donate to the new crop of Go-Devil “Boys of Fall” and give encouragement to a team with vision.
Coach Jackson said, “You can either look at circumstances or go with vision and focus. Our boys are in a new conference this year, but we intend to build champions.
“If we can succeed at that, the championship victories will come.”
He said the first three games of the season will hinge on conditioning. If the Gurdon boys are in shape, they will wear the others down in the third quarter, Jackson predicted.
With 25 out for varsity football this year, Coach Jackson said the talent to win is there “if we can control injuries.”
Jackson turned the podium over to Burlsworth and advised the crowd to pull up: burlsworthcharacteraward.com to learn more about the motivational speaker.
Marty Burlsworth told the crowd a film about his legendary football star brother has been 11 years in the making but will be in 400 theaters this fall.
He said he and his wife Vickie went to a special screening at the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
“Brandon was my younger brother of 16 years,” he said. “I coached him in baseball, which was really the favorite sport for both of us – at least at the beginning.
“Brandon used to run with the junior high school football team and they told him he needed to grow. Brandon obeyed by growing three inches between his sophomore and junior year.”
Marty said his brother was a starter in offense and defense during his senior year and graduated high school at 17 years old.
He did not get a scholarship but would not give up. He got overweight but dropped 50 pounds in two-a-day practices, muscled up in the weight room and successfully walked on to the Arkansas Razorback team.
Marty said Brandon loved the number 77 and he always respected his coaches. The family has a Burlsworth walk-on trophy.
“Never short cut or it will come back to you in the fourth quarter. Brandon knew you had to give that extra and believe in you. Give it all you have, all the time,” he said.

Tommy Potter re-opens

Hair It Is,  glad to be home…

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Sometimes a person just looks in the mirror, realizes where he belongs and just has to come home.
This may have been the case with veteran hair stylist Tommy Potter who has decided to officially re-open Hair It Is at 206 South Front Street in Gurdon.
Potter lost a well established hair business to a house fire in 2007 and pursued other interests.
He kept his hand in cutting hair from home on a limited basis, but finally decided he needed to be back with his old clients, plus develop new ones, on a professional and full-time level “to get back with what I know and what I enjoy.”
Tommy is the son of long-time Gurdon barber Paul Potter, now deceased, and has been a licensed cosmetologist since the early 1980’s. In 1986, he earned the Master Stylist of Arkansas award.
In addition to hair cuts, Hair It Is offers perms, colorings and hair extensions. He said he will not install the extensions, but already has plenty in stock to sell.
His new shop is fully ready for business and open as of the first week in August. State inspections have been done and the shop has passed with flying colors.
It is located on the lot just next to where his long-time residence was before the fire.
He will be in the shop and ready for hair work from 9 until 6, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Potter will cut hair on an appointment basis at other times.
The hair stylist shop will also be the main office for Faith Mission. Potter conducts a Celebrate Recovery class there at 6:30 p.m. on Thursdays.
“Being in the hair business on a regular basis again will give me a chance to rejoin the conversation of our community and find out what is going on. Hair places are a great source of information,” he said.
Potter has always believed in giving away a person’s first hair cut in life and his or her last.
His first-time hair cut to break in the new shop has already occurred with Elliott Weatherford, son of Craig and Farrah Weatherford of Gurdon.
He plans to volunteer at the local funeral home to give last haircuts free, as he did in years past.
“Being open at Hair It Is on a regular basis will give me a reason to reconnect with so many old friends and I am looking forward to that,” he said.
Potter said he plans to fix up the house next door in between hair cuts.
“Bob Atkinson left that old house to my wife Stephanie and I for our efforts to take care of him in his declining years,” he said. “I want to fix Bob’s old house up and rent it out.”
Potter said one of the things he has regretted in life is starting too many projects and not finishing them. He plans to use the stability of a business as motivation to knock off one project after another after work until he gets caught up.
“The hardest part of regular hours is you feel like you are sitting in a deer stand when you are between clients, I will be close and watching, but fixing up Bob’s old house next door should keep me busy, yet still available when someone needs a hair cut,” he said.
Potter said many of his clients from years ago have died or moved away so building a new client list will be essential to make the business work.
“My old sign says we do not want everyone’s business, just yours,” he said.
“I enjoy treating each client as special and learning what they want in a hair style. Being a good hair stylist does involve being a good conversationalist, but it starts with being a good listener.
“You have to really hear what a man or a woman wants done with their hair to have an assurance of a smile and a return customer.”

Reddick Files: Cheaters become streakers in the snow

Chapter 2

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Special forces and FBI training in civilian life is not an easy thing to curb; especially when you are married to someone you belief to be trustworthy and that person has other ideas.
Renee and I were married for eight years. It would be my last marriage and I had aspirations of it lasting a lifetime.
When I was not on assignment with the government as an assassin, I worked in California a the time with special needs children. Renee and I worked side by side in what I thought was a wonderful arrangement.
She was fun to be with and would be a loyal friend for a lifetime. But her hormones when she was young became a problem. To this day, the surprise of what I found when I came home haunts me, even now as a ghost.
This tale is one of adultery and adultery based on class advancement. Ironically, she never did marry the guy involved. He was a doctor friend of ours that will remain nameless, as I never told Nelson his name in our many talks.
But the story, you see, is quite simple. I came home to hear some noises from our upstairs that sounded remarkably like the tones of lovemaking. I climbed the stairs and so the doctor mounted on my wife. I went into a rage. I threw them both into the snow. Yes, it does snow in some parts of California during certain times of the year and this was one of those times.
Both soft landed but found themselves naked in the snow. As I recall, they wasted no time in leaving. I am sure they had what would have been an interesting conversation after that to say the least. I did not hang around to find out.
I got in my Toyota truck and took a long drive into the California hills. I had to think. Then I got a call from my boss in the FBI. Chuck was noticeably upset with me. He said I needed to come in for an emergency meeting. Since Renee and the doctor were unharmed and not willing to press any sort of aggravated assault charges against a professional assassin, jail was not my worry.
Chuck listened patiently to my circumstances and suspended me for three months. He told me to take long drives, visit family and friends and basically get my divorce started if that was to be my wish. I took his advice.
As I told Nelson, I always got just what I wanted in a divorce. I guess my profession put a bit of fear in my ex-wives.
Renee did not seem to want a divorce. Neither did I but the trust was gone and so we proceeded with the inevitable. She would later become a police officer in the Midwest and remarry, have three children and proceed to live an apparently normal and happy life. I never did find out what happened to the doctor partner, nor did I care.
When the divorce finally came to court, Renee said I would find someone new and remarry before I she did, as she believed that I really loved women and cohabitation.
I told her I would never remarry and chance trust violation again. I kept my word for the remaining 30 some years of my life…
My work with the government allowed me a decent wage and plenty of time on my hands. I remember driving and driving after that divorce.
I had determined to go it alone as far as my living arrangements, figuring the pain of failed relationships was just not worth the hassle.
Nelson always tried to convince me to change my mind. I almost did about 10 years before my death. The girl had also been divorced for years, but Janice had a lot of trust issues too. We decided being friends would just have to be the extent of things.
I wrote in a letter to Nelson about my plans to possibly marry Janice and how even a man like me did not particularly want to die alone. Wishful thinking I suspect. When Nelson asked me about the letter later, I said it was all for the best…
But back to my younger days, before my accident and all. Back then, my strength and training had made me a human weapon.
As I told Nelson, I was proud of my job and all of its many facets with Uncle Sam. But I was not proud of what happened that night with Renee and the doctor. Again, I cried a lot as an old man about that incident and Nelson knew it gave me a lot of pain.
Loyalty is so important in friendships and love. When my wife Renee let me down, my ability to trust women was gone forever. Or so I thought until I met Janice. But then I found out what it was like for the shoe to be on the other foot. As the movie Grumpy Old Men said, “The only things in life that we really regret are the chances we never take.”
So there I was that night with the wife, the doctor, their nudity and the snow. I must admit after I calmed down the whole incident did have a bit of humor to it. We actually lived in a fairly prominent neighborhood and streaking, as they did, was most likely seen as unusual. I was so sure my friendship with Renee included loyalty.
During the three months that I had off from working my government job, I decided to visit Hawaii. I walked the beaches and slept on them. I loved to make camp fires on the beach. One night out there I saw the silhouette of a beautiful girl dancing in the moon light.
She was some distance from my campfire so I decided to take a little walk and get closer to her for a real good look. It was a beautiful night and she appeared to be a beautiful woman enjoying herself in her solitude by the ocean’s edge.
I was about 50 feet from her now, lost in the beauty and wonder of the moment when she turned and looked at me.
Her face was that of a human skull. The creature stared at me for an instant and was gone in the mist. I shook my head and rubbed my eyes. I had not even started drinking beer that evening so I did not figure it to be alcohol related.
But sure enough, as the good Lord as my witness, that girl must have been a demon cloaked in beauty. I took it for a sign from God that things are not necessarily what they seem.
I had been down the road of Romeo and Juliet with my second wife. Her name was Julie. In the next chapter, I will spin you a yarn about how jealousy and Julie’s IRS champion daddy got things so screwed up that it all had to end.
Yes, that second romance was a wild one, but it did end. And sadly, the jealousy my then wife was so sure of as being reality did not even exist in my world.
I stayed loyal to her in every way the entire marriage.
It was, as with the third marriage, a woman getting caught having a sexual fling that brought a close to the commitment. I was not angry that time, just unbelievable hurt. It always amazed me how those close to me could misread me. I suppose communication was not my biggest asset, although ole Nelson seemed to understand me well enough.
We were each other’s kind of crazy. Nelson is a hopeless romantic, still thinking Romeo and Juliet will visit him again and again. Good luck with that old buddy. Remember, know her at least a year before putting a ring on that left hand.
Julie was my little dream come true. Check out Chapter 3 and find out what I am trying to say.

Sherry’s Corner: Gurdon will prosper, continues efforts to improve

By SHERRY KELLEY
Gurdon Mayor
Last week’s heat was brutal. I would like to say that I am very proud of the Gurdon Water Department workers. They worked long hours as they read meters and worked on projects in the heat.
The Gurdon Street Department workers also took care of business mowing and weed eating as well as other jobs. We are now taking care of the Cabe Ball Fields, too.
Our new Bad Boy mower is a real help. Of course these men are expected to do their job; rain, sleet, snow and heat. But it is their attitude and attention to their own safety in this heat that I respect.
While we are at it, Virginia in the water department is doing great job of handling the office, solo. What a boon to our bottom line. I appreciate her very much.
I could fill this whole column with praises of our city workers, Angie, the City Marshal’s Office and right on down the line. In many cases we have downsized our number of employees and increased our services.
I am still working on the two unnamed projects and hope to have some announcements soon.
Our volunteers are hard at it for the Gurdon Light window on Main Street. At this moment we are lettering the ‘Legend of the Gurdon Light’ on a large sheet of plywood that will be placed in the window next to The Market On Main.
There will also be a scene depicting the victim, Will McClain with a lantern, a train and trees. If all goes as planned, above the awning will be a large sign pertaining to the light. It should be complete by the Gurdon Forest Festival on October 29.
Speaking of the Gurdon Forest Festival, the Community Development and Entertainment Club (CD&E Club) has begun meeting to organize this year’s festival. If you are interested in helping, our next meeting will be at 6 p.m. at City Hall on August 11.

Editorial: The future looks brighter for America

We would like to express optimisim over the upcoming presidential election and over some positive changes already in the works for our local area.
After spot checking both the Republican and the Democratic National Conventions, we have concluded that either candidate as president would beat the present administration.
While we respect American Family Radio staff’s sentiment about your conscious, your vote, we will go ahead and say that Donald Trump will get ours.
While we see the benefit of experience with Hillary Clintion, we can not trust someone who has been careless with classified information and also someone who allowed an ambassador to get killed because of poor military planning as our president.
Also, we take exception to the Clinton position on legalizing abortion up to the 36th week (full term for a baby). While we do see the benefit of abortion as a way to save the life of a mother in trouble, and therefore do not get excited about it being made totally illegal, we do not believe in abortion as a method of birth control.
The Republican platform does not either, and seems to take a more common sense approach to human rights of an unborn child. While we understand a woman should have control of her reproductive system, as in full birth control available and such, we do not believe that right should extend to the murder of a full-term human child.
It is our hope, if Mr. Trump does become the next president, that he will surround himself with very knowlegable adivsors and combine his love for country, success in business and hard work with the proper experts in fields where he lacks exposure.
We believe it is time to put someone in office that will put America first in the market place, put security first when it comes to protecting us from ISIS and other terrorist extremists and who does not believe that taking guns away from law abiding citizens will reduce crime.
According to Yahoo News, there has been a 43 percent reduction in manufacturing jobs since Barack Obama took office. If Trump could get half of that back, many of the help programs Clinton touts could be financed without putting the country further in debt.
We have always believed that job opportunity is the key to economic recovery, not hand-outs to able bodied Americans.
And while improved pollution control in the fosil industry may be a necessity, doing away with gasoline related jobs, or coal mine related jobs, sounds premature in world history.
The Clark County area is due to get nearly 500 new lumber related jobs over the next two years. This should change things for the better right here, right off the bat. The big message in this editoral is don’t stay home this year. Vote. We are also voting Trump because the Supreme Court needs a conservative justice to balance things and because Trump has promised to respect Christianity by not forcing us Christians to be politically correct or suffer monetary loss over a private business refusing service.
There are a lot of questions in this election that remain to be answered, but this country needs someone with a doctorate in common sense.

Tailgate Traveler: School starts in two weeks; panic mode yet?

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Although it is hard to believe, school will take up in about two weeks. It is time to get those swimming trunks off and get dressed to go find some school clothes for the kids.
I have one customer who sometimes provides the Glen Rose bunch with free haircuts. Then there are those raising money for clothes and supplies. It sure makes it easier when those who can pitch in do instead of children having to do without. There will be hard working church people, teachers and simply others walking around with a heart of gold who understand just what I am talking about. When working people offer a hand up, it teaches those children a good principal. To give, you first have to earn.
Admittedly, the truly disabled may not be able to earn money. But even most of the disabled can give a cup of water to a child who looks pretty hot…
On a personal basis, I have sworn off non-emergency credit cards and loans. I have gone back to living advertising check to advertising check in my journalism business and I don’t mind that at all. I now believe the change just might give me a chance at some peace of mind in a few years when time forces me to retire.
And I enjoy giving away my tithes and offerings to my church and other worthy causes. Am I perfect at this? No way. But I do thank the good Lord there is no quit switch in my soul. I will keep trying to the end to do better in the realm of giving than I did yesterday.
Thankfully, in my travels, I have noticed I am not alone. Oh sure, I have to take care of my responsibilities. I am 57 and so far Jehovah God has a perfect record of always providing for me. But so far I am capable of working. I believe, in my case work has to be added to the mix. Thus the old saying, “God helps those who help themselves.”
Believe me I am thankful for the guidance and direction of Jesus Christ and for my desire to seek love instead of hate in this old life. And I am thankful to be a giver in my mind set instead of a taker and a hoarder. I subscribe to the theory that the harder we hang on to something the more likely it is to slip through our fingers.
Sure, as humans, we always wish we had more in this old life, but my point is it feels good to give from what I have earned. It feels clean and right. Giving from a credit card always made me feel cheap and somehow like a thief. But that is just me. I do not pretend to judge. As I have said many times, I have been guilty of doing so much experimenting in life that judging the other fellow would be seriously foolish on my part. I am simply telling you what works for me.
We are about to have a changing of the guard in the United States presidency. My guess is Donald Trump is going to win. Folks, his heart is in the right place. But being a businessman, rather than a politician, Mr. Trump will have to learn a lot of details.
I have every confidence the new president will surround himself with wise advisers and our country will improve financially. If more people can earn their way, more people can get used to the idea of being givers instead of takers and the “beat will go on.”
America tried it the entitlement way and it just plain does not work. I always wondered if it would on a personal basis so I took three years out of my cash and carry lifestyle to find out first hand. Believe me, it is much easier to borrow money than it is to pay it back. I am very grateful not to be “upside down” financially at this point in life. I stayed legal in my borrowing, but I got in over my head and paid a big price to get back to even.
Sure, my personal situation could change again if there is a disaster, like a medical emergency. That is why I must realize that now is the time to start regularly stocking my reserves. My point of bringing up my struggles is this. Have you ever wondered how our children and grandchildren are going to pay back the $19 trillion that our country owes? And what does happen if the United States goes so far in debt that China and the rest say no to the next loan request?
This is why I am for Donald Trump. Sure, he had a lot of bumps in his success as a businessman, but he came out of it as a billionaire. The man now has his own money. He is running for president to share how he did it. Trump is not the owner of billions of dollars in loans and credit cards that he can never pay back. I believe if he can get himself in the positive on the ledger sheet than he can do the same for our country. As his son said in a speech, “Dad taught us the most important doctorate degree is the one in common sense.”
But enough stumping for Trump. I could make a case for Hillary Clinton and all of the good the Clintons have done for the poor as well. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have all of those hand-up programs for children and old people still in place and enough of a tax base from new jobs in the United States that we could actually pay for them – and begin to retire the 19 trillion dollar debt?
Well, you knew I was a dreamer. Let’s get more down to earth. Indeed the local schools will most likely start ringing those classroom bells on Monday, Aug. 15. This should put parents with school age children in panic mode very shortly.
Those attending Gurdon High School, Cabe Middle School or Gurdon Primary School will probably see me around campuses that day taking first day photos. I especially like to find a little guy or girl that has never been to school before and get their facial reactions to being marched on into their educational facility by parents and/or guardians. Interviewing the little ones is great. You never know what sort of answers you will get.
If you take nothing else away from this Tailgate Traveler for the week, remember this. Vote this fall for who you really believe to be the best person to lead our country. I believe both candidates have merit and that our country will be better off than with our current administration either way. But get involved. Be a part of giving our kids and grand kids some choices in life, and a part of teaching them that it really is better to give than receive.
Sometimes in life, and even in politics, you have to evaluate what has not been said too. Trump and Clinton neither one need the money or the head ache of being president. Both want to honor our Congress and Constitution and to make life better for our children.
I am optimistic about the next 10 years in the United States. I believe business will get better and the debt will slowly go down, both for my country and for me personally. And as the extra money becomes apparent, the giving principle can kick in. One day I hope to donate to many more causes than my meager journalism wages can afford to do right now. Not because I have to, but because I want to. It is that way in life. When you have hope, faith and love in your soul, and you get your want to fixed, anything is possible!
This is your Tailgater, covering football with games starting on Sept. 2 for Gurdon, Arkadelphia, Malvern, Glen Rose and Fountain Lake this year. Hope to see you out there supporting our “Boys of Fall” with enthusiasm. Sometimes, that enthusiasm is even more important than money.
Have a great week and a safe ride. If a hungry little one comes to your door, give him or her what you can. Be part of the solution in this old life. There are already plenty of greedy folks out there who represent the problem… Give, and make it personal. The smile you help produce will make you feel alive and useful.

Coach Jackson wants unity

in Gurdon sports programs

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
The Gurdon School Board met in regular session on Tuesday, hearing a progress report from the athletic director.
Athletic Director Kyle Jackson, also the head football coach, told board members 25 senior high school boys are out for football this year and will play in Conference 5 3A. (See page 12 for complete schedule)
The rivalry game between Gurdon’s Go-Devils and the Prescott Curley Wolves will be played on Friday night, Sept. 30 at Prescott. Prescott is in Gurdon’s new conference competition.
Coach Jackson said he has confidence that the Go-Devils of 2016 will have some wins – even in the very different conference line-up.
Jackson told School Board members that last year’s team was up and down due to injuries, “but they had some grand moments.”
“I will never forget our game against Risen,” he said. “Even though we lost, every player put everything he had out there on that field.
“We were still in the competition with 1:53 on the clock against a team who would end up being a state runner-up.”
Jackson praised last year’s seventh grade boys who had an undefeated football season. He noted their continued performance of greatness could mean a very good future for Go-Devil football.
“Coach K (Brandy Kirkpatrick) had a very good track season, with district wins,” he said.
Jackson then praised the girls basketball team for having a lot of talented juniors.
“Although our boys basketball had a rebuilding year, there are a lot of good eighth grade players coming up,” he said.
He also praised the softball and baseball programs, noting Jackson Kirkpatrick and Calley White representing Gurdon well in the All-State games.
UNITY
“The big thing I want to continue to strive for in Gurdon athletics is we are not just a bunch of teams and sports doing our own thing. We are Gurdon and Gurdon is great as a unified sports program. We must all be on the same page of competitive edge,” he said.
Jackson noted the Booster Club did well in fundraising last year, raising $8,000 for the athletic program.
He noted his new-hire, Coach Maison Hudgeons, will concentrate on baseball and softball, but will also work with the pee-wee football program.
Coach Jackson thanked the School Board for OKing improvements to the basketball arena.
“Looking to the future of our facilities, it will mostly consist of minor improvements and renovations,” he said.
Jackson said next year he will be asking for some dirt work improvement on the baseball field and for the school system to stay up to date on resurfacing the track.
Moreover, Coach Jackson asked for more branding of the school’s “G” around the community and the school district.
“It is a little thing, but it is a big thing because it gives us a constant reminder of what we are; we are G for Gurdon and Gurdon is Great!” he said.
“The branding will help create a healthy pride in our school.”
FILLED SPECIAL ED SPOT
In other business, the School Board hired Tammy Shumtre for coordinating the special education program at Gurdon.
Superintendent Allen Blackwell said Shumtre will also carry teaching and tutorial duties.
Moreover, the School Board also approved a resolution on no polls for school elections.
By way of explanation, the resolution says if in any election year no more than one candidate for any school board position presents a petition, the school board of a district can legally request a zero polling place status.
Gurdon will submit the following request to the Clark County Election Commission:
“In compliance with state law, the Gurdon School Board of Directors wishes to request the Clark County Election Commission reduce the polling places in the school district to zero. This will allow the county to collect the election by early and absentee voting.
In other business, the Board: approved a transfer of $300,000 funds to the building account and approved previously discussed handbook additions.
The funds transfer, Blackwell said, would leave the ending legal balance for 2016 at $589,000.
He said, “The purpose of lowering our legal balance to this amount will allow a correction to continuing a high ending legal balance. We will transfer those funds back from the building account to operating to maintain this year’s budget.”
Blackwell informed the Board that this transfer was needed because declining enrollments over the past two years will mean the district will be absorbing $190,000 by way of a remaining cut in State Foundation Funding.

Tailgate Travels: The Kindly Tire Changer

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
I write to you in this late July week anticipating a great school year. In less than a month, the kids will be back in school.
In most cases, the high school football games will begin on Friday, Sept. 2. I am looking forward to that. I truly enjoy getting out there on the football fields and supporting our “Boys of Fall.” This year, being in 16 pages instead of 12, you can expect some added photography coverage.
I am glad to provide it as long as I can. So far, our actual readership, kept up with by Facebook Widget, indicates between 3,500 and 5,500 individual readers check out our digital magazine of encouragement every week. I do thank the Good Lord for that.
As I tell my advertising customers, a fellow could be a Mark Twain writer but if nobody ever reads his stuff, it would not help their business. But with more than 4,000 folks looking nearly every week, maybe we can help each other. Time, as they say, will tell.
The title of my column today comes from my younger days. In Indiana and Illinois, a lot of the farmers and town kids had the saying, “We have talked enough. Let’s get on with it.” That is how I feel about my work. Sometimes a fellow just has to get out there and produce. And when I can no longer do so, you will know it.
For now, my functionality remains in tact. So therefore, as far as I know, I am fit to “get on with it” during football season 2016. I will see you on the sidelines, the old guy with the camera, as usual. Oh I realize Proverbs 27 tells me one day can change a life time of plans. But if things with my health and circumstances do not change profoundly, I will continue my work.
The past 20 years have been a real eye-opener for this journalist economically. A guy could make twice as much in the 80’s and 90’s selling ads easily and the bills were much less. I have looked around and considered changing careers, but something always drew me back to the kind of work I love.
With the blessings of the Good Lord, this Tailgater has got by just fine. It has not been easy, as it is not easy for any of us in this depleted economy, but I have gotten by with hard work and the support of some wonderful sponsors and advertisers. They make my world possible and I do hope you enjoy the product.
If you have any photos or stories to contribute, email me at: tailgatenewskid77@gmail.com. Or you can get on Facebook and go to John Hancock Nelson and place them on my Facebook messenger. The snail mail address is: 111 East Cherry Street, Gurdon, Arkansas 71743. If you need to talk to this editor, call me at: 1-870-353-8201.
Over the years, since Tailgate News opened in 2007, we have been accumulating a few loyal contributors and to those folks also we say, “Thank you for getting on with it!”
WEDNESDAY SALES DAY
I got up with determination to at least make quota for the week on Wednesday morning. The good news is I did just that by Wednesday close of sales day. In fact, I even beat that minimum quota a few dollars.
But the day was definitely a Tailgater special. I was late for shooting football photos and found out I must be there at 7:30 a.m. promptly if I want pictures of the Go-Devils. I don’t blame the coach for not keeping them too long. Our weather is typical Southern Arkansas July, hot with shades of burning.
The day rocked on pretty well and I made my first collection OK. When it was all over, I had three more to do on Thursday. But let’s take a look at Wednesday about 3 p.m. I have an old work car just now, as I have been revamping my finances. Once it is paid for, I plan to invest in a more appropriate ride for the job. But for now, I am back to a 1987 Ford Escort Wagon fishing machine.
I have been driving this thing for about four months and really have not had much problem. Today the passenger side mirror fell off. I went back to the bank parking lot where I suspected I would find it and I did find the thing – busted like a spider web. I put the remains in my car and then a fellow bank customer told me my tire was flat.
It was not only flat but the wire was showing. I realized it was shot and that I had no idea what my trunk might have to offer. I was lucky. My friend Sonny Reeves, who sold me the A to B rig, had put a good spare in there for me to use, complete with jack and all the fixings.
It was 100 plus degrees heat index outside, but I realized it was time to go to work if I wanted to make it home to Gurdon. I was in Arkadelphia Southern Ban Corp parking lot at the time.
When I was making a deposit earlier, I had been admiring an extremely beautiful woman in front of me. Being old and married forever, looking was all I had in mind. She turned and smiled at me. I smiled back.
When the tire incident occurred, I was about half way done with the change over when I looked into the face of this lady, who was standing there with her 8-year-old daughter. Sherry Echols asked me if she could help change out the tire? This surprised me a great deal but I said if she wanted to help that would be great.
It turns out Sherry is a loan officer at my bank and a really nice person. We talked about our families and how neither one of us had changed a tire for awhile.
I realized how blessed I was to have gone flat in the bank parking lot. My work area came with some shade and a helper that was easy on the eyes.
Sherry’s cousin showed up and asked us if we needed him to help but by that time the new tire was mounted and aired up.
I thanked this nice lady for her assistance and she and her daughter went on their way. In the old days, when I drove old cars on a regular basis, this whole thing would have been no big deal.
But I was spoiled to my 2012 Versa for nearly three plus years. It had new tires that never even hardly lost air.
I am not complaining. I will resist bragging on Mrs. Echols anymore, as I am sure Mr. Echols is very proud of his wife. It all goes to show there are nice folks still out there in life. Golden Rule living pays off every now and then. I tell my seven grandchildren that all the time.
After the tire incident, I made it home fine. Then I installed another mirror on the passenger side that I had in the storage at home. And then I began writing to you. As I sit here cooling off in my journalism office in the peace and quiet, with only the sound of my window air conditioner, I have to smile.
I started my day chasing a dollar and wound up meeting a nice girl with a big heart. Now that is some Tailgate Traveling folks. Have a great week and stay as cool as you can.

CADC gets ball rolling for Forest Festival 2016

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
The Community Development and Entertainment Club held a Forest Festival 2016 kickoff meeting on Thursday night at City Hall, with eight in attendance.
CD&E President Clayton Franklin told the group it was time to get started with fundraising, “as we only have about $4,170 in the bank right now and the estimated cost of Forest Festival is $13,000.”
Angie Harper, club secretary, said she would begin contacting potential T-Shirt sponsors for the year and try and get the shirts in early this so people can wear them at the festival.
“We had 20 T-Shirt sponsors, at $150 a sponsorship last year,” she said. “I will call the potential renewals first.”
The group decided to go with California blue as the 2016 Forest Festival color, but keep the same logo design as last year to go on the shirts.
Harper said there are nearly 100 Camo shirts left from the 2015 event and they are for sale if anyone wants to contact her at City Hall.
Franklin, along with Forest Festival Pageant Director Heather Nolan, Mayor Sherry Kelley and other members, decided to order 300 shirts as is customary for Forest Festival, and to tell Print Mania they need to be a looser material this year as there were complaints the Camo material was too tight for the sizes listed.
“Since we are using the same logo and going back to regular T-Shirt material, the cost of each T-Shirt should be cheaper,” Franklin said. “So my point is we could go back to charging $10 a shirt instead of $15 and probably sell out the shirts.”
In other business, it was suggested that the night band might be Rocking Charlie and the California Connection. That issue was tabled for now.
Franklin said he will talk with Senior Citizens Director Royce Ann Barbaree about the seniors having a pancake breakfast at the center again early in the morning on Saturday, Oct. 29 – the day of the festival.
Nolan said the ATV show folks and the trick bicyclers have agreed to come back to Gurdon for the event.
Close-up organizers at Gurdon High School will be contacted to see if they want to have a dunking booth fundraiser and if they know where a dunking booth can be located, according to Harper.
John Nelson, reporter for the club, will contact Paul Shuffied, of Shuffied Music on Main Street in Arkadelphia, about providing the Forest Festival sound system again this year, “as everyone seemed to be happy with what he did in 2015.”
Nolan said she will tentatively shoot for Saturday, Oct. 8 as the date of the 2016 Forest Festival Beauty Pageant. The group agreed to once again award $100 to the pageant contest winner.
CARNIVAL
Nolan said she has been talking with Debbie Wells, out of Malvern, about bringing carnival rides to the festival.
“Debbie is the one who has set up a hot dog stand in front of the Shaver’s house on Main Street the day of our festival for years,” she said.
“It is my understanding that her son has access to carnival rides and can get us going.”
Nolan said the Wells family has a jungle ride, an airplane ride and a giant slide.
She suggested they get them to agree to come and stay two nights; the Friday before the festival and that Saturday night.
Mayor Kelley said that would be no problem if they would set up on a side street, rather than Main Street itself.
Kelley suggested the Main Stage be placed in front of the old Kuhn’s Hardware store this year so the Market on Main area would be clearer and her new Gurdon Light display window could be accessed. No decision was made.
The next organizational meeting for Forest Festival 2016 will be at 6 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 11 at City Hall.

Sherry’s Column: Busy Town

By SHERRY KELLEY
Gurdon Mayor
Finished projects, projects under way, new projects, developing projects, collectively known as, work, work, work and work.
Work on the new Gurdon Light “presence” on Main Street begins this week. Go anywhere in the State of Arkansas and mention that you are from Gurdon and inevitably someone will mention the Gurdon Light. The light still appears regardless of the fact that the railroad track has been removed. And folks still go to ‘see the light’. Last week I met with David Koon, one of the editors of The Arkansas Times. I went by to thank him for some great statewide publicity for Gurdon. A recent issue featured “what to do” in each county of Arkansas.
The recommended Clark county activities were; visit the Hoo-Hoo Museum and go see The Gurdon Light. Koon’s seen the light. We discussed the fact that there are many railroad ghost lights around the nation but the Gurdon Light is believable because there was a murder (McClain) on the tracks in 1931.
The light started showing up afterward and the murderer (McBride) was executed in Little Rock in 1932. That information is verified by newspaper accounts and court documents. One such article from December of 1931 mentioned that when Will McClain’s body was found he still held the handle of his lantern in his hand.
With the help of some great volunteers, the story of the Gurdon Light will be depicted on Main Street in the windows next to the Market on Main on the west side. James Barker, Mary Lewis, Josie Scheer, Brett Renfro, myself and other volunteers from Alcoa are excited to work toward this goal. Scheer and Renfro are daughters of Alcoa employees. Alcoa is instrumental in their volunteerism.
We have a lot of work to do. So, let’s not take the time to discuss the maintenance of the many completed developments around the city. Or stop to detail the great progress with the improvements that are under way. Suffice it to say that change is difficult and complicated. And I love it. Former Arkadelphia City Manager Jimmy Bolt, like so many others, was a frequent guest on my radio show ‘Sherry in the Morning’. I remember him telling me and the listeners that a department head had to know a lot about one facet of city government and that a mayor or city manager had to know something about all the facets. That was several years ago, but it stuck with me. Last Monday and Tuesday I had a total of 79 phone calls on my cell alone. Is it wrong to count? From A to Z, there is no telling what the next call will bring. Being a mayor is multi-tasking. Those calls tell me that Gurdon is a small town on the move. I am glad that there are many good people working for and with the city.
This week the heat is excessive. Please be sure to pay attention to what your body is telling you. If you must be outdoors, take frequent breaks and drink plenty of water. You can always cool off at Gurdon City Hall and the Central Arkansas Development Council’s Gurdon Senior Adult Activity Center. This heat is hazardous for people, pets and plants.
Here’s what’s going on in the world of Gurdon Pee Wee Football. The recent rains have been very good to our new field’s Bermuda grass. Quincy Dickens has some information to share: Attention parents, Sign up for Gurdon Pee Wee Lil League Football will be at 10 a.m. on Monday, July 25 at the Go-Devil Pavillion. Any upcoming second through sixth grade students can sign up.
After the sign up, we will begin a training camp session from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Children need to wear something in which they can work out such as; tennis shoes, cleats, shorts and a t-shirt. Cost to play this year will be $35. We will provide else like; shoulder pads, helmets, mouth piece. For more information contact Coach Q at 870-353-8839.
Coach Q also wants to announce that the Lil League Pee Wee Fan T-shirts will feature the Go-Devil G, with the words, “Tomorrow is promised to no one. Be Great Today.” All sizes will be available, youth through 4 XL at a cost from $8.40 to $12.16. Order forms will be available until August 1. Go to Quincey Dickens Facebook page to order or call 353-8839.
Also, there will be a benefit co-ed softball tournament at Cabe Fields on August 20, beginning at 9 a.m. Rules will be USSSA one pitch with one courtesy. Entry fee is $140. There will be unlimited home runs any 44/400, stamped bats only. 3GG if less than eight teams. First and second place plagues. Format 5/5 and 6/6 All proceeds will benefit seventh grade student Sam Bell, Jr., who recently lost his mother, Tijuana Livingston.

Slim and Shorties gets Chamber praise

By SHELLEY LOE
Arkadelphia Alliance and Area Chamber of Commerce
The Arkadelphia Area Chamber Board has begun a quarterly recognition of a business that has improved the exterior façade of a visible building within Arkadelphia/Caddo Valley. The overall vision of the board is to reward those businesses willing to invest their time and money to further community development efforts. The board agreed that Slim and Shorty’s should be the first business awarded such distinction.
Kelly and Misty Harris started in 2011 restoring 617 Clinton Street to develop Kelly’s dream of owning their own restaurant. With Misty’s wholehearted willingness to see this dream come alive she invested many hours alongside Kelly to see what we all enjoy today. We appreciate the investment Kelly and Misty have been willing to make in downtown Arkadelphia. It has been amazing to see how their hard work has affected the community as a whole as a local meeting place. “The Harris family exemplifies what is so great about our community. Hard work, determination and a genuine love for Arkadelphia make Slim & Shorty’s not only what it is today, but also what it will continue to be in the future,” said Nathan Price, Arkadelphia Area Chamber of Commerce President.
Clark County began façade improvements with an initial grant through the Clark County Strategic Plan (CCSP). Southern Bancorp, CCSP Foundation and the Downtown Arkadelphia Organization have awarded numerous façade improvement grants to update and improve the visibility throughout Clark county. The board’s recognition is an extension of the work that has been ongoing through the Clark County Strategic Plan and the Chamber is proud to be a small part of this process.

Gurdon mayor ready for prosperity;

pushing for Gurdon Light tour

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
All evidence would support that the Gurdon population will have access to nearly 500 more substantial jobs in the logging industry over the next two years and Mayor Sherry Kelley is excited about the prospect of the financially depleted city beginning to prosper.
The jobs will come in part from Georgia Pacific expansion at the Gurdon plant, a new pulpwood industry at Gum Springs and the rekindling of a logging business in Amity.
“This means a lot to our working population,” Mayor Kelley said. “And now is the time to get ready for the up and coming prosperity. Gurdon has a rich history of being a hard working and industrious town, especially when the trains stopped here. We want to show that history with some good old Go-Devil pride to our prospective new residents.”
In specific, Mayor Kelley was referring to her ongoing plans to spruce up, and make appealing, the downtown area.
She said Thursday, “There are plans to display a historical account of the Gurdon Light, and all of its mystery, on the store front of the old radio station building (also the former downtown location of the Tailgate News) – right next to our Market on Main.
“Brett Renfro and Josie Sheer, from Alcoa roots, will help me with this project.”
The Gurdon Light is a Halloween attraction out in the woods between Highway 51 (the road to Southfork Truck Stop) and Sticky Road (Highway 180).
The story goes that a train engineer was beheaded, after robbers stopped the train to loot it, more than 100 years ago.
This editor went to see the Gurdon Light in 2005, with friends from a Celebrate Recovery chapter active in Gurdon at the time.
The story goes that a lantern, carried by the headless train engineer, is carried around the train tracks in an effort to find his head – even to this day.
Back in 2005, law enforcement officers were assigned to both access ways to the Light in order to prevent any funny business from happening to the young and old determined to see what has been described by scientists as being Fox Fire.
Numerous reports over the years have confirmed that when the Light on the tracks is approached it will move…
Whatever your beliefs connecting with this phenomenon, the television show “Ripply’s Believe it or Not” did a documentary on it in 2004, confirming the numerous reports of its existence and exploring the possibility that it has something to do with the paranormal.
That report did not discount the idea that the Light could indeed be the lantern of a ghost that has never found peace.
With the possibility of Gurdon once again becoming a “boom” town, Mayor Kelley is doing everything she can to find financing to create a safe walkway to where the Light has been seen and to hopefully hire a maintenance man to cut the grass and keep the woods from overtaking said path.
As it stands, reaching the Light involves risking falling off of no longer used and worn railroad bridges, which could result in bodily injury. It also means the time of year to visit said Light is limited to the fall and winter months, when poisonous snakes are less likely to be a problem for tourists.
“The Gurdon Light is an natural asset to our small city,” Kelley said. “If we could turn it into a safe and viable tourist attraction, it could also become a new source of revenue for our town.”
In addition to paintings and explanations of the Light on a downtown store front, other Gurdon assets will also be depicted in art form.
“We intend to make our downtown more and more appealing to strangers, and also to our current residents. But we will need all of the financial help we can get, as Gurdon is currently low on funds,” she admitted.
“Grant money is the way to get things done for us and grants are hard to get. Still, I intend to keep trying to get them.”
Kelley noted the two young ladies associated with Alcoa workers are also helping her with maintenance cleaning at the Market on Main, which is a popular gathering place for weekend events.
“We have high hopes of getting the money to fix up the Light, but at this time nothing financial has been confirmed,” she said.

Pizza Barn to close;

new business in the works

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
A sign in front of the Pizza Barn/Taco Barn on Highway 67 in Gurdon said Thursday the restaurant will close as of Monday, July 11.
According to Mayor Sherry Kelley, she has it from reliable sources that the owners, who could not be reached at press time, will reopen another business at the same location.
“It is my understanding it will be a convenience store where tobacco and alcohol may be purchased and there will be a drive-through,” Mayor Kelley said.
“I am excited about the change-over, as the new store has a lot more potential to increase the tax base of our small city.”
The Pizza Barn and Taco Barn is owned by Gurdon business entrepreneurs Kendra and Tim Raynes. The Tailgate News staff will pursue confirmation and updates on this business change by way of continuing to attempt to interview the owners.
Joe Pruitt, of Gurdon, said, “I will be sorry to see the current business close, but I am looking forward to the new business being in operation that they are planning.”

Editorial: Trump or a global economy with Muslim law?

We would like to explain our reasoning for favoring Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton in the upcoming presidential election.
Although we have nothing personally against the governing and organizational skills of President Bill Clinton, we are not convinced that Miss Hillary is anything like her husband politically. Money talks and horse feathers walk.
The Clintons, so we are told, have a foundation that has been funded, at least in part, by the Islamic nations. This, in and of itself, does not bother us. The prospect of colonization in the United States does. There is a tremendous difference between global philosophy and the theory of independent statehoods.
We support Donald Trump because he wants the United States to continue with its present Constitution still the law of the land and to be free in regard to speech, religion, the right to bear arms and basically make our own choices in business that will eliminate the high unemployment created by too much global trade that hurts American workers. He wants to put the United States he grew up in first in world trade agreements and to limit immigration to those proving they want to assimilate to our existing Christian based culture.
We are the United States. We grew up in Indiana and transplanted to Arkansas, where we have functioned as a full-time writer for more than 30 years. We have five kids, seven grand kids, a house we hope to pay for before retirement years set in and a number of decent friends and acquaintances who we enjoy and feel blessed to have.
More important than all of this, we are Christians. We also like guns and Christian Bibles and history. We are not Muslim, nor do Muslims have anything to do with our combination of Native American and European American value system.
We believe in women having rights in our society, not to be treated like second class citizens. Shariah law, with which the Muslims want to replace the United States Constitution, is all about keeping women for breeding purposes and as servants only. And they abuse those women physically unto the point of death and get away with it under their Muslim customs and laws!
We certainly see how a sane person would want different than that and so no, we are not in favor of denying Muslims the right to come here and prove assimilation to achieve immigration. We are simply against them, or anyone, coming over here and setting up a colony, like appears to exist in certain states today under strong-man Obama.
The differences between those of us who grew up in the United States of America from 1960 until now is simply profound from those folks raised in communism, Shariah law and/or the religion of the Koran. That Koran is the Muslim Bible, a man-made religion which a now dead Mohammed created hundreds of years ago.
This editorial is not about the Je-Hauds, ISIS or whatever you want to call the modern-day Nazis with Muslim roots. There are insane extremists in the Christian religion as well, thus the KKK. Rather, this editorial is about applauding Great Britain for breaking away from the European Union so they could once again be England for the English. This is not selfish.
It also gives Muslims, or anyone else who wants to assimilate, the opportunity to apply to be English and get away from the barbaric rule of Shariah law. We want this continued freedom for the United States. If a Muslim, or even a native from England, wants to become a United States citizen, he should pass a test of assimilation.
He, or if it is a woman, she, should be able to speak our language, live by our Constitution and respect freedom of religion, freedom of speech, the right to bear arms – plus all of the rest of those freedoms us old guys grew up with in Hagerstown, Indiana. We graduated high school there, after being raised on a farm, in 1977. And potential immigrants should respect the fact that United States laws are based on the 10 Commandments found in the Old Testament of the Christian Bible.
We find it sad that the best quote we read on July 4 Internet news was from the Russian strong-man. He said if America wants to stay an independent nation, we need to allow other statehoods in this world to make the same choice to function as independent entities. He pointed out how Obama’s lust for globalization and world-wide control has hurt the United States in the international eyes of other independent countries because they see the Obama administration as a bunch of control freak, know it alls…
If the United States elects Islamic bought-off Hillary Clinton, we will have another eight years of this push toward globalization, that is one world government. The extreme liberal laws, that her supporters so seem to love, will probably be extinguished by Shariah laws – if Mrs. Clinton continues down the path of allowing the United States to be colonized by the Muslim world.
The point is assimilation. The Muslims want to come over here unvetted and ready to colonize. They don’t want to be Americans. They appear to want to conquer the United States and eliminate our laws and freedoms in favor of Shariah law. We would like to end this editorial with a question. Which do you want, the America you grew up with or the Islamic world that serves a man-made religion instead of the Lord Jesus Christ?

The Reddick Files: Introduction, Meeting Obi One Kanobi

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
I first met Mike Reddick at the Paragould Daily Press in 1994. He was dressed in full Native American clothing and was placing a classified.
I struck up a conversation with this very different individual and ended up writing a feature on him. He invited me to his home, where I met his brother Phil and his Mother, whom I only knew as Mrs. Fox Reddick. I think Fox was her maiden name.
For some reason, this cigarette smoking oldster, who reminded of the lady in that movie about the couple who died and then needed help from her in reading a book about the here-after, took a liking to me. This seemed to please Mr. Mike and he told me we would one day be best friends. I had just lost my former best friend Ben Downing in a car wreck a few years before so I did not really feel in the market for a new best buddy at that point in my life.
But time would prove Mr. Mike was right. Indeed, Markesic, we became best friends. That was Mike’s name as a Native American cook. He made a helleva chili brew, as I would one day find out. But his first and favorite Native American name was given to him by his boss, President Bill Clinton. It was Eagle Thunder. Mike was an assassin for Uncle Sam and I remember one particular instance when he was called back to duty by President Clinton.
Now Mike may have had the name Eagle Thunder before going to work for Clinton. And much of what I am about to write may have been doctored up by Mike to create believable cover stories. But one thing is for certain, Michael Henry Reddick died on March 30, 2016 at the age of 65, officially from a massive heart attack.
I, John Hancock Nelson, was the last man he called. I wish I would have answered the telephone in time, but I did not do so. Sorry old buddy. I really am eternally sorry. But as another Native American friend named Helen observed, had Mike wanted medical help he would have dialed 911 first…
Other than that incident, I do not recall ever feeling as though I failed him, nor he me. I call him Obi One Kanobi in this book, a Star Wars reference to an old but wise sage, because to me that is who he was. I was his Luke Skywalker, star story telling pupil. He taught me much about life, love and dedication to country. He lived, he loved and he was. Many in his own family thought he was a fraud. I will admit he loved to exaggerate, but over the span of two decades I found out the reality of the man was fascinating – exaggerating sometimes or not.
So consider my story, all 15 chapters of it, before you judge old Mike. After you have read this book, you can decide how much you believe. Ask yourself, does anyone have this much imagination? But in his defense, when one is a classified agent for the United States government, especially in the 1980s and 1990s, how much truth in your stories can you really give out and still survive?
GOING FISHING
My first adventure with Mike was to pick up cans, buy fishing licenses and go fishing. I was separated from my then wife Doris, as she had moved back to Bryant with our 10-year-old daughter, Kelley Marie. I got to keep Kelley every other weekend at the 707 trailer park – owned by a friend of mine named Frankie Joe Parkinson.
I took a chance and first moved to Paragould to help a guy start a newspaper. Don Deal’s paper did not make it so I took a job with the Paragould Daily Press and then had my falling out with my wife. Doris and I had moved to Brooklyn from a large trailer at Frankie Joe’s, where she deserted me for the second and final time. It was our second try at marriage and ended our 12 years of living under the same roof. I decided to take a small trailer back at the trailer park because I had friends there and it was not nearly so lonesome as living off by myself in Brooklyn Besides, it was a place to go fishing with my kid when I got her on weekends.
But at the time I met Mike, I had gotten used to spending my evenings talking with friends out there on Road 707. As a Paragould Daily Press reporter, I barely made enough to live on, but ironically I was given a week’s vacation by the newspaper. Mike and I picked up cans, bought the fishing licenses and enjoyed a week’s worth of fishing and getting to know one another both at the 707 pond and also at his family pond in Beech Grove.
I could tell you some more adventures we had from my perspective, but I believe since this is a book about Mike, he should tell you the rest of the story.
A GHOSTLY TALE
I don’t know what it is with Nelson and wanting people to know about my life as his friend. My name on earth was Henry Michael Reddick from 1950 until 2016. I went by Mike. I would have been 66 on Aug. 13, but I left that body and world behind just before the end of March 30, 2016.
John was right about that much. As to my body dying of a massive heart attack, the coroner was right about that. But let’s see, what can I tell you about the beginning of my friendship with John Nelson. I suppose the first thing that impressed me was this guy was not scared of me. I told him about working for the government nearly 30 years as an assassin for Uncle Sam and he never seemed to even flinch.
I found that to be especially strange. Most people who knew my reputation as Eagle Thunder stayed away from me, my temper and my ways. John just kept coming around me and inviting me to be around him. Finally, after a lot of laughs together and fun times, it seemed only natural for me to call him my friend. I once told him he was my only true friend. That was not very far from the honest truth.
I was a private person in many ways, not really taking time for such things as getting close to someone else. As I would later prove to him, then President Bill Clinton still used me for assignments and trips out of the country. My government record indicated I had 129 confirmed assassinations for the United States before I finally retired to collect a VA pension and disability pay that became Social Security. I would tell John about the 129 confirmed kills later in our friendship, but even that terrifying fact did not destroy our relationship.
I finally came to the conclusion that our dedication to one another was the real deal; best friends who would always have each other’s backs.
Still yet, going fishing is how our friendship started and was something we did off and on for nearly the entire 22 years we were best friends. I guess it relaxed both of us. John never seemed to care if he caught the biggest or the most fish, only that he and I could talk and swap lies about our lives. Still, when it came to the important stuff, there was a Golden Rule truth between us.
Most of the adventures I told Nelson about really did happen, with just enough exaggeration to keep me out of trouble with my employer – the US government. But I will admit I spiced things up a bit from time to time. My daughter, Rachel Davis of New Mexico, told John at my funeral that I was quite story teller. Admittedly, all of those hours I spent alone did tend to make my imagination generate some interesting goings on.
For example, I told John that Rachel was a heart surgeon. In truth, she was an emergency room assistant. The heart surgeon tale just seemed more interesting to recite at the time, especially since his daddy was a neurologist and I wanted to relate to that high achievement status.
Getting back to our first fishing trip, we did drop a line at Frankie Joe’s trailer park, but I believe we ended up at Larry’s pond in Beech Grove too. That pond of Larry’s was one place where there were always a few brim, catfish and bass biting. After fishing, we used to drink beer, club around Paragould, dance with pretty girls, sing karaoke and play a little pool. It never went much further at first because John was still considering his marriage at the time. After John’s final divorce from Doris in 1995, things got more interesting at the clubs, both of us being single and all.
I remember one incident where a married lady propositioned John but then said she had to be back at the dance hall by 2 a.m. so her husband could come and get her. He declined the offer. Ironically, this Indiana farm boy who I had adopted did have a few morals about him – even though he pretended to be as wild as a goat.
But moving on about my own life, I think John wants my ghostly self to let you know a couple of the things I told the man about my work with the government so I will recant a few of those yarns for you here. I am pretty sure he did not believe me at first, but its OK. We will take things a chapter at a time. For purposes of this introduction, let me just say I was a Vietnam Veteran with two tours of service behind me and an Airborne Ranger record. I fought mood swings, social anxiety and basically a desire to simply be left alone after being discharged from the service for a bullet wound injury to my left arm.
When I first met John, my main concern was taking care of my mother. She was very sick from COPD and not long for this world. The rest of my family did not see a need to take her in and visited her and Phil only occasionally. My brother Phil was mentally handicapped because of an accident where he fell off of a horse. Frankly, Phil and my Mom both needed someone to look after them. I was in the process of putting the rest of my life on hold and doing just that during those first few weeks of my friendship with John.
Me and the half breed Cherokee both seemed like we had a lot to get off of our chests. So we took turns spilling our guts and/or listening. Over the next three chapters, I will tell you the stories of Kenny the wood worker and how the government had me kill him with a long-distance rifle out in California for treason, the story of my marriage to Renee and how I caught her in adultery with a doctor. I threw her and him out of a second story window at our home. And thirdly I will recant the story of Julie, the IRS administrator’s daughter and how jealousy ruined our Romeo and Juliet relationship.
I was married first to Rachel’s mother Marian, then to Julie and finally for eight years to Renee. After that last divorce, I vowed to stay single and did so for more than 30 years. After trying marriage three times, I decided living alone was more for me. It seemed like every time I got close to a woman she would find someone else she wanted more.
I figured it was a pattern I could live without. I don’t think John ever understood why I gave up on Mike going to the altar, but frankly it was just too painful. I learned to be happy taking care of my dog Mugsy after I retired and with my work before that. Besides, after 1994, I always had Nelson to talk to and that was enough companionship as far as I was concerned.

Tailgate Traveler: getting ready for football fall

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
I bought the Hooten football magazine, like a lot of Arkansas football fans, this week.
After covering high school football games since 1982, I guess I should clarify the term fan. In my case, it is pretty well limited to the high school level.
My first job as a reporter out of college was with the Marianna Courier Index in Lee County, Arkansas.
I have pretty much done the sideline dance ever since. I enjoy interviewing coaches about their strategies and the like, and I love to take photos of energetic boys of fall who are learning the value of sportsmanship, competition and, of course, the pleasure one feels when one wins.
At first, not being particularly a sports nut, covering sports was just something that was part of my journalism career and so it had to be done.
But then I realized how the coaches were molding integrity into these young American boys and creating fellows that would be team players, honest and full of integrity as they journeyed on to college, the service, the workforce and families of their own. Many of the kids wave at me. I am a fixture they can pretty well count on here at the Gurdon sidelines.
The last couple of seasons I have also been there on those Malvern Leopard sidelines. I hope to get regular interviews with the Malvern coaches so we can have more in depth weekly updates for the Leopards as well this coming season.
With my determination to keep this publication in 16 pages instead of 12, I also hope to give regular photography coverage to the Fountain Lake Cobras and the Arkadelpha Badgers. The pdfs of the Tailgate News are free to copy and there is a newspaper morgue on the site that goes back to the beginning of 2013 and even a few issues in 2012.
Tailgate News actually started in 2007, but was in traditional print until April of 2012. Most of my sports fans were reading their news on digital computers, telephones and other modern devices so I had to change with the times to survive as a publication.
In January of 2013, we had reached nearly 3,000 site hit readers per week and I took the Southern Arkansas Tailgate News to a weekly, rather than monthly format.
So far so good. I learn a lot of stuff about high tech daily to improve the publication, but most of the changes simply involve the conversion of a print media product to a digital blog.
The advertising sponsors make the Tailgate News possible and I will always be grateful for them. I tell my sponsors, who hopefully increase their businesses by being exposed to more than 4,000 readers a Friday, that I am a writer by choice and a salesman by necessity.
Although the weekly magazine has many newspaper flavors to it, as I was a weekly newspaper editor for most of my career, it also has a Christian sermon, a poem, book chapters when I am writing one, and a lot of photographs of children to please parents who pull the magazine up on their computers.
I am still trusting that the good Lord will bring me an advertising sales person when He sees fit. In the mean time, I will continue on as a virtually solo act.
I do have a few contributing writers and a wife who does my weekly accounting. She also contributes a few photographs, as do my children and other Facebook friends.
If you have a poem, short story you are proud of or even a letter to the editor you want to get off of your chest, you can put it on my Facebook messenger at John Hancock Nelson or email it to my business at: tailgatenewskid77@gmail.com.
With the political season heating up, I will probably be doing an editorial every week. I believe in freedom of speech, all of the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights – without an infringement on one group of folks just to please another.
You have to understand that I was raised by my paternal grandparents, the late John Hans and Marvel May Nelson, on a farm in Indiana. They were born in 1892 and 1896.
Back then, although people did not always live by those 10 commandments, most folks realized they were the basics of what was considered right and wrong behavior in society.
My how things have changed. But as my grandfather taught me, you have to change with the times or the times will bury you.
I don’t buy everything that comes down the pike, but I do feel obligated to change enough to keep communicating with younger people and therefore stay among the living.
I find the Golden Rule very helpful in my version of journalism. It is something that has not changed. Most sane people see that. And it goes right along with what the football coaches I have met seem to want to convey to their players. Treat others as you would like to be treated.
If my grandchildren don’t want to go to the park, we stay home or do something else. If one of them does not like my hobby of fishing, I will not force them to like it. If one wants to learn to play chess with me, good. But if there is no interest, I believe in letting my seven make wholesome choices.
This is still America so far. I do not condemn anyone for being different, but the pendulum swings both ways. If our country is to survive, those who would force change should not be in power. I say this for their own good because whether the politically correct crowd wants to face it or not, majority still rules in these United States – not some whim of a single political strong man. At least not yet. Despite what some may think, so far this is not Russia.
But still, as is taught in football, there are times you have to back your team or leave it. And you have to listen to your coach if you want to get better. Naturally, it helps if the coach is a man or a woman of integrity and plays by the commonly accepted rules. I could go on and on, as you might surmise. But I will close by saying have a great vacation and join me in my quest of being part of the solution in life instead of being part of the problem.

Gurdon Main Street to go 2-lane

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Gurdon’s downtown area will soon be two-lane on Main Street (Highway 53) from the Highway 67 side of the railroad track on down past Sonic.
Mayor Sherry Kelley said Monday she submitted a Main Street evaluation to the State of Arkansas and they recommended the area be changed from four-lane traffic in order to give those parking on either side of the street two more feet to get out of their cars without stepping into traffic and to slow down the traffic, especially when it comes to teenage drivers and log trucks who have a tendency to move pretty quickly through the area.
“We are concerned about our drivers who speed through that section of downtown, as it could pose a danger to our pedestrians, especially our young people or very old who may not be watching traffic,” she said.
The conversion is to start in the near future and be done before the first of the year. Kelley said it will not cost Gurdon any money, but the city will be in charge of right-a-ways and to maintain the road after it is finished.
Mayor Kelley said the Gurdon Police Department now has a radar gun, which she hopes will also be an effective deterrent for speeders in the area.
She plans to apply for a grant to put a stoplight up at the corner of Highway 67 and Highway 53 “to help keep traffic flowing.”
“With all of the new jobs coming to this area, the population is bound to increase over the next few years,” she said. “I realize slowing down the traffic may be hard to get used to at first, but this is the only way to go when you consider safety in the downtown area. We have also been having inquiries from sports bars and the like. With more businesses, there will be bigger crowds walking around our downtown. Gurdon is set to grow and we need to get ready.”
Kelley said one local business owner is considering an expansion and relocating to the old U.S. Bank building. If this buy-out happens, that will also mean a necessity for safer parking conditions.
The issue was brought up at City Council Monday night and Council members expressed concern for bottle necked school traffic in the early morning hours, but agreed to proceed with the plans to make downtown a two-lane affair. Parking will continue to be parallel only, as there is no real room for extending parking places into the street.
“We are hoping to grow a downtown business district once the pulp plant opens and GP increases its employee load,” the mayor said. “With slower traffic, this will be a lot more realistic.”
Kelley said she predicts log trucks may find an alternate route through Beirne if the change produces too much congestion. She said the potential lack of popularity in regard to making downtown two-lane “is worth it if we prevent even one horrible accident that could result in loss of life when we have a busier downtown in the future.”

Gurdon to get 1 mile of paving;

taking bids on 90 acres of timber land

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
City Council members agreed Monday for Mayor Sherry Kelley to pursue a street overlay project in Gurdon that the Arkansas State Highway Department has agreed to finance.
“This is a very expensive project,” Mayor Kelley said, “and the state has agreed to finance about a mile of overlay paving to be placed a little here and a little there on the worst spots in Gurdon.”
Kelley said a list of said spots has not been finalized but will be released as soon as she knows for sure where they will be. Although the overlaying will not cost Gurdon anything, the city will be responsible for securing utilities and right-a-ways. City Council members passed a resolution in favor of the project. Not cost figures for the state or city were released at the meeting. Mayor Kelley said state expense would depend on variations in the price of asphalt.
Moreover, the City Council agreed to put the 90 acres in and around the incapacitated pond off of Go-Devil Road up for bids. It was noted that Rowdy Prince had already offered $95,000 and put down $1,000 in earnest money, “but that money is still in my desk, uncashed,” the mayor said.
Councilman Danny Paull speculated the bids for the land and timber could come in as high as $160,000 and said the $95,000 was way too low considering what the buyer could get out of the timber alone. He said around $140,000 would probably be the realistic price. Kelley said she likes the idea of an RV Park and renewed lake there and hopes whoever buys it pursues that dream.
In other business, the Hoo Hoo has requested a lease agreement of $1 per year for their downtown building over the next 50 years. There were no objections. Kelley said, “We will probably do that, as they are constantly remodeling and an entity we want to stay in Gurdon.”

CADC graduates IDA student

from home improvement effort

By ROBIN FREEMAN
CADC public relations
ARKADELPHIA – Arkadelphia resident Sharon Bell can attest to the benefits of the CADC Individual Development Account (IDA) program. Sharon cashed out of IDA, where she earned $2,000 to help improve and make her home safe.
IDA’s are matched savings accounts. For every $1 that a participant saves, it is matched with $3. Participants save up to $667 and earn up to $2,000 per individual and, if done as a family, $4,000. All the matching funds are provided through private and publicly funded grants and are paid directly to a local vendor.
Sharon applied to the program in July 2015 to improve her home. As a requirement for participating, she first completed CADC’s Money Smart financial coaching curriculum, a course she could take on her own time since it is provided on a CD.
The course includes 11 modules that help participants save, invest and use money wisely. Topics included banking, borrowing, setting up a checking and savings accounts, improving your credit, buying on credit, using a credit card, loans and borrowing for a home. After completing the course, participants are required to take a test to prove they understood the information.
Once enrolled in the IDA program, Bell took full advantage of CADC’s array of services, designed to help move low income families from poverty to a life of success. Those services, including the Single Parent Scholarship Fund and the LIHEAP utility assistance program, work with participants to help them set goals to improve their quality of life.
By April 2016, after saving each month and working diligently to put what she had learned in practice, Bell achieved her dream. Having saved the $667, she was able to cash out of the program with $2,000.
Sharon Bell said, “We will be able to walk through the front door and have a secure home for safety.”
Sharon learned how to reduce debt and learned how to save money. In addition to the mentoring and support, she received from CADC Family Development Specialist Georgia Sherman, Bell applied for a job at CADC and was hired.
To be eligible for CADC’s IDA program, the individual or family must have earned income and meet current income guidelines, which is 185% of the federal poverty level. Program participants agree to save at least the $667, must complete the Money Smart financial literacy curriculum and must have a minor child in the home. Other guidelines also apply. For more information, contact Sherman at 870-246-8089.

Truck disables river bridge

from Arkadelphia to Sparkman

Associated Press |
ARKADELPHIA, Ark. (AP) — The Ouachita River Caddo Street Bridge (Highway 7/51) in south Arkansas has been shut down after a truck struck several beams on the bridge’s super structure.
According to the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department, the truck hit the bridge on Arkansas 51, which is the usual route to DelArk and Sparkman from Arkadelphia, shortly after 7 a.m. Tuesday. Engineers are assessing the damage and will work to place temporary supports until a permanent fix can be made.
AHTD spokesman Danny Straessle said the bridge will remain closed until further notice. AP sources say arrangements are being made for emergency vehicles to cross. A detour route for the general public goes through Donaldson north into Hot Spring County, with an estimated 31 miles of out-of-the-way drive time.
The 56-year-old bridge carries 3,100 vehicles daily. Construction was already under way on a replacement structure on the downstream side of the bridge with an estimated completion date of next summer.

Gurdon Mayor seeks return of town fireworks

By SHERRY KELLEY
Gurdon Mayor
Several years ago, Gurdon used to celebrate the 4th of July with a dazzling professional fireworks show. We hope to bring that display back next year.
As to the upcoming holiday, here is hoping you have a safe and happy Independence Day. Lake DeGray should be having its usual spectacular fireworks for your viewing pleasure.
Clark County’s largest industry is Georgia Pacific Gurdon Wood Products and Gurdon is located only 10 miles south of the new Sun Paper mill. Last week’s announcement that the Glenwood mill is reopening is more good news for our area. That project is expected to bring 130 jobs and it will further solidify the long term stability of our timber industry. Timber is king in Gurdon.
In an effort to attract new residents and retail to Gurdon, we are building a website. I attended Henderson State University’s Small Business and Technology Development’s website workshop last week. What a great class. The city’s website is under construction but you can check it out and watch as it grows. Go to www.thecityofgurdon.weebly.com .
As it is being formed the site will be mainly for marketing, but as we go and grow in the future more will be added. If you have a desire to be a web designer, I highly recommend this class, it’s excellent.
The new Bad Boy mower arrived last week. I would like to say a big thank you to Representative Richard Womack, Senator Bruce Malloch and everyone at West Central Planning and Development for the grant funds. We used it for mowing around City Hall and the Cabe Fields.
That 60” deck really cuts down on mowing time and this will be great for our new youth soccer/football field at the city park as well. We started watering the new field and Clark County Extension Office Agent Amy Simpson checked out the progress of the Bermuda seed we planted this spring. She said it looks great, but to be patient and let the heat and water do their work. We have every intention of using the field later this year.
The city will begin interviewing applicants for an office assistant position this week. Our former water department office assistant left in May to move to Northern Arkansas. Water Department Office Manager Virginia Childres has been doing a great job on her own, but we need a part-time person to train in both the water and treasurer’s office for vacations and sick days.
Daisy State Park Activities…
Sunday, July 3 – 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Scenic Lake Cruise: Lake Greeson is a beautiful place to make memories. Join us for a tour of Lake Greeson by boat to learn about the history and natural features of this lake.
Don’t forget your camera! Seating is limited, so sign up at the visitor center by 9 a.m. Sunday. Meeting place: Area E Boat Launch
Admission: $10 adults, $5 kids ages 6-12, under 6 free

Brickfest tonight and tomorrow

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
The Malvern 2016 Brickfest will be held on Friday (tonight) and Saturday, June 24 and 25, at the City Park.
Performances on Friday will be by: Pure, Maya Smith and Matthew Huff.
On Saturday, musical entertainment will be by Neal McCoy with Gurdon’s Big Chuck opening for McCoy.
In addition, Brickfest will have its usual 5K run, arts and crafts, venders, family fun, food and Brick Car Derby.
There will be a Miss Brickfest pageant, a brick toss and a best dressed brick contest. There will be a barbecue cookoff, a car and truck show, a talent show and a dog show.
For more information, call: (501) 458-1115. Also you may visit the Malvern Chamber of Commerce in person or on the web.
Parking, in most cases, will be $10 a car load. See P-8

Helping Hands manager

tells story of her salvation

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
BENTON – She comes to work every day and places a scripture on the message board; usually something to the effect that Jesus loves everyone who accepts His gift of salvation and serving others in need is a privilege she thanks God for every chance she gets.
Pam Taylor, 52, has done two trips to prison for drug possession. But things have been different for her the past few years because of the forgiving and blessing nature of her Savior, Jesus Christ.
“Good people mess up. We know what we have done, without the cruel reminders from some other folks who try to degrade us by broadcasting the sins of our past,” Taylor said. “We don’t live in our past ways anymore.”
Pam enjoys her scripture quotes and pointed to 2 Corinthians 5:17, which says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: the old is gone, the new is here!”
Pam is the manager of Helping Hands and Caring Hearts, 805 West South Street in Benton.
Bonnie Johnson, who tended bar for more than 20 years, owns the Helping Hands store and Pam has worked there for Bonnie since 2011.
Pam’s life of running lasted from 1975 until she accepted Jesus Christ as her Savior while in prison at Newport for her second sentence from June of 2009 until January of 2011.
“I went to prison on the drug possession charge from August of 2008 until January of 2009,” she said. “I was only out until June and did not show up for court. I ended up going back in to serve 18 more months. – from June of 2009 until January of 2011.”
Pam said after accepting the salvation of Jesus Christ she was baptized in prison.
“Things began to change after I accepted Jesus,” she said. “I went through a prison course called the Principles for Avocation of Every Day Living. Then, along with pre-release training, I expected to parole out to a Godly woman.”
Ms. Taylor did just that when she started working with Helping Hands and Ms. Johnson.
Bonnie said, “Pam is amazing. She loves it here and she is doing great. If you want to see real love, just follow her around and take notice as to how she treats each and every customer.”
Pam said her path down the dark side of life began when she was 12 years old. Her father, J.W. Taylor, was a truck driver killed in a semi accident back in 1975 on I-30 by J.J’s Truck Stop near Benton.
“I had told my Dad I wished he was dead a couple of weeks before he was killed and I blamed myself for his accident for more than 30 years,” Pam said. “This was why I first went wild. Through loving Jesus, and developing a spiritual relationship with Him, I have come to find peace about my Dad’s accident and now realize it was just his time to go.”
Pam said the guilt and bitterness led her to become a marijuana user and then on to Crystal Meth. Her prison troubles started when she was caught in possession of the Meth.
“I got married at 16 to a 27-year-old man and started using Crystal Meth when I was 20,” she said.
“I went to rehab for three months around 1997-98 but fell right back into the wrong crowd.”
Pam said for her the time she spent in prison changed her life for the better. She was pulled over on Highway 35 in Saline County and charged with possession of Meth in August of 2008.
“I was so mad at my family at the time for letting me go to prison, but it taught me responsibility and that is where I found Jesus Christ, the only Man I really need,” she said.
Pam has three children; Summer, Joshua and Dylan. They are now 34, 32 and 24. She also has a toddler grandson, Gabriel. Pam lives with her mother and step-dad, Bill and Sue Witham of Benton “and the past few years they are glad I am home.”
Pam said her secret to a life of giving and treating others like she wants to be treated is her hope in Jesus Christ.
“Let Him come into your every day and He can change things for the better. You will be so blessed.”
Pam said her brother, Jerry Taylor, of East End, is her human accountability partner. When she is having a hard time, she calls Jerry, who understands and has been down the drug road with her and back up to a road of being respectable, loving and caring.
“Jerry has been clean 9 years and I am so proud of him,” Pam said. “If you need a friend, or want to ask me anything at all – or especially if you are ready to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, call me anytime at: (501) 722-3863.”
Pam called her family members her main support group and said she believes they will always stick together. Pam Taylor attends the Abundant Life Church in Bryant.
Ms. Taylor rang up another $3 worth of merchandise for a struggling elderly lady with hollow eyes. She smiled at her and the lady smiled back.
“You don’t need drugs if things get rough,” she said. “You just need to realize that God is always there for you.”

School Board alters handbook;

keeps reduced lunches at 40 cents

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Gurdon School Board met Thursday and agreed to a few changes in the school handbook, agreed to keep the reduced lunch price at 40 cents for the upcoming school year and heard a progress report from Superintendent Allen Blackwell on his quest to hire a replacement for Letha Duke, coordinator for special education programs, who resigned.
“I thought I would have a name to give the board tonight for approval in regard to a new special education coordinator, but I received a call indicating that individual wants to discuss salary further,” Blackwell said.
“I will let the board know when I have a replacement person for this position.”
In regard to policy changes, Gurdon Primary School Principal Rusty Manning asked that the board change a double-jeopardy rule that was essentially punishing a child twice for misbehaving on a field trip.
“The old policy said a student caught misbehaving on a field trip and suspended could not go on the next trip,” he said. “The child has already been suspended for his or her actions and so I want this policy canceled, as I do not want to punish a student twice for the same offense.”
Blackwell pointed out if the offense was serious enough the principal still would have the option of not letting him or her go on the next outing. But by removing the mandate, that child could be allowed to go at the principal’s discretion.
The request was passed by the board. The board extended the retention and promotion policy through grade 8 and left other Cabe Middle School policies the same.
GHS Principal Harvey Sellers asked that college algebra be an option for honor graduation in the math category and received board approval on that request.
Sellers also asked that part of a Close-Up requirement be removed in order to not stick parents with paying for an non-refundable airplane ticket to Washington D.C. that says “and no less than 60 percent in each class at the time of departure.” The board passed that too. Harvey also asked for and received a driving suspension clause removed from the handbook that said, “After the third, first period tardy, driving privileges on any school property during the instructional day will be suspended for the remainder of the 9-week period.”
The principal said it created a hardship and “we want our students to come to school.”
The board raised lunch prices for paid student lunches by 5 cents, as mandated by the state. The reduced lunch remains at 40 cents. Teachers will pay $3.50.

The School Board submitted a 2017-2018 school budget, as is required by Amendment 74 of the Arkansas Constitution.

CADC will help with engergy bills;

starts July 5

By ROBIN FREEMAN
CADC Communications
Central and South Ark. – Central Arkansas Development Council (CADC) will begin accepting applications for the Regular and Crisis Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) utility assistance with mass intake days beginning July 5, 2016.
Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) assists households with home energy and heating bills. Eligible households must meet income guidelines and furnish proof of all household income for the month prior to applying.
To qualify for Crisis LIHEAP, persons must have a disconnect notice with a disconnect date within 7 days of application date.
To apply for assistance, customers are required to show a picture ID. Customers must also show a copy of their electric and gas bill, regardless of the bill wanting to be paid.
Applications will be accepted on a first come, first serve basis.
In Clark County, applications will be taken July 7th, 1:30 – 4 pm CADC Senior Activity Center, 1305 North 10th Street in Arkadelphia.
After the mass intake day in Clark County, applications will be accepted Mondays and Tuesdays, 1 – 4 pm at the CADC Arkadelphia Senior Activity Center, 1305 North 10th Street. Call 870-246-8089 for more information.
In Ouachita County, applications will be taken July 7th at the mass intake day, 8 a.m. until Noon at the Carnes Park, Teen Town Building, 955 Adams Street in Camden.
After the mass intake day in Ouachita County, applications will be accepted at the CADC Ouachita County office, 313 Jefferson, Monday through Wednesday, 8 am until Noon. Call 870-836-3200 for more information.
In Hot Spring County, applications will be taken July 7th, 8:30 am – 11:30 am at the Arkansas Workforce Center of Malvern (CADC Head Start Building) at 1735 E. Sullenberger in Malvern. After the mass intake day in Hot Spring County, applications will be accepted Wednesdays and Thursdays, 1 – 4 pm at1735 E. Sullenberger. Call 501-337-8401 for more information.
In Saline County, applications will be taken July 8th at the CADC Head Start Building, 321 Edison in Benton, from 8 until 11 am. After the mass intake day in Saline County, applications will be accepted at the CADC Administration Building, 321 Edison Street, Monday through Wednesday, 8 am until Noon. Call 501-326-6229 for more information.
In Dallas County, applications are accepted Monday thru Wednesday at the CADC Fordyce Office, 410 E. 4th St Monday through Wednesday, 8 am until Noon. Call 870-352-8894 for more information.
In Pike County, applications are accepted every Tuesday at the CADC Glenwood Senior Activity Center, 229 Betty St, 8 am until 11 am. Call 870-356-4212. Applications will also be accepted every Monday at the CADC Murfreesboro Senior Activity Center, 120 E. Court, Ste. A, 8 am until Noon. Call 870-285-2312 for more information.

Tailgate Traveler recalls

Brickfests of yester-year

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
I first started going to Brickfest in 2003, when I was the editor and publisher for the Magnet Cove Community News.
At that time, the ACME Brick honoring event was held in downtown Malvern, with booths and such around the courthouse square and downtown businesses had open houses to generate sales.
Somewhere along the line, the scene switched to a City Park event.
One of my favorite parts of the park event was the early morning car and truck show, sponsored by Teeter Motors and more specifically the late Darrel Teeter.
It will be interesting to find out how this car show evolves with son Denny Teeter now at the helm of that organization.
One of my favorite country singers, Mark Chestnut, was among the first to perform at the new Ozark Stage, located where the old Boys and Girls Club used to stand – toward the back of the park.
This year’s star, Neal McCoy, will probably perform from 8 p.m. until 10 p.m. on Saturday night, with the event still free to the public – after you pay your $10 parking fee.
I hope to arrive at Brickfest about 3 p.m. on Saturday (tomorrow) to shoot photos of booth owners, folks having fun and of the free concert that evening.
One of my friends, a music lover named Kim Phillips from Glen Rose, said the shows are designed so people begin heading out of the park by 10:30 p.m.
In years past, there have been fireworks ignited at the end of the concert as sort of an exit symbol.
Come on out, bring a lawn chair and a soft drink, and enjoy a shaking by Neal McCoy!

Reading program extends

joining date until June 23

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Next Thursday will be a busy day at the Cabe Library in Gurdon, as children from 3-6 will meet at 10 a.m. for a storytime about crafts and exploring nature.
At 2 p.m., older children, from beginning level readers through the sixth grade, will meet and study an obstacle course.
Krystin Walker, children’s librarian in charge of this year’s summer reading, entitled “On Your Mark, Get Set, Read,” has extended the sign-up deadline through the first Thursday meeting times on June 23 (this coming Thursday) and invites all area parents and children to consider the value of sharpening reading skills during the summer, doing so for free and having fun with new friends in the process.
The program will meet every Thursday from now on through Thursday, July 28.
“Come on up to the library anytime this week and get signed up,” Mrs. Walker said. “One of our most popular programs will take place at 2 p.m. on Thursday, June 30, when the children will be entertained by a real live magician.”
Walker said everyone who registers will receive a bag, bookmark, pencil and reading log to record the number of books read. The reading log must be turned in no later than July 15 in order to qualify for the end of the program prizes.
Walker said readers must be able to read independently to sign up. Each child returning their reading log with at least one book read will receive a certificate.
Children reaching their reading goal and the top readers in each grade will also receive an award. Sharpening reading skills opens new worlds, she said.

Paul Shepherd and son, Stan

long-time partners in car business

Father/Son Team
together since 1988
Shepherd Auto’s
great in-house
financing makes
repeat customers
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Paul Shepherd, 80-year-old buy-here, pay-here Arkadelphia car dealer, is the father of his long-time business partner Stan Shepherd and the two have been selling cars at their 2109 Pine Street location since 1988.
The father/son team actually started a lot sooner than that, as the now 56-year-old Stan admits he was washing cars on his Dad’s old car lot ever since he turned 13.
Stan has a younger brother, Scott, who is in the investment business, and a younger sister, Shanan, who teaches school. But somehow, Stan caught the car dealer bug from his Dad “and I have kept enjoying this business and working with Dad all these many years.”
Paul and Stan have a lot full of good used cars and trucks, mostly late model. The Shepherd policy is to back what they sell and each sale usually includes some kind of warranty agreement.
“People know they can trust what we say,” Stan said. “That means a lot in this business – or any business.”
Stan says makes of cars and trucks vary on the Shepherd lot, as you never know what you might find at auction that has an appeal.
“Most of our customers are good payers and many come back and buy again,” Stan said. “Every now and then someone gets so far behind on payments that we need a repo man. I usually get that job.”
Although the car business has its ups and downs, Paul Shepherd has been in it since 1956, taking time out to earn at college degree from Henderson State University in economics and psychology and to complete military service in the Panama Canal Zone during the Korean War.
In 1996, Paul earned the “Quality Dealer of the Year” as a member of the Arkansas Independent Automobile Dealers Association.
In 1964, while 29 years old, Paul Shepherd was one of the youngest people ever to be awarded a Chrysler-Plymouth-Dodge franchise in the United States.
As for Father’s Day on Sunday, Stan said, “I am not sure what my plans are. I will have to ask my wife about that. I see Dad about every day so I will likely wish him well on that day too.”

Exxon and Baskin Robbins

coming to Gurdon soon

A new Exxon convenience store and Baskin Robbins ice cream shop will soon be a reality on the old DX Station lot, corner of Highway 67 and Main Street.
See Mayor Sherry Kelley’s column on page 6 for more details.

By SHERRY KELLEY
Gurdon Mayor
This week is the Arkansas Municipal League Convention in Little Rock. I will be attending the continuing education to become a Municipal League Certified Municipal Official and then receive my final training and certificate at the Winter Convention.
The program’s three 5-hour core courses are; City Government 101, Municipal Finance and Human Resources, which I have already completed. There are also 6 hours of continuing education.
Many officials continue to attend the core courses year after year because there is a lot of information packed into these classes. At the convention I will also attend the training for building a city web site. I will be driving back and forth to save the hotel fees.
The street department has been filling in pot holes. The work was delayed due to a shut down in production at our regular suppliers. Later this year the state will assist us with paving some portions of some streets. The work will be done at no cost to the city, it’s very expensive, and the total amount paved will be less than two miles.
Mr. David Blackmon and his son Ethan were in town last week. We visited about his new development at the junction of Highways 53 and 67. Blackmon announced that he is putting in a new Exxon Station, convenience store, Baskin-Robbins Ice Cream and an unnamed fast food restaurant with a drive thru window.
The project is expected to be completed in one year and will create 10 to 12 jobs. The dirt work for the site has already been a boon to our economy since it was performed by local businessman Mike McKenzie. Blackmon complimented the city and our water and street department workers for their assistance.
Daisy State Park
103 E Park
Kirby, Ar. 71950
870-398-4487
Saturday, June 18
8 a.m. – 11 a.m. 27th Annual Children’s Fishing Derby
Come to our park and catch a whopper of a good time at the 27th Annual Children’s Fishing Derby. Thanks to our many sponsors, this event is free and there are plenty of prizes. There will be a prize for the biggest fish, smallest fish, and the first fish caught. Participants ages 15 and under must do the fishing themselves (parents may help younger children). Bring your own bait and tackle and get ready for a great time. Registration begins at 7:30 a.m. Meeting place: Day Use Boat Launch
Admission: Free

9 a.m. – 11 a.m.
Kayaking Challenge
Whether you are a beginner or an experienced kayaker, you are sure to enjoy Daisy State Park’s Kayaking Challenge! Test your skills as you paddle through our fun obstacle course on Lake Greeson. Dress appropriately as you may get wet. Meeting place: Day Use Boat Launch
Admission: Free

Brickfest this next weekend

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
The Malvern 2016 Brickfest will be held on Friday and Saturday, June 24 and 25, at the City Park.
Performances on Friday will be by: Pure, Maya Smith and Matthew Huff.
On Saturday, musical entertainment will be by Neal McCoy and Big Chuck.
In addition, Brickfest will have its usual 5K run, arts and crafts, venders, family fun, food and Brick Car Derby.
There will be a Miss Brickfest pageant, a brick toss and a best dressed brick contest. There will be a barbecue cookoff, a car and truck show, a talent show and a dog show.
For more information, call: (501) 458-1115. Also you may visit the Malvern Chamber of Commerce.

 

Malvern to do some paving

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Malvern Mayor Brenda Weldon told City Councilman Monday at the regular City Council meeting that the city could receive $250,000 in state funding to pave between a mile and a mile and a half of Malvern public streets.
City Council members passed a resolution agreeing to get the money and make the improvements.
Weldon said, “The $250,000 will be the most we get and we intend to pave Main Street to Wilson Street with it. If we have the paving, we may try to do a little more.”
In other business, the Council agreed to authorize the taking of bids on repairing water and sewer lines that are in danger of falling in the river under the Interstate 30 bridge.
Moreover, Weldon said $14,000 has been secured through the office of Rep. Ken Bragg toward the remodeling of the city’s new building across the street from City Hall. She said this leaves $11,000 more to complete the refurbishing of the old and new building for public office and court placement.
“We are looking to divide that expense between three entities,” she said.
In other business, Michael Moyers, an attorney from the Little Rock law firm of Friday, Eldridge and Clark, read a series of water and sewer improvement bond changes ordinances, which all passed Council approval with a resulting lower interest rate on the bonds. For example, the passage of the first one reduced the interest on a $3.3 million bond from 2.5 to 1.5 percent.
The second Malvern Water and Sewer bond involved $8.4 million and that interest rate was also reduced from 2.5 to 1.5 percent.
The third water and sewer improvement bond reduced $6.5 million from 2.7 percent interest to .5 percent interest.
The City Council also passed emergency clauses on the bond changes.
In other business, City Council members passed an ordinance prohibiting Jake braking in the City of Malvern, as it was said to create too much noise pollution for large trucks to brake in this manner – using their exhaust system to slow down.
It was stipulated that Jake braking would be lawful and allowed in an emergency stop situation. A fine of not less than $1 or more than $500 was set as a penalty for unnecessary Jake braking. An emergency clause was passed.
A new raise schedule for police officers was approved. The police chief and his assistant will not get a raise, just the patrol men or women.
The City Council agreed to hook the 2093 Neal Street home of Rebecca Hart to city water, with the agreement that the property would be annexed to the city of Malvern.
Mayor Weldon said the new water service will not involve any new line, just the cost of hooking it up.

HSU athletic director touts academic improvements

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Henderson State University Athletic Director Shawn Jones told Gurdon Rotarians Thursday that even though winning games is important to him, the academic side of his athletes is an even bigger concern.
“We had a great football season last fall in HSU Reddie country,” he said. “That 11-2 season record was great to see and it was great to win the conference.”
However, Jones noted that when he came on board in 2014, the 350 student athletes at HSU had an average GPA of 2.54. Last semester it was 2.95 “and we are going to make it a 3.2 at least.
“Many of these students are on small scholarships and have to work jobs to stay in school, as well as stay in athletics,” he said. “I have told the people under me I will not fire them for losing a game, but if anyone is not for working hard to improve academics among the student athletes they can leave.”
Jones said the secret he did not tell his staff is that many times if a student is encouraged academically and has some success there, that success follows them into their athletic endeavors.
“All of my coaches still teach. If a coach is a good teacher, he or she has a passion for seeing students better their lives,” he said.
Jones said his theory has been working, as with his students climbing the academic ladder there has also been performance improvements in every sport since his arrival in 2014.
“My coaches all get along,” he said. “That was not the case at first. I tell them if they can help an athlete get those good grades, they will not be fired for poor sports performance. But again, a student who can win academically will find a way to win at his or her sport.”
Jones tells his coaches about the following core values: 1) Do the right thing, not the easy thing. 2) Be kind. 3) Be gracious, yet competitive, win or lose.
Jones said the HSU athletic department vision is to “achieve greatness in our academic pursuits through a dedicated focus on our core values.”
Jones said to succeed, his department needs a well defined purpose. He listed said purpose as: to graduate student-athletes and provide them a road map for future successes through their athletic endeavors and their overall Henderson State experience.
And to be a point-of-pride for Henderson State University through the pursuit of championships in a first class manner.
Jones thanked Rotarians for their current and past support of the Reddies.

Non-smoking advocate

approaches Malvern Council

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
MALVERN – A Friendship woman, who is an advocate to make numerous parks in Hot Spring and Clark County smoke free “because the children playing in these recreational areas deserve clean air to breath outside too,” met with a silent City Council at the agenda meeting Monday.
Mayor Brenda Weldon invited Pam Hutchins, community tobacco-free grant coordinator for Hot Spring, Clark and Pike counties – Dawson Education Cooperative in Arkadelphia – and a Friendship resident, to speak about her non-smoking campaign toward the end of the meeting.
Huthcins said she has been working with a local 4-H group to clean up numerous cigarette butts and packaging at the Malvern City Park and is also advocating that Feaster Park in Arkadelphia, plus two parks by the Ouachita River, be smoke free – as well as areas in downtown Arkadelphia.
“There is a certain pavilion that All Care Pharmacy workers use as a smoking area in downtown Arkadelphia that will become smoke free as part of our protection effort against second-hand smoke. While this may be a disappointment to the smokers who go there on a regular basis, it will mean everyone will be free to use that pavilion without fear of health damage caused by their second-hand smoke.”
Hutchins told Malvern Council members that it is not just the main Malvern City Park that she wants to see smoke free, but also parks at Glen Rose, Magnet Cove and several other Hot Spring County park areas where children frequently play.
Mayor Weldon said she is all for protecting the health of children, but has concerns about enforcing a no-smoking in parks policy for Malvern.
“Policing this non-smoking rule at parks can be done by concerned grandparents and others who care about the health of the children out there,” she said.
Hutchins noted that Blytheville and Garland County have already adopted no-smoking in the parks ordinances “and there are such ordinances already on the books in 13 states.”
Hutchins stressed her campaign is being conducted to protect the children. She noted that the law in Arkansas now prohibits anyone from smoking inside of a car when youth 14 and under are present.
Hutchins noted that her living at Friendship makes the Malvern City Park her park too and her efforts will not stop there. She said she is already making a similar appeal to the people of Glen Rose to make their park areas smoke free.
Hutchins presented literature asserting that second-hand smoke is the third leading cause of preventable death in the United States and that approximately 53,000 non-smokers die each year due to exposure to second-hand smoke.
Hutchins also proposed that the Malvern City Park be free from smokeless tobacco, asserting, “Tobacco-free policies and ordinances assist in changing social norms by sending a message that all tobacco products are unsafe and not part of a healthy and active lifestyle. With smoke-free only policies, youth may perceive other forms of tobacco use as acceptable, which can inadvertently lead to an increase in smokeless tobacco use.”
INSPECTION RATES
In other business at the Council agenda meeting, Fire Chief Jeremy Harper gave details of the proposed new building permit schedule. That proposed ordinance will be on the agenda for the regular City Council meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, June 13.
Chief Harper said the proposal includes raising the inspection fee from 3 cents per square foot to 5 cents per square foot, noting that adjacent cities are charging 6 to 9 cents “but we think 5 cents is high enough.”
The new ordinance also proposes a flat $40 fee for roof inspections.
“The 5 cents a square foot is only for the parts of a building that will be new,” he said. “The cost of inspection permits for the existing parts of a building will just amount to the flat $40 fee.”
Harper said if a construction is not ready for inspection, a $30 re-inspection fee can be charged, “but this is more of an alternative to punish folks who get us out there on several occasions and are not ready.” Chief Harper called the proposed new ordinance much fairer to roofers and it will eliminate arbitrary charges. He did not ask for the City Council to pass an emergency clause, “although this new ordinance will be pretty much black and white.”
Moreover, Mayor Weldon noted that the Malvern Interstate 30 Bridge “must be fixed or our sewer and water lines will end up in the river.”
Chief Harper said waterlines there are being fixed to stand 900 pounds of pressure, but the process will take a month and there will be a state charge of $24,000 to close a lane segment on I-30 for a month.

Cabe Muse Concert Tuesday

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
The Cabe Auditorium, on the Gurdon High School campus, will be the location where you can hear 10 selections of Broadway musicals free of charge at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, June 14.
The Muses Creative Artistry Project, with 25 singers and performers, will bring a bit of old-style New York Broadway to Gurdon, Arkansas and make every effort to uplift your spirits with old classics from the era of hope and enthusiasm connected with American talent of years gone by.
The show will be brought to you free of charge by the Cabe Foundation. Anita Cabe said Thursday, “We hope to fill the auditorium with musical enthusiasts, as the selections should be appealing to a broad range of music lovers.”
Appearing in Gurdon will be: Deleen Davidson, singer from New Orleans; Amy Bramlett, dancer and choreographer and renowned performers Stacy Murdock, Scott Lindroth and Jeanne Bennett.

Cabe Library Reading starts Tuesday

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
The Cabe Library annual Summer Reading program will kick off at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, June 14. Afternoon programs will be on Thursdays for the remainder of the summer.
Sign-up for the readers will continue through the start-up date. Readers should come to the library at 2 p.m. Tuesday to enjoy a “Pea Pod Power Station” presentation and get acquainted.
Krystin Walker, children’s librarian will be in charge of the agenda, with the awards ceremony scheduled right after a visit from Little Rock Zoo on Thursday, July 28.
This year’s theme is “On Your Mark, Get Set, Read!” Storytime is for children ages 3 to 6 and will meet on Thursdays at 10 a.m., starting on Thursday, June 23.
The summer reading program readers eligible for the free program should be in grades 1 through 6. Walker said everyone who registers will receive a bag, bookmark, pencil and reading log to record the number of books read. The reading log must be turned in no later than July 15 in order to qualify for the end of the program prizes.
Walker said readers must be able to read independently to sign up. Each child returning their reading log with at least one book read will receive a certificate.
Children reaching their reading goal and the top readers in each grade will also receive an award. Remember reading logs must be turned in to the front desk by Friday, July 15 to calculate winners. Walker said those needing more information on the program may call the library at: (870) 353-2911.

Sherry’s Column

Mayor praises summer sun

By SHERRY KELLEY
Gurdon Mayor
It’s so good to see the blue sky and sunshine. Now there is a lot of mowing and weed eating to do. The summertime flowers are growing nicely in the planters downtown and the red, white and blue banners are up.
It’s time to begin to improve the appearance of the store fronts on Main Street. We will be working on that throughout the summer and likely into the fall. If you or your organization have any ideas or would like to volunteer please give me a call.
Quincy Dickens tells us that the Fifth Annual Gurdon Pee Wee/Little League Football Team will host a 1 Pitch Coed Softball Tournament using the board on Saturday, June 11, at the Cabe Field Complex. The entry fee is $140 (3GG if less than eight 40 minute game times. USSSA rules 3-2 WIT/CO 5/5/6/6/44/400 or below, stamped and unstamped bats no seniors or ultras, unlimited home runs. First place T-shirts, 2nd and 3rd place plaques. Taking only the first ten teams. The proceeds will be used for the Pee Wee Football Program for scoreboards, uniforms, etc.
Everyone is invited to the complimentary event at the Charles and Anita Cabe Auditorium. The renowned Hot Springs theatrical, musical and dance company ‘The Muses Project’ will present “Broadway Cabaret” on Tuesday evening, June 14.
The show will include live song and dance performances from Broadway musicals such as; West Side Story, Chicago, Annie Get Your Gun, The King and I, Guys and Dolls, Les Miserables, Cabaret and many more.
Mark it on your calendar and don’t miss it. This show will be entertaining for children and adults. Tickets are free. With school out for summer break, please drive extra carefully.

Daisy State Park Activities
Saturday, June 11
10 a.m. – 12 p.m. Scenic Lake Cruise
Lake Greeson is a beautiful place to make memories. Join us for a tour of Lake Greeson by boat to learn about the history and natural features of this lake. Don’t forget your camera! Seating is limited, so sign up at the visitor center by 9 a.m. on Saturday. Meeting place: Area E Boat Launch
Admission: $10 adults, $5 kids ages 6-12, under 6 free.
Sunday, June 12
2 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. Critter Crunch
Daisy State Park provides a diverse habitat for all types of species large and small. Join us as we discover some of the smaller creatures that live in the park and what they typically eat. Meeting place: Visitor Center; Admission: Free.

 

Gurdon gets sirens updated

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Gurdon has a history of wind-damage weather in the springtime and a May update on the siren warning system should make spring storms in the future safer for residents.
Mayor Sherry Kelley said Thursday the city has three storm warning sirens that were updated last month and are now in good working order, as well as in compliance with federal standards and frequencies.
“Our siren on Highway 67, just past the park and toward Gurdon High School, had stopped working a couple of years ago and there were problems with our other two sirens as well,” she said. “Our budget really did not have the available funds to fix the situation. Baptist Health Systems stepped in and paid the entire $3,300 to make it possible for our city to be a lot safer. I would like to publicly thank this community partner for their help.”
Mayor Kelley said the siren refurbishing estimate originally came in at about half of the final cost and she was concerned that city funds would be needed to make up the difference. But Baptist Health absorbed the higher estimate without question “and truly proved they are a dedicated community partner.”
Baptist Health Family Clinic is across from the First United Methodist Church and next to Cabe Library in Gurdon and serves many of the health needs of the community.
There are actually three weather sirens in Gurdon, Kelley said. One is on 10th Street and the other one tied to the communication equipment supervised by Marshal Don Childres directly.
“I am not sure where the third siren is,” she said. “But Marshal Childres knows the exact location and is in charge of sounding the alarm there, on 10th Street and on Highway 67 – should Gurdon come under a high-wind warning, tornado warning or the threat of some other related disaster.
“With the marshal monitoring the weather, and the system now up to date, Gurdon should be as protected warning-wise as possible for years to come.”
Marshal Childres could not be reached for comment at press time, but has told this reporter in the past that his weather monitoring equipment is very reliable. The sound system of the sirens now being in compliance with current Federal Communication (FCC) government standards should give Gurdon residents ample time to react to any weather disaster, or other natural disaster, such as a spreading fire, that might come to Gurdon in the future.
“As most of us are aware, we are still currently in the storm season for high winds and tornadoes,” Kelley said. “You won’t hear these sirens unless Marshal Childres turns them on and you can be sure he won’t do that unless we need a warning and should take appropriate action to protect ourselves.”
Mayor Kelley said the fixing of the Highway 67 siren, and the FCC compliance that is now a reality for all three Gurdon warning systems, “gives me a lot of peace of mind.”
Many times, she remarked, all it takes to save a life is a heads up to a situation.
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Sign-up for the annual Cabe Library Summer Reading Program will continue through the start-up date of Tuesday, June 14.
June 14 will kick off the first story time at 10 a.m. and the first program at 2 p.m.
This will be the only Tuesday meeting. The regular meeting day will be on Thursday with sessions at 10 a.m. and at 2 p.m.
Krystin Walker, children’s librarian will be in charge of the agenda, with the awards ceremony scheduled right after a visit from Little Rock Zoo on Thursday, July 28.
This year’s theme is “On Your Mark, Get Set, Read!” Story time is for children ages 3 to 6 and will meet on Thursdays at 10 a.m., starting on Thursday, June 23.
The summer reading program readers eligible for the free program should be in grades 1 through 6. Walker said everyone who registers will receive a bag, bookmark, pencil and reading log to record the number of books read. The reading log must be turned in no later than July 15 in order to qualify for the end of the program prizes.
Walker said readers must be able to read independently to sign up. Each child returning their reading log with at least one book read will receive a certificate.
Children reaching their reading goal and the top readers in each grade will also receive an award.
Remember reading logs must be turned in to the front desk by Friday, July 15 to calculate winners.
Walker said those needing more information on the program may call the library at: (870) 353-2911. Again, all programs are FREE OF CHARGE.
You may also find out more information on Facebook, Cabe Public Library.

Cabes sponsor Broadway show,

Muse peformance free June 14

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
The Cabe Auditorium, on the Gurdon High School campus, will be the location where you can hear 10 selections of Broadway musicals free of charge at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, June 14.
The Muses Creative Artistry Project, with 25 singers and performers, will bring a bit of old-style New York Broadway to Gurdon, Arkansas and make every effort to uplift your spirits with old classics from the era of hope and enthusiasm connected with American talent of years gone by.
The show will be brought to you free of charge by the Cabe Foundation. Anita Cabe said Thursday, “We hope to fill the auditorium with musical enthusiasts, as the selections should be appealing to a broad range of music lovers.”
Appearing in Gurdon will be: Deleen Davidson, singer from New Orleans; Amy Bramlett, dancer and choreographer and renowned performers Stacy Murdock, Scott Lindroth and Jeanne Bennett.

Sherry’s Corner – Cabe Auditorium and Market on Main

getting good use, Little League pancake supper Saturday

By SHERRY KELLEY
Gurdon Mayor
Last week the Charles and Anita Cabe Auditorium was filled with family and friends of the Gurdon High School Class of 2016. This week the stage was filled with dancers and actors as the Gurdon Primary School and Cabe Middle School children enjoyed a theatrical production.
The Hot Springs Children’s Dance Theater Company, under the direction of Edmond Cooper, presented Peter Pan. The show was first rate with Arkansas children and professional entertainers from as far a San Francisco taking the stage for a colorful and imaginative spectacle that was enjoyed by all. What a treat, a special thank you goes out to the Cabes.
The Central Arkansas Development Council’s Gurdon Senior Adult Activity Center was the venue for a Senior Health Fair this past week. This well attended event featured information and health screenings for the attendees. Vendors from around the state presented information and door prizes and a delicious lunch was served at the center. Site Director Royce Ann Barbaree was the emcee.
The Gurdon City Hall community room was utilized by Georgia Pacific Gurdon Wood Products this week for workshops and training. It is always a pleasure to see our friends and community partners at GP.
Please mark the date June 4 on your calendars. The Gurdon Little League will host their first ever All-star Pancake Breakfast beginning at 7 until 10 a.m. at The Market on Main.
This delicious fundraiser will feature pancakes and all the trimmings for only $5 a person and all the proceeds will benefit the Gurdon Youth Baseball and Softball Program at the Cabe Fields.
This group is really bringing the games and team’s spirit back to our town. We need to turnout and support them at this tasty breakfast.
The land at the corner of Highway 67 and Highway 53 is prepped and ready for construction. Be looking in The Tailgate News for a press release soon.

Cabe Library gears up

for summer reading

 

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Sign-up for the annual Cabe Library Summer Reading Program will begin on Tuesday, May 31 and end on the first day of the program, June 14.
June 14 will kick off the first storytime at 10 a.m. and the first program at 2 p.m. This will be the only Tuesday meeting. The regular meeting day will be on Thursday with sessions at 10 a.m. and at 2 p.m.
Krystin Walker, children’s librarian will be in charge of the agenda, with the awards ceremony scheduled right after a visit from Little Rock Zoo on Thursday, July 28.
This year’s theme is “On Your Mark, Get Set, Read!” Storytime is for children ages 3 to 6 and will meet on Thursdays at 10 a.m., starting on Thursday, June 23.
The summer reading program readers eligible for the free program should be in grades 1 through 6. Walker said everyone who registers will receive a bag, bookmark, pencil and reading log to record the number of books read. The reading log must be turned in no later than July 15 in order to qualify for the end of the program prizes.
Walker said readers must be able to read independently to sign up. Each child returning their reading log with at least one book read will receive a certificate.
Children reaching their reading goal and the top readers in each grade will also receive an award.
Remember reading logs must be turned in to the front desk by Friday, July 15 to calculate winners. Walker said those needing more information on the program may call the library at: (870) 353-2911. Again, all programs are FREE OF CHARGE.
You may also find out more information on Facebook, Cabe Public Library.
SCHEDULE
June 14 – 10 a.m., Storytime, Fishing/Games
2 p.m. Reading Program: Pea Pod Power Station
THURSDAY, JUNE 23
10 a.m. Storytime, Craft/Nature Explore
2 p.m. Obstacle Course
THURSDAY, JUNE 30
10 a.m. Storytime, ABC Soup
2 p.m. Magician
THURSDAY, JULY 7
10 a.m. Storytime, Sink or Float
2 p.m. Pancake Race
THURSDAY, JULY 14
10 a.m. Storytime, Movie
2 p.m. DeGray Lake
THURSDAY, JUNE 21
10 a.m. Storytime – Farm Bureau, LAST ONE
2 p.m. Farm Bureau
THURSDAY, JULY 28
2 p.m. Zoo and animal demonstrations, Awards Ceremony!

EZ way Auto ready

to help high risk drivers

By JOHN NELSON

Tailgate News Editor
EZ Auto Insurance, of Arkadelphia, has been serving high risk and preferred customer automobile insurance clients at 2707 West Pine Street since May 1, 1995 when local insurance agent Larry Pennington invited his former employee Kim Ursery to return to a “people person” profession where she could help high risk insurance clients, as well as be there to serve them when they earned the status of preferred customers and became eligible for lower rates.
“After I earned an associates degree in business from Henderson State University in 1986, I worked for Pennington Insurance eight years,” Ursery said.
“Then I switched professions and began doing medical transcripts, where I found myself doing a lot of paper work and staring at office walls instead of talking with people. Larry Pennington knew I was not satisfied and came to me with a brain storm called EZ Auto.”
Pennington’s idea was to offer high risk auto insurance for drivers who had experienced being dropped from preferred customer insurance over such things as drunk driving convictions and to help those clients rebuild a reputation of integrity and once again become eligible for lower insurance rates.
Ursery accepted Pennington’s proposal and became the representative agent for EZ Auto of Arkadelphia on May 1, 1995. The now 49-year-old property and casualty insurance agent bought the business on January 30, 2009.
Although unrelated legally to Ursery’s Arkadelphia business, Pennington repeated his brain storm format and opened an EZ Auto Insurance Agency in both Malvern and Hot Springs.
“I have held a property and casualty insurance license for nearly 30 years,” Ursery said.
“When I went to work for Pennington Insurance Agency after college, I also sold other types of insurance but I found that for me I wanted to offer one type and do it well. At EZ Auto, we simply offer property and casualty and do our very best to find the best fit for each customer, recognizing that when unfortunate circumstances happen there needs to be a way to rebuild insurance buying integrity.”
Kim Ursery married Rowdy Ursery, a law enforcement professional, eight years ago.
She said her husband has very little to do with her insurance agency, but does occasionally come over to say hello or take care of minor maintenance needs.
Kim’s mother, Glenna Harrell, works for her entering data and doing secretarial duties on Mondays and Fridays. Harrell has helped out with data entry and taking payments since around 1997.
“Mom is not a licensed insurance agent and does not sell anything, but her assistance with helping me keep up on my data entry has been a big asset.”
Ursery said she has employed other secretarial type folks over the years, but currently she and her mother are exclusively running things.
“I have been helping out nearly as long as she has had the office, from time to time, when she needs me,” Harrell said.
“Presently, the biggest thing I do is come down and help Kim catch up with data entry on Mondays and Fridays.
“I enjoy being a part of Kim’s efforts to help others meet their auto insurance needs.”
Ursery in an encourager in and out of the office setting, and has been a member of DeGray Baptist Church for many years.
She has been a part of the church’s annual charitable music program called “The Love and Peace Fest” for several years.
“This year we had the music fest on April 30 and plans are already under way for next year’s entertainment and charitable function,” Ursery said.
Donations from the festival are given to the Pregnancy Resource Center for Southwest Arkansas.
Ursery said she believes in the scriptural (2 Corinthians 13:11) theme of the festival; “Live in love and peace, then the God of love and peace will be with you.”
EZ Auto Insurance of Arkadelphia, Inc. is open from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, and as with many successful small businesses customer service comes first.
The “people person” agent said her philosophy has always been that people will know when you really care about helping them find solutions to their auto insurance needs by your attitude and willingness to give them your full attention.
If you have questions, feel free to call on Kim at: (870) 246-4422. You may also email the insurance agent at: ezauto4422@suddenlinkmail.com.
“I was very fortunate to have good agents and helpers when my boys were growing up when I started this business with Larry Pennington on May 1, 1995.
“I always had another agent in the office with me when my boys were growing up which allowed me to not miss many of their school and sporting functions, “ Ursery said.
“ I was able to do a lot of traveling to school and sporting functions with them because of this blessing, which I am so very thankful for.
“I try to remember to always treat my customers as I would want to be treated.
“I am truly thankful that the Lord gave me this blessing and the gift of compassion and encouragement. My prayer every morning is to be that person for my customers in addition to just insurance.
“I have thought over the years that surely the Lord had another plan for my occupation in life, but I know that encouragement is a fruit of the Spirit which I am thankful to share.”

Cabe Fields get improvement

By SHERRY KELLEY
Gurdon Mayor
An amazing transformation occurred on Thursday at the Cabe Fields. The Alcoa team and other volunteers used rakes, shovels and paint brushes to update and upgrade the softball and little league fields.
The purple paint on the backstop and wall coupled with the deep reddish brown of the new infield surfacing made the park come alive with deep rich color. And that’s just the beginning. Volunteers are scheduled to paint the concession stand purple.
Both the stand and the wall will be adorned with gold “G’s” for extra team spirit and flare. A great big thank you to plant manager Britt Scheer and administrator Kathy Combs and all the hardworking Alcoa volunteers for their time, effort and funding.
Combs said it was one of their favorite Action Grants because of the amazing transformation. Scheer said this latter half of 2016 is going to be a good one for the Gum Springs Plant. “It’s going to be busy and toward the end of the year it is going to be very busy at Alcoa,” said Scheer.
Another success story comes from Baptist Health Gurdon Family Clinic. The final cost for the storm sirens was nearly double the prediction. The community partners at Baptist Health have generously agreed to pay the entire amount. Last week we met with Donna McMillan and Tony Hardage for a tour of the new early warning alert system.
The Market On Main is staying busy and many good comments are coming from the patrons of our new community event center. The Market was the site for several large graduation parties and a surprise birthday party this week. The restaurant incubator phase for The Market On Main will be launched in June.
A state highway study of Gurdon’s traffic patterns will begin soon. I will keep you posted.
Gurdon’s High School Graduation at the Cabe Auditorium was an amazing evening on Friday night. The 1200 seat auditorium was full and it was standing room only for those for the spectators who didn’t arrive early. 2016 is a great class full of students that will make a positive impact in the future.
Have a wonderful and safe Memorial Day Weekend.

Fire leaves family

scrambling for a home

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
A fire caused by a faulty electrical chord attached to an air conditioner in the back right bedroom resulted in a total loss at 604 Beech Street on Saturday morning, May 14.
Gurdon Fire Chief Robert Burns said seven firefighters responded in a quick manner to the fire call, which came in at approximately 8:30 a.m., and stayed until about 12:30 p.m. to make sure the blaze was gone.
The house was home for Tammy Wells, Tony Inscore, Tommy Wade Wells, Linda Short, Kelli Simmons and David Wells. Chief Burns said the Red Cross stepped in to provide temporary funds and motel housing.
“That emergency help the Red Cross gives usually just lasts a few days,” Burns said. “The family will probably need further assistance getting settled in somewhere new.”
Tammy Wells Inscore said, “We need clothes and bath towels, kitchen rags, kitchen ware, bedding and help covering our motel rooms.”
Tammy needs size 24 in pants, shoes size 8 and shirts size 4x. Tony needs pants size 38×32, shirts size 4x. Tommy needs pants size 34×32 and extra large shirts. Linda needs pants size 10 and large shirts.
Kelli needs pants in 14-16, shirts women small, shoes size 7 women’s. David needs pants sizes 8-10 and shirts 8-10.
Tammy said the family was happy with what assistance the Red Cross could provide, but said there will be a lot more expense to regroup after losing so much stuff with a big family involved.
Chief Burns said one of the residents saw the air conditioner chord blaze up on fire, but nobody was injured during the ordeal.
According to Tammy Wells Inscore, the house was owned by Linda Short’s mother, Becky Petters. The house insurance had lapsed due to a family illness.
Fire Chief Burns said the Wells fire makes nine in the Gurdon area so far this quarter, that is since the first of April.

Lucy Jester stumbles

on genuine diamond ring

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Lucy Jester, a Gurdon native who says she will be 80 years old her next birthday, received what she describes as a huge blessing on Mother’s Day last year.
Her youngest daughter, Gayle Oates, formerly of Gurdon but now of Benton, gave her mother what she believed to be a costume jewelry diamond ring cluster.
Lucy said Gayle paid $1 for the ring and yet it still made her proud that her child had tried to make her happy on the official mother’s holiday.
“I kept that thing around awhile and then decided to go have it cleaned. I figured it was a fake, as Gayle had purchased it at the Lighthouse Ministries Mission in Arkadelphia, but hey, it was a gift from my kid – so I took it to Diamond Design at Arkadelphia for a good cleaning anyway.
“Once under their inspection at the jewelry store, the clerk smiled and told me those diamonds and gold were real. She did not offer a value, as the person who does that was out for the day.
“I went back to Diamond Designs the next day for a more accurate evaluation and the expert told me my diamond ring was real, and the gold was indeed real.
“The jeweler also said it was worth nearly $1,800!”
Lucy said she plans to keep the Mother’s Day gift, although if times get hard she may use it as collateral if need be for a small loan.
“I don’t anticipate having to do that, but it is nice to know its an option,” she said.
“They told me if I was lucky I could get as much as $2,000 for my ring.”
Lucy said her good fortune was a result of her following the Biblical principle of “casting bread upon the water.”
“I love to bake pies and cakes for people,” she said. “I figure one good turn deserves another in God’s eyes so I got blessed with a ring.”
Lucy said her landlord, Melody Williams of the Gurdon Housing Authority, has agreed for her to relocate to the apartment next door, which has been totally redone. Lucy Jester said her blessings abound.
Lucy said the jeweler told her that her Mother’s Day ring has 63 authentic diamonds in it.
“I fix meals for the needy and try and be a good person,” she said. “God has seen my efforts.”

Terry’s Transmission prospers,

Alex King responsible with quality work

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Terry’s Transmission Service LLC was started by transmission specialist Terry Hardin in 1988 and a father’s dream continues through his daughter and son-in-law, even though Terry retired last year for health reasons.
Since his retirement, the business is officially owned by his wife, Beverly Hardin, but it has been operated and maintained by the couple’s daughter, Amanda King, and her transmission specialist husband, Alex King.
Located at 870 Highway 7 at Bismarck, Terry’s Transmission Service may be contacted by telephone at: (501) 865-3162. The current transmission specialist, Alex, said Wednesday he strives to give honest and free estimates to his customers so as to maintain his father-in-law’s reputation of integrity. Alex is certified as a transmission specialist from schools in St. Louis, Missouri and Louisville, Kentucky.
His official certificates are in auto mechanics, electrical and transmission diagnostics and repair.
Alex also keeps his certification updated, learning more and more about how to continue to do his job efficiently with each passing year. He worked for his father-in-law off and on for 15 years. Alex King first took over the hands-on part of the business in April of 2015.
Amanda grew up in her father’s business, but had not been involved in about a dozen years when her Dad could no longer function in his usual capacity.
“I never expected to have to step back into transmission work so soon,” she said. “But I knew when my Dad had his stroke that I would have to do something to keep his dream alive. I just could not see it close up.
”And I wanted this for Alex’s career. Even if we had not been married, I would have wanted it for him.”
Amanda said Terry had been proud of the quality of work he put out most of all – and of the honest reputation he had earned.
She said since her husband was also a professional who believes in quality work, a guarantee and being there for the customer, Amanda decided to continue her job as a respiratory therapist and still take on managing the business for Alex.
“I am working seven days a week right now so that I can help my husband see this business grow – which is my favorite part of the transmission business,” she said.
Amanda said customers have counted on her father for years to make sure the job gets done right and without wasting any money.
Alex said he does much more than just repair transmissions. Research on the cars he takes care of is a regular part of the job so that customers know he wants them to leave his shop with a ride in the best shape it can be.
“All of these perks, plus we do a decent warranty program, has resulted in the business growing once again,” he said.
Alex and Amanda indeed manage the day to day operations of Terry’s Transmission, but Terry’s wife Beverly retains legal ownership and is grateful for the hard work “the kids” are doing.
Amanda said, “My mother knows she can depend on us.”
Beverly said, “When Terry got sick, I was questioning what to do next. But the kids took on our transmission business and they are doing great.
“I don’t know what I would do without them.”
Alex is confident in his quality and reasonable price. Of his work he said, “Shop around. But don’t commit to anybody until you try us. There is always a chance that buying a new car will not be necessary.”
Terry’s Transmission is a Jasper Remanufactured Transmission associate. Alex said the Indiana company has been in business more than 70 years and stands behind their work.

Gurdon Mayor explains how

grants can help city prosper

By SHERRY KELLEY
Gurdon Mayor
Grants, grants, grants. I am currently working seven small grants. Large or small, they are all important and a blessing (also a lot of work and very challenging).
I am sure that some people believe that you can choose any improvement that your city needs and write a grant for it. That’s not the case. You must follow the grantors stringent guidelines and specific purpose, not the other way around.
Even when you have a need that is a good fit there is no guarantee that you will be awarded the grant. They are very competitive and requests for assistance are always more than the money that is allotted. Especially when the only grants that you can apply for are the 100% funded grants. Our city at this time does participate in matching fund grants (unless the matching fund is through another grant or through volunteer labor).
I once had someone tell me to stop writing grants because the city can’t afford them. Boy, were they wrong! Our current grants don’t cost the city money, our grants give the city money. And when you include the upgrades to the wastewater treatment plant funded through the Economic Development Corporation of Clark County in support of the Georgia Pacific expansion, we are quickly approaching the $1,000,000 mark in monies awarded to the City of Gurdon. I hope to have some announcements soon.
The springtime curbside household clean up is complete. There was a lot of furniture, limbs, building materials and junk collected this year. Thank you to the street department and to everyone who unburdened themselves from the clutter and unneeded items that was set out.
This effort goes a long way toward sprucing up our town. A special thank you to Clark County Judge Ron Daniel for his much needed assistance and to the Gurdon Street Department.
Alcoa workers, local volunteers, parents and Gurdon sports boosters will apply the infield surfacing this week to the Cabe Fields, weather permitting. This Alcoa Action is a wonderful thing. We also hope to paint the concession stand.
With springtime stormy weather in our forecast, I am very glad to have the new storm siren system in place. Thank you again to Baptist Health Gurdon Family Clinic for their financial contribution. We hope to announce another funding source soon.
So how do we get things done when our city doesn’t have the money? With grants, through relationships and by volunteer labor.

55 GHS students

to graduate Friday, May 20

 

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Gurdon High School will hold commencement exercises at 7 p.m. on Friday, May 20 in the Cabe Auditorium.
Photos of all 55 students, minus two not pictured, are in this edition of the Southern Arkansas Tailgate News. They were provided by Debbie White of GHS.
The Principal of Gurdon High School, Harvey Sellers, announces the High Honor and Honor Academic Seniors for 2016.
The Valedictorian for the class of 2016 is Lindsey Shaver. Lindsey is the daughter of Christopher and Anita Shaver of Gurdon. She will be attending Henderson State University and is the recipient of the HSU Presidential Academic Scholarship.
The Salutatorian is Devin Simpson. Devin is the son of Darren and Lena Simpson of Gurdon. Devin has been accepted to Henderson State University where he is the recipient of the HSU Presidential Scholarship and the Gurdon 2016 Rotary Scholarship.
The remaining High Honor students for the class of 2016 are: Anna Mae Clark, Olivia Moore, Jordan Sanford, Lauren Frisby, Candy Estrada, Calley White, Carmen Moreno-Garcia, Rosemary Flores and Ashley Thompson. To be a High Honor graduate requires 3.75 or above GPA.
The 2016 Honor students are: Parker Whitson, Taylor Hopson, Jasmine Medina, Yasmeen Wesley and Garrett Clark. To be an Honor graduate requires a 3.50 GPA.
In addition to the GPA all High Honor and Honor students are required to take upper level math & science courses along with 2 years of a foreign language.

GPS hosts 7th annual

fishing rodeo at Gurdon Pond

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Lydia Melvin, fourth grader at Gurdon Primary School, was one of the star fisher women competing for a big one at the seventh annual GPS Fishing Rodeo, held at Gurdon Pond Friday morning.
Melvin caught a 3-pound catfish and did all the catching work herself, with a little coaching by her father, Jason Melvin. Retired Gurdon Middle School Principal Bill Hulan said the Arkansas Game and Fish workers stocked the pond early that morning with 300 catfish, ranging in weight from 1 to 1.5 pounds. Apparently Lydia caught one left over from last year’s event.
Hulan has been passing out poles, stored at GPS, all seven years the event has taken place. He said this year there were 126 poles to pass out to the fourth and fifth graders “but we could always use more if anyone wants to donate.”
Bill, and his retired teacher wife, Linda, passed out poles, stored at GPS between rodeos, baited hooks and assisted students with tackle problems, as they have done since the inception of the program. GPS Principal Rusty Manning said the event is kept secret prior to the event in order to avoid poachers and it has been three years since any early, unauthorized fishermen have beat the children to the catfish.
Game and Fish Corporal Kenny Taylor said poaching at grade school rodeos has been a problem from time to time statewide.
Most of the children stopped fishing for some hot dogs just before noon that were prepared by retired Gurdon Mayor Clayton Franklin. Franklin said he has cooked the hot dogs all seven years.

Malvern Schools on board

with digital classes early

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Malvern High School will hold commencement exercises for 126 graduating seniors at 6 p.m. on Saturday, May 14 in the Bank of the Ozarks Convention Center at Hot Springs.
Superintendent Brian Golden said the Class of 2016 “will receive a lot of scholarships and is an excellent group.”
In other board business, Golden told School Board members Malvern is ahead of the game in regard to upcoming digital learning course requirements.
“We have had digital learning for three years,” he said. “The Class of 2019 will be required to have a digital learning course.”
In approved action for the May 9 meeting, board members: passed a resolution to file for a waiver concerning internships which would mean interns would receive credit but not a grade for completion;
Approved a Simmons Visa Credit Limit Increase for extracurricular activities from $10,000 to $20,000;
Approved a 2016/2017 special education budget application, with the actual budget being arrived at on a later date;
Adopted Arkansas School Board Association (ASBA) policies and updates, including the changing requirements concerning the incorporation of digital courses implemented by 2019;
Approved computer bids and accepted the following retirements and new hires.
The two retirements are effective at the end of the 2015/2016 school year and include Pam Coston, Malvern Elementary School (MES) classroom teacher, and Melissa Phillips, Gifted and Talented coordinator.
The following new hires are effective at the beginning of the 2016/2017 school year; Brittany Kennedy, MES classroom teacher; Misty Sillavan, special education classroom teacher; Jenna Spikes, MES classroom teacher; Molly Tucker, MES classroom teacher, and Mariah White, MES classroom teacher.
The board agreed to transfer Heather Sanders, MES choral music teacher, to Malvern Middle School and Malvern High School choral music.
The School Board rehired the classified staff for 2016/2017.
In new business, Superintendent Golden announced an ASBA summer leadership conference will take place on June 16 and 17 in Hot Springs.
The June meeting has been rescheduled to take place after the conference and will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 28.
Golden told the board Malvern’s girls softball team and soccer players finished third in the regional tournament competition.
“I would like to congratulate the Class of 2016 for their hard work and many accomplishments,” Golden said.

Gurdon Mayor secures new siren system

By SHERRY KELLEY
Gurdon Mayor
The Gurdon outdoor storm warning sirens have received a much needed update. All three of the old sirens have been replaced with new Vortex systems that are now in compliance with FCC regulations.
The radio controls for the three sirens have also been updated. This new system will keep our early warning capabilities in good shape for many years to come. The former sirens’ bands were out of compliance with the FCC and one of the three sirens that serves Gurdon was not functioning.
This is a big and important step for our town’s protection and the improvements were costly. So we are very thankful for the financial assistance from Baptist Health Gurdon Family Clinic. I reached out to administrators, Linda Franklin and John Bowen.
They and all the Baptist Health team are truly community partners who are committed to the health, safety and well being of the citizens of Gurdon.
The Gurdon Cabe Fields baseball and softball fields will receive an upgrade on May 18. A load of Safcoat infield surfacing was delivered from Alabama last week. The mixture will look great on the infields and it will help keep them in optimum condition.
The parents and boosters are working hard to bring games and tournaments back to the Cabe Fields. As a mayor, I appreciate their efforts. They requested the Safcoat, which is used in Arkadelphia, and also requested some paint for the concession stand.
The surfacing was costly, but will look great and last for several years. I reached out to Kathy Combs and Britt Scheer at Alcoa in Gum Springs for financial assistance. They not only agreed to fund the project, workers from Alcoa and volunteers from the board (I am newly appointed to this board) will come to the Gurdon Cabe Fields on Wednesday, May 18, to help spread the Safcoat on the fields and to help paint the concession stand. Parents, boosters and other volunteers will fill out the workforce for the day.
This week I will train as a bingo caller in Arkadelphia at the Honeycomb Restaurant. Then in June and July, I will have the pleasure of officiating the bingo for Group Living Inc.
This sounds like a lot of fun. Several people from Gurdon play bingo every month in Arkadelphia. I am eager to learn all that I can about the bingo process because we want to bring bingo to Gurdon’s Market On Main later this year.
The City of Gurdon listed two properties for sale this week with Brown Hardman and United Country Hometown Realtors. They are the former Adult Education building and the former Hours of Joy Daycare building.
Neither establishment is being used by the city, while the utilities and insurance are a monthly expense. Vandals recently broke into one of the properties and insurance companies are reluctant to pay for such damages when a building sits vacant.
We are working hard to improve the city’s finances and we are making some progress. It is nice to know that during this process we can still receive important upgrades through the assistance of our many community partners.

Gurdon graduation Friday

at Cabe Auditorium, 7 p.m.

By RITA GUTHRIE
Special to Tailgate News
The Principal of Gurdon High School, Harvey Sellers, announces the High Honor and Honor Academic Seniors for 2016.
The Valedictorian for the class of 2016 is Lindsey Shaver. Lindsey is the daughter of Christopher and Anita Shaver of Gurdon. She will be attending Henderson State University and is the recipient of the HSU Presidential Academic Scholarship.
The Salutatorian is Devin Simpson. Devin is the son of Darren and Lena Simpson of Gurdon. Devin has been accepted to Henderson State University where he is the recipient of the HSU Presidential Scholarship and the Gurdon 2016 Rotary Scholarship.
The remaining High Honor students for the class of 2016 are: Anna Mae Clark, Olivia Moore, Jordan Sanford, Lauren Frisby, Candy Estrada, Calley White, Carmen Moreno-Garcia, Rosemary Flores and Ashley Thompson. To be a High Honor graduate requires 3.75 or above GPA.
The 2016 Honor students are: Parker Whitson, Taylor Hopson, Jasmine Medina, Yasmeen Wesley and Garrett Clark. To be an Honor graduate requires a 3.50 GPA.
In addition to the GPA all High Honor and Honor students are required to take upper level math & science courses along with 2 years of a foreign language.

Mother enjoys cuddles, children laughing with her;

says she wants her children to know Jesus Christ

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Being a mother in 2016, that is actively raising your children, is a joy yet presents its problems, especially if you are a single mom of three in a work-a-day world where the village does not always agree with your definition of right from wrong…
Kelley Hagelstein, 31, works in the emergency room at St. Vincent’s Hospital and sees life’s tragedies up close on a regular basis, but when she gets home on Vimy Ridge Road near Benton she is greeted at the door by three smiling faces; Josh, 9; Rayne, 4, and Daniel, 3. Actually, when she gets off of most hospital shifts, she picks her three up from Aunt Betty’s or Daddy Ryan’s place.
Then its home for some Mom and children time.
Mrs. Hagelstein had this to say about motherhood in 2016.
Question one: What is your favorite part of being a mother? Nighttime cuddles, hearing my children laugh Knowing I matter to them
Question two: What is the hardest part? Having to tell them no because I don’t have the resources to get them what they want…the fear of disappointing them and the fear of not being enough.
Question three: What is the most important goal you have for your kids? To be caring and compassionate people that work hard and understand the importance of a quality of life and to have a walk with Jesus Christ.
Question four: What would you like to tell other mothers that you have learned is the most important thing to do and or not do when you are a Mom? I don’t feel like I’ve learned enough to adequately answer that. ..but I do know, that no matter what, my job is to be there unconditionally.
If my daughter Rayne stands up and says she hates me, it is my job not to react in my feelings and to put me on the back burner. I am to tell her that’s OK because I still love her.
I have learned in essence that kids are emotional roller coasters and not to take things so personal and that they need a steady hand to hold…sometimes I fail at that…but I’ll never stop trying
So..to other mothers never stop trying. ..never stop period. ..because you are all they have..and a mother can never really be replaced.
This writer is the grandfather of the three children in question and the father of the mother in this feature.
My daughter is a United States Armed Services veteran and in this editor’s opinion a mother of integrity.
Mother’s Day is a time when all of us should be grateful for the lady who brought us into this world.
Many things will go right and many things will go wrong in anyone’s attempt at parenting.
I personally was adopted by my biological father’s parents at 7 months old so Grandpa and Grandma were the only measuring stick of parenting I had growing up.
My grandfather taught me in love that we learn by doing. My grandmother was quiet natured but very loving. I believe Kelley Hagelstein has acquired the integrity the couple attempted to pass on to me. Happy Mother’s Day everyone!

Sherry’s Corner; Mayor asks town

to keep yards clean for good impression

By SHERRY KELLEY
Gurdon Mayor
Sun Paper is coming to Clark County. Many years of hard work have paid off. While the waiting and wondering is over, the hard work is not.
Local and State officials will continue working with and assisting Sun Paper every step of the way during the construction, hiring and operation phase. The location of the plant is a mere 10 or 11 miles from Gurdon, in Gum Springs.
It is important for the future of Gurdon that you, yes you, help your city grow. There are two important things that you can do. Number one, keep your yard and the roadway in front of your home or business litter free. Simply picking up litter and clutter on a weekly basis should do the trick.
Number two, always speak positively about Gurdon. That should be easy when you consider our great schools, affordable real estate and our quiet, safe small town atmosphere. If we can grow our population then we will increase our chance for retail growth.
Last week I made preliminary contact with a grocery chain to let them know that Gurdon would be a great site for future expansion of their chain.
The recent thunderstorms have dumped a lot of rain and the winds have knocked down many limbs and branches. The street department is cleaning up debris while they are continuing the curbside clean up of household junk.
The electronic waste recycling trailer is filling up quickly with old televisions and other items. We are also separating tires for recycling. These items can be recycled year round. Soon we hope to renew and expand our ability to recycle cardboard.
The city is and will continue to hire employees through Arkansas Youth Workforce. Please call me at 406-1396 for more information.

Sun Paper chooses to locate

in Gum Springs Industrial Park

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Sun Paper, a worldwide bio-products mill from China, will locate a new plant at the Clark County Industrial Park in Gum Springs, with construction to begin in mid-2017 and an anticipated opening to occur approximately 36 months later.
According to an announcement made Tuesday by Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson and published in the Arkadelphia Siftings Herald, Sun Paper Chairman and Founder Hongxin Li estimates the construction cost of the facility to be above $1 billion and it is the first such plant to be located in North America.
The facility is expected to create approximately 250 direct plant jobs and also nearly 1,000 indirect jobs for Arkadelphia, Clark County and the surrounding area.
Li said construction cost should be between $1 billion and $1.3 billion, with an estimated 2,000 temporary construction jobs being created during the building of the facility.
Li said the bio-products refinery will yield a variety of products from wood available in the Arkadelphia area. The Sun Paper businessman promised a modern and efficient facility, “that is environmentally progressive.”
District 18 Representative Richard Womack said he has worked with Li and his associates for the past two years in an effort to make this agreement possible.
Womack said the bio-products mill locating in Clark County will help keep families together at home and be an economic asset for generations to come.
He noted that the success of the business should encourage even more economic development in Clark County and have a positive impact on the entire region.
Sun Paper is one of the 500 largest enterprises in China. The company has a worldwide employment roster of approximately 10,000.
Brother Randy Cox, Gurdon Rotarian, said Thursday, “I am glad to know this plant is coming here. We needed some good news in this area and this will help everyone.”

Gurdon Senior Center

slates health fair

CADC Senior Center Director Royce Ann Barbaree said Thursday there will be a health fair at the center on Wednesday, May 25.
Barbaree said blood pressure checks will be offered and June Woolf, nurse practioner from Bray medical in Arkadelphia, will answer questions.
The fair will run from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. and will start with a voluntary 1 mile walk, where participants make four laps around the GHS track.

GHS to host

awards assembly

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
The annual scholarship distribution convocation, that is the Awards Assembly, will be held at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, May 3 in the Cabe Auditorium on the Gurdon High School campus.
Parents and friends are encouraged to arrive early to get a seat. In addition to numerous scholarships, academic honors will be announced and top graduation candidates will be named.
Retired Gurdon High School Principal Leonard Gills, who is now the Gurdon Rotary Club president, said Thursday, “This Awards Assembly has always been a big deal at the high school.
“Rotary will be awarding a small scholarship and we are grateful to be able to do so.”
A Rotary honors banquet for top academic seniors of 2016 was held a couple of weeks back. Devin Simpson, salutatorian, was the recipient of this year’s Rotary scholarship and will be honored at the assembly.

Sherry’s Corner

Gurdon continues Clean Up

By SHERRY KELLEY
Gurdon Mayor
This week begins the curbside pick up of household junk. The service will continue into the month of May.
Place your items at the curb and the city will pick them up. No bagged items, wood and limbs need to be in four foot sections, no paint cans or tires allowed.
We will separate the electronic waste and place it in our recycling trailer and the other items will go to the landfill.
Are you ready to dine at The Market On Main? Last week after inspection, the venue received it’s restaurant permit. Be looking in The Tailgate News for word of an upcoming ServSafe Restaurant food handling class that will be taught at The Market On Main by Clark County Extension Agent JoAnn Vann.
Once you take the class and pass the test and obtain one more license, you can try out your favorite recipes for your clientele using The Market On Main as your very own restaurant. Choose breakfast, lunch or dinner service (no grilling or frying allowed) and keep the proceeds.
This will be an opportunity to see how you like being a restaurateur or a great fund raiser for your organization. Learn more by calling me at 406-1396.
The city’s new trash truck will be put into service this week. Please bear with us and our new driver Richard Davidson as we all get used to the new equipment.

CADC HEAD START TAKING APPLICATIONS – Be sure and visit the Senior Adult Center at Gurdon if you have a child who is Head Start age. According to Robin Freeman, of CADC, 3 & 4 year olds may apply until May 25. Come see the refurbished and remodeled center!

City Council decides not to raise water;

city wide clean up starts Monday

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Gurdon City Council had a special meeting Monday night and announced that water bill rates for the city will not be raised.
Mayor Sherry Kelley said, “We have come up with other ways to balance our budget and see no reason at this time to add any burdens to our residents.”
In other news, Kelley confirmed that the annual spring clean-up, for large items on the side of the road, will take place from April 25 until May 6, with a city-wide yard sale downtown on Saturday, April 30.
“If you choose to bring your unwanted items to the yard sale and they don’t sell, just leave them on Main Street. We plan to pick them up from there and take them to the Nevada County landfill,” Mayor Kelley said.
Moreover, the City Council voted to lower the Gurdon City Clerk’s salary to $10,000 per year, starting in 2017. Office worker Angie Harper will continue to help out with some of the duties of Clark County Clerk Tambra Childres, who does not come to City Hall to work anymore due to health reasons. Council members also voted to sell the old GED building by Sonic and the House of Joy building across from the senior adult center.
Council members allowed Tommy Potter, local barber and former candidate for mayor, to speak on behalf of restoring the old Gurdon pond to a usable fishing entity.
Potter complained that the acreage associated with the old pond had been given to Gurdon as an encouragement to restore the old pond levy and help out fishermen.
“I worked with former Rep. Tommy Roebuck to get this accomplished for many years, but the former mayor would not hear me out,” Potter said.
“I am willing to go back to work trying to find funding for this project if the city would like.”
Mayor Sherry Kelley said she knew of nowhere the large grant required to restore the old Gurdon Pond could be obtained.
Potter then asked the mayor and council if they would be interested in selling the property so that a private entity could restore the pond and create a resort around it?
With no objections voiced from City Council members Danny Paull, John Pace, Teresa Powell or Michelle Scott, Mayor Kelley gave Potter the go-ahead as to finding a buyer for the property “at an acceptable price.”
Council member Pace voiced his opinion on the old pond restoration by saying, “We can not afford that project as a city. We are having trouble coping with the bills already on our plate.”
However, neither Pace or the other council members objected to the idea of selling the 90 plus acres to a private individual at a going -rate.
Potter said after the meeting that he was pleased with the City Council’s go-ahead in regard to finding a buyer for the property.
Mayor Kelley stipulated that the land was on the agenda to be clear cut within the next two months, pending City Council approval.
“We need to make some money,” she said. “If we keep the old pond land, we will be cutting the trees down on the agreement they will be replanted for further available funding in the future.
“At least I get the feeling my council members approve of that proposal. I have my doubts if a buyer can be located by Mr. Potter, but if one is we will certainly consider selling it.”
Potter told the council that restoring the old fish pond would produce 14,000 gallons of emergency water for Gurdon and if he negotiates a buyer for the property, that water would still be available to his home town.
“Rep. Roebuck and I worked for years to get this land donated to Gurdon,” he said.
“I have been a firefighter for years and will make sure whoever buys it agrees to develop the emergency water option.”

Quarterback recalls

Close-up trip

By JOHN
NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Gurdon High School Senior Parker Whitson gave a talk Thursday on his recent experiences in Washington D.C. during the school’s annual Close-Up trip, traditionally financed in part by the Gurdon Rotary Club.
The speech took place behind a make-shift podium during the weekly Rotary Club meeting, held this week at the newly re-opened CADC Gurdon Senior Citizens Center on Main Street.
Whitson was the only GHS senior to make the trip this year, along with 12 other Gurdon High School students who were juniors.
The GHS football quarterback told the crowd he was elected to give the account of the spring of 2016 trip because the juniors were attending a school sponsored play.
Whitson said the group’s first day was spent in Atlanta, Georgia because of airline scheduling conflicts “but we really did not miss much but some introduction material.”
Upon arrival, each GHS student was assigned room mate accommodations with high school students from all over the country.
“I had two other farm-boy types from North Dakota and we got along just fine,” Whitson said. “I was worried I would be rooming with kids from the city so the two guys from rural America were a relief for me.”
Whitson said he was impressed with the Jefferson Memorial and that his group got to present a bill to Congress. He said they met Sen. John Boozman, Republican, Arkansas.
“We presented an LBGT bill, but we kicked the bill out,” Whitson said. “I just want to thank the Rotarians and everyone for financing our trip. It was the opportunity of a lifetime.”
Whitson said he had wanted to go on the Close-Up trip as a junior but simply could not afford it. The senior is on the honors list and will attend Henderson State University at Arkadelphia this fall with a dream of becoming a coach “like my grandfather was.”

Senior center has celebration

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Central Arkansas Development Council (CADC) Gurdon Senior Citizens Center re-opened on Monday, April 11 and CADC had a re-grand opening celebration on Monday, April 18 at the center.
CADC Administrator Larry Cogburn was on site both Mondays and said the center, which had been heavily damaged by a summer storm last July, has not only been restored, it has been modernized to give it more accessibility to patrons and to have the capabilities of producing meals at the Gurdon site.
Cogburn said, “I have no timetable on the production of meals, but we have the new hardware to easily do so.
“I must consider CADC employees and their schedules, but will entertain the idea of implementing a meals on site program at Gurdon this summer.”
In addition to food oriented hardware, the refurbishing also included a handicapped access door push mechanism.
Site Director Royce Ann Barbaree demonstrated how the handicapped patrons can simply wheel up to the “pusher” and the door to the outside will automatically open.
Seniors are now invited to come back to their center for morning coffee and lunch five days a week. Commodities are also available. See Barbaree.

Sherry’s Corner – City progress

By SHERRY KELLEY
Gurdon Mayor
The city has obtained the loan to buy our new trash truck through First State Bank of Gurdon, President Stephen Orsburn provided a very good rate for the purchase.
We are now in the process of interviewing drivers we have several good applicants and will continue accepting applications throughout the week. A logo for each side of the vehicle is being prepared by Batson Signs in Arkadelphia. Service with the new truck should begin next week.
The Central Arkansas Development Council’s Gurdon Senior Adult Activity Center is open for business and it is beautiful. An open house was held on Monday, with many in attendance. Although the building has the same footprint, it seems much larger and it is certainly more deluxe.
While the remodel was under way, the seniors met at Mt. Canaan Baptist Church. Their large and beautiful facility and kitchen was a warm and welcoming space for all the many functions of the CADC and it was a blessing to utilize the space.
The Gurdon Rotary Club held it’s many meetings at Mt. Canaan, also. Thank you to Pastor Johnny Harris and the congregation. The Gurdon City Hall served as the office space for Director Royce Ann Barbaree and Assistant Jerry Hawley. We enjoyed having their lively presence and are very proud for them in their new facility.
The Gurdon Rotary Club Academic Banquet was an occasion where honor and high honor seniors were recognized. It was so encouraging to see these fine students. Gurdon High School Principal, Harvey Sellers, explained that the high school offers the opportunity for students to receive up to 30 college credits, at little or no cost, while they are attending. The Gurdon Rotary Scholarship recipient was Devin Simpson.
There was a fun parade on Saturday morning for the Gurdon Little League Jamboree. Following the parade the young players enjoyed a full day of competition. Hopefully, next week in this fine newspaper you will see an announcement of some improvements to the Cabe Fields. We have been working very hard with a local industry to make this happen. Also next week we hope to have another announcement of assistance for different need from another one of our community partners.
The Clark County Community Foundation Banquet was held the same night as the Gurdon Rotary Banquet. Gurdon received a grant for improvements to the youth soccer/football field that is under construction.
The city is still seeking workers through Arkansas Workforce’s Youth Program. Although many applied, few showed up to take the next step toward employment. If you or someone you know is age 16 through 24, not enrolled in school and looking for work, please call me at 406-1396.

Malvern Fire victim zoning issue may go to court

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
MALVERN – A fire victim who wants to place a $92,000 manufactured home on her lot, located at Sherwood Drive and Nottingham, approached the Malvern City Council at the April 4 agenda meeting to seek a re-evaluation of her denied request, but in the final analysis it appears a judge will end up deciding if she can have the zoning exception she seeks.
Malvern City Council met Monday, April 11, but the zoning conflict was not on the agenda. City Council member and finance committee chair Wayne Reynolds said the issue was not brought up because the Coston family had decided to seek an attorney to “return them and their new manufactured home to their property.”
Reynolds told Tammy Coston, wife and mother in the fire victim family, on April 4 that he would love to assist her but her corner lot was in a zone designated as no mobile homes allowed.
“If we open this up to one manufactured home, then we have to open it to others who also want a mobile home in that neighborhood,” Reynolds said.
Reynolds added after the April 11 City Council meeting, “We have 15 or so residents in the Nottingham/Sherwood Drive area who do not want a manufactured home in their neighborhood so this is not an easy decision for us.”
Current zoning ordinances, according to what was said at the April 4 agenda meeting, do line up with what the surrounding residents want. Traditionally, the belief is that manufactured homes in such an area would lower surrounding property values.
Coston and her family said the City Council had made them an offer to buy their lot, get them a lot near McHenry and Texas and allow them to move their mobile home there – where zoning already allows for manufactured dwellings. Reynolds confirmed April 11 that the city did make them such and offer and also offered to “pay part of their expenses in getting their new manufactured home set up.”
“This is not acceptable. We lived in a much nicer neighborhood,” she said. “The houses on McHenry and Texas are mostly $25,000 homes. It is not like our $92,000 home won’t fit in at Nottingham and Sherwood. You can check our maintenance history and find we take excellent care of our place.”
Coston said her home that burned is a $50,000 home and still standing on her lot. She and her husband are living in a camper, with her children living in various places.
Reynolds said it would be up to the courts as to how this dilemma turns out. To grant Coston an exception to the area zoning would be against traditional zoning law, but Reynolds concluded by saying, “Honestly, I don’t know how this thing will turn out.”
COUNCIL DECISIONS
Malvern City Council approved the following on Monday: an audit report for the water department; the continued employment by the city of the Arkadelphia auditing company of Turner, Rogers, Manning and Plyler for another year for the water department;
*Adopted the 2015 Clean-up ordinance and an emergency clause for it; approved departmental budgets, including $44,317.46 for the Malvern Boys and Girls Club and $7,937.44 for local 4-H programs;
* Condemned three properties at: 1116 Manning Street, 278 Stanley Street and 244 Keith Street, and allowed Mayor Brenda Weldon to sign a lease for a small city property space next to the Page and Main Street Methodist Church due to the tearing down of a building the church bought next to them for intended parking space and the church’s desire to use that city space to expand the new parking lot.
CITIZEN CONCERNS
Council then turned their attention to Jeremy McKenzie, representing Covenant Recovery Center at 912 Section Line in Malvern. McKenzie talked of those in recovery building character by volunteering to do clean-up work around the city and said the clients would continue in those efforts.
After McKenzie, Bryant Buckner took the floor to complain about loud music, kids on four-wheelers and racing motor activities at 516 West Third Street. Police Chief Donnie Taber told the City Council he has been sending patrols by that residence but police investigations have not caught anyone yet.
Mayor Brenda Weldon told Buckner and his group to call 911 every time such activities occur, as this will give a record of such things and also key police in on when to intervene.
Mayor Weldon then gave a report on broken sewer and water lines under Interstate 30 and told council members they will have to be fixed. She said bids are being taken on the work.

Gurdon new trash truck arrives

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Gurdon’s new Freightliner Pac Mac trash compactor arrived at City Hall Thursday morning.
Mayor Sherry Kelley said the truck is a new one and valued at $131,000. Kelley said the city is obligated to a monthly payment of $2,350 for five years, but the seller, Hernard Utility Freightliner of Searcy, did not require a down payment.
Mayor Kelley said at City Council the city is still coming out cheaper by approximately $2,000 a month than when they were hiring the trash service done by Bobby Walker.
Mayor Kelley said a qualified driver has been tentatively hired, pending City Council approval.
The Pac Mac body has a 20-cubic-yard box, which will hold 20 cubic yards of trash.
Michael McIntosh, salesman for Hernard Utility Freightliner, said the body was made in Bay Springs, Mississippi and the compactor is under warranty.
Mayor Kelley continues to pledge that trash pick-up rates in Gurdon will not go up due to the conversion to a city-owned trash service.
“These new truck should mean Gurdon will be good to go for a long time in the trash business,” she said.
The next City Council meeting will be at 6 p.m. on Monday, April 25. Although there is no planned trash pick-up rate hike, Gurdon City Council members are considering raising water rates here.
In addition to the water rate hike consideration, Kelley and the City Council are considering selling timber from the old Gurdon Pond property, stipulating if they do the trees will be replanted for future harvests.

HSU athletic director offers formula for college success

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
The annual Rotary Club academic honors banquet was held Tuesday evening at Gurdon High School, naming 16 seniors with Grade Point Averages higher than 3.5 out of 4.0, awarding scholarship assistance to one and giving achievement certificates to the other 15.
This year’s scholarship recipient was Devin Simpson, the salutatorian for the Class of 2016. The amount of the gift will be announced on May 3 during the scholarship convocation at GHS.
The following seniors have been named in the high honors category, with GPA’s of 3.75 or above: Lindsey Shaver, valedictorian; Simpson, salutatorian; Anna Mae Clark, Olivia Moore, Jordan Sanford, Lauren Frisby, Candy Estrada, Calley White, Carmen Moreno Garcia, Rosemary Flores and Ashley Thompson.
The following students received certificates as upcoming honor graduates with GPA’s of 3.5 and above: Parker Whitson, Taylor Hopson, Jasmine Medina, Yasmeen Wesley and Garrett Clark.
COLLEGE SUCCESS
Shawn Jones, director of athletics at Henderson State University, gave a speech to the group on eight tips for academic success while undergoing the college experience.
Jones began his speech with a quote, saying one thing about being successful in college academics was to “Be quick and don’t hurry.”
The athletic director said his own academic record had a learning curve, as his high school GPA was 2.75, his bachelor’s degree, 3.7 and his graduate degree a perfect 4.0.
“I grew up in a single-parent home with a mother who did a lot to make my life better,” he said. “But after high school, I realized if I was going to do what I wanted to make a living, I would have to succeed in college.”
Jones offered the following steps to academic success he has learned through his own experiences and from studying the changing times.
The first recommendation was to always go to class. He said college classes are expensive and if you are going to get your money’s worth attendance is a must.
Secondly, he advised the students to sit as close to the front of the class as possible and to dress respectfully. He said asking a lot of questions and getting to know your professor could be accomplished through this. Realize, he said, the subject being taught is the professor’s passion in life and acting interested can go a long way toward getting a good grade, regardless of your feelings.
“It is not about your feelings on a college subject. It is about achieving a high mark in the class,” he said.
Thirdly, he advised students to find out the professor’s office hours and go get to know him or her. Ask plenty of questions about the subject.
Fourthly, he told the students to put down their cell phones and video games. Go to class and do your job. Always, he said, turn off your cell phone when you go.
Fifthly, Jones said to enjoy your college experience, make new friends, but remember you want to graduate and practice the occupation of your choice.
He said folks who do poorly and drop out occasionally go back and finish, but those earlier academic records put a serious hardship on later success. Jones said it is much easier to just make wise decisions the first go around.
Sixthly, Jones said college students need to realize it is time to grow up and be an adult. Mom and dad are no longer responsible for your decisions. Study when you should, even if you want to socialize.
Be engaged in the learning process and make lots of contacts, as they will help you land a job. He noted his old contacts helped him get his HSU job years later.
Seventh, he advised students to become accustomed to dealing with adversity with a leader’s attitude rather than just complaining. He noted that one author said 80 percent of the people you voice complaints to do not care and 20 percent are glad you have a problem. He said it is how you handle tough times that counts. Proving yourself is an ongoing process.
Eighthly and his last tip was to realize your social media is the new resume. It will be explored by future employers, even if it is “private,” as they will access it.
“It is not too late. Clean up what you posts on Facebook or where ever to reflect ambition about jobs or enjoyable moments with your family.”

Sherry’s Corner: Spring Clean-up starts April 25, may have two yard sales

By SHERRY KELLEY
Gurdon Mayor
The springtime curbside collection of household junk will begin during the last week in April. This year we encourage you to eliminate electrical trash such as; a television, appliance, computer or exercise equipment.
The City of Gurdon is beginning electrical trash or “EWASTE” recycling. If anyone is interested in participating in a community yard sale, call me at 406-1396 or call city hall at 353-2514. If enough people are interested, the community yard sale will be held on the two weekends of the junk collection. The event would be at The Plaza Park on Main Street.
In an effort to have a healthy reserve of revenue in the Gurdon Water Department, the City Council is considering harvesting and replanting the timber on the old Gurdon pond. If approved, the money will be invested and saved for future infrastructure repair.
It’s another work, work, work week in Gurdon. With lot’s of engagements and grants and banquets thrown in for good measure. Tuesday I will be enjoying breakfast in Pine Bluff with the President, Chairman and CEO of Union Pacific Railroad. Local leaders will be dining in antique rail cars as Lance Fritz expounds on the history and future of this important mode of transportation. We applied for and received a grant from Union Pacific which funded the decorative iron fence at The Plaza Park. Another UP grant for Plaza Park improvements will be awarded later this summer. Also, Gurdon has received a grant from the CCCF for improvements at the new youth sports field at the city park such as; soccer goals.
I had the pleasure of emceeing the Tenth Annual Group Living Beehive Fashion Show. It was my tenth year to do so and the Group Living clients were wonderful models and the fashions from The Beehive Store were super.
The Market On Main is constantly booked and soon we hope to add restaurant incubator and Bingo Parlor to it’s functions. I will complete the final paperwork on this project this week. The Market On Main has come in under budget and the development began with the grant writing phase in 2014. There was a birthday party this weekend and two parties next weekend and some folks are already booking for Christmas.
The Great American Gurdon Clean Up was a fun event on Saturday. About two dozen volunteers picked up more than 100 bags of litter. Those that pick up litter regularly know that we must keep up the maintenance of the community. Pick an area and patrol for litter on a regular basis to keep Gurdon beautiful. When picking up litter becomes a habit, we all win.
We applied lime on our new youth sports field and we will seed the field with Bermuda grass later this month. The city has been working with Amy Simpson from the Clark County Extension Office for optimum results on this new field. The city is looking for a sponsor for the purchase of Safecoat, a red infield product, for our Cabe Fields and some paint, brushes and rollers to freshen up the concession stand.

Malvern fire victim asks for zoning exception

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
MALVERN – A fire victim who wants to place a $92,000 manufactured home on her lot, located at Sherwood Drive and Nottingham, approached the Malvern City Council at Monday’s’ agenda meeting to seek a re-evaluation of her denied request.
City Council member and head of the finance committee Wayne Reynolds told Tammy Coston that he would love to assist her but her corner lot was in a zone designated as no mobile homes allowed.
“If we open this up to one manufactured home, then we have to open it to others who also want a mobile home in that neighborhood,” Reynolds said.
Coston and her family said the City Council had made them an offer to buy their lot, get them a lot near McHenry and Texas and allow them to move their mobile home there – where zoing already allows for manufactured dwellings.
“This is not acceptable. We lived in a much nicer neighbood,” she said. “The houses on McHenry and Texas are mostly $25,000 homes. It is not like our $92,000 home won’t fit in at Nottingham and Sherwood. You can check our maintenance history and find we take excellent care of our place.”
Coston said her home that burned is a $50,000 home and still standing on her lot. She and her huband are living in a camper, with her children living in various places.
“The family has not had a home to come to since our September fire,” Coston said.
Reynolds asked Coston if the only thing the City Council could do to make her happy was to rezone her Sherwood/Nottingham lot to allow manufactured homes and she replied yes, that is what I want.
“We will look at this situation again,” Reynolds said. “We hope we can find a solutin that everybody likes, but I can not promise anything at this point.”
PEARLA WATER
Pearla is significantly behind on their water bill payments to Malvern, but the law says Malvern can not cut off the water.
It was discussed at the City Council agenda meeting that leaks have amounted to a 66 percent water leak loss in the city of 900 users.
Because of the inconsistent payments from the City of Pearla to Malvern, Malvern officials have contemplated replacing the 900 water meters involved. Estimated cost to replace said meters is $180,000.
Finance Chairman Wayne Reynolds told his fellow City Council members, “We need a financial statement from Pearla.”
At this point, it was reported that Pearla owes Malvern $81,000 in back water supply payments.
Mayor Brenda Weldon said the Pearla water bill problem would be placed on the City Council agenda for this coming Monday night’s meeting, which is to begin at 7 p.m.
Pearla, she said, has a habit of making a partial water bill payment to Malvern. One example is Pearla paying a $9,000 payment when the water supply bill was $13,000.

Senior Center to serve breakfast Monday

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
The Central Arkansas and Development Center Gurdon Senior Citizens Center building, on Main Street, will re-open for business on Monday, April 11 and begin serving meals that morning.
CADC Director Larry Cogburn called Tailgate News Wednesday and said, “We are really excited about our re-opening for the senior population at Gurdon.
“We will plan a ceremony to celebrate the accomplishment in the future, but for now we just want to get back to serving the seniors in our own facility.”
The Gurdon Senior Citizen Center was heavily damaged by a storm this past July and has undergone extensive repair and remodeling.
Cogburn said there have been unexpected expenses toward replacing equipment and so the total cost is still not known.

Gurdon counselor to retire, receives secondary school award

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Rita Guthrie, Gurdon High School counselor for the past 24 years, will retire in June and will go out with an award, as she has been selected “Secondary School Counselor of the Year” by the Southwest Arkansas School Counselors Association.
She was also selected as “Teacher of the Year” at Tuesday’s Gurdon Chamber of Commerce banquet.
Guthrie said her favorite part of her job is her students, siting seniors as the ones she really knows best “as they spend so much time in my office their senior year.”
Of her years at GHS, she said, “It has been a wonderful and amazing journey. But it is time to let a younger person step into this position.”
As to retirement plans, Ms. Guthrie said she plans to go home to take care of her husband, play with her grandchildren, travel and do a lot of reading.
Her husband is James Guthrie, pastor of the First Baptist Church at Sparkman.
Mrs. Guthrie said, “I did my entire 24 years at Gurdon High School and I love GHS.”
When this reporter arrived to interview her, she had a room full of seniors who were awaiting assingment to sit with Rotarians at the upcoming Rotary Banquet at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 12.
“Come on in,” she said. “We can do both seating assingments and an interview. We are used to a lot going on around here.”

Mayor talks of spring clean up

By SHERRY KELLEY
Gurdon Mayor
The springtime curbside collection of household junk will begin during the last week in April.
This year we encourage you to eliminate electrical trash such as; a television, appliance, computer or exercise equipment.
The City of Gurdon is beginning electrical trash or “EWASTE” recycling.
If anyone is interested in participating in a community yard sale, call me at 406-1396 or call city hall at 353-2514.
If enough people are interested, the community yard sale will be held on the two weekends of the junk collection.
The event would be at The Plaza Park on Main Street, the location of the Gurdon mural and the new marquee sign.
This Saturday is the Great American Gurdon Clean-Up. We will meet at the Gurdon City Hall at 8:30 am and fan out through the city with gloves and trash bags to pick up litter until 12 noon. Contact hosts Jodi Arnold Coplen and Stacy Malar for more information..
Claudia Moreno is a new Gurdon City Councilwomen. She is taking retired councilman Gene Flowers’ seat. Flowers served as a councilman for decades.
Claudia is married to Miguel and they have a large family and have lived in Gurdon for many years. They are the owner/operators of The Fresh Market in Gurdon, since 2014.
In an effort to have a healthy reserve of revenue in the Gurdon Water Department, the City Council is considering harvesting and replanting the timber on the old Gurdon pond.
If approved, the money will be invested and saved for future infrastructure repair.

Ned Perme talks of weather advances

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
The 2016 Gurdon Chamber of Commerce Banquet was held on Tuesday evening at the Gurdon High School cafeteria with weather man Ned Perme telling the group that fatalities from hurricanes, and severe weather in general, have decreased significantly during his decades long career.
Perme started his speech by telling the crowd he was “happy to be in Gurdon.”
“I am really impressed with your high school campus,” he said.
Perme said he was also impressed with recent Gurdon weather, which has caused the town to “green up,” stating he is not a fan of winter weather.
However, he did admit, after 38 years of pursing weather, February is his favorite month because of Groundhog Day and also the Feb. 5 National Weatherman’s Day.
Perme said the prediction of weather has come a long way since John Jefferies day. Jefferies, he said was America’s first weatherman back in the 1780’s.
Jefferies, he said, was a balloonist. The balloon being sent up for wather predictions is still done to this day. Perme said weather predictions, however, did not really begin a serious pursuit of accuracy until after World War II.
Another significant change in prediction tools occured in the 1960’s when Russia sent up Sputnik, the first satellite.
Then in the 1970’s, computer technology began to take hold of the United States weather profession.
“In 1980, we began our next generation weather science with Doppler Radar coming into its own,” Perme said.
In the 1990’s weather tech had advanced enough to show weather radar on television and for weather men to “explain to you what you were seeing.”
Perme said technology allowed an accurate prediction of a three-day forecast in the 1990’s and today’s technology allows an accurate weather prediction of between 8 and 14 days out.
“I lived in Mobile, Alabama 32 years ago and began reporting on a major hurricane,” he said. “It came in from Galvestine and killed 6,200 people in one night from one storm…”
He said he covered another hurricane story in 1979, which included a 15-foot wave of water coming ashore. In that case, technology stepped in, 100,000 people were evacuated before the storm hit and only two people lost their lives.
Coming closer to home, the said Arkansas had 56 tornados in 1999 and there were only eight total deaths related to those tornadoes.
“We are saving lives by way of advancement in the prediction of severe weather,” he said.
“When you hear a weather warning, it is very important you take it to be safe.”
He said an F2 or F3 tornado can be up to 500 yards wide. Those have a life cycle of up to 20 minutes with 150 to 200 mph winds.
“The worst tornadoes are the Maxi Killers. They are known as the EF4 or the EF5 and can last up to 3 hours,” he said.
Perme said Arkansas, so far, has only had one EF5 since he has been a weatherman, but there have been several EF4s. A Maxi Killer, he said, can have between 200 and 300 mph winds.
“I try to be relaxed in my weather reports. I have learned, after 38 years at this, it is important to keep folks calm,” he sai

Gurdon Senior Center to open in April

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
The Central Arkansas and Development (CADC) Gurdon Senior Citizens Center, on Main Street, which was heavily damaged last July by a storm, has been repaired and remodeled.
CADC Manager Larry Cogburn said Friday, March 25 that the senior center will reopen for business sometime in the month of April. Cogburn said a re-grand opening ceremony is being planned.
“We will announce the time and date of the ceremony as soon as we know it,” Cogburn said. “We have modernized the building and we are excited about getting the seniors back in it.”
Cogburn said the senior center now has a new range, new oven, new reach-in refrigerator, two new freezers and more tables for the seniors to gather with their friends.
The re-painting of parking place lines and handicapped spaces has also been completed. Cogburn said storm insurance covered a portion of the refurbishing, but a total cost of the project is not yet known.

Gurdon Great American Clean up April 9

The Great American Gurdon Clean Up will be held on Saturday, April 9, from 8:30 a.m. to 12 noon. Volunteers will meet at City Hall and will fan out through the community to pick up roadside litter.
Jodi Coplen, who is instrumental in the effort, said, “The streets of Gurdon are littered with cigarette packs, sonic cups, beer cans and more! Is this the ‘beauty’ that we want people to see when they drive through our town?
“Is this the ‘beauty’ that YOU want to see in your hometown? Please help us CLEAN UP the streets of Gurdon by starting with the trash in the ditches! If you could we would like to ask the everyone clean their own yard up. Make Gurdon a great place to call home! We NEED volunteers on April 9! “
Each volunteer and/or group will be assigned a specific area to clean. Trash bags and gloves will be provided. Please contact Stacey Marlar at 870-406-0080 for more details. Thank you for caring about YOUR town!
Hosting Coordinators are: Stacey Marlar, Katy Childres and Jodi Coplen. You may also email Marlar at slmarlar@hotmail.com for more information. Come to Gurdon City Hall, 103 Maple Street next Saturday morning ready to work and make the 2016 Great American Gurdon Clean-up a success.

Weather guy Ned Perme to speak at Chamber banquet

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
and Internet sources
The annual Gurdon Chamber of Commerce Banquet will be held at 6:30 p.m. this coming Tuesday, April 5 in the Gurdon High School Cafeteria.
Anita Cabe, Chamber member, said “Citizen of the Year,” “Teacher of the Year” and “Chamber Member of the Year” will be announced.
Tickets are $15 at the door and Chamber members and guests are encouraged to attend and enjoy a good meal, good company and an entertaining speaker. New Chamber of Commerce officers will be announced at the end of the meeting.
This year’s speaker will be Ned Perme.
PERME
Ned Perme, who joined KATV in 1984, is known throughout the state as the weather anchor and Chief Meteorologist for Channel 7 News. In addition to providing his weather casts for Channel 7 News at 6 & 10 p.m., Ned also travels extensively throughout the state of Arkansas broadcasting live at numerous festivals and events.
Perme received his Bachelor of Science degree in communications from Springhill College in Mobile, Alabama in 1977. He continued his education in meteorology at Mississippi State University where he was certified as a broadcast meteorologist by the Department of Geoscience and Meteorology. He is a member of the American Meteorological Society, and also holds membership in the National Weather Association, which has awarded him their Broadcast Seal of Approval.
Perme is a 12-time recipient of the Best Weather Cast Award given annually by the Associated Press. He is a supporter of numerous non-profit organizations throughout the state.
An accomplished pianist, Ned was awarded the Heart of Arkansas Award from the Department of Tourism, and was nominated for a regional Emmy Award in the performing arts category for writing the song “Christmastime in Arkansas Again”. As the composer, Ned also received the Edward R. Murrow Award for best Music Video. His first CD, “Songs for the Season” a collection for Christmas, raised over 50 thousand dollars for the National Kidney Foundation of Arkansas, and the American Heart Association.
Ned Perme is part of the award winning Channel 7 News team that has received six regional Emmy awards, dozens of Associated Press Broadcasting awards including “Best Overall News Operation” for three consecutive years.

Council votes April 25- May 6 for spring clean up

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
The Gurdon City Council met in regular session on Monday night and again in special session to approve a replacement for retiring Councilman Gene Flowers on Thursday.
At the Monday meeting, dates were set for the annual spring clean-up, which will include a city-wide yard sale in front of the Hoo Hoo music platform on Main Street.
The dates of the house-to-house clean-up will be from Monday, April 25 until Friday, May 6.
Mayor Sherry Kelley the Saturday, April 30 downtown yard sale will be from dawn until noon and everyone is encouraged to set up on Main Street and try their hand at selling unwanted items.
“If your stuff does not sell, leave it there,” she said. “Our city trash truck will pick it up and that way we will have less stuff to pick up around town for our spring clean-up.”
Kelley said she hopes to have musical entertainment from the Hoo Hoo music platform at the plaza on that morning.
It was brought up at the Monday meeting that Claudia Garcia Moreno, owner of Fresh Market in Gurdon, had expressed a desire to replace Flowers as a City Council member.
It was brought up that Moreno was allegedly building a house outside of Flowers’ district and would be ineligible to serve.
Mayor Kelley found out later that Moreno was not moving to that house and would remain a resident in the proper district.
On Thursday night, Moreno was appointed to serve on the Gurdon City Council.
She will be sworn in by Clark County Justice of the Peace Vickie Smithpeters at her Forget Me Knot Flower Shop at a later date.
In other business, the ordinance to lower the City Clerk and Treasurer’s salary to $10,000 a year was placed on its third and final reading and is expected to pass at the Monday, April 25 council meeting. Moreover, Kelley told the council she has volunteered for the City of Gurdon to have an annual audit “to avoid an accumulation of penalties if we owe anything to the government.”
Kelley told the group that an effort to get financing for the $140,00 new trash compactor for Gurdon has been under way. So far, she said, a 2.95 percent interest rate for the loan has been the best offered. This would result a $2,295 a month payment on the compactor. Bids are being taken for the trash truck.
The council is still considering raising water rates only in the City of Gurdon, leaving trash and sewer rates alone. The current city rate for water is $1.25 per 1,000 gallons, compared to a Clark County rural water rate of $2.50 for 1,000 gallons. The matter was tabled.

Sherry’s Corner: Free food Monday at Baptist Clinic

By SHERRY KELLEY
Gurdon Mayor
Baptist Health is hosting another annual community picnic on Monday, April 4 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Everyone in the area is invited and encouraged to enjoy. Last year it was delicious and this year proves to be the same great dining opportunity.
Grilled hamburgers and extra large and tasty grilled hot dogs, with all the fixings, sides and dessert, of course, will be served. Last year it was so good that I ate a hot dog and a hamburger in one sitting and had to hold back from having more! They set up plenty of tables and all your friends and family can be dining together at this fun and FREE event.
Last week the Economic Development Corporation of Clark County (EDCCC) and Georgia Pacific (GP) agreed to pay approximately $42,000 each to cover the cost overage for the upgrade of Gurdon’s waste water treatment plant. The project was funded by the EDCCC who pledged $500,000 for the improvements in support of the $37,000,000 GP lumber products expansion.
The infrastructure overage was due to new Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality requirements and additional vegetation tonnage in the facultative lagoon. Gurdon will not only prosper from the expansion at the GP mill, but will also benefit for many years to come from the improvements at our facility. We are grateful to the voters of Clark County, the EDCCC, GP and all of it’s fine workers. The future is looking bright for our fair town and Clark County.
We hope to acquire and “E” Waste Trailer for recycling electronics. This will help the environment and Gurdon’s bottom line. We will have the capability to collect and store stoves, treadmills, televisions, computers and other electronic trash. When our trailer is full it will be collected and another will be brought to take it’s place free of charge.
This will keep the city from paying tipping fees at the landfill for all the electronic waste collected. We are also working to restore and expand our cardboard recycling ability. I serve on West Central Arkansas’ Solid Waste Board and the Recycling Board along with Clark County Judge Ron Daniel and Arkadelphia City Manager Jimmy Bolt as well as the Hot Springs and Garland County Judges and Mayors. This service keeps us abreast of opportunities to better our community through recycling.
Take a look on Main Street, next to The Mossy Rock. There are some attractive toy soldiers lined up in the window with a sign that says “Opening Soon”!
We are hoping to collaborate with Senator Bruce Malloch and Representative Richard Womack to begin the interior restoration of the First National Bank.
The Gurdon Chamber of Commerce Banquet featuring guest speaker meteorologist Ned Perme from KATV Channel 7 will be held on Tuesday, April 5. Tickets may be purchased in advance at the Cabe Offices or at the door at the Gurdon High School Cafetorium.

 

Malvern keeps cemetery, selling plots;

judge will keep courtroom, to have new office

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Oak Ridge Cemetery is to remain the property of the City of Malvern and has been contracted out for maintenance.
Street Superintendent Mike Smith said Wednesday the city is selling cemetery plots to the public through the Code Enforcement Office.
“Someone will show them the cemetery grounds so that they may pick out a burial plot,” Smith said. “Then they will be quoted a price so they will have an opportunity to buy a plot, or plots, from the City of Malvern.”
COURTROOM STAYING IN OLD BUILDING
Smith also said the city’s courtroom, where Judge Sherry Burnett conducts court, will remain in the old building so that sensitive monitoring equipment does not have to be moved.
Burnett will be given an office just above the courtroom. Smith said additional equipment will be moved into the courtroom as well, to accommodate the judge.
Judge Burnett said she has plans to hold court more often so as to relieve big crowds in the courtroom.
Remodeling continues on the new buildings across the street from City Hall, with plans to move the treasurer and several other government offices over there. More definite plans for the space in the new buildings will be discussed at the April 11 City Council meeting.
Malvern Mayor Brenda Weldon said a lot will depend on how much money the city is able to come up with to finance the creation of new government offices in the two sections of the building across the street.
Weldon said she is hoping for a fair, five-way, financial split on the remodeling charges between Malvern, Hot Spring County, Grant County, Rockport and Sheridan.

Rockport has  a speed trap in it!

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
MALVERN – The Hot Spring County Sheriff’s Department has deputized the entire Rockport Police Department, according to an Internet speed trap search engine warning.
Now, the warning goes on to say, RPD are all over Highway 270 in the Magnet Cove area, as well as Rockport. They are even pulling people over and writing tickets in the city of Malvern.
Three citizens who have been arrested for speeding have come forward to Tailgate News in the past few months. One semi-retired man received two tickets and was out more than $200 for driving 48 mph in a 35 mph near Butterfield on his way home to Magnet Cove and for driving with his overhead pick-up lights on after the speeding ticket incident to warn other drivers to slow down.
A similar experience was reported by a lady from Malvern who also did not receive a warning, but rather a citation, from a Rockport area location thought to have a 55 mph speed limit, but in fact has a speed zone sign up between Butterfield and Magnet Cove posting 35 mph – with officers allegedly not taking into consideration the driver was in the process of slowing down when clocked.
A third man, who resides in Magnet Cove, was fined close to $100 and forced to go to defensive driving school to keep his license for going between 10 and 15 mph over the limit. He too was allegedly in the process of slowing down in the apparently no tolerance zone.
Britt “Santa” Armstrong, a Magnet Cove sign maker who received the two tickets in connection with the speed zone at Butterfield, said he has heard many residents say state troopers are asking Rockport police officers to “stay off of I-30 with your excessive speed trap ticketing.” Arkansas State Police, he said, are allegedly concerned with tickets being given on exit ramps leading to Rockport.

Sherry’s Column, welcoming Baptist Hospital feed

By SHERRY KELLEY
Gurdon Mayor
The Market On Main was the downtown scene of a great turnout for Arkansas Youth Workforce. At least seven applicants were eligible to sign up for the program. Gurdon is looking forward to utilizing these young peoples’ talents as workers for the city.
These are workers whose wages will be paid by the State of Arkansas. It seems that every day the City of Gurdon is realizing our efforts to live within our means and create a healthy surplus of revenue for the city.
Not a week goes by without several Gurdon residents asking me about jobs. We have some fine employers in town and in area, but it would be beneficial to have additional opportunities. I am working hard and working closely with Stephen Bell of the Economic Development Corporation of Clark County and with Mark Hamer of the Arkansas Economic Development Corporation.
We are listing, marketing and showing business opportunities here in Gurdon to entrepreneurs from around the state and around the world. We had a Gurdon site visit with a small manufacturer last week. Economic development is very important to me and to our city.
Baptist Health is hosting another annual community picnic from 11 until 1 p.m. on Monday, April 4. Everyone in the area is invited. Last year it was delicious and this year proves to be the same great dining opportunity. Grilled hamburgers and extra large and tasty grilled hot dogs, with all the fixings, sides and dessert, of course, will be served. Last year it was so good that I ate a hot dog and a hamburger in one sitting and had to hold back from having more! They set up plenty of tables and all your friends and family can be dining together at this fun and FREE event.

Gurdon School Board asks for book keeping instructions

to avoid audit problems if current worker ever leaves

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Gurdon School Board members expressed concern Tuesday about the maintaining of the district’s accounting system if the business manager were to get sick or quit her job.
Board members directed Superintendent Allen Blackwell to produce a step-by-step procedure document that tells exactly what Rhonda Spruill, the school business manager, does to satisfy auditors and properly track the Gurdon School District’s financial records. Blackwell said he would have the procedure outline completed and ready for the board to sign off on at the April meeting.
The board’s directive stemmed from an audit report presented by Spruill at the meeting, which sited attendance record requirements and a concern about pay-outs and documented receipts needing to be signed off on by more than one person.
Business Manager Spruill said the audit report specifically questioned sign-in procedures for employees at the new Wellness Center. She said the auditor had insisted on verifiable attendance records for the Wellness Center employees. Superintendent Allen Blackwell told the School Board the four Wellness Center employees are now required to sign in upon arriving to work, just like other school staff members have been doing.
“Whenever teachers come in at school, they sign the book. When they are not there, we have a yellow sheet and a substitute is called in,” Blackwell said.
Spruill said auditing requirements did not previously stipulate the need to document work sign-ins for all employees. She said the situation with the Wellness employees is the first time auditors have actually called her attention to this requirement on her books.
Blackwell stressed to the board the situation has been corrected.
In the past, according to Spruill, many teachers have had 10-month contracts where salaries have been paid out over 12 months in a pro-rated manner. Records were kept of personal days etc. to be sure job descriptions were for filled.
Board members agreed with the auditor that even employees with say a teaching contract are expected to be at work unless they have a verifiable excuse.
Recognizing employees are now all signing in, School Board member Bernard Hatley said he would still like to see a written policy mandating the keeping of accurate attendance records for functions like the Wellness Center, “as grants are not easy to get and those giving out grants understandably expect proof they are getting their money’s worth.”
Board member Chris Harper added, “People this is not our money and if we expect to get grants in the future we must be very careful that we can show proof we have met the requirements for something like this Wellness Center. If something goes wrong with documentation, grant people will be looking to this School Board to find out why.”
Blackwell said the auditor also brought out that Spruill does not need to be doing pay-outs and receiving both. This is also being corrected, as another school employee is now documenting the receipts.
“The hard part is next time we may get a different auditor and have to change the procedure again,” Blackwell said.
Board members directed the superintendent to create a written procedure of what business manager Spruill does so that anyone having to do her job in the future would have a starting point as to what is currently acceptable school accounting practices and be able to maintain good marks from a future auditor.
Board member Elaine Halliday said, “This protects someone doing the books and the district. Look what happened to the City of Gurdon when a long-term employee had to leave over medical reasons and no written instructions were left to the next person as to how to carry on.”

Malvern School Board expands MNB loan for three buses

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Malvern School Board met in regular session Monday and voted to approve refinancing a loan with Malvern National Bank (MNB) in order to purchase three school buses.
Superintendent Brian Golden said the refinancing is at 1.9 percent, a lower rate than any other financial institutions he checked with before recommending the board stick with MNB.
The amount of the refinancing, according to Golden, is approximately $206,000. Payments will be made annually in July. After the board approved the loan expansion, the superintendent asked for their permission to “dispose of old buses that are of no use to us anymore, as it would be in the district’s best interest.”
No objections were made to his request. Golden used an old Ford bus as an example of why he had made the request. He said the state grounded the bus and the repair cost for that bus “would be more than we would get if that particular bus caught on fire!”
The Ford school bus, he said, is no longer made by Ford Motor Company. The bus in question is more than 10 years old.
In other business, Superintendent Golden congratulated the Senior Leopards basketball team for earning the team’s first conference championship in 26 years. Malvern hosted the state tournament and Golden said 20 basketball games were played in four days.
Moreover, Jace Roberts gave a review on policy updates regarding the Arkansas School Board Association. Roberts talked of military students and how their education can earn credits.
The board also heard a report from Roberts on efforts to recruit new teachers at teacher job fairs. The best job fairs for this were said to be at the University of Central Arkansas and Arkansas Tech at Russellville.
After an executive session that lasted more than an hour, the board came back and approved some employment changes. As to retirement: Linda Jimerson, Malvern Elementary School (MES) classroom teacher, effective at the end of the current school year; Bertha Kilmer, Malvern Middle School (MMS) teacher, effective April 1; Linda LaVelle, MES aide/bus driver, effective end of school year and Mary LaVergne, Malvern High School(MHS) classroom teacher, effective end of school year.
As for resignations, Martha Coston resigned as cheer sponsor, effective at the end of the school year; Jessica Mitchell, special education aide, resigned effective Feb. 12, 2016; Jacqueline Rogers resigned as cheer sponsor, effective at the end of school year; Natalie Way, MHS classroom teacher, end of school year, and Kelley Williams, bus driver, effective Feb. 29.
The board also rehired the following administrative staff for 2016/17: Michael Bane, director of Alternative Learning Education/Transportation; Teresa Bryant, school health coordinator/school improvement specialist; Manuel Bulhoes, MHS assistant principal; Benjamin Dial, MHS assistant principal; Lillian Harper, MES assistant principal; Tina Hobbs, intermediate school principal; Velda Keeney, MMS principal; Meredith McCormack, MES principal, and Jennifer Shnaekel, MHS principal.
Malvern, along with other Arkansas public schools, will be on spring break from March 21-25. Golden said the April school board meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, April 18.
In other business, the new district health center, located in the old administration building, moved all necessary equipment in to operate on March 14. No opening date for the medical clinic has been announced.
“The health center should be operational by our April 18 meeting. The board can take a tour then,” Golden said.

Sherry’s Corner – Planning Spring Clean-up

By SHERRY KELLEY
Gurdon Mayor
State Representative Richard Womack and an assistant visited The Market On Main last week before the rain. They helped finish the painting of the facade and the entry way.
It looks great and Womack used an exceptional white paint like product to fill in the gaps on the old window framing. It’s thicker than paint and was just what the historic building needed. They also scraped old paint off the ceiling of the entry way and repainted and caulked it.
Thank you, Richard for your help. The previous week I repainted the silver above the awning. It really sparkles and this week Jared Batson of Batson Signs is planning to install the chrome sign. Be sure to take a look as you drive by. Brian Jones of Dimensional Sound and Vision installed the 75” Sony Smart TV and Dale from the cable company hooked it up on Friday.
Both Don Childers, Gurdon City Marshal, and I are very relieved that Gurdon avoided any storm damage on Sunday. It was a trying week for everyone with all the rainfall.
But this week is glorious. Springtime in Gurdon and all the trees and bushes are blooming. We will have to start mowing and weed whacking soon. Once again this year, the city will be employing help through Arkansas Youth Workforce. The main criteria is that the applicant is between 16 and 24 years of age and not currently enrolled in school. If you know of anyone who would be interested please have them contact me at (870)406-1396.
The city is planning a curbside pick up of household junk before the school breaks for the summer. This year we are considering adding a large downtown community yard sale on Main Street. That way if you wish, you can leave any items that don’t sell downtown and we will pick them up for you.
A great local Gurdon band, California Connection, will hopefully be able to add some oldies and rock and roll music to the event and local churches and businesses will be invited to participate. The location will be downtown in the banner district and we will have two weekends earmarked in case of rain.

 

Police continue drug pusher clean-up

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Despite brags on the streets to the contrary, delivering Crystal Meth Amphetamine is no joke when sentences are levied, according to Deputy Marshal Toby Garner.
“We have a lot of felony counts on the 19 that have already been picked up and phase two of our drug bust effort will probably boost the totals to as many as 25 going to prison,” Deputy Garner said Thursday.
“As to when we can pick up the remainder of those we will have warrants on, that depends on Prosecuting Attorney Blake Batson. It could be tomorrow or next month. But when he gives us the go-ahead, we will be ready.”
Garner said the last two of the 19 facing charges have been arrested since the original bust. Japrinceton Snowden, a 30-year-old former Gurdon resident and Delight native, has been apprehended with the assistance of multiple law enforcement agencies from a location near Hope.
Snowden has been charged with two counts of delivering Meth Amphetamine and is currently in the Clark County jail, according to the officer.
Chad Bunnell, 38, of Hope, has also been arrested and faces charges of delivering Crystal Meth Amphetamine.
Bunnell, if found guilty of that Class C felony, could also face sentence enhancement because of being charged with delivering the controlled substances within 1,000 feet of a daycare or a church.
Deputy Garner said the sentence for the Class C felony charge of delivery Meth is 3 to 10 years in prison, but could be longer if the prosecutor sees fit to add the enhancement violation.
Garner said Marshal Don Childres is working on issuing one remaining warrant already issued in round one of the drug clean-up.
“Once that is done, we can begin working on round two as soon as Blake Batson is ready,” he said.
Of the original 17 warrants attached to those apprehended, Garner said all of them had at least one felony count to face.
“Those 17 have all had their first appearance in front of a judge,” he said.
“I believe three have bonded out. The rest remain in custody in either Clark County jail or neighboring county jails.”
Bond for the alleged controlled substance offenders was set between $20,000 and $75,000, depending on past criminal records.
“Many of them were on probation on drug related charges and those folks had higher bonds set,” he said.
According to Garner, trials for the original 17, who have already been before a judge, should take place from the middle to the end of this year.
As to public reaction, Garner said he and his fellow officers have been hearing complaints from the public about how hard it now is to get illegal drugs in Gurdon.
“We have to smile and tell them that is the whole idea,” he said. “We are hoping after this second round of busts it will be next to impossible to buy drugs from our streets.”
When asked about sentencing verses time served, Garner said that depends on whether the convicted felon has more than one convictions.
First timers, say if they get 10 years in prison, might be paroled after five.
But those with two felony convictions are more likely to do 65 to 80 percent of their sentences.
Garner said he would like to thank the other law enforcement agencies involved for helping with the drug clean-up. The list now includes the assistance of federal marshals.
“We are all taking this clean-up seriously and looking forward to our second pack of warrants to issue,” he said.
Marshal Don Childres said, “We owe it to our children and grandchildren to clean up drugs in Gurdon. Once sentences are handed out, I believe anyone considering pushing felony drugs in Gurdon will think twice.”
Deputy Marshal Garner concurred and said, “Once our second wave of warrants comes through, I believe several people in Gurdon will be surprised as to who is on that list.”
Garner said word on the street is drug users in Gurdon are scared to buy anything local if they can find their drugs of choice “because it is sinking in that we are serious about this clean-up and lengthy jail sentences tend to frighten people.”

Malvern may create new courtroom

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Malvern City Council members discussed plans for using the new buildings across the street from City Hall at the agenda meeting Monday night and heard an argument from a local judge concerning her need for monitoring equipment not to be moved in her courtroom because said equipment “is sensitive and prone to break downs upon too much moving around.”
Judge Sherry Burnett, of Malvern, said, “We are talking about $15,000 worth of digital (monitoring) equipment and it is very difficult to move it.”

Burnett said if the City Council decides to place her in the existing courtroom, where the group was meeting Monday, that will be OK as it is desk top compatible for what she needs.
If the Council decides to construct a new courtroom across the street, she said lap tops will work.
“The digital recording device has been certified by the state,” she said. “We are looking for financing to pay for our equipment.”
Burnett noted that a similar monitoring system has been set up in Clark County (Arkadelphia), where both the Quorum Court and the City Council make use of the digital recording device.
“Judge Hill went full-time four years ago,” she said. “He does drug court in Clark County. I may be doing drug court here. If they fail drug court, they will go to prison.”
Judge Burnett said she has plans to hold court more often so as to relieve big crowds in the courtroom.
Malvern Mayor Brenda Weldon said a lot will depend on how much money the city is able to come up with to fiance the creation of new government offices in the two sections of the new building across the street.
Weldon said she is hoping for a fair, five-way, financial split on the remodeling charges via Malvern, Hot Spring County, Grant County, Rockport and Sheridan.
If the City Council ends up voting to approve a total revamping of the court system, Weldon said she believes the cost of the court system over haul alone will be approximately $300,000.
CODE ENFORCEMENT
Chris Brewster, of Malvern Code Enforcement, addressed the council, asking for a rate hike from 5 cents a square foot to 7 cents a square foot to grant at least new construction permits.
“We are not in the ball park with our charges for permits and this is costing the city money every time we do them,” he said.
“My goal with suggesting the 7 cents is to be about in the middle of what neighboring cities charge and yet be high enough for the city to at least break even on the work we do.”
Brewster said he would like to see the 7 cents a square foot charge imposed on clients across the board, regardless of the type of permit they may need.
Councilman David Cook, a contractor, said if the 7 cents passes, a time period will be needed to adjust bids already in progress. Weldon suggested 90 days.

Tree experts note free government money

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Wood crops often need to be thinned out in a tree population in order to grow stronger and more productive trees for marketing.
John Goss, an Arkansas Forestry Commission District Forester for Hot Spring and Saline County, said to Gurdon Rotarians Thursday, “Government funds for growing and maintaining a good tree crop in Southern Arkansas are available at 50 percent cost sharing with land owners.
“But these funds get less every year. It is now about $30,000 of available monies and just a few years ago it was $100,000. We had $10,000 for Hot Spring and Saline Counties this past year.”
To ask about funding for growing your tree crop with maximum productivity, contact Goss or in Clark County call Regine Skelton at: (870) 246-5372.

Gurdon Council will buy

$140,000 trash compactor

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
The Gurdon City Council decided Monday that buying a new Freightliner trash compactor for $131,236, which would be ready to be delivered immediately, would be the way to go in order to give the city’s recent venture into the trash hauling business some long-term success.
Council members considered buying another used trash truck for $10,000 but decided the maintenance risk would not be practical.
Mayor Sherry Kelley said she believes the City Council made a wise decision, as even with the payments on a new truck, the city-owned trash hauling effort would work out to be less expensive than when the city hired the task out.
Gurdon’s long-term trash hauler, Bobby Walker, resigned a few months ago to go into the logging industry because of worn out trash trucks and a desire to try something different.
The City Council, upon Quorum Court approval, will purchase the older model truck they have been using since from Clark County for $5,000.
Kelley said the newly approved Freightliner will be purchased at approximately 4 percent interest, involve $2,400 a month payments and will be owned free and clear by Gurdon in about four years.
“We were paying Bobby about $6,000 a month so doing the trash hauling ourselves will still create some available cash every month that the city can really use for our other bills,” she said.
“We will also set aside a certain amount per month for when either one of our trucks needs repairs.”
The city received one other bid for a new truck for about $4,000 less than the Freightliner, but would have had to wait 90 days to use the compactor.
The mayor said the trash rates will still stay the same and that the change over to a city-hauled trash service, using Clark County Jail trustees to help with the lifting, has been “working out just fine.”
WATER RATES
In other business, the mayor told the City Council that expenses in the water department were not allowing any sort of savings to be done for repairs to the system and she would like them to consider the possibility of raising water rates slightly in order to be better prepared for fixing leaks, busted pipelines etc. that are bound to happen over time.
That issue was tabled. Moreover, the City Council voted to lower the salary of the City Clerk and Recorder, starting in 2017, from $35,000 a year to $10,000 a year because the work load of that position has been shifted to an hourly worker since Clerk and Recorder Tambra Childres has been absent for medical reasons and anyone new coming into that office would have a lot less responsibility in regard to day to day operations of the city.
The City Council also passed a resolution removing Clerk and Recorder Childres, who is not expected to be medically able to return to work, from the Water Department and City of Gurdon bank accounts. Moreover, an ordinance was passed allowing the city to continue trash pick-up.

Gurdon seniors produce active app

for panic button alerts, shootings, medical

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Four Gurdon High School seniors presented to Rotarians Thursday their recent work on East Lab software, now available to program for such uses as calling out for help in case of a school shooting.
Superintendent Allen Blackwell said the funding for the software lab was covered by the state and also mandated by the state in order to divert any possible crisis.
“They have been working on more than just the panic button software, but funds to instigate this alarm system are what got us going on other school improvement projects related to software experimentation in East Lab. East initiatives are quite diverse.”
Senior Fischer Smith explained the panic button application and how pushing the button on a cell phone would summon such folks as emergency medical personal or law enforcement from Clark County and the State of Arkansas.
“I m not sure if our local police have this technology yet, but the point is it gets us prepared for an emergency situation.,” Blackwell said.
In addition to Smith, seniors Taylor Hopson, Jackson Kirkpatrick and Jordan Sanford were on hand to explain other community and/or school improvement software programs they have initiated or completed from East Lab software app ideas.
The software is from Google Sketch. Kirkpatrick helped Smith develop the Panic Button App for students to use though their cell phones.
Hopson developed a software project involving thermal hot spots which can detect spots in homes or other buildings where heat is being released, with possible fire prevention benefits.
Sanford’s project involves mapping out school campuses and bus routes.
He said two buses are dispersed to the Whelen Springs area, for example, and that could possibly be accomplished by one route in the future using the software mapping app.
Blackwell said the map app might be useful if a bus driver quit to combine routes and not rehire another driver if the district elects not to replace a retiree.
Sanford said his program uses downloads from Microsoft and Excel “and uses time and distance in regard to bus routes in order to determine the most effective routes to use.”

Sherry’s Corner

By SHERRY KELLEY
Gurdon Mayor
The Gurdon City Council voted unanimously to purchase a new Freightliner PacMac rear load garbage truck. I think it’s a great decision.
We can afford to pay the truck off in 5 years. The city paid the previous trash contractor roughly $6,000 a month. The payments and insurance on the new truck will be around $3,000 a month. We are not anticipating a trash rate increase.
The remaining monies will be used as a savings for tires, maintenance and future repairs for both the new truck and the truck we are currently using. Any other money will be used in the general fund, as needed.
We have decreased operating expenses. That and employee pay come out of the general fund. With the city handling the trash in a more cost effective manner we hope to better balance our budget.
I know of a volunteer or two who would be willing to paint a logo on each side of the truck. It will be Gurdon spelled out in purple and the letter “o” will be a golden heart. Gurdon, the city with a heart of gold. Might look good on the new trash truck.
As I have mentioned the Market on Main Street grant is winding down. This week a 75” Sony Smart TV was installed. It can be used for computer presentations during meetings and events.
Someone might like to rent the Market for a sporting event like; Nascar, basketball tournaments, the World Series or Super Bowl. We should try a community movie night when a really good movie comes out on the Redbox and charge a dollar or so at the door and maybe a little for refreshments and popcorn and then give the proceeds to the Gurdon Fire Department or some other worthwhile cause.
My mom has a birthday this week and we are looking forward to our typical quiet but fun celebration. May God bless us all and God bless Gurdon.

Clark and Hot Spring County

Election Results from Super Tuesday

Unofficial election totals have been announced for Clark County and Hot Spring County elections, with run-off elections pending for Republicans in a Hot Spring County Sheriff’s race and for a Justice of the Peace race in District 8. Democrats will have a Justice of the Peace run-off for the District 9 JP slot.
Winners of the JP run-offs will have no opposition in November so those run-offs will determine winners for those positions. .
Early voting for said races are to take place in Hot Spring County, starting March 15. Only voters who voted as Republicans in the Primary contest may vote in the run-offs. The same rules apply for in the Democrat run-off in District 9. In the Hot Spring County Sheriff’s run-off, the winner will face Independent candidate Mike Cash in November’s General Election.
CLARK CO. JUSTICE OFTHE PEACE DISTRICT 1
Nick Stover (D) 42, 49.4%
Austin King (D) 43, 50.6%
DISTRICT 4
Lewellyn Terry Sr. (D) 99, 31.3%
Albert Neal (D) 217 68.7%
HOT SPRING CO. CONSTABLE GIFFORD TOWNSHIP
* Kenneth Rice (D) 35, 53%
Brandon Bennett Sr. (D) 31, 47%
NEW DEROCHE TOWNSHIP
* Franklyn Perry (D) 36, 26.1%
Royce Hughes (D) 102, 73.9%
COUNTY JUDGE
John Langston (D) 766, 32.1%
Dennis Thornton (D) 1,622, 67.9%
JUSTICE OF THE PEACE DISTRICT 6
* Don Hilyard (R) 281, 63.6%
Steve Williams (R) 161, 36.4%
DISTRICT 7
Gerald Black (R) 194, 39.4%
* Josh Anderson (R) 298, 60.6%
DISTRICT 8
Dan Stuckey (R) 157, 31.4%
Andrew Daily (R) 226, 45.2%
Donald Gage (R) 117, 23.4%
DISTRICT 9
Jimmy Gray (D) 66, 30%
Ray Cook (D) 92, 41.8%
Bill Holland (D) 62, 28.2%
SHERIFF
Terry Eubanks (R) 1,072, 27.1%
Jimmy Burrow (R) 1,480, 37.4%
Woody Perry (R) 1,410, 35.6%
Malvern – ALDERMAN
WARD 4, POSITION 1
* Larry Stiles (D) 152, 62.3%
Brock Baker (D) 92, 37.7%

Hot Spring County to choose

between four for sheriff March 1

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Whether you live in Clark or Hot Spring County, Super Tuesday primary election voting will be upon us this coming Tuesday, March 1.
Incumbent Clark County Sheriff Jason Watson is running unopposed. In the Hot Spring County/Malvern area a field of four are running for the Sheriff’s office.
Voters can choose between three Republican candidates and one Independent.
Republicans include: Woody Perry, a patrol sergeant for the Hot Spring County Sheriff’s Office who said his top priority would be restarting the reserve and auxiliary programs; Jimmy Burrow, who said his top priority would be to turn around the situation at the county jail and use such avenues as commissioned sales for phone card usage to prisoners in order to afford more officers; and Terry Eubanks, who has been in law enforcement since 1987 and was an investigator for Sheriff Ron Ball, said his top priority is getting more officers on the road. He said jail problems could be solved by doing things right from the start and realizing being a jailer is a profession that should be practiced by people who want to be there. Eubanks said professional jailers would address current problems with policy updates and then executing policies consistently.
Mike Cash is running for HSC Sheriff as an Independent candidate. Cash retired from the Arkansas State Police after 28 years of service.
Cash has had 32 years of experience in law enforcement, starting as a jailer, a police officer and then a patrol deputy.
His priority in running is to restore honor, integrity and professionalism to the HSC Sheriff’s Department. Details about the HSC Sheriff’s race candidates were gleaned from an article published in the Malvern Daily Record on Feb. 16.
The Tailgate News did interview candidate Terry Eubanks, who said problems at the Hot Spring County Jail were not so much to do with existing policy as they were jailers doing the professional thing and following the rules the first time.
“The idea is to be consistent and make sure everyone knows what is to be expected because that is the way to serve the prisoners correctly and for the officers to then be free to get out there in the public to protect and serve our residents in Malvern and throughout Hot Spring County,” Eubanks said.

Gallery Walk to feature Kipp, Leach

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Art lovers will be in for a special treat during the March and April Gallery Walks on Friday evening, March 4 and Friday evening, April 1, as the American Art Gallery will host two of their star displayers; Margaret Kipp and Jimmy Leach.
Margaret Kipp, who at last report paints at a studio in the Lake DeGray area, said this of her art, “I believe in the beauty of all the creations of nature and the wonder of bringing it to the medium of oil on canvas for all to enjoy.”
Margaret Kipp was born in Mansfield, Ohio, but her family moved to southwestern Kentucky in the late 1940s when she was very young. She and her husband now reside in Oakland, Tenn., and are current residents of Hot Springs, Arkansas.
Kipp painted an Al Capone version of Hot Springs, as the gangster was known to meet with his cronies here in the 1930’s. He was said to have met with John Dillinger, but the bank robber refused Capone’s offer to “go on the pay roll.”
Jimmy Leach, known for his “eye to mind, through brush to canvas,” plans to appear live for the April gallery walk show.
Leach will have “Team Work” on display April 1, 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, contact (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.
Willie and Ann Gilbert, owners of American Art Gallery, invite you to the March 4 Gallery Walk, a first Friday event in downtown Hot Springs for more than 25 years.
Willie and Ann said Kipp has completed an “orange,” sunset version of a sailboat and body of water, where the imaginary sailors are enjoying the sun going down and the effects of daylight’s last moments for the evening are captured on canvas.
Be sure and check out Kipp’s “Sailing Day,” on the back wall of the first floor to American Art Gallery.
And while you are there, go on upstairs and see the remaining collection items of the late artist, Thomas Kinkade, Native American “painter of light.”
Ann noted a fairly new drawing by Leach called Floral Stream Leaves, pictured to your left.
She said those choosing to come to the March 4 Gallery Walk should note it is from 5 until 9 p.m., as is the traditional viewing time.
Willie Gilbert said, “Our gallery is just one on the tour, but remember to come on by. Ann is also an artist and business lady. She has Native American jewelry for sale that you just have to see.”

U.S. Bank to close Gurdon branch

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Rumors have been flying around Gurdon for weeks about the U.S. Bank branch on Main Street closing.
Bank District Manager Mike Ferguson sent a letter to U.S. Bank customers on Feb. 19 confirming that the closing will become a reality on Friday, May 20.
A U.S. Bank employee told this reporter that the branch was closiing, at least in part, because the parent company does not feel enough loans are being made from the Gurdon branch to customers. Loans, he said, have been picking up recently, “but it was too little too late.”
A bank official from Southern Bancorp said his organization is interested in buying the building and opening up a branch here, but sale stipulations imposed by main office policies of U.S. Bank involve guaranteeing the building will be left vacant by any other operational financial institution for two years.
The Southern BanCorp official, speaking anonymously, said Southern BanCorp is still interested in purchasing the building “even if we bought it and had to let it be empty for 24 months.”

Confederate supports to hold rally

The Sons of Confederate Veterans will host a “Rally Round The Flag” even from 1:30 until 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 5 at the Confederate Monument, located in Hot Springs at the intersection of Central and Ouachita Avenues downtown.
The event is met to keep alive the cause for which our Southern anchesters fought the bloodiest war in American history. Guest speakers will lecture on the origin of the Confederate Battle Flag.
The pubic is invited to attend this rally and show their support and solidarity at our Confederate Monument, an organizer said.

Mayor Kelley reports on grants

By Sherry Kelley, Gurdon Mayor – Grants, grants, grants. Working grants, closing grants, writing grants; it’s a lot of work. But, when you need the grant money to do projects and make improvements that work is the only way to inflict change. Grants are the lifeblood that flows through dreams to make them a reality.
We have several new grant writers helping the city achieve positive change. Mendi and Vicki at the Gurdon Public Schools got interested in the Youth Soccer/Football Field that is under construction at the city park. They wrote their first grant, which if awarded will fund soccer equipment. When she turned it in Mendi said, I just was to do some good. I replied, that’s what it’s all about. I hope they get that grant and they get ‘grant fever’ and write some more. The ladies filled out the Arkansas Community Foundation Giving Tree Grant. It is easy and a great one to start with.
Grants need the help of ‘in kind’ labor in many cases. Clark County Judge Ron Daniel and local businessman Don Smithpeters provided very generous donations of time and material to assist the sports field. It couldn’t have been built without them.
Currently, I am writing a grant to transform the First National Bank building. The grant, if awarded, would be funded through State Representative Richard Womack and it would make a big difference on Main Street right across from the Market on Main that project is moving right along and is ready to be closed out next month. We received word that a couple of new grants have been awarded and funding will arrive later this year. I will keep you posted.Join in the praise and worship at the Market on Main this weekend from 5 to 7 p.m. the True Covenant Worship Center’s Apostle Marcus Allen of Monticello will be bringing the word on the 26th and 27th. See you there.

Gurdon rounds up nine suspected drug dealers

By JOHN NELSON, Tailgate News Editor
& Law Enforcement Sources
Six months ago, Gurdon Marshal Don Childres and his police officer staff initiated operation nodruG and undercover agents were able to purchase around 52 illegal drug buys, resulting in the issuing of 26 warrants, including felonies and misdemeanors.
Childres told the Tailgate News editor off the record the week before the drug bust that some of the operation took place in DeLight, over in Pike County, as well as in Gurdon. The initial police action in Gurdon on Feb. 12 netted 19 arrests. Childres said those arrested had sold methamphetamines and other illegal drugs to his informants.
The Gurdon marshal also told this editor he realized that issuing felony warrants to so many Gurdon suspected drug dealers could result in years behind bars for those individuals and create considerable anger toward him and his department.
“This operation is bound to make a lot of people mad at me, but I must do my job,” Childres said. “Many of us have children and grandchildren growing up in Gurdon and it would not be fair to these young people to allow rampant drug trafficking here.”
GPD Deputy Marshal Toby Garner provided the following list of those arrested on felony, and/or misdemeanor warrants, from Gurdon during the drug bust.
They are: Tracy McBride, Corey D. Marsh, James Earl Holliman, Jasper Lee Austin, Debra Ann Harvey, Vonnie Ceil Brown, Frederick A. Hudson, Patricia Robbins Kuhn, Charles Wayne Carter, Amy Michelle Kuhn, James Justin Myers, Matthew Thomas Ollison, Carlton Deshea Marks, Courtney Lee Myers, Japrinceton F. Snowden and Joe Charles Eskert.
The following four were arrested as well on a probation warrant: Chris Harvey, Marcus McClure and Darnell Marks. Kentrell Green was arrested on a parolee warrant. At the time of this writing, police were reporting Frederick A. Hudson, Charles Wayne Carter and Japrinceton F. Snowden as still incarcerated.
While bail-out is possible for many, those arrested will go to trail and if convicted of selling illegal drugs could spend more than 10 years in prison.
Marshal Childres said federal marshals are now getting involved with “a big fish” arrest. Three of the names of those arrested on drug charges were not published at this time, per request of Deputy Marshal Garner and Marshal Childres.
Details of the drug bust that occurred in Gurdon on Friday, Feb. 12 and at later dates in certain instances, has been offered by Gurdon City Marshal Don Childres, Clark County Sheriff Jason Watson and the Clark County Prosecuting Attorney Blake Batson.
For several months an under cover drug operation known as operation nodruG has been conducted under the supervision and direction of Gurdon City Marshal Don Childres with the cooperation and assistance of the Clark County Sheriff’s Department and the Clark County Prosecutor’s Office. The operation consisted of the purchase of illegal narcotics.
The operation yielded numerous felony and misdemeanors warrants. The narcotics purchased during this operation include marijuana, methamphetamine, prescription pills and crack cocaine. Suspected narcotic distributors range from ages 19-60.
Beginning during the early morning hours of Friday, February 12, 2016 officers from the Gurdon City Marshal’s office, the Clark County Sheriff’s Department, the Group 6 Drug Task Force, the Arkadelphia Police Department, the Arkansas State Police and the Arkansas Game and Fish began the execution of 19 felony warrants.
Gurdon Marshal Childres said, “First off we would like to thank our Mayor Sherry Kelley and the city for supporting this operation and their understanding during this past several months. And we would like to thank Clark County Sheriff Jason Watson and Clark County Prosecutor Blake Batson for the assets and support that helped make this possible.
“Additionally, we appreciate the support of all the departments that assisted in executing search and arrest warrants and in locating the suspects who were involved. This is still an ongoing operation and there will be more suspects arrested as this investigation continues.
“We will not stop fighting to make the city of Gurdon drug free. We will not tolerate drug activity and we will aggressively pursue it.”

School Board tables request for year-end bonus

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Gurdon School Board is facing around a $400,000 budget cut due to a student population reduction of 58 students during the 2015-2016 and subsequently the 136 school district employees did not get a raise this year for the first time since the 2009-2010 school year when the district lost 50 students from the previous school year.
However, Superintendent Allen Blackwell told Personal Policy Committee (PPC) spokesman Devin West, the high school band director, at the School Board meeting Tuesday, “I believe the district might be able to afford a small year-end bonus, of maybe $250 an employee (including certified and non-certified employees) as we might can make that much up by cutting other places by the end of the year.”
West made the bonus request at the board meeting, saying, “We realize our district can not afford the raises this year, but a year-end bonus would show much appreciated recognition of a job well done.”
Blackwell said he has looked at the figures for a $500 bonus per employee, a $350 bonus per employee and a $250 bonus per employee and found the smaller one to be the maximum amount he would recommend “because we just can not give what we don’t have.”
School Board President Bernard Hatley told the PPC representative he was very proud of the job the district’s employees have done, “but our student population money is our bread and butter and if you don’t have it to give, you just can not dish it out.”
Blackwell said if student population continues to decrease he will be forced to not replace teachers as they retire and to rely on remaining staff to conduct the necessary teaching in the Gurdon School District.
“I will do everything I can to avoid firing anyone over the fact that there is no money to pay them, but Gurdon needs a bigger population of students. The government pays us $6,500 a year per student enrolled and when you lose 58 students from one school year to the next you have lost yourself close to $400,000 of the budget.”
As to the bonuses under consideration, the district will be short $83,000 if employees are given the $500 bonus; $58,000 to grant the PPC a $350 per employee bonus and $34,000 for a $250 bonus per employee bonus.
Blackwell and Hatley pointed out that the Gurdon School District employees, due to normally receiving an annual raise and other factors, already pays some of the highest teacher salaries in the state of Arkansas “and we would love to have been able to given a raise this year if our district budget would have allowed it.”
No action was taken on the PPC bonus request at Tuesday’s meeting, but the School Board agreed to give teachers and non-certified personnel an answer at the Tuesday, March 15 board meeting.
In other business, the board approved a workmen’s compensation payment of $18,574.
• hired Donald Benson as a bus driver, renewed principal contracts at Gurdon Primary School, Cabe Middle School and Gurdon High School respectively for Rusty Manning, Amanda Jones and Harvey Sellers and also renewed Letha Duke’s contract as special education supervisor, federal programs, plus renewed Jeremy Bell’s contract as curriculum coordinator, math facilitator and approved the 2016-2017 calendar.
Bell told the board an average of 87 percent of GHS seniors have graduated during the past three years, with the 2015 graduation rate being 86 percent, that is 43 out of 56 seniors this past May actually got a diploma.
He said, “Despite efforts to keep them in school “too many realize the law says they can leave when they are 18 and they just walk out the door.”

Sherry’s Corner: Thanks police for keeping us safe

By SHERRY KELLEY
Gurdon Mayor
Thank you to the Gurdon City Marshal’s Office, Don Childres, Chris Russell, Toby Garner and all the others on the force for keeping Gurdon safe.
These lawmen took the initiative to get rid of drug and crime activity that doesn’t belong in our fine town. After months of long hours and hard work Operation nodruG was a success with nearly 20 arrests last Friday.
With a lifetime of experience, Marshal Don Childres has an intuitive knowledge of our community. He and his men use their relationships to the city’s advantage.
Operation nodruG was a great example of excellent police work and it sends a message loud and clear. Drug dealers – don’t set up shop in Gurdon!
With the opportunity for growth on the horizon, I feel confident that Gurdon will remain a peaceful and caring small town community under the watchful eye of our law enforcement.
Thank to them and to Blake Batson, Jason Watson and all the many agencies who participated last week.
We are keeping the Market on Main building busy on weekends. And we have plans to close out the $98,000 grant it took to build it in 30 days. The project will be finished under budget.

Gurdon has drug bust

happens Friday, full report

next week

A Gurdon City Hall office worker had been waiting since 6 a.m. today at the local police station for 26 warrants to be processed on primarily Gurdon and DeLight area residents who sold illegal drugs to 52 informants. Police sources told the Tailgate News about the bust and said it was in cooperation with the Gurdon Police Department, Clark County Sheriff’s Department and the Arkansas State Police. The editor of the Southern Arkansas Tailgate News has plans to interview Gurdon Marshal Don Childres on Monday to find out how many of the 26 warrants resulted in arrests.
It is the editor’s hope and intention to get a list of those drug dealers who were arrested and awaiting trial.
Childres said, “We had to do our jobs. Our residents are raising children and grand children, and these drug dealers need to be off of our streets.”

Malvern has 94 % graduation rate;

looks forward to new health center

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
MALVERN – Malvern School Board met in regular session Monday and heard good news about the student graduation ratio, as Terri Bryant, data presenter, told board members the Leopard graduation rate is between 93.3 and 94.6 percent for 2O15.
“We look for even further improvement, as GED graduates will not count against us any more, as of this year,” Bryant said. “Also, we have made a lot of progress in our truancy.”
According to Bryant, Malvern had 20 students counted as non-graduates amongst 147 seniors. Three were incarcerated. Some got GEDs and two students returned to school and graduated, but did not count in the traditional student percentage tally.
She said one reason for the high percentage of graduates is a significant drop in absences throughout the 500-student populated high school.
“We had 141 students out of 500 with too many absences and our kids were losing too many credits over truancy,” she said. “We went to work and by the end of the semester we only had 23 students with too may absences. Now we have just 18 with too many absences instead of 141.”
Bryant said this means fewer kids failing and a lot more attending school.
“They know Judge Williams will take them to jail,” she said.
Moreover, the School Board heard a report on events to be hosted in the new school gym. Malvern will host the Junior 5A District Basketball Tournament, with round one on Saturday, Feb. 13.
The 4A State Basketball Tournament will also be held at the Leopard Center on March 1.
The 4A South Softball Regional will be at Morrison Park, with the starting date to be announced.
Superintendent Golden gave an update on the Central Arkansas Teachers (CAT) meeting, saying it is not so much about discipline problems as in the past but rather “about how to help the kids.”
NEW HEALTH CENTER
Bryant gave an update on the conversion of the old school administration building to a health center, with half serving the community and half serving students.
“We are to meet a March 1 deadline, in that we must have at least one person x-rayed there by then,” she said.
Golden said the structure was originally a 1929 home and remodeling “has been challenging.”
Bryant said 17 such health centers have been funded statewide. Cost projections have increased. She said the school system started out with an $80,000 budget “and the x-ray machine alone was $86,000.”
Bryant said health center funding has now stopped because of the federal government “but we still have our funding for another three years.”
“This is a huge undertaking,” she said. “Every time you make a change, it is $1,500 and we have had seven changes. But the parents and the kids are excited.”
Superintendent Golden called the project “interesting,” and said he had been through four major problems “but we now have five examination rooms.”
“When we are finished, we will have a mini hospital,” he said.
The new Malvern Health Center is located at 1517 South Main Street. Now open to the public date was announced at the meeting, although, as previously stated, the first public x-ray must be finished March 1. The project is officially referred to as a health clinic remodel and administration building addition.The student section will be open to Malvern students in grades 7-12.
In other business, Golden said the two new ball parks will be ready for softball season “and they are two of the newest parks in 4A.”
• The board approved the purchase of three school buses, with Golden siting damage to one Malvern bus over an employee adding regular diesel to a bus equipped for only diesel with emission cleaner additives.
• Approved retirement for Virginia Clifton, special education classroom teacher, effective at the end of the 2015-2016 school year.
• Rehired three on administrative staff; Janet Blair, deputy superintendent; Laura Loy, special education supervisor, and Jace Roberts, chief of staff. Blair was hired for two years. The board also hired Mark Brewer as a part-time bus driver.
Golden mentioned the Senior Leopards basketball team, noting that their overall record as of the meeting was 23-2. The next meeting of the Malvern School Board will be at 6:30 p.m.on Monday, March 14.

ABC Beauty College turns 86;

still wonderful career in a year

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
The ABC Beauty College in Arkadelphia has been under the stewardship of Charles Kirkpatrick and his family for nearly 35 years, graduating nearly 800 cosmetologists in the process.
“The history of this thing is a lot longer than that,” Kirkpatrick said Tuesday. “ABC has actually been operational close to 86 years. Despite the changes in our society, learning how to do hair is still one of the best moves for a career in a year that a person can make.”
Kirkpatrick said many of his 800 plus graduates are gainfully employed in the local Arkadelphia/Southern Arkansas trade area.
The need is always going to be there to cut hair and those who understand their training, have their certification and are willing to use it will make a living.
In addition to the ABC Beauty College, located in a small mall area down from Atwoods in Arkadelphia, Kirkpatrick also owns ABC Barber College on Brenda Street in Hot Springs. That business and school has a long history as well.
“Learning to cut hair is an investment, like learning any trade. It is not so much what you learn from books in your higher education pursuits, it boils down to whether or not you are good at your skill.
“I have been cutting hair professionally for many years, teaching it all over the country through example and lectures and know what I am talking about when I tell you a good hair cutter can feed him or her self and definitely keep beans on the table,” Kirkpatrick said.
The ABC Beauty College owner is actually in partnership on that owning investment with his daughter, Beth Waggoner.
According to Kirkpatrick, the beauty college changed locations from the old building where he first took ownership about four years ago.
The current ABC Beauty College address is 206 South 26th Street in Arkadelphia.
The ABC Barber College is at 103 Brenda Street in Hot Springs.
ABC Beauty College has a capacity for 25 cosmetology students and is currently taking applications.
Kirkpatrick said financial aid is available for those who qualify. Call 870-246-6726 and learn how to get a career in a year!

Photo Cutline –
OWNER INSPECTS WORK – Anytime someone gets their hair done at the Arkadelphia ABC Beauty College, someone on staff has to supervise. Charles Kirkpatrick, co-owner of the college with Beth Waggoner, his daughter, watches while Jennifer Smith, student instructor, works on Kaitlynn George. Breanna Redmond, cosmetology student, left, watches also and learns. (John Nelson photo)

Sherry’s Corner: City trash business a keeper

By SHERRY KELLEY
Gurdon Mayor
This weather makes us feel that springtime is just around the corner and Punxsutawney Phil, the prognosticating ground hog, agrees. It won’t be long and the city will begin seeding the field for the new youth football/soccer field at the city park.
The street department, local people, business owners and the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission have worked on this project since its inception in 2014. It will be wonderful to see youngsters actually utilizing the field later this year.
The street department is working on potholes, filling them with cold mix. The state highway department is slated to pave a few streets later in 2016.
The City Council decided to create a Gurdon Sanitation Department and the city will continue to haul trash. If you are on route one your trash will be picked up on Tuesday. If you are on route two your trash will be picked up on Wednesday. The council further determined that the city will purchase the county trash truck that is currently in use and will begin taking bids on a brand new trash truck. At this time, a rate increase is not expected and with the city handling the sanitation a revenue increase is hoped for and needed.
The flu season has been rather mild this winter. However, something is going around and it has caught my mom and I. Be cautious when you are around other people and we hope that you don’t catch it!

Gurdon goes into trash hauling business

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Gurdon City Council met in special session Tuesday and decided to accept trash hauler Bobby Walker’s resignation and go into the trash business themselves. However, there is no trash pick-up rate increase anticipated.
Mayor Sherry Kelley said she offered long-time trash hauler Bobby Walker a $24,000 a year raise on his $70,000 a year salary for hauling Gurdon’s trash, but Walker said he wanted to change career paths and turned down the raise.
Walker owns two trash trucks. His larger vehicle has had major mechanical problems and attempts to fix it have reportedly been unsuccessful. His smaller trash truck is operational, although it too has incurred repair bills.
“I offered Walker such a big raise, knowing it would mean we would have had to go up on our residential trash bills to meet it, because he has been a reliable trash hauler for the city and a big asset to Gurdon. But Mr. Walker indicated that his decision to quit was not entirely based on financial problems. He simply wants to do something different.”
Clark County Judge Ron Daniel has been loaning an older model trash hauling vehicle to the City of Gurdon to do the traditional routes in town. Mayor Kelley said she has been helping the city workers get the trash picked up since Walker resigned using that truck. Kelley said a person with a CDL will be needed to drive a city-owned truck.
City Council agreed to buy the $5,000 trash truck, hoping it will continue to work for at least the next 90 days. Mayor Kelley, at the direction of the City Council, will be buying a new trash compactor truck for Gurdon, with an estimated $140,000 price tag.
Councilman Danny Paull recommended they keep the trash hauling business going about three years, save their money, and buy a decent back-up trash truck with an estimated value of $23,000. His proposal met with no objection.
Councilman John Pace, upon hearing that the $140,000 new trash compactor will have an approximate monthly payment of $2,700, pointed out that the city will not have that payment for the first three months “and so if Ron Daniel’s truck holds up for us we will have a little more cash to pay our bills in the city’s general account.”
Councilman Paull suggested the City Council republish the old trash ordinance so that folks know exactly what the various business fees are supposed to be and an effort can be made to enforce the current city law concerning monthly trash bills.
Again, no objection came from the Council members present, who were Theresa Powell, Michelle Scott, John Pace and Paull.
Mayor Sherry Kelley said the $10 a month current residential fee for garbage will not be raised under the new business venture, but “we sure will be charging the businesses what our ordinance says we can.”
PRISONER HELP
Mayor Kelley said she has been in contact with Clark County Sheriff Jason Watson concerning the possibility of using trustee, non-violent crime, prisoners, to help on the trash truck. Sheriff Watson told Mayor Kelley the prisoners will get two days off of their sentences for every one day worked hauling trash, but using them will not cost Gurdon any additional fees.
Councilman Paull said there have been fears voiced to him from Gurdon residents about the prisoners being in their neighborhoods.
Mayor Kelley told Paull that she wants to use the prisoners as trash haulers, but stipulated that Gurdon Police Officer Garry Marshall will be assigned to be close by and follow the trash truck while the prisoners are present “to make our residents more comfortable about the situation.”
Council members informally agreed to use the prisoners for haulers under that stipulation. When prisoners are unavailable for labor, city workers will be required to do the hauling.
Kelley said Walker has already shown her the old routes and times. Paull suggested the timing be altered so prisoners are only hauling garbage in daylight hours. No objection was made to that suggestion.

Malvern Boys and Girls Club

asks for cash advance from council

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Bill Bunch, representing the Malvern Boys and Girls Club, came to the City Council agenda meeting to ask for a $30,000 advance on the city’s traditional $40,000 contribution to keeping the club going.
Bunch said he realized the other $10,000 needs to be held by the city to pay for the club’s insurance needs. City officials reported spending $6,334.24 on Boys and Girls Club insurance needs last year.
Mayor Brenda Weldon and council members at the meeting presented no objections to Bunch’s request for the advance.
In fact, the city clerk said she could have a contract honoring the request drawn up to where it could be signed by the City Council and mayor at the Monday, Feb. 8 regular meeting.
Bunch thanked the group for their consideration and continued support of the club.
“The Boys and Girls Club has been my passion for many years. We are not going to close. But we do have more needs than our traditional fund raising generates,” he said. “This advance will help. The thing is we are about $150,000 out of our budget because of grant cuts.”
Bunch told the council members the Boys and Girls Club currently serves around 250 kids a day. Many were on free or reduced lunches and their snacks and meals have been paid for through a $500,000 grant in the past. He said that funding was cut by the government this year down to $200,000.
“When they took $300,000 away from us on that, it has really hurt the kids in Malvern,” he said.
The annual fee to attend per child has now been $150 and may have to go up to $250. Bunch said there are currently 750 kids who are members of the club.
The $150 involves a $25 membership fee and $65 a semester for after school activities. He said Malvern School District buses the kids to the Boys and Girls Club door and they get a free snack.
Tutors come out from the school. In addition to academic help, the children get taught smart skills, such as anti-bullying, talks on how to avoid unwanted pregnancies and the wisdom of staying off of drugs.
Bunch said the children who qualify for free or reduced lunches get sandwiches and fruit.
“Our building is 10 years old and has roofing problems, air conditioning issues and more,” he said.
Bunch said there are many willing to give free labor at the club and some grants are still forthcoming.
For example, a $56,000 gift grant from Allen Clark has been earmarked for fencing.
Bunch said the club wants to fence the soccer field so grandparents and well wishers can pay $1 to watch their children play soccer, thus creating another source of income.
“We do a lot of mowing and we do need another mower,” he said. “And there is upholstery coming off of things in the media room.”
Bunch said the concession stand is a good source of income. He said basketball is going on right now and softball is about to start.
“T-ball is always a main stay,” he said. “From the standpoint of athletics, the Boys and Girls Club does support itself.”
Bunch said local Rotarians and the Kiwanis Club members are hosting a sexy leg contest this weekend, charging $1 a vote, to help raise money for the club.
Also on the positive side, Bunch said so far the Boys and Girls Club really does not have a vandalism problem.
“We are not complaining. We are simply asking for an advance on our regular funds to get a few projects started for the kids. We thank you for your consideration and cooperation.”
Bunch introduced Haydey Black, who will preside over the Boys and Girls Club board for 2016 and also be an active organizer of club activities.
“I am planning a bag go tournament,” she said.
In other business, Mayor Weldon asked the group for direction in regard to use and remodeling plans for the two buildings purchased for city offices on the other side of the street from City Hall.
The consensus was to get the county judge, the Rockport mayor and others together to come up with a budget after a plan for using the 4,730 square feet is created.
Mayor Weldon said she was working on a plan to divide the expenses if there is a serious interest to use the buildings by more than just Malvern officials. There is a tentative plan to put the city treasurer’s office in one side of the structure.
Moreover, the mayor told the group there may be a grant in the works for park improvements. It is a 50/50 matching grant and she said the city’s part could be worked out in kind. She said it is based on handicapped accessibility.
“We need to do the necessary things for handicapped accessibility and replace the existing bathrooms,” she said.
The council agreed that much work is needed at the city park bathrooms and vandalism is a problem at city parks and elsewhere in Malvern.
Weldon said she was told someone had been living in a bathroom at River Park. Hidden surveillance cameras were suggested, as cameras out in the open had been smashed in the past.
Weldon suggested the council consider offering a $500 reward to anyone turning in a vandal.
It was also suggested that any broken glass be replaced with harder to break Plexiglas.

Sherry’s Corner – Update

By SHERRY KELLEY
Gurdon Mayor
Thank you to Bobby Walker for his many years of excellent work as trash hauler for the City of Gurdon.
After a trying series of mechanical breakdowns Walker resigned on Tuesday morning despite an offer of a raise that would have been funded by a rate increase.
Walker said that after 7 years he wanted to change career paths. We respect his decision, wish him the best and thank him for a job well done. He will be missed.
When he quit with no notice on Tuesday morning the city began hauling trash Tuesday afternoon. Due to his breakdowns there was two weeks of trash built up in some neighborhoods and at many businesses.
The street department and I began collecting the trash in a city pick-up truck and an older Clark County Sanitation Truck that we are test driving with the option of purchase at the behest of Clark County Judge Ron Daniel.
We continued to pick up trash on Wednesday morning and after a call made by Gurdon City Marshal Don Childres, by Wednesday afternoon Clark County Sheriff Jason Watson sent two misdemeanor prisoners that he trusted to help collect the trash.
By Thursday afternoon all of the town’s trash was collected with a few missed spots which were picked up on Friday. We will continue to collect the trash on regular schedule while the council decides the best practice for moving forward. I am glad that through solid relationships and cooperation the city and county stepped up to help in trying times.
Thank you to Gurdon City Councilman David Buck for his years of working on the City Council. After the sale of their home, Buck and his wife Dinah moved out of their district and into councilman Danny Paull’s. The City Council unanimously approved John Pace to fill the vacancy.
There will be a benefit fundraising gospel concert for the family of Ronald Baker on March 5 at 6 p.m. at The First Christian Church located at the corner of Third and Joslyn Streets. The groups performing will include; The Messengers of Song, The Hawkins Family, Steve Reeves, Brian Clark, The Messengers From The Heart and Ashley Blanton. An offering will be taken to help the family with medical expenses.
The Market on Main was the venue for three parties on Saturday; a youngster’s birthday party and two baby showers. Guests came from as far as Springhill, Louisiana and Little Rock.
There will be an event that is open to the public at The Market on Main on February 26 and 27. Evangelist Apostle Marcus Allen from the True Covenent Worship Center which is located at 310 N. Main Street in Monticello, AR will be bringing a spirit of revival and all are welcome and encouraged to attend this free worship.
Ron Penny, Charles Summerford, Dwight Witcher, James Cox and myself did the final walk through of the Gurdon Water Treatment plant on Wednesday. The upgrades and complete and the job is a success. This project funded by the Economic Development Corporation of Clark County will keep Gurdon’s water treatment plant running at optimum performance for many years to come. A very big thank you and debt of gratitude is extended to all who supported this fantastic project.

Lady Go-Devils beat

Lady Cougars on senior night

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
The Senior Lady Go-Devils whipped the Lady Cougars of Lafayette County in a home game, senior night, battle that resulted in Gurdon’s ladies leading the entire game.
Head Coach Edna Cooper said Thursday her girls played consistent, they improved overall and they took care of business “in a way that made me proud of them.”
The victory came in at 63-46, with Gurdon leading after the first quarter, 15-11, moving even further ahead at the half with 36-27, and continuing to pour it on in the third quarter with a score of 53-33.
Assistant coach Elizabeth Kieffer also praised her girls for a good basketball game and getting it all together.
Daesha Ivory, #12 and a sophomore, led the Lady Go-Devils on the scoreboard with 22 points.
#24 sophomore Kira Accor was close behind, racking up 21 points for the evening.
Senior #32 Dai’Lisha Gulley made 8 points.
Coach Cooper said the senior girls are now 5 and 14 overall and 2-11 in conference.
“It is a sophomore based team and these girls are learning fast,” she said.
“Focus on the game was good against Lafayette County. We had tremendous outside shooting. Defense played an important part in our victory.”
Coach Cooper said she also noticed a lot of improvemnt from the freethrow line.
“When we played the Lady Cougars, you could tell from the start, our girls were playing to accomplish a win!” Coach Cooper said.
Four senior players were honored on that senior night; #32 Dai’Lisha Gulley, #30 Baylyn Hill, #14 Breyan Samuels and #4 Ashley Thompson.
The Lady Go-Devils will play Centerpoint away on Feb. 9.

Council negotiates with Walker,

trash truck also considered

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Gurdon City Council met Monday and passed the required annual budget, appointed former Go-Devils head football coach John Pace to a City Council position and decided if Bobby Walker wants to renew his trash pick-up contract under better terms “that would be preferable to us going into the trash hauling business.”
Coach Pace will replace David Buck, who has moved out of his district and is no longer eligible to serve in his old position as a council member. Pace will be sworn in shortly.
Pace’s wife Renee, who has grant writing experience, has agreed to help the city as well.
As for trash service, Mayor Sherry Kelley said Bobby Walker, who has handled Gurdon trash for many years, “is about burned out on it.”
“I have checked around and nobody seems to want to haul trash for Gurdon,” Kelley said.
County Judge Ron Daniell has offered to sell Gurdon a Clark County compactor, a 1994 MAC, that Kelley says looks like a beer truck, for $5,000.
Gurdon has been test driving said truck and picking up trash using city workers as best as they can. Walker agreed to pick up Gurdon trash this week, while financial negotiations are pending.
Mayor Kelley said charges for businesses will be more strictly enforced and she would be in favor of the City Council considering a price-hike in city trash service “if it is an amount that does not present that much more of a hardship on our people.”
Gurdon residents pay $10 a month for trash service on their water bills. Walker is paid by the ton of garbage. Monthly charges for businesses vary, depending on the size and type of business.
Council members agreed with Kelley that keeping Walker on the job would be better than city workers being responsible for the trash service and the city having to buy its own truck.
“At first the idea of owning our own sounded good,” Kelley said. “But parts and maintenance are pretty high and we might incur considerable expense maintaining our truck. Besides, Bobby has done an excellent job for years. Part of his frustration involves repair cost on his two trucks.”
Judge Daniell told the mayor the older model truck Gurdon is test driving “is mechanically sound to the best of my knowledge.” He suggested Gurdon have a mechanic check out the vehicle.
In other business, Mayor Kelley suggested to the Council to raise the tax on alcoholic beverage sales in Gurdon “if the law will allow.” That issue was tabled.
Kelley said city attorney Taylor King is checking on state alcohol tax limits. Kelley said Officer Garry Marshall has been doing code enforcement and has done clean-ups on a property on 9th Street and one off of Main.

Second annual football/cheer banquet

offers many honors to hard working Go-Devils

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
The Gurdon Go-Devils had their second annual football and cheerleaders honors banquet Thursday and honored several high-achieving students in those sports.
Cheerleading Coach Tara Beaver gave out awards to her group stating that cheerleading is a good work-out and that is why it is now considered a sport.
For outstanding jumps, it was Ashley Thompson; outstanding tumbling, Dae’sha Ivory; outstanding dancer, Kylee Wilkins; outstanding front spot, Hannah Dykes; outstanding back spot, McKinsey Malone; outstanding base, Keoyna Jones; outstanding flyer, Kellee Miller; all star cheer, Calley White; all state cheer, Olivia Moore; Go-Devil grit award, Bryanna Shumate; Go-Devil leadership award, Jayden Colbert; Ronald Baker Go-Devil spirit award, Captain Calley White, and the Go-Devil cheer award went to Captain Olivia Moore.
Head Footbal Coach Kyle Jackson and his staff gave out the football player awards.
Jackson thanked everyone who helps out in football season and pledged to have a better season than the 7-5 record from 2015, “as good is not good enough and we can do better.”
Awards were as follows: outstanding offensive lineman, Josh Cooley; outstanding receiver, Thomas Muldrow; outstanding offensive back, Paker Whitson; outstanding offensive MVP, Jackie Harvell; outstanding defensive lineman, Cole Harper; outstanding linebacker, Jackson Kirkpatrick; outstanding defensive back, Jackie Harvell; outstanding defensive MVP, Jackson Kirkpatrick; most improved, Cam Gulley; Ronald Baker Go-Devil spirit award, Tanner Capps; special teams MVP, David Cruz; academic greatness, Parker Whitson; permanent team captain, Chris Howell; all district and all state, Jackie Harvell and Jackson Kirkpatrick; Bullsworth award, Josh Cooley, and Rotary club “Player of the Year” went to Jackie Harvell.
Brandon Finley won a new shotgun from the Booster Club. Coach Beaver said her team motto is, “It is not about being the best. It is about being better than you were yesterday.”

School Board buys new travel bus at Gurdon

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Gurdon School Board met Monday night and agreed to purchase a new, full-size, school bus for $87,500.
Superintendent Allen Blackwell said the brand new bus will be used for Go-Devil travel. The bus, he said, is an International and very similar to the district’s 2012 school bus.
According to Blackwell, it will take approximately 6 months for the 71-passenger bus to be delivered to the Gurdon School District.
In other business, the board hired a para-professional to assist Jimmie Sue White at Pre-K. Shelby Collier, the new employee, is from Lewisville, Arkansas. Collier was employed at a Pre-K in Lewisville.
A master plan for the district, required by the government to be in place and passed by the School Board, was passed. Superintendent Blackwell said no particular physical improvement projects for the district are planned at this time.
An update on the new Arkansas testing method, ACT Aspire, was given to board members. Blackwell said while state standards for testing have always been followed in Gurdon, this new testing method may take a little time for teachers to get accustomed to using.
“Arkansas is working to revise our standards and schools just have to adjust to the changes,” Blackwell said.
The regularly scheduled Gurdon School Board meeting for Februray is on the third Tuesday (Feb. 16).

Editorial finds Rotarians

optimistic about economy in Gurdon

We had a lively discussion at the Thursday Gurdon Rotary Club meeting about the Lumber Mill from China that may move to Clark County Industrial Park or somewhere in Camden.
It seems the mill authorities have been given a May deadline to make up their minds.
Allen Blackwell, superintendent of Gurdon Schools, said at the Thursday meeting that he would like to see an increase in water capacity for Gurdon, along with the already planned sewer capacity expansion in order for more housing to be possible in Gurdon.
This would hopefully encourage new people to raise children here and use the Gurdon School System.
Anita Cabe, of Cabe Land Company, said the mill would help the employment situation in our area where ever it was placed – if that company indeed decides to expand to Southern Arkansas.
We also heard several Rotarians agree that there is plenty of lumber to be had in Clark County that could be used at either of the two locations being considered.
In another topic for discussion, David Williams, owner of Williams Welding in Gurdon, gave an update on the goal posts being constructed in “H” format for the pee wee football field under way at the Gurdon Park.
Williams said the goal post sizes will be the same size as used in high school football stadiums.
Randy Cox, former Rotarian president, said current president Leonard Gills has been out of town so Cox will make the award presentation for the GHS top football player award to be given on behalf of Rotary at the high school football/cheerleader banquet.
In regard to this editor’s opinion on the local economy, it is naturally the hope of the Tailgate News to see Gurdon prosper.
As to the projected lumber yard moving to this area, we have learned the hard way not to count our chickens before they are hatched and the true meaning of not buying the cart before you have a good strong horse.
Grants and other funds available are limited. Rather than applying just now for some way to expand our water supply for projected new housing in the future, we believe the wiser move might be to try and discover some way to help current home owners in Gurdon to improve their properties.
If non-traditional home improvement loans, with low payments and interest rates, could be made available, we believe many Gurdon residents would love to have a chance to finish siding jobs etc.
At present, it is a possibility that Gurdon will go into the trash hauling business. A used truck is being considered unless Bobby Walker, the current hauler, elects to go into a new contract with Gurdon.
If our city has to go into the trash business, it might be wiser to try and find a grant, or come up with the money, to buy a newer model trash truck, as repair bills on an ancient model could eat us up.
We would like to extend appreciation to Mr. Walker for his many years of good and consistent trash service to Gurdon. And we hope a suitable arrangement can be made for him to resume duties under a few stipulations concerning fees etc.
However, if Mr. Walker does decide to resign from contracting trash here, another option might be to advertise for bids from other trash haulers that could see our town as a worthwhile expansion.

Go-Devils fall to Spring Hill

The Spring Hill Bears defeated the Gurdon Go-Devils 72-69 during a home game match up this past Friday night, Jan. 22.

Coach David Davis said, “We did not play well at all defensively. We’ve got to learn to take prosperity and run with it. As a result, we’ve missed out on a chance to be tied for third place and are in sixth place.”
Coach Davis said BJ Brewer led the scoring against the Bears and put up 16 points. Brewer had 10 rebounds. Cameron Gulley also came in with double figure scoring, putting up 14 points. Gulley had 7 rebounds.
Scoring quarter by quarter had Gurdon leading 20-15 after one, still ahead 36-31 at the half, losing ground after the third at 53-51 and then falling to the Spring Hill Bears, 69-72.

 

 

Mayor to talk trash, budget
Gurdon Council to hear
trash pick-up options

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
The Gurdon City Council will meet in regular session Monday at 6 p.m. in City Hall to discuss alternatives in regard to city trash pick-up, as well as other budget items, as an annual budget must be passed by Feb. 1.
Monday trash pick-ups happened on Thursday this past week because of trash truck mechanical problems, according to Mayor Sherry Kelley. This editor has lived in Gurdon for 12 years and can not remember trash pick-up occurring more than one day late during that time frame.
Mayor Kelley said the current city trash service contractor, “who has done an excellent job for years,” may need more money allocated in this year’s budget to continue service with a reasonable profit.
The mayor said, “Our current trash pick-up provider has told me of two trash trucks breaking down and his struggles to maintain them. I asked him how much it would cost for him to finance maintaining his trucks and to continue serving Gurdon? Bobby is considering a new bid.”
Kelley said the City of Gurdon has to consider the current carrier may opt not to bid on serving the city in the future, or if there is a price-hike proposed the city may not be able to afford it.
“We are looking for ways to save money on our trash pick-up, as well as looking at ways to cut overhead,” Kelley said. “We are trying to find a way to have reliable services and stay within our income.”
USED TRUCK
Mayor Kelley said she spoke with Clark County Judge Ron Daniell this past week “and he has an older model trash truck that Gurdon could buy for $10,000.”
She is exploring the idea of maintenance cost on such a truck and the cost of city workers doing the weekly trash pick-up.
Kelley said she will seek input from her City Council on Monday, Jan. 25. Another option would be to put the Gurdon trash route up for outside bids and see if a price hike for residents could be avoided by changing contractors.
“It is, and always has been, my goal to operate within our means,” Mayor Kelley said. “ I am optimistic about the future, what with our main employer, Georgia Pacific, planning a large expansion, and our top-notch school system becoming a more attractive option to potential residents all of the time. But in the case of a budget, whether it is trash service, employee salary schedules or whatever daily expense the city has, it only makes sense to live within our projected revenues.”

Senior Girls Coach thankful
for Henderson Intern having
so much basketball know-how

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Gurdon’s Girls Basketball Coach Edna Cooper said Thursday she has an intern assistant coach this year from Henderson State University for the first time in her four years on the job and HSU senior Elizabeth Kieffer “has been a real asset with her extensive knowledge of basketball.”
Kieffer assists with the coaching both on the high school and junior high school levels and will graduate college this May in physical education and health.
Kieffer said, “I am excited about working with the teams and look forward to my career after graduation.”
Cooper said she enjoys seeing the positive response her team members are having to Kieffer’s enthusiasm and teaching methods.
The Gurdon Senior Lady Go-Devils are 4-9 overall at this writing, with both the Lady Go-Devils and Junior Lady Go-Devils scheduled for a home game competition tonight (Friday, Jan. 22).
The Junior Lady Go-Devils will play first, taking the floor about 5:30 p.m. and the Senior Lady Go-Devils will play around 6:30 p.m. Coach Cooper said last week her senior girls lost 50-17 to the Murfreesboro Lady Rattlers on Friday and 54-37 to the Lady Outlaws of Dierks on Tuesday.
Cooper said her girls “played very well against Dierks, keeping their star player to 5 points in the first half and 4 points in the second half.” Leading scorer for Gurdon against Dierks was #12 sophomore Daesha Ivory with 14 points. Antwonette Lasker, also a sophomore, had 9 points.
Coach Cooper said the team is sophomore dominated and improving. As to advice, she said her girls need to quit sending their opponents to the free throw line and concentrate on controlling the game longer.

Go-Devils are
7-8, Coach Davis
optimistic about
Bears game

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
The Gurdon Go-Devils are coming off of two victories from last week, with a toppling win over the Murfreesboro Rattlers Friday night, 70-49, and a squeak by, last shot counts win over the Dierks Outlaws, 66-63.
The victories mean that if all goes as planned, according to Head Coach David Davis, and the Go-Devils beat the Spring Hill bears tonignt (Jan. 22) in Gurdon, “we will be in a four-way tie for third place in the 7 2A coference.
Coach Davis said Thursday, “The Bears are 1-8 in the conference and we are 4-5.
“If we get out there and keep the pressure on the Spring Hill Bears, we can beat them and that is the plan.”
Davis said Murfreesboro was an easy win for Gurdon “and we were actually nice to them or the score would have been even worse.”
As for Dierks, Gurdon had a great start, leading 21-12 after the first quarter but the game got close after that. Davis said the Outlaws have a really good team and he was relieved that Gurdon pulled off a victory.
As for Murfreesboro, quarter by quarter it was a Go-Devil victory all of the way, with scores at the end of the first quarter of 26-13 Gurdon, and the Go-Devils going to the locker room at the half leading 51-22.
Gurdon Senior Malik Dickens, #24, lead the scoring for the Go-Devils in both games. Malik made 17 points against Murfreesboro and 15 points against Dierks.
In the Murfreesboro game, Junior Cameron Gulley did nearly as well with 16 points.
Sophomore Thomas Muldrew had 13. The Go-Devils will host the Spring Hill Bears tonight, with the game starting around 7:30 p.m. Come join the fun!

Mayor Sherry’s Corner…

By SHERRY KELLEY
Gurdon Mayor
Gurdon lost a team mate, 12th man and the most famous water boy in the history of Go-Devil football. Ronald Baker passed away after a lengthy battle with cancer.
A memorial for ‘Baker’ was held at the 1,200 seat Cabe Auditorium on Sunday. A testimony to his immense and positive impact on our community was the huge crowd on hand. There’s a new acronym in Gurdon; BLO for Baker Lives On. Truer words were never spoken – Baker’s spirit will always be felt in Gurdon. I hear that a gospel music benefit concert is in the works for the Baker family. Tentatively scheduled for early March, I will keep you posted.
Fresh off the success of two recent code enforcement efforts, the city will continue to tackle problem properties one at a time and build a record of improving neighborhoods and increasing property values. There is much room for improvement. But I am encouraged.
I spent last Thursday in Little Rock at the headquarters for the Arkansas Municipal League continuing my education on the road to becoming a Certified Municipal Official. The amount of information that is shared in one day can be daunting, but there is support material and the staff at the Arkansas Municipal League are extremely helpful, especially to a new mayor.
David Williams of Williams Welding will fabricate the new goal posts for the Youth Football/Soccer Field. The field is under way at the Gurdon City Park and it is intended to provide many years of fun and healthy activities for the youngsters of our community.
Gurdon will also be able to host teams from other areas. With the field’s location at the Gurdon City Park and the Gurdon Lake, the family members will have the opportunity to enjoy many activities while the teams are on the field. The visitors might deposit some retail dollars in our town and they will surely leave with a great impression of Gurdon.
Josh Burnley and Glen Fuller helped brighten the City of Gurdon, literally. The two man spent several nighttime hours driving up and down the streets of Gurdon looking for street lights that are out. They came up with a list of more than a dozen lights that need the bulbs replaced. If you notice a street light that is out, check on the pole for a silver tag that has a number imprinted on it. The number will begin with SL (for street light). Write the number down and call city hall. We will take it from there.

Gurdon woman kidnapped, pistol whipped

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
A 23-year-old Gurdon woman was forced into a vehicle on New Year’s Eve, driven to a location on Red Springs Road and beaten with a pistol.
After police discovered her at an Arkadelphia residence nearly 4 hours later, her allegedly Klu Klux Klan believing felon of an ex-boyfriend was arrested and taken to Clark County Jail where he awaits prosecution on felony charges and faces a possible life sentence.
Ruby Ollinger, 23, was at a friend’s house when the nearly 2-hour ordeal began. An anonymous source told Tailgate News Editor John Nelson on Thursday that “she may have been brutalized because her assailant Aaron Rutherford believed she was going to snitch on him.”
Gurdon Deputy Marshal Toby Garner said Sunday the official report does not reflect it, but there is evidence that Rutherford is allegedly a member of the Arian Brotherhood, a white supremicist hate group, and that because Ms. Ollinger has associated with men of color in her past could have been, at least in part, the reason for the attack.
The official police report said the incident started at 401 East Miler Street in Gurdon, where Ollinger was trying to hide in the bathroom at a friend’s house upon hearing that Rutherford wanted to have an interview with her.
According to Garner’s report, Ollinger came out of the bathroom , thinking Mr. Rutherford had left the residence and was surprised to find that he was still there. Upon encountering Ms. Ollinger, Rutherford, 32, of an Arkadelphia residence, allegedly forced her from the home into a vehicle.
Ollinger said she was then beaten consistently in the face as Rutherford drove the vehicle to Red Springs Road where he began striking her with a handgun until she lost consciousness.
She told police that at one point, during the pistol whipping, she tried to break free from Rutherford but the assailant allegedly grabbed her by the hair and forced her back into the vehicle.
A Gurdon resident called police after Ms. Ollinger was forced into the vehicle from the Miller Street location and then got in his own car to follow the couple.
He reportedly lost track of them, as Rutherford was taking back roads to Red Springs Road, reportedly then coming back to Gurdon and then taking back roads to 961North 8th Street in Arkadelphia.
Once at the residence, Ollinger told police she regained consciousness, was placed under a sheet and told to “keep her mouth shut” when law enforcement arrived.
After Gurdon Police were notified about the ongoing alleged kidnapping incident, the local officers contacted the Clark County Sheriff’s Department and the Arkadelphia Police Department for assistance in their attempt to free Ollinger from Rutherford.
Garner said it was somewhere between 3 and 4 hours later when law enforcement arrived at the 8th Street Arkadelphia residence.
Ollinger was taken to Baptist Medical Center Emergency Room at Arkadelphia and treated for her injuries.
Rutherford was arrested and taken to the Clark County Jail where he now faces charges of 1) entitled kidnapping, which is a Class Y felony (similar in the law’s eyes to being charged with first degree murder as to its penalty weight) and entitled Domestic Battery 2nd Degree, which is a Class C Felony.
Ollinger offered a statement to police indicating Rutherford, upon getting her to Arkadelphia, made her stand “in the corner of the Ouachita Stadium for at least an hour because he was hiding from the police.”
“Then he snatched me up and went back to his house. We were there, in silence, for no more than 20 minutes, when the police arrived.” Ollinger’s statement also reflected that Rutherford had allegedly made threats on her life.
Deputy Marshal Garner’s report stated that Arkadelphia Police Lt. Jason Jackson was able to recover a silver handgun, alleged to have been used to pistol whip Ollinger on Red Springs Road, from the 8th Street residence in Arkadelphia.

GHS Book Club plans Burlsworth review, book signing by author

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
The Gurdon High School Book Club, sponsored by teacher Cena Clark, will host best-selling author Jeff Kinley for a book signing at the GHS library from 11:50 a.m. until 1:20 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 19.
Kinley wrote the book The Brandon Burlsworth Story, about the former Razorback All American and Indianapolis Colt football team member from Harrison, Arkansas who died in a tragic car wreck.
The book has been made into a movie and it will be released to selected theaters on Jan. 29. The title of the movie is “Greater.”
Clark told Rotarians Thursday that her book club students took part in some of the premier activities last week and will be attending the movie when it is released.
Razorback fan Anita Cabe of Gurdon and GHS Head Football Coach Kyle Jackson presented an award to 2014 star Go-Devil John Michael Clemons at the first annual football player/cheerleaders banquet held in January of 2015 called the Brandon Burlsworth Award because Clemons demonstrated the drive, diligence for school and moral character the former Razorback, All American and Indianapolis Colt Brandon Burlsworth had displayed in his cut-short football career.
Clark brought book club members Brian Franklin and Rebecca LeMay to the Gurdon Rotary meeting to describe segments of Burlsworth’s life of integrity and determination.
Clark thanked Anita Cabe for being instrumental in getting funding for the GHS book club three years ago “and for keeping it going so we can send books home with students and develop a group of readers from our hometown of Gurdon.”
She said the school youth advisory council spends about $500 a year for books. Each book club member got a copy of The Brandon Burlsworth Story.
Clark said the Cabe Foundation has actually sent a copy to every school library in the state of Arkansas.
“We try and incorporate multi-media (Internet, movies etc.) exposure to books in our club to make it more tempting to take advantage of what the club has to offer for the modern-day, multi-media oriented students of 2016,” she said.
Clark said her club members are reading the Burlsworth story, with anticipation of seeing the movie. She said the book club has around 60 student members.
“Our club members were invited to a red carpet function for The Brandon Burlsworth Story in Little Rock last week and look forward to seeing this movie about a man with persistence against much adversity and his faith to keep on keeping on,” Clark said.

Go-Devils ready for Murfreesboro, Dierks

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
As of this writing, the Gurdon Go-Devils are 5-8 overall and 2-5 in the 2A basketball conference.
Coach David Davis said Thursday his team has a lot of talent, but they are a young team, depleted by seven seniors leaving by graduation. However, Davis believes they will be a team to contend with once they gain a bit more experience.
They lost Friday, Jan. 8 to guest team Mineral Springs by a score of 85-56.
“We were actually a lot closer than the final score most of the game,” Coach Davis said. “But the only way to win in the fourth period was for the Go-Devils to attempt, and sink, several 3-pointers. Well, we sunk…”
Davis said the Go-Devils trailed the Hornets by 4 points at the half, going to the locker room, 44-40.
But the Hornets came out fighting in the third, besting the Go-Devils 65-49 at the end of three. Davis said Mineral Springs is second in the conference, losing so far only to conference rival Blevins.
He called Hornet #32 the best in the conference and said Keshaun Davis scored 31 points against the Go-Devils.
Of Tuesday’s game against Blevins, Coach Davis said the Go-Devils hung in there and played tough, but lost 71-54.
Blevins, he said, has one of the top five teams in Class 2A statewide. Coach Davis said the Go-Devils tied Blevins, 15-15 but were behind 23-15 at the end of one. Blevins led 37-29 at the half and maintained that lead 55-40 at the end of the third quarter.
Head Coach Davis said Blevins made 13 3-point shots in the game. Senior Cameron Gulley, #4, lead Gurdon’s scoring with 24 points and had 7 rebounds. Go-Devil Senior Malik Dickers, #24, scored 15 points and had one rebound. Gurdon hosts Murfreesboro tonight and Davis said the Go-Devils have a good chance for a win over the Rattlers.

Sherry’s Corner – New mechanic shop in Gurdon

By SHERRY KELLEY
Gurdon Mayor
After a wonderful Christmas and New Year’s in Gurdon, it’s time to get back to work. We will renew our efforts at code enforcement and to increase property values.
A new business license was purchased already this year by Charlie Pittman, called Pit Stop Auto and Welding, it is located on Front Street.
The new “Welcome to Gurdon” sign is up on The Plaza on Main Street and it looks fantastic. This sign has been in the works for several years. I want to send out a big thank you to Charles and Anita Cabe and everyone at the Cabe Offices for their hard work and persistence. Many were involved with the success of this project and I’m sure that Anita and Charles will want to thank them all. Be watching in a future issue of the Gurdon Times and of the Tailgate News.
This attractive and state of the art sign will benefit our community for many years to come. It will inform us of upcoming meetings and events, wish us a Happy Birthday or Anniversary, let us know about special opportunities at our local businesses, just to name a few.
Maybe just as important, the “Welcome to Gurdon” sign will present a positive, prosperous and welcoming image of our town to the thousands of vehicles which travel on Main Street. If our town looks good to us and others, some people will consider Gurdon as a potential home.
All they have to do is look at our fine schools, affordable real estate and safe quiet community. Then the choice is simple – if you like a small town Gurdon is for you!

Tailgate Traveler – Editor starts Celebrate Recovery Chapter, a place to rant…

By JOHN NELSON

Tailgate News Editor

In this world of war and rumors of wars, changing times that twist morals older folks were raised to believe should be absolutes and discouragement being the real “new norm,” it is important to have a few friends you can eye ball from time to time.
In 2004, I took a job as editor of the Gurdon Times, a traditional weekly newspaper that unfortunately has dropped in circulation since back then.
The reason is money. Our economy is so tight that print bills have limited that publication to about 6 broadsheets a week, even with the big boys in journalism backing it.
I came to town not knowing anyone and met Marshal Don Childres. I like the guy to this day. We have had many good laughs together.
I also met his Hatfields and McCoys counterpart, a fellow named Tommy Potter. I still know Tommy and we too have had a lot of good times.
Tommy is a barber. He does not do that much anymore because of real estate responsibilities in Texas. His wife Stephanie lost her mother and inherited a bunch of land, a business etc. Somebody has to take care of all of that stuff so Tommy and Stephanie Potter were elected to do so.
One thing I can say for Potter is he has tried over the years to serve a community where he grew up, partied too much and made many friends and enemies. Still, he has a heart.
Faith Mission is owned by the Potters and has been used to feed the hungry and council those with damaged goods personalities.
I have Wednesday nights fairly free, as Sycamore Church does not meet on that night and it is the tail end of my sales week.
To keep the Tailgate News afloat, I sell advertising Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, gather most of my news on Thursdays and write and compose the weekly regional magazine every Thursday evening and Friday.
It is mostly about Gurdon and Malvern, with a few items about Fountain Lake, Arkadelphia and Prescott.
I do my best to have a new issue on this web site every Friday by 4 p.m., but even on a late night I have never failed to get some sort of new magazine published before the Friday date changes to Saturday.
This has been my pattern since January of 2013, as can be proved by taking a gander at the magazine publication morgue on this site under “Oldies.”
But I do have my transition evening from the sales and marketing end to the production end on Wednesday nights fairly free. I got to thinking over my December holiday that I am a Celebrate Recovery graduate.
I entered the program in 2004 and stopped going in 2008. But I learned a lot about friendships and about how to control my smoking and drinking habits so that my family would not suffer from my desires to relax in a honky tonk fashion.
I am a Christian. I make no bones about the fact that I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior when I was 15 years old and have been a sinner saved by grace ever since. I work on my sins, or as the Bible puts it, I attempt to put them on the potter’s wheel and overcome as many of them as I can humanly do – with the help and guidance of Jehovah God.
I call Father God that, as I am not a fan of other gods. I have tried them. They let me down. I tried worshipping in a manner that used to be known as white witchery.
I tired of that and gave it up when I got saved. I then tried to find a girl that would love me and stick around by going to those honky tonk bars.
That was not so profitable either, although I do have my share of good memories and two beautiful daughters out of the deal.
I have been married now for nearly 18 years to a nice Christian girl named Michelle. I feel blessed. I want you to feel blessed, in your own way, as well.
So come join me from 6 until 8 p.m. at the Faith Mission in Gurdon for the Nelson/Benson version of Celebrate Recovery. Douglas and Mary Benson of Gurdon are helping me with the program. Free coffee.

Gurdon man assaults

two police officers over

Game and Fish warrant

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
A Gurdon man has been arrested on felony chargers after allegedly assaulting two Gurdon Police Department officers on Dec. 30 while they were trying to place him under arrest in and around the Gurdon Tobacco Warehouse.
According to a report at the GPD, Dustin Alan Hulsey, 19, of 3853 Highway 53, was facing a warrant from Arkansas Game and Fish that stipulated he was to be taken into custody by the police. Gurdon Police Officers Chris Russell and Garry Marshall have reported being assaulted physically while attempting to enforce the warrant.
Both officers said if Hulsey had cooperated with the arrest that warrant “was probably not going to result in too much problem for the young man.”
GPD Lt. Chris Russell said officers approached Hulsey inside of the tobacco store “but he would not respond to verbal commands to voluntarily submit to being put into custody.”
Russell said Hulsey ran from the store and hid in a car outside of the facility, which was occupied by a minor.
GPD Lt. Russell and Chief Deputy Garry Marshall discovered Hulsey in said vehicle and attempted to extract the uncooperative subject from it.
Russell said, “He kicked at us and even head butted me. We finally had to use OC spray (pepper spray) in order to get Mr. Hulsey in handcuffs and take him to the Gurdon Police Department holding cell at City Hall.”
According to Deputy Marshal Toby Garner’s report, Hulsey was charged with two counts of second degree (felony) battery on a police officer, resisting arrest and fleeing, and endangering the welfare of a minor, plus Hulsey still faces the charge from Game and Fish.
Hulsey was transported from GPD to the Clark County Jail in Arkadelphia to face said charges. Injuries to the officers were not life threatening but did result in swelling, bruising and small scratch marks.
Deputy Marshal Brandon Ellis transported Hulsey to the county jail and said the subject confessed to him that he, Hulsey, did resist arrest.

Quick Tax has new refund program Jan. 19;

owner warns clients about identity theft…

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Quick Tax owner Sue Uchtman said Tuesday customers should be aware that identity theft, followed by someone else filing your tax return, happens locally and nationally, but the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) can confirm your identity so you can still get your tax refund.
“We learned in class this year that even if someone else has managed to file your return and get your refund, you will not lose your money,” she said. “But you need to call the Identity Protection Specialized Unit at:1-800-908-4490.”
Uchtman said identity theft occurs when someone uses a stolen Social Security number to file a return for the purpose of obtaining a fraudulent refund. She said victims should file a report with law enforcement and then report the incident to WWW.FTC.GOV.
“If identity theft happens to you and you find someone else has already filed a return in your name, you will have to get a proof of identity number from the IRS,” she said.
“You can not file until the IRS gives you a number and then your legitimate return can go through electronically.”
Uchtman said identity theft victims will get an IRS pin number every year from now on before they can file. And it will be a different number every tax year. She said one way to reduce the chances of identity theft happening to you is to never put your Social Security number online.
OUICK REFUND
Uchtman said the Internal Revenue Service will accept its first batch of filed returns this year on Jan. 19. A new partial refund policy is offered at Quick Tax where $750 of your refund can be picked up the same day you file. Your remaining money should reach you in two weeks.
“We will also be working until April 18 this year instead of April 15,” she said. “Our Arkadelphia location has changed, but the Gurdon location is where it has always been.”
Quick Tax in Gurdon is at 109 E. Joslyn Street and you can either walk in or make at appointment by calling (870) 353-6262.
The Arkadelphia location, supervised this year by Donna Giles, is now at 2901 Main Street in Arkadelphis. It is beside Spa Scents and Burger Barn in Mocking Bird Village. The telephone for questions or an appointment is: (870) 245-3833. Again, walk-ins are always welcome at a Quick Tax.
Quick Tax workers have more than 40 years combined experience and electronic filing is done for those who file their taxes there.
SAME SEX MARRIAGE
Uchtman said another change this year, besides the IRS adding an identity theft protection recourse, is in regard to same sex marriage.
Since the June 2015 Supreme Court ruling legalizing same sex marriage, the IRS now proclaims the terms “husband and wife” and “spouse” apply to individuals in same sex marriages recognized in any state for federal tax purposes and will be neutrally applied to include partners of either sex.
The law now says two individuals lawfully married to each other, regardless of sex, can file a federal tax return, Uchtman said.
“I believe same sex couples can also file an Arkansas state tax return,” she said.
TAX BREAKS
Uchtman said standard deductions are up this year, with qualified widows and people who are married filing a joint return at $200 – which are the highest standard deduction categories.
“You can still get income credit for up to three kids,” she said. “And despite discussions, the child tax credit still stands. The teacher credit was in jeopardy, but it was renewed.”
HEALTH CARE PENALTY
For those who do not have health insurance that is acceptable under Obamacare, Utchman said penalties have gone up.
The penalty for no health insurance is $325 for an adult and $162.50 for a child. According to Uchtman, the IRS can take 2% of your gross income instead – if that figure is greater than the flat rates.
AUDIT TEST
Uchtman said she passed an IRS audit sit-in test and is available for those who face an audit.

Tailgate Traveler stands

up for freedom of speech

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Everyone seems to make New Year’s Resolutions. Most of us don’t keep them. Still yet, our good intentions give us a little guidance and so I think its worth it.
This will be year nine for the Southern Arkansas Tailgate News magazine. We have evolved into a weekly digital magazine, covering mostly Gurdon, Malvern, Fountain Lake and parts of Arkadelphia – with a little bit of Prescott news sprinkled in from time to time.
Someone, according to our Facebook site hits counter, is looking at us. Our Dec. 18 issue had 5,400 actual site hits (different readers). In 2016, we plan to continue our every Friday pattern for publication and do all we can to help the small business man succeed.
And we will keep on publishing encouraging news and photos, along with an occasional big hard news story when it seems germane. Mostly, the Tailgate News is big on high school sports, Christian sermons and testimonies, and community progress news. All of that stuff seems to be somewhat forgotten by the larger papers.
Like any other successful business, we have found a small nitch and it has grown a little over the years. The digital world is a lot easier than traditional print media. Distribution is instantaneous, advertising prices can stay low as we don’t have a print bill and we are reaching more people.
In today’s world, the traditional newspaper readers are dying off and that industry knows it. Digital, on the other hand, is growing, as news can now be read from a computer, telephone or other device at the touch of a keyboard.
This change was hard for me at first. We started our conversion in the middle of 2012 and went full-time Internet in January of 2013. I have never looked back. Sure, there are those who can not accept a digital publication and insist on a regular paper. That is why they exist.
My friend Joe May seems to have a great nitch for his traditional newspaper out in Amity and Glenwood area. The corporation papers are not nearly as fortunate with local advertisers. If you really look at them, most of their ads are not in their trade area. The reason? Price. Print costs are so high and circulations so low that the risk of gaining business is not cost effective for most small business owners to use a traditional newspaper.
The President Barack Obama economy has been hard on many of our business owners. I will admit, Obama is a great salesman, and even got elected twice. But economically beneficial to our country? Not so much.
In 2016, we get to elect a new president. I pray we get someone fiscally responsible and someone who will revise our national health care system so that it is affordable – without the high deductibles that make it virtually useless to many of us. And I pray we get someone with some military sense who will build up our national defense and push those who think Sharee law is above US law back into their Islamic nations so we can all be happy. ISIS, or what I call the modern day Nazi state, is not something America needs.
I realize nothing is going to change over night, but I look forward to some new ideas out of the White House, rather than the unconstitutional executive orders that are so common from Mr. Obama. Our country has rules to govern freedom. To me, we all need to use those Constitutional rules.
OK, so I sound like Donald Trump. And yes, I will vote for Trump if he gets the nomination. I will pray he becomes more diplomatic but does not back down from his ideas on how to make America Great again. We do need some winning going on here. And if a Muslim, or whoever, wants to go through the screening process, and join America as an American, more power to them. But they need to understand that supporting terrorist extremist, and trying to bully their way into our country with their ways by mocking, and/or killing folks who have a Christian heritage and right to practice it has to stop.
I read an article the other day about how Great Britain has decided to outlaw the Muslim Brotherhood as a group that supports terrorism and therefore has no place in England. I wish the United States would do the same. This is our country folks and we need to start protecting it and looking out for our freedoms.
That is this old travelers view and I think it is becoming a popular one. Lying is not the new truth. Trump is not perfect and he could use a course in political diplomacy, but it is my personal opinion that Hillary Clinton has been less than truthful with the American public on way too many occasions to be elected president.
Being raised as an American from Chicago in the Methodist Church, Mrs. Clinton has no excuse to suppose lying is acceptable. Obama, who I still believe has more Muslim ties than he does to Christianity, is simply going by Sharee law. It is my understanding that Sharee law states that lying is acceptable to achieve dominance in a culture.
No wonder so many people want away from it. My philosophy is once America pushes ISIS into the bully ground so to speak, any Muslim, like any other citizen of the United States, needs to go by United States laws and regulations or suffer the same prison terms or fines that the rest of us do.
Even so, I am an optimist. I believe America will survive as America. We just need to get the same resolve about ISIS and the Muslim Brotherhood being unacceptable as colonial entities that England and Australia have expressed. Muslim extremists need to let us get on with our world and go back to where they came from before some of us Americans who “secretly” have guns decide to get ugly in self defense!
This is a nation of freedom of speech. Trying to muffle Christian preachers while they offer their interpretations of the Christian Bible is wrong. If the Muslims, or members of our own government, want freedom of non-Christian religion, they need to respect the open worship of Jesus Christ in this still predominantly Christian nation. Those who would be politically correct are going against our freedom of speech. They should remember what the philosopher Voltaire said, “I may not agree with what you have to say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”
That has been the stand in the country for 200 years. I still believe it is worth defending. Sure, for the most part, we still have free speech. I just pray we always will. Not just for the Christians but for anyone who wants to speak his or her mind. Have a great 2016 folks and remember, freedom is not free. And we must all stand up for what we believe in if our children and grand children are to have the same rights we Americans have enjoyed. So long, the Tailgate Traveler.

Malvern contemplates street repair from heavy rains;

considers remodeling two new city facilities for office space and a Council meeting room

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Malvern City Council had its regularly scheduled agenda meeting on Monday, January 4, with street repair and remodeling newly purchased office buildings across the street from City Hall as top discussion topics.
Erosion repair is complete on Walco Road, but there is still concern about traffic moving across the area at a high rate of speed disturbing neighbors.
Mike White, Malvern Street Superintendent, said adding a stop sign near where Walco comes out at Teeter Motors and installing some 20 mph signs to get folks to slow down on Walco might be a cheap solution to taking care of some of the problems residents have with the Walco Road traffic.
Mayor Brenda Weldon agreed with the suggestion stating, “This is a cost effective way to slow down the traffic.”
The discussion then turned to a need for paving and repair on McHenry Street and other Malvern streets that had suffered from heavy rains and daily use.
Weldon said, “We should be able to fix some of this in-house, depending on how much money is allocated for street repair in the budget.”
Weldon told the City Council she would need approval for a bid to make city cemetery repairs, “that is if we want to retain the company that has agreed to do the work.”
The mayor also told Council members that some clean-up work has been done at Cloud Park and that it might be appropriate to sell it. Council members agreed, as they can not see where Malvern needs another park to keep up.
NEW BUILDINGS
Finance committee members asked how the two new buildings purchased to put city offices in were coming along?
The two buildings across the street were purchased by the city in December for $37,000 and the mayor has suggested they may need a little remodeling. She told the group the gas and electricity are on and they were welcome to inspect the buildings after the meeting. A few took her up on the offer.
She said the building on the left looks appropriate to put the treasurer’s office in and the one on the right has a large space in the back where the City Council could meet.
Some in the group suggested the city “bite the bullet and take the remodeling money out of county sales tax because it needs to be done.”
Then the discussion turned back to street repair, with Superintendent White saying Harper Street, near McHenry, needs about $7,000 in repair. He said Harper and McBee have a lot of trouble with old culverts.
White said he believed about $75,000 will be allocated in the upcoming budget for street repair. He said Harper and Glosson Street, and First Street as well should be considered for repairs.
He said Second Street and Ash, in front of John Allen’s funeral home, was also a prime area for street repair.
Mayor Weldon said, “We did get approved for $250,000 to fix street cuts, but that will only get us about 2 miles of paving. We have been looking at Martin Luther King to the railroad tracks.”
She said the two projects should happen sometime this year off of Moline. The group brought up Cloud Park again, siting that 3 of the 20 acres had been cleaned and that money from the sale of the park could take care of some more important city upkeep.
In other business, it was announced that Ricci Davis, manager at the Malvern Airport, had decided not to retire and that his contract will be renewed for five more years.
The airport is a Fixed Base Operation (FBO). The representative told the group there are no environmental issues now “and we are doing well with our budget.”

Community Pantry of Gurdon

relocates to old Capps grocery store

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
The Gurdon Community Food Pantry, serving the needs of approximately 200 families in Gurdon, Whelen Springs and Okolona, hosted its first food day at its new location on Walnut Street Dec. 21.
Velvet Gonzales, manager of the Community Pantry of Gurdon, said the group is purchasing the old Austin Capps grocery center, across from the First United Methodist Church.
Evergreen Church goers, plus multiple other community volunteers, conducted the monthly food distribution for the past three years from Faith Mission, the corner of Main Street and Highway 67, according to Tommy Potter, owner of the mission.
Gonzales said Potter is no longer involved with any management functions at the Community Pantry, “but is welcome