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2 | 501 LIFE April 2020

JIM BAUGH JONES Golfer Vascular Disease Patient Husband Searcy Neighbor HOSPITALS • CLINICS • SPECIALISTS


We are friends, neighbors and caregivers. Together, we share a common bond. We love our community and those who make it what it is.

Providing advanced heart & vascular care

Leon Blue, M.D. | Katherine Durham, M.D. | David Evans, M.D. Bradley Hughes, M.D. | Ethan Munzinger, M.D. | Eric Robinson, M.D.

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Mon. - Fri. | 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m. 711 Santa Fe Dr. | Searcy

501 LIFE


OWNERS Donna Spears, Sonja J. Keith OFFICE MANAGER Tracey Wilkinson EDITOR Sonja J. Keith


ART DIRECTORS Jennifer Godwin and Nick Walker ASSOCIATE EDITOR Levi Gilbert PHOTO DIRECTOR Mike Kemp

DISTRIBUTION MANAGER Tom Keith CONTRIBUTORS Donna Benton Don Bingham Kellie Bishop Adam Bledsoe Tanner Cangelosi Brittany Gilbert Laurie Green Linda Henderson Vivian Hogue Karl Lenser Mark McDonald Mark Oliver

Kiera Oluokun Todd Owens Bill Patterson John Patton Susan Peterson Dr. Robert Reising Robin Richards Jan Spann Donna Lampkin Stephens Callie Sterling Jaison Sterling Megan Stroud

FAULKNER COUNTY EDITORIAL BOARD Johnny Adams Jack Bell Don Bingham RaeLynn Callaway Glenn Crockett Kay Dalton Beth Franks Russ Hancock Spencer Hawks Mathilda Hatfield Roe Henderson Jerry Hiegel Mike Kemp

501 LIFE contributor Tanner Cangelosi created this artwork that was posted on social media.


Life has changed Plans for many have changed quickly in the 501 and other communities in Arkansas and across the country as we all have been dramatically impacted by the Covid-19 health crisis. Yes, media outlets shared with us when the virus began in China and spread throughout the country, but many had little idea how it would significantly affect our lives when it landed in the U.S. It’s been unsettling as the number of confirmed cases in our nation and state has grown. Local officials have encouraged social distancing to slow the spread of the disease in an effort to help medical facilities better handle the number of patients that are anticipated. Shoppers have emptied local store shelves, church services have been cancelled and schools have closed in response to the spread of the disease. Public offices, restaurants and other businesses have followed suit. Many institutions of higher learning have cancelled in-person classes and have moved all instruction to online. 4 | 501 LIFE April 2020

Julie LaRue Karl Lenser Lori Melton Kiera Oluokun Deanna Ott Pat Otto Jon Patrom Amy Reed Lori Ross Margaret Smith Jan Spann Kim Tyler Jennifer Whitehead

Events expected to draw large groups have been cancelled or postponed, including concerts and other performances. High school, college and professional athletic events have been suspended or altogether cancelled. There may be more events impacted as officials are uncertain how long this crisis will last. It’s enough to leave your head spinning. It’s a lot to take in and process in such a short period of time. We take comfort in knowing that we have smart, forward-thinking government, healthcare and school officials who will make the right decisions for our communities. It is extremely important that we follow their instruction. We thank them for their leadership. We are also blessed to live in an area with talented and skilled healthcare workers at top-notch medical facilities as well as dedicated first responders and committed public servants who care deeply for the communities where they live and work. Yes, life has changed but together we will rise to the occasion. Here’s to “Loving LIFE” in the 501.

Mary Clark Shelli Crowell Dr. Larry Davis Shawn Halbrook Alicia Hugen Alisha Koonce

Stephanie Lipsmeyer Stewart Nelson Kristi Strain Jim Taylor Morgan Zimmerman

WHITE COUNTY EDITORIAL BOARD Betsy Bailey Tara Cathey Cassandra Feltrop Phil Hays Natalie Horton Matt LaForce

Hannah Owens Mike Parsons Brooke Pryor Carol Spears Kristi Thurmon

To subscribe or order back issues, visit www.501lifemag.com. The subscription rate is $20 for one year (12 issues). 501 Advertising and Publishing 701 Chestnut St. Conway, Ark. 72032 501.327.1501 info@501lifemag.com 501 LIFE is published monthly by 501 Advertising and Publishing (701 Chestnut St., Conway, Ark. 72032, 501.327.1501). The contents of 501 LIFE are copyrighted and materials presented may not be copied or reproduced in any manner without the written permission of the publishers. Articles should not be considered specific advice, as individual circumstances vary. Products and services advertised are not necessarily endorsed by 501 LIFE. 501 LIFE is produced on recycled paper.



April 2020

Volume 12 Issue 12

features&departments 44 Entertaining


Nearly all occasions call for, or would be improved with, a little cupcake. Why should Easter be any different?

On the cover

501 LIFE is “Celebrating home and garden” in this month’s edition. (Mike Kemp photo/Styling by Donna Benton)

74 Sports

Vilonia’s Michael Stout has again been named Track and Field Coach of the Year.

76 Travel

Enjoying the murals in Hot Springs.


neighbors 26 Couples

Dot and Kent Welch are loving life, their family and their work in the 501.

28 Youth

Searcy High’s Mason Putman is surrounded by family members with deeply rooted ties in the Searcy School District and the University of Central Arkansas.

82 Person of the month

Salem Place Administrator Tina To has always had a desire to help people, especially those in a health care setting.


'501 KIDS'


501 LIFE contributors Kellie Bishop and Brittany Gilbert have great tips in this month’s issue. Have a story idea or a young person you would like to see featured? Send suggestions to info@501lifemag.com.

4 8-9 10-17 57-62 82


Special section 501 LIFE is celebrating home and garden professionals in this month’s edition (Pages 47-53).

LIFE pics 18-24


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Editor’s Note Calendar Loving LIFE Home Person of the month

501 LIFE would like to thank its advertising partners for their continued support and encourage our readers to support these businesses:

501 LIFE is you!

twitter.com /501lifemag

A Arkansas Travelers, 75


facebook.com /501lifemag

Conway Corporation, 33 Conway Downtown, 25 Conway Regional Health System, 83 Conway Regional Rehab, 67 Conway Symphony Orchestra, 58

D DJM Orthodontics, 28 Double Springs Grass Farms, 41

Get “LIFE” at home!

E Edward Jones, 39

F First Community Bank, 23 First Security Bank, 84 First Service Bank, 13

For a limited time, 501 LIFE is offering a special subscription rate for new subscribers - have the magazine delivered to your home for only $20 for one year, $40 for two years. While the magazine is distributed through more than 700 locations in Central Arkansas, copies go fast. Home delivery ensures readers they won’t miss a single issue. Readers can visit 501lifemag.com or call 501.327.1501 to subscribe.

Freyaldenhoven Heating and Cooling Inc., 73

H Hartman Animal Hospital, 81 Harwood, Ott & Fisher, PA, 27

Writers’ Room

Heritage Living Center, 5 Hiegel Supply, 45

J Julie’s Sweet Shoppe, 77

M MSC Eye Associates, 37 Methodist Family Health, 65

N 911 Restoration, 58

O Ott Insurance, 43

P Patterson Eye Care, 77 Pulaski County Special School District, 71

S Salem Place Nursing and Rehab, 35 Shelter Insurance, 45 Sissy’s Log Cabin, 19 Superior Nursing & Rehab, 2

U Unity Health, 3 University of Arkansas Community College Morrilton, 18 University of Central Arkansas, 29 University of Central Arkansas Writing, 58

W Wilkinson’s Mall, 37

Tune in at 12:30 p.m. the last Tuesday of each month to KARK Channel 4 for a segment on the current issue of 501 LIFE.

Vivian Lawson Hogue is among the rare “native” segment of pre-mid-20th century Conway residents still living where she was born in 1943. A graduate of Conway High School, Vivian attended Hendrix College for two years and graduated from the University of Central Arkansas with a bachelor of science in education degree in art education. Vivian writes a regular column for 501 LIFE, oftentimes with an historical perspective. “Writing just slipped into my life by a happy accident.” To contact Vivian, email vhogue@ conwaycorp.net.

Recognized throughout the state as an accomplished chef, Don Bingham has called the 501 his home for 47 years. “I enjoy most the people of the 501 – their heart and passion for life and for each other.” A graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary, Don has a bachelor’s degree in communications and is a certified chef. He and his wife, Nancy, have five married children and 12 grandchildren. His interests include music, interior design and event planning. He serves as the board chairman for Renewal Ranch and is a worship pastor. He can be reached at donaldjbingham@gmail.com.

Kellie Bishop has lived in Plumerville (Conway County) for nearly 10 years. “There are so many opportunities for engaging with the community and getting outside to enjoy the beautiful area we live in.” Kellie completed her bachelor of science degree in nursing at the University of Arkansas in 2013. She earned a master’s degree in nursing science with a focus as a pediatric nurse practitioner from UAMS in 2016. “I completed my education at UAMS, where I obtained my doctor of nursing practice in 2018.” Kellie and her husband, Greg, have two “fur babies” and are expecting a baby boy in August. She can be reached at kelliebishop827@gmail.com. April 2020 501lifemag.com | 7


At press time, these events were still scheduled but readers are encouraged to double check with organizers before making plans to attend in light of the recent Covid-19 health crisis.

April S 5

M 6

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12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 2 0 21 22 23 24 25 26 2 7 28 29 30 The Morrilton High School Theatre will perform “You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown” from Thursday, April 16, through Sunday, April 19. The production is under the direction of Heather Hooten. The Cabot Strawberry Festival is planned Friday, April 17, and Saturday, April 18, in Cabot. Presented by Junior Auxiliary of Cabot, the event features live entertainment, a carnival, a kid zone, food trucks, vendors and a 5K. For more information, visit jacabot. com or the group’s page on Facebook. The Kyle Allison Golf Classic, benefitting Renewal Ranch, is planned Monday, April 20, at the Conway Country Club. For more information, call 501.733.4263 or email marketing@renewalranch.com. Fresh Grounded Faith with Jennifer Rothschild and friends is coming to Conway 7 to 9:30 p.m. Friday, April 24, and 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday, April 25, at Antioch Baptist Church in Conway. It will be a fun, girlfriend-blend of practical Bible study and worship from one of LifeWay’s bestselling authors and Bible teacher, Jennifer Rothschild, author and speaker Angie Smith, and worship with singer-songwriter Shaun Groves. For tickets or more information, go to freshgroundedfaith.com/conway-ar/. 8 | 501 LIFE April 2020

Greenbrier Public Schools will host A Very Special Talent & Art Show, an event for students with disabilities in central Arkansas, on Saturday, April 25, in the fine arts center at Greenbrier High School. Students ages 5-21 in an area school served with an IEP are eligible to participate. The application may be requested from the special services office. Application deadline is Tuesday, March 31. Every participant will receive an award for their entry and a T-shirt. Talent participants can schedule a complimentary hair and/or makeup session, donated by local stylists. This year’s theme is “Lights, Camera, Action,” so participants will receive the “red carpet treatment.” The goal is to make each student feel like a star. Individuals interested in volunteering or donating may email huffmasterl@greenbrierschools.org. The Faulkner Academy of Arts Conway Women’s Chorus will present “Turn Your Radio On” at 2 p.m. Sunday, April 26, at Wesley United Methodist Church in Conway. The performance will be a celebration of the 100-year anniversary of broadcast radio and include various genres of music from that era. Admission is free. The Conway Symphony Orchestra is scheduled to present “A Romantic Idyll” at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 25, in Reynolds Performance Hall at the University of Central Arkansas. The concert will highlight the 2020 Concerto Competition champion. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit conwaysymphony.org.

To submit a calendar item, please send information to info@501lifemag.com. To see a complete list of items, please go to 501lifemag.com.

UCA cancels annual Laurels & Stripes gala The University of Central Arkansas has announced it will cancel this year’s Laurels & Stripes scholarship gala in response to COVID-19. The event was originally scheduled for Saturday, April 4, in the HPER Center on campus. “The health and safety of our campus community is absolutely our first priority,” said UCA President Dr. Houston Davis, adding that the decision was made after much discussion over a few days. “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the state of Arkansas have discouraged large gatherings. Laurels & Stripes had already sold 600 tickets, so we believe it is best to cancel this event.” UCA plans for Laurels & Stripes to resume next spring. “Our two Distinguished Alumni Award recipients, Terri Jordan and Lavon Morton, will be honored in 2021,” Davis said. Those who desire a refund, should contact Beth Adair at badair@uca.edu. Otherwise, all tickets and sponsorships purchased will be honored for next year.

CEO receives Spirit of Unity Award The Unity Health Foundation recently presented Unity Health President/CEO Steven Webb with the Spirit of Unity award. A gift to the Foundation was donated in Webb’s honor by Director of Volunteer Services Jamie Laughlin and her daughter, Hanah Laughlin, RN. He was recognized for the kindness and support shown to the family during Nathan Laughlin’s 21-month battle with cancer. Nathan (husband and father respectively) passed away in July 2019. “When [Webb] took on the role as CEO at Unity Health, my husband was undergoing treatments for brain cancer,” Laughlin said. “My husband was truly touched when Mr. Webb came to see him when he was in the intensive care unit at [CHI] St. Vincent. He texted often to check on our family and let us know that he and his wife were praying for us.” Unity Health Foundation Executive Director Cassandra Feltrop presented the award to Webb in a

small gathering of hospital associates and administrators. “I am incredibly humbled to receive this recognition from Jamie, Hanah and the Foundation,” Webb said. “Part of our job is to take care of one another, and I want our people to be taken care of, not just at work.” The Spirit of Unity Award is a way for patients, or family members of patients, to show their gratitude by giving a gift in an associate’s honor to the Unity Health Foundation. These gifts go toward special projects and equipment upgrades that will help to ensure that Unity Health is here to care for patients and generations to come. For more information about Spirit of Unity awards or to honor a Unity Health associate, please call 501.278.3186 or visit unity-health.org/foundation.

Unity Health President/CEO Steven Webb with Director of Volunteer Services Jamie Laughlin following a Spirit of Unity award presentation Feb. 24. Not pictured: Hanah Laughlin, RN.

Fishin’ for a Mission planned April 18 The Sixth Annual Fishin’ for a Mission bass tournament will take place Saturday, April 18, at Lake Dardanelle State Park at Russellville. Founded by Amanda and Brian Parsons of Conway, the event has raised more than $25,700 for charity. This year’s beneficiaries are the same as last year – Soul Food Café Mission in Conway and Community Connections in Russellville. “It benefits not just where we live, but also where we are hosting the tournament,” said Amanda. Centennial Bank is once again the presenting sponsor with a contribution of $6,000. “We are a sponsor because of the money it raises for nonprofits in our area. Our goal as a community bank is to give back,” said Eric King, senior vice president of business development at Centennial. “We think it’s a great cause.” Last year 55 teams signed up for the tournament. This year the guaranteed cash payout has increased to $6,000, with first place paying $1,800.

Centennial Bank’s Eric King presents a sponsorship check to Amanda and Brian Parsons for this year’s Fishin’ for a Mission tournament scheduled Saturday, April 18. Other prizes include rods from Falcon and Skeeter, BassPro gift cards and more. In addition to the bass

tournament, there will be a free fishing derby on April 18 for any child with a disability. As usual there will be free food for all participants and spectators at the weigh-in beginning at 3 p.m. Registration is open. The entry fee is $110 per boat, with an increase to $125 after Saturday, April 11. Participants can register at fish4amission.org/ registration. Late registration will be available during early check-in from 4-7 p.m. Friday, April 17, as well as 4:30 to 5:45 a.m. Saturday, April 18, at $125 per team. Amanda said again this year there will be early check-in and registration the night before the tournament at the state park tournament facility. “This allows anglers to not have to arrive so early on Saturday morning.” Sponsors are still being sought for this year’s tournament. Those interested in donating or receiving an entry form can email fish4amission@gmail.com. To register or for more information on the event, visit fish4amission.org.

Heroes for Hope Race now virtual format The Children’s Advocacy Alliance (CAA) has announced its 12th Annual Heroes for Hope Race will be held virtually. Participants may run at their leisure and record their run by 7 p.m. Saturday, April 11. “After careful consideration, the Children’s Advocacy Alliance has made the decision to move the Heroes for Hope race to a virtual race. The health and safety of our community are our top priority. This decision is aimed to protect from the further spread of or exposure to COVID-19,” said Children’s Advocacy Alliance Executive Director Tess Fletcher. The Heroes for Hope Race 10K, 5K and 1.31K superhero fun run may be completed via treadmill, on a pre-measured course or with a distance tracking device. All runners must take a before and after photo, submit their time, and run prior to 7 p.m. April 11.

“Health and safety for our runners are the most important things to us. We are taking this as an opportunity to prevent the spread of COVID-19, while still helping the child victims of abuse in this community,” said Heroes for Hope Race Director Patrick Lewis. All participants will receive a finisher medal and a race T-shirt at a later date.

“We will host an awards ceremony and open house at the Children’s Advocacy Center to honor our runners, sponsors and teachers after the risk of the COVID-19 has diminished,” said Lewis. “When you virtually run in our race, you’re supporting our mission and the health of this community. We hope you’ll join us virtually and tag the Children’s Advocacy Alliance in your photos with #H4H2020,” said Fletcher. “Run, walk, skip, dance – no matter how you finish the race, you’re our superhero! When you run with us, even if it’s not all at the same time, you’re running for change,” said Children’s Advocacy Alliance Development Coordinator Leia Smith. For information about the virtual run, contact Smith at lsmith@hopeandjustice.org. For CAA information, visit hopeandjustice.org. April 2020 501lifemag.com | 9


Sharing the 501 LIFE spirit

501 readers are enjoying LIFE and sharing their trips and special occasions with others. An overwhelming number of readers are submitting “Loving LIFE� photos for inclusion in the magazine, and every effort is being made to publish them as soon as possible. Headed out on a special trip? Pack a copy of 501 LIFE in your suitcase, snap a photo at your destination and send it to us for publication in a future issue. Have a special occasion or get-together coming up? Take 501 LIFE along, take a photo and send it to us. Photos can be submitted by email to info@501lifemag.com or by mail to Reader Photos, c/o 501 LIFE, 701 Chestnut St., Conway, Ark. 72032. Please include the names of those in the photograph and their hometowns along with contact information. (Sorry, photos will not be returned by mail but can be picked up at the 501 office.) Here’s to “Loving LIFE.� – Sonja Keith

“Loving LIFE� as the Heber Springs Area Chamber of Commerce held the annual Business Expo and Hiring Event at the Heber Springs Community Center: board vice president Dr. Ryan Sartin (from left), executive director Ginger Harper and membership development manager Caitlin Garner.

The Morrilton High School Thespian Troupe 3131 was “Loving LIFE� as members prepared for “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown,� scheduled Thursday, April 16, through Sunday, April 19, at the newly renovated HB White Auditorium in Morrilton. “I am having a great time with this show,� said Emma Bertram, who plays Snoopy. “It’s a smaller cast, but we are having fun.� Cast members include (front, from left) Michael Canady (Schroeder), Caleb Purtle (Linus Van Pelt) and Emma Bertram (Snoopy); (back) Emmarie Wilson (Sally Brown), Mia Krisell (Lucy Van Pelt), Samarah Gulledge (Charlie Brown) and Wendy Bertram (Little Red-Haired Girl).

10 | 501 LIFE April 2020

Shawna Long and members of the second shift at Team Molex were “Loving LIFE� on Arkansas Go Pink Day 2019.

The Dazzle Daze Committee was “Loving LIFE” just moments before Girls’ Nite Out kicked off the holiday market event at the Conway Expo Center and Fairgrounds. Presented by the Conway Regional Women’s Council, proceeds from the event were used to help purchase 3D mammography equipment. (Photo courtesy of Courtney Reynolds)

Debbie Purtle Merritt of Conway (far right) was “Loving LIFE” at The Joint. Debbie, a former member of the University of Central Arkansas Alumni Association Board of Directors, was the lucky winner of a pair of tickets to the comedy club located in the heart of Argenta’s Arts District. Performing “Weiner Day at the Rollercade” was The Main Thing comedy trio. The auction was held as a Purple Circle fundraiser during the “Night On The Stripes” gala at UCA. Also pictured (from left) are performer Brett Ihler of Cedar City, Utah, UCAAA Board of Directors member Bill Ott of Eureka Springs and performer Vicki Farrell of St. Louis. “Never knew a charitable donation could produce so many laughs,” said Merritt. The 54th Ayer Pageant was held Feb. 29 on the campus of Morrilton High School in the newly renovated HB White Auditorium. Contestants were “Loving LIFE” as sophomore Lynlee Rankin was crowned 2020 Ayer Queen. Contestants were Ally Cannon (from left), Jade Dunn, Thitichaya “Pear” Aunggulsant, Jocelyn Bell, Taeya Bell, Emma Bertram, Emmarie Wilson, Saterrah Forsyth, Lynlee Rankin, Clarissa Cervantes, Lacey Carroll, Makayla Mays, Erika Arellano and Ayani Criswell. This is a longtime tradition at Morrilton High School with proceeds that benefit the yearbook.

April 2020 501lifemag.com | 11


Mayor Bart Castleberry (holding the magazine) and members of the Faulkner County Master Gardeners were “Loving LIFE� at the site of the new staging area for the group’s annual plant sale scheduled Saturday, May 9, at the Conway Expo Center and Fairgrounds: Mike Langford (from left), Cindy Thornton, Sheila Nash, Leslie Nunley, Mayor Bart Castleberry, Jared Permenter, Debbie Guthrie, Doug Harris, Krista Quinn and Pam Trent holding Bucky. Not pictured: Faulkner County Judge Jim Baker.

‘Loving LIFE’ preparing for Master Gardener sale The Faulkner County Master Gardeners have a new staging area complete with a shed and watering system to help prepare for the group’s annual plant sale. The area was made possible by the City of Conway and Faulkner County. The sale is planned 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, May 9, at the Conway Expo Center and Fairgrounds. There is free parking and admission. It will feature Mother’s Day items as well as a variety of plants – perennials and houseplants to annuals and native species. There will be a hand tool sale as well as tool sharpening. Free gardening dem-

12 | 501 LIFE April 2020

onstrations will be presented throughout the day. Children’s activities are planned, including “Plant a Mother’s Day Gift� for the first 100 kids, courtesy of Ace Hardware. Master Gardener Sheila Nash expressed the group’s appreciation to city and county officials for making the half-acre staging space possible for the approximately 9,000 locally grown plants for the sale. Previously, participants used private homes for staging. A raffle is also planned as part of the plant sale. Prizes include a handmade potting bench and a patio table and chairs donated by Arkansas Outdoor

Concepts. The Faulkner County Cooperative Extensions Service and Conway Tree Board will offer educational areas. Faulkner County has more than 200 Master Gardeners and the annual plant sale is the largest one in the state. Proceeds help fund scholarships. For more information, contact plant sale chairman Leslie Nunley at wethenunleys@gmail. com or 936.581.0034, or Faulkner County Extension Agent Krista Quinn at klquinn@uaex.edu or 501.329.8344.


We are... CONWAY | 501.932.5050 | CONWAY | 501-932-9700 CLINTON | 501.745.7200 | GREENBRIER | 501.679.7300 | LITTLE ROCK | 501.801.7402

LOVING LIFE Greg Davis and his girlfriend, Juvilee, were “Loving LIFE� on a trip to the Philippines. “I met her while I was deployed to Kuwait and Iraq the last three years,� wrote Greg. “She’s a barista at a Dunkin Donuts in Kuwait. We took vacation together in the Philippines. We went to islands that she had never been to and the last week we stayed at her house in Pagsanjan, Laguna Philippines.�

Dr. Larry and Carlene Davis took 501 LIFE along to the Ringling Mansion in Sarasota, Fla. “Carlene and I went there to celebrate my 70th birthday and visit with family who live there.�

Emma Fodor of Cabot was “Loving LIFE� at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom in Orlando, Fla. She was participating in the Disney College Program working at Animal Kingdom for the fall semester. Emma returned in January to the University of Central Arkansas where she is majoring in journalism and communications.

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“Loving LIFE� in Gulf Shores/Orange Beach: Patty Coppock (from left), Sally Roden, Mary Mosley and Doug Coppock. “We love checking the 501 to see where us Arkies are seeing the world,� wrote Doug.

Jaison Sterling, Elias (Eli) Sterling, Callie Sterling and Madison (Maddie) Adkins were “Loving LIFE� with Smokey at the University of Tennessee. The Sterlings made a trip to Knoxville to cheer on the men’s Razorback basketball team as they took on the Tennessee Volunteers in February. Callie’s parents, Allen and Natalie Adkins, who are Arkansas natives, along with Callie’s sister, Maddie, live in east Tennessee. At 5 months old, this was Eli’s first time to attend a Razorback game. He represented both teams since his family is now a “divided� house when it comes to the Hogs and Vols. His aunt Maddie began attending the University of Tennessee at Knoxville last fall.

The father-daughter travel team of Megan and Terry Boone were “Loving LIFE” in San Juan, Costa Rica.

Senior citizens from area Churches of Christ and students from the Adventures in Mission School in Lubbock, Texas, were “Loving LIFE” as they met at Camp Areopagus for a fellowship meal.

April 2020 501lifemag.com | 15


Genesis Rodriguez and Tyasia Nelson used Google Drawings to create tornado safety posters, facilitated by Ben Carrigan. They are students in Sam Davidson’s class.

Shepherd Collom and Jayden Melton checked out Google Expedition on Earthquakes with 3D Goggles, led by Patti Kitts. They are students in Christyn Henderson’s class.

‘Wacky Weather’ at Searcy school Third-grade students at McRae Elementary School were “Loving LIFEâ€? during the Wacky Weather STEM Day. Students enjoyed a variety of activities, which included: • Programming Beebot robots to be a storm chaser by getting the robot to the tornado avoiding obstacles • Using 3D Google Expedition goggles to learn about earthquakes • Designing a hazardous weather shelter built to withstand high wind • Creating Tornado Safety Tip posters using Google Drawings. “We even had a little ‘wacky’ weather of our own and saw some snowflakes,â€? wrote instructional facilitator Kristi Smith. “It was a super fun day living the 501 LIFE!â€?

Jacob Richardville, Sasha McCain, Adalyn Hulsey and Cole Brazeal designed a hazardous weather storm shelter to withstand high winds, facilitated by Dr. Allen Henderson from Harding University. They are students in Amy Clay’s class.

Mathilde Fatula, Logan McGilberry, Carlen Bates and Grayson Benham navigated Beebot “storm chasers� to a tornado, facilitated by Christine Harrell. They are students in Amy Sword’s class.

Emily Koscenski and Haiden White navigated through a digital escape room titled “Mr. Gurchiek’s Weather Invention,� facilitated by Betsy Bailey. They are students in Ginger Bridges’ class.

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Cabot High School students were “Loving LIFE” as they signed to play on the college level during National Signing Day: (from left) Makeely Wade (volleyball), Oklahoma Wesleyan; Kelsey David (soccer), University of the Ozarks; Caleb Miller (golf), Southern Arkansas University; Izzy Arnold (basketball), University of Arkansas at Monticello; and Hannah Ogilvie (basketball), University of Arkansas at Monticello.

Conway Christian senior Beau Stevenson was “Loving LIFE” as he signed to play football at Henderson State University on National Signing Day on Feb. 5. Beau is a son of Todd and Libby Stevenson.

Conway Christian senior Clay Hammett was “Loving LIFE” as he signed to play football with Hendrix College. He is a son of Chris and Alex Hammett of Greenbrier.

April 2020 501lifemag.com | 17


Paul Bradley (from left), Angie Longing, Carter Dodd and Mohamed Zonfuly.

Ronnie Williams (left), Mary Newsome and Michael Biggs.

Morrilton Mayor Allen Lipsmeyer and Lisa Willenberg.

Morgan Zimmerman (from left), Kara Jones and Ashley Congine.

Charles Penck (left) and Cody Hill.

Menifee Mayor Gary Green and Stephanie Lipsmeyer.

Dr. Houston Davis and Diana Arn.

Marlin (from left) and Mona Kay Boyle with Michele and Neil Corder.

Mike and Suzan Miller (center) with Lisa Willenberg.

Event celebrates new UACCM chancellor Sonja J. Keith photos

The Morrilton and Conway chambers of commerce teamed up to present a business after hours reception to welcome new chancellor Lisa Willenberg at the University of Arkansas Community College at Morrilton. The event was held in the 53,843 square-foot, $13 million Workforce Training Center on campus. Conway Regional Health System was the major sponsor. Willenberg is the fourth leader of the school, which opened in 1963.


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April 2020 501lifemag.com | 19


St. Joseph H.O.O.K.S. benefits school

Becky and Dr. Steve Magie. Jake Nabholz (left) outbid Tim McKenna for the coveted Teresa Mallett homemade cinnamon rolls.

St. Joseph School’s 15th Annual “Helping Out Our Kids’ School”(H.O.O.K.S.) fish dinner with live and silent auctions was held Jan. 25 in the church’s Spiritan Center. About $90,000 was raised to support the school and help purchase items not in the current year’s budget. Jeff and Beth Crowder and Frederic Simon chaired the event. Judy Ussery of Scott won the grand prize drawing for a vacation package valued at $15,000 plus $1,000 spending money.

Judy Ussery and Jeff Crowder.

St. Joseph Principal Diane Wolfe.

Bobby Hargis (Cleburne County Cares) and chamber president Ginger Harper.

Ginger Harper and David Higgs (Mayville Engineering Company Inc.).

Jo and County Judge Jerry Holmes.

Heber Springs chamber hosts annual banquet Robin Richards photos

State Rep. Josh Miller and Citizen of the Year Kasey Griffin.

Howard Chapin IV (left) and past president Jeremy Bivens. 20 | 501 LIFE April 2020

Chamber president Ginger Harper (left) and Volunteer of the Year Toi Logan.

The Heber Springs Chamber of Commerce recently hosted its 64th Annual Banquet at The Barn at Pine Mountain. The event included a recap of 2019 and the presentation of awards: Citizen of the Year – Kasey Griffin. Volunteer of the Year – Toi Logan. Outstanding Nonprofit of the Year – Cleburne County Cares. Outstanding Business of the Year – Mayville Engineering Company, Inc. Hall of Honor inductee – Howard Chapin IV. The chamber also recognized past president Jeremy Bivins and outgoing board members Flave Carpenter, Cody Davis, Rick Skinner, Cathey Cox, Toi Logan, Todd Brown and Debbie Thompson.

UCA’s Reynolds celebrates its 20th anniversary Sonja J. Keith photos

A reception and special tribute concert marked the 20th anniversary of the University of Central Arkansas Reynolds Performance Hall. Supporters gathered in Brewer-Hegeman Conference Center for the reception, which featured food representing some of the performances held over the years at Reynolds. Speaking at the event were former Reynolds director Guy Couch; Dr. Terry Fiddler, who shared with the group that he purchased the first tickets sold to a Reynolds performance; UCA Provost Dr. Patricia Poulter who reviewed some of the performances and special events in Reynolds; and Amanda Horton, current Reynolds director. The reception was followed by “Georgia on My Mind: Celebrating the Music of Ray Charles.” This show was especially significant for Reynolds Performance Hall, as Ray Charles was the first artist to perform on the Reynolds Performance Hall stage at the hall’s grand opening concert more than 20 years ago. For more information, visit uca.edu/Reynolds.

Gunnar Bartlett (left) with Drs. Joyce and Terry Fiddler.

UCA Reynolds Performance Hall Director Amanda Horton discusses future plans.

Jim (from left) and Peggy Schneider with Dondra Simpson and Laurie Netherton.

J.D. (from left) and Penny Hatfield with Dr. Joyce Fiddler.

The four who have served as director of UCA Public Appearances/Reynolds Performance Hall: Penny Hatfield (from left), Guy Couch, Jerry Biebesheimer and Amanda Horton.

Mike and Tonya Coats.

Don and Jan Bradley.

UCA Provost Dr. Patricia Poulter (left) and Dr. Linda Beene.

Georg and Annabelle Andersen.

Chris and Denice Perry. April 2020 501lifemag.com | 21

Cardiology patients with news anchor Mallory Brooks (back right) from Little Rock TV station KARK 4.

Unity Heart to Heart event Unity Health recently hosted its annual Heart to Heart event with Unity Health – Cardiology Clinic patients, physicians, associates and community members. Unity Health thanked sponsors for this year’s event: Platinum Heart Sponsor – Medtronic. Silver Heart Sponsor – Pfizer. Bronze Heart Sponsor – iRhythm, Tara & Co. Diamonds, The Shops at Unity Health. Heart Felt Sponsor – Novartis. As the leading healthcare provider in an eightcounty area, Unity Health and its associates strive to improve the quality of health and well-being for the communities it serves through compassionate care. Unity Health is the largest employer in an eightcounty area with more than 2,300 associates. The Searcy facility has a combined total of 438 licensed beds and a medical staff of 150 physicians that specialize in various areas of healthcare.

Cardiologists Dr. Leon Blue and Dr. Katherine Durham present David Ransom (center) with an award for Medtronic in appreciation for its partnership and contributions to Heart to Heart. David is Medtronic’s Principle Cardiac Rhythm, Heart Failure and Coronary Consultant. 22 | 501 LIFE April 2020

Fireside Chat speakers Dr. Eric Robinson and cardiology patient Jocelyn Goff.

Community is EVERYONE.

L to R: Tara Mallett, Branch Manager; Eduard Millan, New Accounts; Lori Case Melton, Business Development; Grant Gordy, Community President; Janice McNew, Commercial Lending; Jerry Harrison, Commercial Lending; Cameron Reesor, Mortgage; Brittany Hudgens, Insurance

First Community Bank may be new to Conway, but we are not new to town. Our bankers are just like you. Some were born here, some came here for college, some have a building named after their family, but all are building their careers here. So you can bet we have someone just for you. Our team has more than a century of banking history among them. We are a full service bank, including mortgage and insurance. We invite you to check us out and see what all the fuss is about. Be on the lookout for the big announcement of our new location. It’s amazing what can happen when a bank puts our community first.

FirstCommunity.net | 501.764.9640 | Temporary Location: 1089 Front Street, Conway, AR 72032



Barbara Patterson (from left), Tori Lute, Stacey Ussery, Regina Jones and Shannon Casey.

Bryan and Dawne Trent with their children, John and Morgan.

Dustin Chapman (from left), Kim Tyler and Mayor Sammy Hartwick.

Greenbrier chamber banquet

Dewayne Goode (from left), Raymond Reynolds, Pam Reynolds and Sue Sturdivant.

Greenbrier Mayor Sammy (from left) and Cheryl Hartwick with Beth Smith and Rusty Hartwick.

Sonja J. Keith photos

The Greenbrier Chamber of Commerce Annual Community Awards Banquet was held March 5 at the Greenbrier Junior High Cafetorium. The banquet theme was “A Vision for 2020.” The chamber recognized Bryan and Dawne Trent, owners/operators of Trent Management and Mojo’s Hometown Pizza, with the Citizen of the Year Award. Graham Brothers Electric owners Chase, Cody and Clay Graham were presented with the Volunteer of the Year Award. Greenbrier High School senior Payton Riddle was recognized as the Student of the Year. “This year’s business nominees created a very difficult voting choice between so many successful and deserving companies,” said chamber board president Dustin Chapman. “2019 was a very productive year, both for new business growth and for celebrating milestones of long-standing businesses that have made our community so great for decades. “The individual award winners could not be more deserving of their honors for all of their contributions and efforts toward making Greenbrier such a special place to live. The Chamber of Commerce is so proud to recognize these winners for their contributions and celebrate their success.”

Katie and Jon Patrom. Jordan and Travis Mays.

Laveane Lovelady (from left), Shonna Battles, Tracy Livingston, Shawn Johnston and Melissa Hamilton.

Karen Emerson (from left), John Stacks, Dan Rolett and Sandie and Terry Milam.

Cody Graham (from left), Cheryl Winberry, Clay and Alli Graham and Chase and Sara Graham.

Kristen and Jeremy Riddle with their children, Preston, Payton and Sydney.

Other award winners: Business of the Year – Kiddieville. New Business of the Year – Greenbrier Pharmacy. Small Business of the Year – Chef Lin’s. Non-profit or Service Organization of the Year – Greenbrier Volunteer Fire Department. In addition, Greenbrier Mayor Sammy Hartwick presented Kim Tyler with the Mayor’s XM (Extra Mile) Award. The event also featured the unveiling of the 2020 edition of the Greenbrier City Guide, produced by 501 Advertising and Publishing. 24 | 501 LIFE April 2020

April 2020 501lifemag.com | 25



Dot and Kent Welch are loving life in Conway with their son, Hudson. Dot is the foundation executive for the Conway Regional Health Foundation, and Kent is the chief data officer at First Orion. (Mike Kemp photos)


Dot Welch

NATIVE OF: Indiana. WHERE DID YOU GROW UP: Indianapolis. EDUCATION: Bachelor of arts degree in organizational communication from Indiana University. JOB: Foundation executive for the Conway Regional Health Foundation and Conway Regional Women’s Council. WHY DID YOU CHOOSE YOUR VOCATION: My professional choices have always been driven by a calling to help people and build a better community (or company). PARENTS: The late Norm and Mary Cox of Indianapolis. COMMUNITY ACTIVITIES: Currently, I serve as board president for the Conway Downtown Partnership, vice-president of membership services for the Arkansas 26 | 501 LIFE April 2020

Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) and as a member of the Ken Brindley Memorial Foundation. HOBBIES/SPECIAL INTERESTS: I absolutely love to travel and have a long list of places still to go. I like spending time with friends, cooking, golf and lake life. WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT LIVING IN THE 501: I love the people and the sense of community and purpose we share. I also like the friendly culture of the South. Funny story…I have lived in Arkansas for more than 20 years and wouldn’t consider moving anywhere else. Last summer, I was awarded my official “Southern Card” by a group of dear friends and family. It was a fun surprise!

Kent Welch

WHERE DID YOU GROW UP: North Little Rock/Gravel Ridge. EDUCATION: Bachelor of business administration degree in business management from the University of Central Arkansas. JOB: Chief data officer, First Orion (North Little Rock headquarters). WHY DID YOU CHOOSE YOUR VOCATION: It more or less chose me. I began my career at Acxiom after college. I had many opportunities which eventually led to designing complex data solutions with the then CEO Charles Morgan. PARENTS: Ann Kincl of Hot Springs and Sam Welch of Castle Valley, Utah. COMMUNITY ACTIVITIES: I serve when called on the New Life Church Outreach Team, usually building wheelchair ramps for those in need.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOURSELF: Definitely a “Type A” personality. Probably also known as a bit of a jokester. My wife doesn’t always think I’m funny though. WHAT IS ONE THING PEOPLE DON’T KNOW ABOUT YOU: In college, I was Huggy Bear, the sports mascot. WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT LIVING IN THE 501: I get to travel quite a bit, and see cities around the world. Each one has its own uniqueness and interesting points. But I always come back and notice the “community” we have here in Central Arkansas. I see our people working together to make a great place to live. I see our churches working together as opposed to competing with each other. It is nice to live in a place where people work hard to make life better for all those around us.

Tax rules are changing.



RESIDENTS OF: Conway. CHURCH ACTIVITIES: We have been members of New Life Church in Conway for 14 years and enjoy serving on the Greet Team. We also attend and have led small groups.

The Alliance Family of Companies

HOW WE MET: Through mutual friends.

Harwood, Ott & Fisher, PA is in the business of helping individuals and businesses achieve their financial goals with accounting, insurance and retirement strategies.

THE PROPOSAL: We were playing a two-person scramble at Indian Hills Golf Course in Fairfield Bay. On the signature hole (No. 17) par 3, Dot drove the green and was about to putt. Kent knelt down to mark Dot’s golf ball and used her engagement ring as the ball mark…then popped the question. We made the birdie!

From tax returns and retirement to business and personal insurance – and so much more - our firm is committed to providing the best in personal service with a “total client service” approach.

WEDDING BELLS: June 7, 2004, Riviera Maya, Mexico. CHILDREN: Hudson, age 14 (eighth grade). PETS: Gracie, our mini-labradoodle.

John S. Harwood,


FAMILY ACTIVITIES ENJOYED TOGETHER: We love to travel, try new adventures, play basketball and board games and spend weekends with friends on our houseboat.

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Tax return preparation/planning • Financial statement preparation Consulting Services • And many more... Alliance Insurance Group of Arkansas, Inc (AIGA) Independent Insurance Agency

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We welcome an opportunity to serve you. Call today to schedule a free consultation Dot and Kent Welch with their son, Hudson.

Conway, 1504 Caldwell (501) 327-1040 • Perryville, Hwy. 10 (501) 889-5116


Securities Offered through St. Bernard Financial Services, Inc Member FINRA-SIPC April 2020 501lifemag.com | 27


Deep roots

Family has ties to Searcy schools, UCA Story and photo by Megan Stroud

Searcy High School senior Mason Putman is surrounded by family members who have grown deeply rooted ties in the Searcy School District and with the University of Central Arkansas. In the Searcy schools, his grandmother was an English teacher and librarian, his great uncle was the principal, his great aunt was the counselor and home economics teacher, and his parents met at Searcy High. While he may be continuing to follow in his family’s footsteps by attending UCA in the fall, he plans to make his own legacy. “I definitely am finding my own way there, creating my own legacy,” he said. “My parents were really open about it. They wanted me to go to the school that I liked the most, the one that fit me the best. “I feel like UCA fits me the best and is going to be helpful for what I want to do later in life.” Mason, a center on the Searcy High School state championship football team, tore his ACL and MCL at the end of his sophomore season. Through physical therapy, he only missed the off season and was playing again by the time his junior year began. “I saw how helpful they were and how they

28 | 501 LIFE April 2020

I saw how helpful they were and how they change lives. You take someone who can barely walk and then turn them into someone who can play football again. I just think that is really cool to be involved in something. I was not super psyched about it, but they made me want to come every day. I wanted to be like them.

— Searcy High School Senior Mason Putman change lives,” Mason said. “You take someone who can barely walk and then turn them into someone who can play football again. I just think that is really cool to be involved in something. I was not super psyched about it, but they made me want to come every day. I wanted to be like them.”

After deciding to pursue physical therapy, UCA was the obvious choice for Mason. He plans to graduate with a kinesiology degree and apply for the Professional Doctor of Physical Therapy program at UCA. Even in high school, Mason has already given time to serving others through his love for athletics. In addition to his involvement in Fellowship of Christian Athletes and with the high school football team, he also coaches for Project Unity, an organization through Searcy High with teams of special needs students who want to be involved in athletics like basketball and football. “I love Searcy because it is such a tight community,” Mason said. “You kind of know everybody and if you need help you can always ask. Everybody cares about you here. Conway is a bigger town than Searcy, but I feel like Conway is the same way. Everybody is tightly knit together, especially the UCA community.” As Mason prepares to graduate high school in May and begin classes at UCA in August, he knows he has the support of his entire family behind him. “They have always supported me no matter what I do,” Mason said. “Everybody has come and supported me and they are going to do everything they can to help me.”

Searcy High School senior Mason Putman plans to attend the University of Central Arkansas in the fall and pursue a kinesiology degree.



ur new INTEGRATED HEALTH SCIENCES BUILDING, opening fall 2021, will foster an interprofessional

educational environment that replicates real-life health care scenarios, as well as provide room for 50 additional nursing students. Beyond that? More than 90% of our health care graduates remain in the state to practice.

Go here. Go anywhere.


April 2020 501lifemag.com | 29

NEIGHBORS saltillo

Buds, bees and butterflies Meet Faulkner County’s ‘Butterfly Lady’

Betty Baxter has earned her fame as the area’s Butterfly Lady. A retired teacher, she has been a Master Gardener since 2008. Story and photos by Dwain Hebda

In a lot of ways, Betty Baxter’s plot in the Saltillo area of Central Arkansas hasn’t changed much over the generations. Every year, there’s a large patch of vegetables waving in the sun – corn, peppers, beans and tomatoes – just like there were in the days of her childhood working the soil with her mother. There’s still canning and freezing to be done at harvest time too, to preserve summer’s produce outside of the growing season. But in other ways, the gardening Baxter does here around her home, situated on 50 ancestral acres, is very different from days gone by. Baxter, a retired science teacher of some 28 years, has turned the family homestead into a showpiece of gardening diversity, each area serving a different purpose. “I have a designated butterfly garden, and then I have one bed that’s just irises and then I have a rain garden that collects the rainwater from our house,” she said. “I have a few shady spots where I have hostas and ferns. I have an herb garden that’s separate. I have several different areas around.” The showpiece of the acreage is the butterfly garden and it is here that Baxter earned her fame as the area’s Butterfly Lady. The plat attracts several species of the colorful insects, which during her working years she didn’t hesitate to introduce into her classroom. She found the subject of gardening for butterflies as irresistible to middleschoolers as her bright blooms were to monarchs. 30 | 501 LIFE April 2020

Betty takes pride in her efforts to grow good vegetables and beautiful flowers.

Gardening for butterflies Planting for pollinators such as butterflies and bees serves an important purpose in a yard’s ecosystem. Not only do these insects help propagate plants by carrying pollen from one bloom to the other, but finding a habitat in which they can thrive helps strengthen the population of the insects. The following are Betty Baxter’s tips for creating a welcoming environment for these colorful garden tenants. • Plant nectar flowers that provide food for the adults, including those that bloom in spring,

summer and fall. Choose red, orange, yellow and purple flowers, as butterflies favor these colors. Plant groups of the same flowers as they are easier for butterflies to see than individual blooms planted alone. Select plants that are native to the area; they will appeal to local butterfly species and require less attention than non-native plants. Provide a wide variety of food plants to attract the greatest diversity of visitors. Plant caterpillar host plants and learn to love chewed leaves. Butterflies lay their eggs on host plants as a food source for the emerging caterpillars. Planting an adequate and varied supply of host plants will result in a variety butterflies that will continue to visit the garden.

Provide a wet sand or mud area as a water source to provide needed salts and nutrients. A shallow bowl of wet sand with some added salt will encourage “puddling” or a gathering of several butterflies. Include a basking area. Butterflies are coldblooded and need the sun to warm themselves. Leave an open area or place a large, flat rock in the butterfly garden for a warm surface when temperatures are cool. Use NO PESTICIDE as this will kill butterflies. Instead, plant marigolds, petunias, mint and other herbs that naturally repel pests. Encourage ladybugs and dragonflies to dine in your garden. Or, simply wash pests away with a spray from the water hose.

Gardening for butterflies requires certain trade-offs, such as viewing chewed-up vine leaves as a sign of successful habitat, not an invading horde to be eradicated. You have to be comfortable around bees, too. Baxter’s stand of salvia, passion flower, echinacea and blanketflower buzzes with as many chubby bumblebees as delicate, graceful butterflies. “Meeting their needs would include having host plants, nectar plants, water, shelter, a good sunny area,” she said. “Butterflies will come for the flowers, but they’ll stay longer if they have a place to lay their eggs and for their young to grow.” It’s hard to believe for all this beauty that Baxter’s mother, Ethel Daves, wasn’t much of a flower person, favoring more practical vegetables instead. The riotous blooms on Baxter’s grounds today is a nod to her aunt, Mame Banks, whose skill raising flowers matched Daves’ knack for produce. Time, experience and getting in sync with Mother Nature have done the rest. “Just going out into nature and seeing where they plant themselves and are thriving well gives you an idea of what to plant in your yard and where,” she said. “You can’t command them to do this, that or the other. With a little more work, you can have a more manicured look, but you have to let native plants be who they are, really. It’s just gonna have a little bit more unruly look to it.” Baxter said the secret to attracting butterflies specifically is to be considerate of all of their needs – food, shelter and water – at each stage of the lifecycle. One easily overlooked aspect of creating butterfly habitat is shelter, she said. “Shelter would be a brushy area, places with sticks and twigs they can get into,” she said. “They actually escape winter weather or bad weather in leaves of trees and underneath branches, so I keep a little grown-up area.” Though retired, Baxter continues to teach; having attained the rank of Master Gardener in 2008, she gives talks and presentations on gardening for pollinators, especially her beloved butterflies. And no matter where she tinkers around in the family dirt, she still finds abundant joy in growing things. “I grew up with five brothers and sisters and so we always had a large vegetable garden,” she said. “As a child it was a chore and it was a necessity because that’s what the family was going to survive on through the winter. “Today it’s a sense of accomplishment. I have pride that I can grow good vegetables and beautiful flowers. I just love it.”

April 2020 501lifemag.com | 31


Healthy choices CAPCA offers community garden, market

Melissa Allen (left) and Tiffany Leach at the CAPCA community garden. (Mike Kemp photos) by Kiera Oluokun

Having access to fresh produce may be commonplace to some, but for many individuals and families, community gardens help mitigate some of the financial obstacles associated with buying fresh fruit and vegetables. Community gardens are economically friendly while promoting healthier dietary options. The Community Action Program for Central Arkansas (CAPCA) is helping residents incorporate more fresh foods into their diet. CAPCA caters to low-income individuals and families to provide services and resources to assist them in achieving economic security. Several of their programs allow community members to gain education to help improve their current financial situations, one of those programs being the CAPCA community garden. Community Programs Director Melissa Allen said that managing CAPCA’s community garden has been a fun learning experience. “This is an awesome 32 | 501 LIFE April 2020

opportunity for people to try things that maybe they would not try otherwise, as well as educate them on healthier food options.” The garden is open year-round; however, summer yields the highest attendance. Each summer, CAPCA kicks off the program by purchasing seed starter kits to encourage community members to try their hand at growing their own garden. “A lot of people take the seed starter packs, but some don’t. It’s just the whole education piece of trying to promote those healthy choices.” The community garden began in 2017 when Little Rock television station THV11 contacted United Way for ideas on an organization to sponsor in Conway. The garden is now funded each year by United Way and CSBG (Community Services Block Grant), although Melissa says that it does not take much funding to maintain. There is a total of four gardens located at the CAPCA office. Asparagus, squash, zucchini, tomatoes, peppers and strawber-

ries are just a few of the foods that the community garden has produced over the years. The idea of community is a vital component to ensure the garden’s success. Melissa recalls going to the office one Saturday and hearing two women laughing and talking in the garden while harvesting greens. The garden is open to any community member and there is no income guidelines associated with harvesting the produce. The only regulation is that garden goers do not take any more than what they actually need for their meals. CAPCA often supplements the garden with fruits and vegetables from the Arkansas Food Bank or local grocery stores to ensure that garden goers receive the produce that they need. The supplemented produce is available on veggie carts located in the garden. In addition to the supplemented fruits and vegetables, Melissa urges local farmers to also consider donating to the community garden. “If

there are any local farmers that have anything extra that they would like to donate, then we would love to give it to the clients,” said Melissa. Although there is not an exact number on those who frequent the garden, Melissa says that it gives more than 1,000 people access to fresh fruit and vegetables. If community members do not harvest the produce, CAPCA will harvest the food and put it in their office for clients to come pick up or they will take the produce to their student market, a new program. The student market is geared toward educating youth on healthier food choices while establishing and supporting their independence. “When parents are low-income, they are not always going to purchase fruits and vegetables for kids to try — we have trouble getting adults to try them,” said Melissa. If families are able to have access to free fruits and vegetables, kids are more likely to try new things. The kids come during school breaks to the market to shop for their own food. “It’s all about student empowerment,” said Melissa. “The kids learn how to fill out applications and do their paperwork — it just gets them to socialize with our staff and our volunteers.” When the students go out to do their shopping, guardians are asked to stay back. Melissa said that the kids are always so excited to be able to shop and prepare their own food. The foods available do not have to be prepared by an open flame to ensure the child’s safety. Although students are encouraged to try new things, there are limits on the quantity.

Melissa said CAPCA will accept donations, including sunscreen, chap-stick, soap and even laundry soap for the market. “You should see those little kindergarteners trying to carry that large thing of laundry soap out — and the guardians that bring them are just astounded.” More than anything, Melissa said the kids are excited to be a contributor to their household. “They have the best heart — these kids do.” Although they do implement income restrictions, CAPCA does not deny children for the student market. The students do not have to provide proof of income to participate; however, they do have to declare their household income — meaning provide a statement of income without verification. During this process, Melissa said it is a real educational experience for the students. “They learn that their parents have names, they learn their address, they learn all of that data without providing information such as their parent’s social security number.” Melissa stated that if CAPCA has the funds and donations, the agency would like to operate the student market during every school break. During the shorter breaks, depending on what day the student comes in, CAPCA provides what they will need for the rest of the week versus the 2 weeks’ worth of food that they receive in the summer. The community garden and the student market are both located at 707 Robins St., in Conway. The student market is in Suite 120 when open. For more information, visit CAPCA’s Facebook page: CAPCA Community Action Program for Central Arkansas.

The student market at CAPCA. During the summer break, they are allowed 14 breakfasts, 14 lunches, 28 snacks and five drinks. Last year, CAPCA added hygiene products and household products. After shopping at the market, students are also encouraged to go to the garden to harvest fresh fruits and vegetables.


Just like you.

You don’t take a break from taking care of the ones who matter most. Our people can appreciate that. At Conway Corp, we never stop thinking about the families we serve throughout the community. We’re a part of the big moments, as well as the mundane. And the goal? Making sure you don’t have to think about us.


Powering Conway since 1929.


(501) 450-6000




April 2020 501lifemag.com | 33


The debt-free home that Lindsey and Timothy Ralston built in the Sherwood area.

Our debt-free dream home I can remember so many times in my life when I have been in the middle of a project and thought it might never be over. It may sound odd, but something I have always found comforting in those situations is that I can’t stop time. If I could, I might just say, “Time out! This is too hard. Forget it.” Lindsey For example, in Ralston college, it never failed A Sherwood native, Lindsey is the that professors would wife of Timothy Ralston. She’s a give us all of our semester former first grade teacher and a projects to do at the same current homeschooling mother. She and Timothy built their Big time. It was almost like House in the Woods debt-free they had a meeting to and they enjoy it with their three children and two dogs. To see her coordinate the day they blog, visit bighouseinthewoods. would drop this big load com. Lindsey can be reached at bighouseinthewoods@yahoo.com. on us. I would comfort myself by remembering that I can’t stop time. The end of the semester was going to come and there was nothing I could do about it. I would chip away at those projects little by 34 | 501 LIFE April 2020

To learn more about the Ralston dream house project, visit bighouseinthewoods. com and read the “Project Dream House” articles. little each day and soon they would be completed. This theory also held true when I was having my three children. I gave birth to the first two med-free. (I actually had our son in our living room with a midwife in attendance.) My thoughts about time brought me comfort then, too. Those babies were coming whether I was ready or not. (In case you’re wondering, Baby No. 3 was not born med-free. I loved every minute of that epidural.) During the summer of 2016, my husband and I found ourselves embarking on the biggest task we had ever set our minds to. After looking for the perfect piece of land in Central Arkansas for years, we had finally found it. It was five beautiful wooded acres near my husband’s work and we were going to build our dream home on it.

We had been socking away money for years and planning for this very moment. On my blog, I have written about how we didn’t eat cheese or meat as we saved money (they cost more than rice and beans, you know). We did a lot of things that some people might consider “radical” to save money, but it was going to pay off (pun intended). Not only were we going to build our dream home, but we were also going to build it debt-free. To make our hard-earned savings go further, we decided to be our own general contractors. We had never built anything before, but we had this wild idea that we could pull it off. I mean, can’t you accomplish anything by just Googling it? Well, just about. We did Google A LOT, we read good books about building, and we were blessed with people who gave us sound advice. (As a side note, we were building out of city limits, so we didn’t need a contractor’s license.) Now, I know general contractors work hard. There are a lot of things, people and materials to coordinate when you are building a house. However, we would have spent a lot more money had we hired someone else to coordinate those things for us. We estimate that we saved more than $65,000 by being our own general contractors. One thing all of our research didn’t talk about

Lindsey and Timothy built their dream home on five beautiful wooded acres. is the job of “That Guy.” As we were coordinating subcontractors to work on parts of our house (i.e. concrete guys, plumbers, framers, roofers, etc.), things would come up. For example, the electrician told us the plumber was supposed to install the drier vent, but the plumber said it was the electrician’s job. Also, we bought a tubular skylight to be installed in the stairwell. The roofers installed the part that goes on the roof, but who is the guy that installs the tube through the attic then cuts a hole in the Sheetrock so the light can pass through to the stairwell? As these things came up, my husband and I would say, “Who’s the guy that’s supposed to do that?” Then, one day it hit us, WE are “That Guy.” So, in case you’re wondering, I climbed up into our tiny attic over the stairwell, crawled like an inchworm around the air conditioning unit and installed that tubular skylight myself. We got a quote of $5,000 to do the interior painting. So, I did it myself. I read a book and learned how to tile the showers. My husband and I did the stonework around the front door. We also installed all the interior doors and stained the cabinets. As I sit here today, writing to you and watching my sweet children play in our living room, I can firmly say, “It was worth it.” Now, I’m not going to lie to you. Being your own general contractor takes some grit and determination. I feel like I spent endless amounts of time on the phone coordinating sub-contractors or on the phone with my husband as he coordinated sub-contractors but it was worth it. I’m glad I couldn’t stop time and give up! We have a lot of pride in our home (as well as a lot of blood, sweat and tears), we learned a lot and we saved a ton of money. To quote Nelson Mandela, “It always seems impossible until it’s done.”

The couple enjoys their Big House in the Woods with their three children and two dogs. April 2020 501lifemag.com | 35


Sharing my small church experience I was christened and later baptized in a large, beautiful local church, but was very familiar with our parents’ small country churches. My church had a massive pipe organ; the country churches had a clinky piano or maybe not. My church had steam heat and impressive light fixtures; the country Vivian Lawson churches had wood Hogue or gas stove heat and hanging light bulbs. A native of Conway, Vivian My church had lovely Lawson Hogue graduated from the University of Central stained-glass windows; Arkansas with a degree in art the country versions were education. A retired teacher, she worked in the Conway School proud of their panes of District for 23 years. She can be old, wavy clear glass. reached at vhogue@conwaycorp. net. As a lover of classical music, I was captivated by our big-church music even as a child. You know – Mozart, Bach, Beethoven and others who were not “one-hit wonders.” Conversely, it was the small church renditions of the old hymns that inspired me with wonderful tunes and exquisite, poetic lyrics. I observed many other differences including indoor bathrooms vs. outhouses; water fountains vs. water buckets with dented dippers; and brass collection plates vs. whatever change jingled in the pocket of a hill man’s worn overalls. But oh, how the country preachers could preach and teach! Some waved their ragged Bibles as if to say, “Here’s your proof!” For better or worse, they swayed as they heartily sang the ancient, mostly English and Scot hymns. The word “church” as a structure was not always called such. The word originally meant a single band of believers, non-denominational in theory. The Apostle Paul spoke of the Church as being “one body with many members.” People gathered to worship, not to make an appearance or to sit in a certain pew, but to learn about and worship their God. In fact, they had no seating except perhaps on the ground, certainly not on plush cushions. In early scriptures a place of worship was on a hill, at a riverside, perhaps in a temple without airconditioning, but “conditioned by air.” Some would later worship in secret in caves, tunnels and forests. In some countries it is still necessary today. Today the place of worship, or “church,” is more often the building of a denomination. I have observed our local churches increase in number, members and physical size. In my childhood, our town enjoyed small congregations as well as what today would be considered “mega-churches.” These comparisons came to mind recently when I had an opportunity to speak with the pastor of a local small church. Pastor John Burleson ministers to his congregation at the Robinson Avenue Baptist Church at Robinson Avenue and Mitchell Street in the Robinson Historic District. My memory still sees two residences that once occupied the 36 | 501 LIFE April 2020

Robinson Avenue Baptist Church is located in the Robinson Historic District in Conway. spot where this modern, tree-shaded, Southern Baptist church now stands. Burleson, one of six siblings and a native of Pine Bluff, and his wife, Tammy, have two grown sons with families who live elsewhere in the state. He attended Conway’s Central Baptist College, receiving a degree in Bible with a minor in history in 1986. Pastor Burleson served his first church in Carlisle in 1980, followed by Pine Bluff, Damascus, Camden and Greenbrier, to which they came in 2011. He and Tammy brought a refreshing presence to the Robinson Avenue Baptist Church in 2018. He is also employed as a construction inspector with the Arkansas Department of Transportation and, when he has time, enjoys woodworking and playing golf. Tammy is a branch office administrator with Edward Jones in Greenbrier. Burleson is, by members’ statements, a patient teacher and explainer of the Bible with his knowledge, excitement and humor. Each Sunday his attendees are equipped with their “textbooks” and highlighters. Occasional “amens” punctuate teach-

ings. The genuinely friendly members sing the old songs and welcome visitors to share in their uplifting hour of teaching and encouragement. Of course, there are a few hurdles involving finances, as have most small churches. Then there are governmental issues because churches are considered “businesses.” In recent years, churches in local residential neighborhoods are limited in sign dimensions, sometimes causing a lack of notice by potential members. Large churches of various denominations are considered to be megachurches if their members number 2000-plus. Even at Pentecost, this was not unusual! Some churches of the 1500s through the early 1900s had from 5,000 to 10,000 worshippers. Today, churches of those sizes often have satellite campuses. Renowned pastor Jack Graham is a native of Conway and a former member of Conway’s First Baptist Church. He now ministers to the 30,000-member Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas. Even he says, “An important aspect

of leading a large church is making sure people are connected to the church, not just letting them become faces in the crowd.” He must train others to help toward that aim, all the while composing his messages and overseeing the church’s Facebook and website as well as finances regarding employees and church maintenance. Our local megachurches and small churches must do that, too, but with many fewer members and less finances. Pastor Burleson says, “I think the greatest need in smaller churches is people who are willing to serve. They share similar needs with larger congregations, but have a smaller pool of workers from which to draw.” He adds, “Having served in both large and small churches, I would also say that the commitment to church attendance can be a little more obvious in smaller congregations. The absence of a couple of families might constitute 10 percent of attendance that day. If those absentees fill positions of service, the issue is compounded. But you have to balance those absences with the need for people to get away for vacation, family events and other ways for them to recharge.” He further states, “I’m not convinced that the size of a given church is as important to God as we may think. I’ve seen the Lord’s blessings in both. We possibly waste energy arguing the merits of church size. To my ‘bigger-is-better’ friends, I would say Jesus started with 12. For my ‘smaller-is-more-spiritual’ friends, I remind them that the church at Jerusalem was quite large. Regardless of size, every church has the same calling – to obey the Great Commandment (Matthew 22:37-39) while fulfilling the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20). Here is where I am convinced our collective energy should be spent.” If one visits a church, there are questions that could be considered. Is it conveniently located? What is one’s first impression? Are teachings biblically faithful? Is it helpful to take a Bible with you? Does the worship format and type of music matter? Are the members and staff congenial? Do you feel they want to know you better and would want to help in sickness or strife? Are you willing to serve? A matter for myself is, even if it is time for dismissal and Cracker Barrel is open, would I rather stay and hear more teachings? In my country church experience, members stayed until the last shaped-note was sung, the latest new baby was admired and it was time to go wring a hen’s neck for a late Sunday dinner. Actually, even Cracker Barrel couldn’t beat that.

Tammy and Pastor John Burleson, who ministers to his congregation at the Robinson Avenue Baptist Church at Robinson Avenue and Mitchell Street in the Robinson Historic District in Conway. (Vivian Hogue photos)

April 2020 501lifemag.com | 37



Surgeon reflects on 30-year career

After returning to Conway, Dr. Mike Stanton founded what is now Conway Regional Surgical Associates and began a surgical practice that has spanned 26 years in the City of Colleges. by John Patton

Blessed is how Mike Stanton, MD, describes his life. Looking back on his 30-year career as a general surgeon, Stanton is continuing to find joy in his work. “It is just a privilege to be able to work on the human body and to be involved in peoples’ lives when they are in need,” said Stanton. “The human body has always been fascinating to me. It is so complex; there’s so much we still don’t know about it.” While his interest in medicine was peaked in elementary school when he read a book about the Mayo brothers, he opted for dental school in Memphis after he met and married his wife, Denise. “I 38 | 501 LIFE April 2020

got scared. I was worried about surviving in medical school with a family,” Stanton said. However, he soon found himself drawn to the medical aspects of dentistry and found a mentor in William F. “Chubby” Andrews, a Memphis surgeon he met at a Bible study. Andrews eventually helped him get a job as a scrub assistant. “I assisted with heart surgery, orthopedics, ENT, general surgery and others,” said Stanton. “He was just a prince of a guy.” Through Andrews, Stanton began to realize that “you could be a surgeon and still have a family.” Eventually Stanton left dental school, took the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) exam and enrolled in medical school at UAMS. It was there that

he met two other surgeons, Drs. Dale Morris and Cliff Parnell, who would become his partners after he completed his medical training nine years later. He was part of the surgical practice in Little Rock for four years. “I learned so much; the most important thing was how they both really cared about people,” said Stanton. It was his love of family that eventually brought him back to his hometown. “Conway was growing and the hospital was growing, and at that point we had four children and we started thinking that Conway would be a better place to raise our family,” Stanton said. It was in Conway that he founded what is now Conway Regional Surgical Associates and began a surgical

practice that has spanned 26 years in the City of Colleges. At the time, general surgeons also performed vascular and thoracic surgery. Currently general surgery includes thyroid, breast, colon, gallbladder procedures and treating such conditions as hernias, diverticulitis (inflamed pouches in the intestines) bumps and other issues. Stanton is also sought after for vasectomy reversals. “I have had patients from every state, Canada and Great Britain,” he said. “The procedure started off as a mission to help families and it has become a huge part of my practice and life.”

Innovative care for cancer During his lengthy career, Dr. Stanton has seen his share of innovative procedures. “The biggest thing during my career has been the advance of laparoscopic surgery. That’s been very helpful for the patient because the recovery time is usually much shorter,” he said. He added, “We have come a long way in learning about different types of cancer and how to treat them. It’s a team approach now involving a medical oncologist and sometimes a radiation oncologist. We have just learned so much more about how to treat patients.” For instance, a diagnosis of breast cancer no longer means that chemotherapy is an automatic protocol. “We’ve got more genetic studies we can do. We’ve got more targeted treatments,” Stanton said. “Some women progress better with chemo before surgery, which is something that we never did in the past.”

In the future, he expects the use of robotic surgical technology to continue to grow in certain specialties. Stanton says future surgeons will also rely more and more on multidisciplinary approaches, often working with a team of other medical specialists. “There are nuances to treatment that involve several physicians. We get better outcomes as we learn more about disease processes,” he said. While breakthroughs have been made in cancer care, it does involve some of the most difficult times for patients and physicians. “Obviously some of it is heartbreaking,” said Stanton. “It is important to be honest with patients, I don’t tell someone you’ve got this long to live. That’s God’s business.” He recalled instances in which a patient was given a short life expectancy and is still alive. “I love to be able to work with patients and help improve their quality of life and, sometimes, extend their lives,” he said.

and all of us need to be doing our best to achieve the best quality for the patient.” Stanton believes he is where God wants him to be. “It’s been a huge blessing to me. Not many people get to do what I have done in the town they grew up in. I have operated on countless people who have been big influences in my life.” Stanton strives to serve the community as a surgeon and a community leader. In support of health care in Conway, he will become chief of the medical staff at Conway Regional in January and is also a cochair of the Conway Regional Health Foundation’s upcoming capital campaign. A University of Central Arkansas graduate, he served on the UCA Board of Trustees from 2002 through 2009 and is currently fulfilling a term on the state Department of Higher Education Coordinating Board, which oversees four and two-year public universities. “I just want to be available. If I can’t help as a surgeon then I want to get them the information they need in another area,” he said.

Got to have faith

Takeaway for the public

Stanton turns to his spiritual life during the difficult times. “My spiritual life is the most important thing to me. I think God puts us where we need to be,” he said. “It’s a sobering thing to have surgery. I try to pray with patients when I can and I have never had anybody say ‘I wish you hadn’t done that.’ ” His faith has also given him deeper appreciation of the Conway Regional staff in that “every person you work around has a significant role at the hospital. None of us are more important than the other,

His vast experience as a surgeon has convinced Stanton of the importance of leading a healthy lifestyle. “In terms of my particular practice, we see a lot more diverticulitis; some of that is genetics but some of it is related to diet,” Stanton said. “After I started my practice, most of the people we would see with diverticulitis were in their 70s. As I got farther along, I started noticing people in their 50s, then their 40s,

Stanton continued on Page 79


Doctor ‘pulled off a miracle’

Dr. Ethan Munzinger (left) and Jim Baugh Jones. by Taryn Brown

For Searcy resident Jim Baugh Jones, golfing is not just a hobby; it is part of his everyday routine. Jones has been playing golf since the age of 10 and won a number of tournaments. But this past year almost took him out of the game for good. For more than 15 years, Jones suffered from aches and pain in his leg. The pain caused him to miss playing golf on a regular basis, playing with his grandkids during their beach vacation and doing daily tasks he was accustom to doing. “Golf has been a big part of my life since I was a boy,” Jones said. “I used to go to the course for a couple of hours after work and played golf with a group three times a week. It has been a huge part of my life especially when I retired. I go to church and I play golf. I could barely get through two holes without pain.” He had previously seen three doctors for the pain due to a blocked artery. One doctor performed surgery, which Jones said lasted about eight years, and the other two placed stents to help keep the blocked artery in his leg open, which only lasted 2-3 months. He had just about given up until he heard a new neighbor was moving in next door. Cardiologist Dr. Ethan Munzinger came to the Unity Health – Cardiology Clinic in 2019 and he specializes in treating vascular disease. He treats patients with conditions in the arteries and veins, as well as those with heart conditions. He and his wife, Logan, moved 40 | 501 LIFE April 2020

Jim Baugh Jones and his wife, Barbra. in next door to Jones and his wife Barbra. After the couple’s daughter saw a video from Unity Health of Munzinger on Facebook, she shared it with her parents. Jones said he caught him in the yard and told Munzinger he needed to see him for his leg pain. “When I saw Dr. Munzinger at the office, I just wanted relief from the pain,” Jones said. “I was through with walking in October 2019 because it just hurt too much.” Munzinger said Jones had Peripheral Vascular Disease where an artery in his leg was completely blocked which was causing all his pain. He performed an endovascular procedure to open up the vessel and restore blood flow, and Jones was out of the hospital the same day. After the procedure, Jones immediately went back to the thing he loves. He has been playing golf with no pain since the day he left the hospital.

“It brings joy to me to help patients like Jim Baugh return to the quality of life they had before,” Munzinger said. “The medical community here is exceptional; the doctors, nurses and staff are dedicated, and I feel honored to be part of that. Unity Health has been very supportive of this specialty and the technology and equipment they brought into the Cath Lab to treat vascular patients is amazing.” “In my opinion, he pulled off a miracle,” Jones said. “I was not expecting to lose the pain and be able to walk and I was walking when I left the hospital.” Today, Jones is back to playing golf almost every day and says he feels like Dr. Munzinger changed his life for the better both physically and mentally. “I was at the point of quitting,” Jones said. “Mentally I am more upbeat and physically I can walk again. I just feel better, that is all there is to it.” For someone who has been a part of this community for years, Jones is thankful to have access to specialized care close to home. “I think it is an asset to have the hospital and Dr. Munzinger here,” Jones said. “You cannot put a value on it to have someone who does this work. Unity Health is a great hospital and I think we are very fortunate to have the facilities available.” The Unity Health – Cardiology Clinic in Searcy sees all adult patients experiencing cardiac and vascular problems and offers high-quality cardiology and vascular services close to home. For more information about cardiology services, visit unity-health.org.

April 2020 501lifemag.com | 41



Springtime is the perfect time for a tasty and nutritious salad. (Mike Kemp photo)

42 | 501 LIFE April 2020

It’s salad time! With the hints of fresh garden vegetables in the not-so-distant future and spring looming all around, my thoughts will turn again to the hearty salad options. Salads, when kept fresh, interesting and vibrant, never go out of style! Among my favorites are the simple side Don Bingham salads with an amazing homemade dressing, Recognized throughout the the Cobb Salad and the state as an accomplished chef, Don Bingham has authored Niçoise Salad. I have no cookbooks, presented television doubt that you have your programs and planned elaborate favorites as well! Though events. not necessarily a salad, I also enjoy varieties of slaws, especially the Napa cabbage, thinly-sliced with green onions and a lemon vinaigrette. I have listed some refreshing ideas for the coming months, and once tomatoes really taste like a scrumptious Southern delicacy again, there are so many more options to consider! Pair any good salad with crusty bread – with real soft butter of course – or toast points, bread sticks, toasted cornbread, saltines, etc. Better yet, omit the carbs and enjoy a crunch support system in the salad, such as water chestnuts, cashews, pecans and toasted almonds. “Presentation is everything” (a statement that has been around a long time and still has much merit to it)! This is a perfect time to use your favorite china, especially those clear dishes with the Depression glass greens and pinks. And use the real silver! There will be plenty of times to use the plastic and paper plates and give in to standing for the quick meal. Even with a simple but hearty salad, I’m going to decide which

set of silver to use with tonight’s salad, and I may even get out the crystal for my Pepsi Zero! Be creative and plan ahead for all the garden planting; the rewards are great!

SESAME CHICKEN PASTA SALAD 3 lbs. chicken tenders 2 cups toasted almonds 16 oz. fusilli pasta 2 bundles of asparagus Spray a heavy pot with cooking spray. Place frozen chicken tenders in pot; cover with lid. Cook on medium heat for 10-12 minutes. Drain and shred chicken into chunks with a fork; cover and set aside. Toast almonds and cool. Cook pasta al dente. Rinse asparagus and clip ends; blanch in boiling water for 1-2 minutes. Cut into 2-inch chunks and set aside. Prepare Sesame Ginger Dressing. In a large bowl, combine chicken, pasta and asparagus. Add toasted almonds and toss with the dressing.

SESAME GINGER DRESSING 4 tablespoons sesame seeds 1/2 cup frozen orange juice concentrate 1 tablespoon sesame oil 1/4 cup vegetable oil 3/4 cup sugar 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce 1 tablespoon lemon juice 2 teaspoons garlic powder 1 teaspoon ginger 1 teaspoon kosher salt 1/2 teaspoon coarse black pepper In a small skillet on medium heat, toast sesame seeds for about 2 minutes or until golden grown. Set aside to cool. In a blender, mix and then puree orange juice, sesame oil, sugar, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, garlic powder, ginger, salt and pepper. Pour dressing into a container; fold in toasted sesame

seeds. Chill. Mix well before serving.

COBB SALAD 2 heads romaine lettuce 2 lbs. thick-sliced, oven-roasted deli turkey 8 hardboiled eggs 3 avocados 1 lime 3 tomatoes Rinse and chop hearts of romaine lettuce into bite size pieces; chill. Slice deli turkey into 1/2 inch cubes. Peel hardboiled eggs and slice. Slice avocados in half and remove pit; peel and cut into small chunks. Rinse lime and slice in half. Squeeze fresh juice over avocado and toss. Clean and slice tomatoes into 8 sections. Arrange salad ingredients in a glass bowl. Cover and chill before serving with dressing.

COBB DRESSING 1/2 cup vegetable oil 1 cup rice vinegar 1 cup sugar 1 teaspoon kosher salt 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano 1/2 teaspoon dried basil 1/2 teaspoon onion salt 1/2 teaspoon coarse black pepper Combine oil, vinegar, sugar and seasonings together in a blender and mix well. Chill before serving.

BALSAMIC VINAIGRETTE DRESSING 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard 2 teaspoons Italian spices 3/4 cup olive oil 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 1/2 teaspoon coarse black pepper Mix all ingredients in a blender and chill before serving.

April 2020 501lifemag.com | 43



EGG-cellent Easter ideas

44 | 501 LIFE April 2020

Julianne Milner A self-taught baker, Julianne Milner is a caterer, seasonal stylist and owner of Julianne’s Southern Table. She can be reached at julianne60@gmail.com.

In my opinion, nearly all occasions call for, or would be improved with, a little cupcake. Why should Easter be any different? Surprise your family and friends THIS Easter with these delicious nest cupcakes. A tendercrumbed cake with a hint of orange zest, finished with a creamy, decadent cream cheese frosting, this recipe is sure to bring smiles all around! With a nest made of crunchy, chow mein noodles and Whopper malted eggs, it’s a favorite for kids ages

3 to 93! When setting the table for Easter, I tend to go with light colors reminiscent of spring flowers. This year, I’ve chosen a soothing green and white placemat, a wooden charger to bring in some warmth, napkins and stemware in the palest of pink. Old book pages were sent through a shredder to

carry on the nest theme. The eggs are paper mâché eggs that I decoupaged with Easter/bunny-themed cocktail napkins. Such a fun project! To make them you will need: • Printed napkins • Plastic or paper mâché eggs • Modge Podge • A foam brush • Wax paper Begin by opening the napkin; remove the second white paper layer if there is one, and cut the napkin into 2x2 inch squares. Working on a small area, brush a very thin layer of Modge Podge on the egg and place a napkin square there. Gently smooth the napkin with your brush. Continue to work your way around the egg, applying Modge Podge then the napkin square. When the egg is covered, place on a piece of wax paper and let it dry. You may have to come back and put a few squares over thin spots and then let the egg dry once again. I used a matte finish Modge Podge. It is also available in gloss finish. These eggs are beautiful in a variety of containers. I chose to place a nest in my place setting as a reminder of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. I also thought that it would be fun for each guest to have their very own chocolate dessert board.


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Delicious nest cupcakes made with chow mein noodles and malted eggs are perfect for Easter (top left, clockwise). The colorful eggs are beautiful in a variety of containers. Decorative eggs made with Easter napkins and Modge Podge add a nice touch to the Easter table setting. Opposite page: Each guest had their very own chocolate dessert board. (Mike Kemp photos) April 2020 501lifemag.com | 45


Celebrating Energy Smart Homes

Conway Corp’s Energy Smart program is one of the many ways we’re balancing increasing demands for electricity with a commitment to providing affordable rates while enhancing the quality of life for our friends and neighbors. We’re dedicated to making homes in Beth Conway energy efficient, and that’s why we creJimmerson ated the Energy Smart A long-time Conway resident, Beth McCullough Jimmerson is New Home Program to the manager for marketing and recognize builders who communications for Conway Corp. She has a bachelor’s degree implement efficiency from the University of Central construction and equipArkansas and a master’s degree from the University of Arkansas. ment measures. RecogShe can be reached at beth. nized builders adhere to jimmerson@conwaycorp.com. stringent construction guidelines, and Energy Smart Homes are proven by the U.S. Department of Energy to be 20 to 30 percent more energy efficient than a standard built home. Energy Smart Homes combine state-of-the-art energy-efficient construction, windows, appliances and lighting to reduce home energy use as costeffectively as possible. Energy Smart Homes save energy and money, while being more comfortable and durable. Homebuyers should consider the benefits of a Conway Corp Energy Smart Home when looking for a new home. Energy Smart Homes perform better for the homeowner and the environment thanks to a variety of features including insulation, high-performance windows, tight construction and ducts and efficient heating and cooling equipment. All homes that receive the Energy Smart designation are independently audited by a Conway Corp energy professional to ensure proper construction and guidelines have been followed.

Energy Smart features Effective insulation – Properly installed insulation in floors, walls and attics ensures even temperatures throughout the house while reducing energy use. High-performance/low-e windows – Energy-efficient windows employ advanced technologies such as protective coatings and improved frames to help keep heat in during the winter and keep it out during the summer while blocking ultraviolet sunlight that can discolor carpet and furnishings. Tight construction and ducts – A tightly sealed home improves comfort and indoor air quality, while lowering utility and maintenance costs. At the same time, sealing holes and cracks in a home’s envelope and in the heating and cooling duct systems reduces drafts, moisture, dust, pollen and noise. High-efficiency heating and cooling equipment – Energy-efficient, properly installed heating and cooling systems use less energy and save 46 | 501 LIFE April 2020

Rush-Hal Building Management was named Conway Corp’s 2019 Energy Smart Builder of the Year: RushHal employees Jennifer Freyaldenhoven (from left), Angela Mondragon and Diane White, Conway Corp Major Accounts and Energy Efficient Manager David Avra and Rush-Hal Owner Hal Crafton.

money. In addition, they’re quieter, reduce indoor humidity and improve the overall comfort of a home.

Energy Smart benefits Energy savings – Not all homes are energy efficient. Many builders claim their homes are energy efficient, but Energy Smart Builders have the certification to back it up. Lower ownership cost – Compared to standardbuilt homes, Energy Smart Homes use substantially less energy, and energy-efficient homes deliver $300 to $400 in annual savings on energy bills. Over the average seven to eight years a homeowner stays in a home, that adds up to thousands of dollars saved on utility bills. Comfort – Properly installed energy-efficient improvements deliver better protection against cold, heat, drafts, moisture, pollution and noise. Energy Smart Homes ensure consistent temperatures between and across rooms, improved indoor air quality and greater durability.

Peace of mind – Home buying is complex enough without having to know all the details of energy-efficient construction. An Energy Smart Home easily identifies that it is truly energy efficient. Independent testing – Every Energy Smart Home is certified by a Conway Corp energy professional to verify its energy performance and ensure it meets energy-efficiency standards. Conway Corp is proud to work with local builders to ensure homebuyers have high-quality, energyefficient options for homeowners in Conway. Our professionals work with more than 30 companies in the city, including Rush-Hal Building Management that was recently named Conway Corp’s 2019 Energy Smart Builder of the Year. Rush-Hal Building Management built 22 Energy Smart Homes in 2019 and an additional 11 are under construction that will meet the Energy Smart specifications. In total, almost 150 homes were built in 2019 that Conway Corp certified as Energy Smart. Look for the Energy Smart sign in front of Rush-Hal properties and other Conway builders for homes that are certified energy-efficient. Customers interested in learning more about Energy Smart homes or builders interested in building Energy Smart homes can call 501.450.6000 or visit ConwayCorp.com/EnergySmart.

501 LIFE wants to give you the opportunity to hear directly from the experts that make home life a better life in the 501! Whether you are looking for new construction, a home-remodel or any way of making your April 2020 501lifemag.com | 47 Home LIFE better, check out this special section of your local Home and Garden specialists!


Centennial Mortgage Makes It Simple, So You Can Make It Home When searching for a lender or bank, what sets your team apart? We pride ourselves for our exceptional service and strong customer relationships. We maintain a strong commitment to the communities we serve through our involvement with and support of local charities.

Centennial Bank Mortgage Loan Originators:

What is the most important advice that you can give customers when choosing a lender?

(Pictured Left to right)

This can be one of the biggest transactions of your life so having someone you can trust makes all the difference. And never be afraid to ask questions to make sure you understand what you are signing.

Kelsey McEntire NMLS# 1834358

What do you love about living in the 501: We have such a strong community with a small town feel and big city conveniences.

Ashley Newman NMLS# 1268524

Destiny Lankford NMLS# 1961683 Lindsey French NMLS# 67541 Nancy Cuthbertson-Phillips NMLS# 675409

My100Bank.com / HomeBancShares Company (NASDAQ: HOMB) 48 | 501 LIFE April 2020

Mike and Barbara Wallace, Owners

How long have you been in business? Mallard has been serving the 501 area and beyond for more than 22 years. Whether with custom homes or light commercial, we have built a solid reputation for honesty, innovation and style.

What sets your business apart?

At Mallard, we work to do the right thing in all situations. Our business is conducted with honesty and integrity. Our belief that we succeed by steadily building trust with our clients, contractors and our entire 501 community, is evidenced by our many repeat clients.

What is the most important advice you can give when building or remodeling? e believe that paying special attention to budgets, schedules and communication are essential. These things are all a part of Mallard’s open book policy.


April 2020 501lifemag.com | 49

50 | 501 LIFE April 2020

501-499-5885 Scott Lucas, Owner


ou choose our oca ion

I have been in the home industry since the early 2000’s. It was natural progression and transition into real estate development, construction and remodeling.

What sets your business apart from other builders and remodeling companies? have the willingness to take on all obs no matter how large or small. We have built $2,000,000 homes and even changed out water heaters in existing homes. Recently much of our business has been kitchen and bathroom remodels. In addition, we are still building as many homes as ever.

What is the most important advice that you can gi e cus omers en choosing a uil er or remodeling company? It is always a good idea to do some background research, and speak with local material vendors. Visit with realtors or even neighbors who have recently had work completed. We also advise people to not just take our word, but visit our Facebook page, Scott ucas onstruction to see rst-hand the work that we have completed. We would welcome the opportunity to build your new home or remodel your existing home or business.

What do you love about living and having your business in the 501? The most wonderful thing about living in the Faulkner ounty area is the community. ot only did grow up in the community, grew with the community. ve seen the population signs half of what they are now. The business growth and network within Faulkner ounty is leading the state and m thankful to be a part of it. April 2020 501lifemag.com | 51


52 | 501 LIFE April 2020

Zach Watkins, Owner Amber Cope, Business Manager


ou choose our oca ion

I’ve always enjoyed construction and the process of building pro ects. rowing up my grandfather was a mason in orthwest Arkansas and my father was a carpenter so you could say it’s in my to love construction.

What sets your business apart? ustomer Service. Our top priority at Roo ng and onstruction is our homeowners. e don t see a ob but rather an opportunity to make a lasting relationship that we take pride in developing.

How do you help the Homeowner? e o er free roof inspections and work alongside the homeowner through the insurance claims process. The insurance claims process can be overwhelming so we assist homeowners during this and take the time to thoroughly explain what to expect. e o er the highest uality products, cra smanship, and warranties.

What do you love about living in the 501? t s home to us o matter where you go, you re going to see someone you know. People in the 501 genuinely care about one another and support small businesses. Roo ng and onstruction is based in onway and services all of entral Arkansas. We are proud to sponsor the Arkansas Storm Team with KARK 4 and FOX 16. We love our community and all the amazing opportunities we have to give back.

501-428-0429 www h roo ng-constr ction com April 2020 501lifemag.com | 53

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Dream blooms


Where seeds were planted, flowers grew When I close my eyes and think of a flower farm, I am whisked away to a warm hillside, walking between manicured rows of shrubs and stems, heavy with the weight of colorful puffs and pompoms. Wisps of floral perfumes drift across my path from here and there. On my imaginary Donna Benton stroll, I collect seeds and put them in the pockets of Donna Benton is a maker of my pink plaid apron. My custom home furnishings and specializes in classic painted bare feet press slightly into finishes for antique and vintage the cool earthen path, just furniture. You can see her work enough to get the sensation at WaterHouseMarket.com. of the dirt between my toes. I’m searching for another perfect bloom to add to the handful of flowers that I have collected along the way. A kaleidoscope of colors on the opposite hillside catches rays of sunlight and waves gently with the wind. When I open my eyes, I know that at a real flower farm, they are battling late frosts and scorching heat and weeds and bugs. My cute apron probably wouldn’t last long and I should definitely put some boots on those bare feet! I know it’s 99 percent dirt and sweat, and sleeping with one eye open watching the weather, and it’s 1 percent blooms! But I can’t help but think that the reward is worth all the hard work. I met Ledna Johnson many years ago at her “day job” as a hair stylist. I would sit in her chair and we would swap stories about flowers, gardens and our dream jobs. With a backdrop of snipping scissors and billowing hair dryers, I could always envision her flower farm, much like the daydream that I just described. If I were going to start a flower farm, first I would lay out all the space that I thought I would need; plots for annuals and perennials, tubers here, roses there, equipment, fences, greenhouses, a pond and a watering system. Just the thought of it makes it seem almost unattainable. Do you know what Ledna did? She planted some flower seeds, and guess what happened. Some flowers grew! At first, they were just for her own enjoyment. Her husband, JJ, began to take notice of the flowers in the yard and he would be a little sad when Ledna would clip the blooms for a bouquet. So they planted some more. When their daughter began thinking about a wedding, Ledna and JJ set aside a whole field to grow flowers for her special day. Let’s stop right here and think about this for a minute. There is no doubt that fresh flowers make a wedding, but what about fresh flowers, lovingly planted, grown and harvested by your own loved ones,

Flower continued on Page 57

Don’t be fooled by the cozy velvet chair. Work goes on here. This potting shed is where seeds become sprigs and blooms are transformed into fabulous flower arrangements. (Makenzie Evans photos) April 2020 501lifemag.com | 55

JJ Johnson is a rugged fella but he can make a flower arrangement like nobody’s business.

Earthy bulbs are ready to go in the ground.

This is where Ledna Johnson turns bulbs, seeds, compost and dirt into beautiful arrangements of blooms.

Fresh picked flowers-of-the-day. 56 | 501 LIFE April 2020

A place to work and kick off muddy boots.

Trays of baby seedlings get a head start.

Bundles of fresh-picked flowers are ready to make someone smile.

Flower continued from Page 55 just for you? I’m not crying! You are! So they tilled and amended soil and planted and grew more and more. So much so, that last summer they thought they would take a trial run at the flower business. They put out the word around the area and on social media, and demand for her local fresh flowers

took off. They gave their flower business a name, Southern Tradition Farm. Today they are busy prepping for more production this summer. New greenhouses are going in, roses and a you-pick sunflower field, more local flowers for brides and designers, and they are planning to offer full service design for weddings and events. They just finished a potting shed where seedlings are getting a

head start, and where cut flowers will turn into beautiful arrangements this summer. Like a farm-to-table restaurant, or a farmers market, there is just something about fresh local flowers, grown with care by your friends and neighbors, right from the earth in the place that you live. It just seems more

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A Romantic Idyll

SATURDAY, APRIL 25 • 7:30 PM Close out our 35th season with a romantic evening of Wagner and Brahms, plus our Concerto Competition Champion.

Vintage green glass vases wait in the window for fresh blooms.

Blooms continued from Page 57

Reynolds Performance Hall UCA Campus, Conway Tickets (501) 450-3265 ConwaySymphony.org

right than something that came to a big box store on a refrigerated truck. Ledna and JJ both have real jobs, but they roll in from work and get busy on the business of blooms. JJ is a pretty rugged guy with broad shoulders and a burly beard, but the twinkle in his eye is unmistakable when he talks about the flower farm. He’s out there every day helping turn Ledna’s flower farm dream into petals and blooms. Don’t be fooled by his rustic demeanor. He has

a good eye for design and he can make a fabulous flower arrangement like nobody’s business! It turns out that flower farming is not really as glamorous as one might think; sweaty work, rocks, bugs and weeds, dirt always under your fingernails, and bunnies! Those darn flower bud-eating bunnies! But Ledna and JJ work together in the most beautiful way. They grow flowers that cause smiles and happiness, and they are cultivating their dream flower farm and watching it bloom and blossom into something wonderful from just a few seeds.

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How to use, enjoy vintage china

Let’s have a show of hands. Who’s got Grandma’s china stuffed up in that Donna Benton little cabinet Donna Benton is a maker of above custom home furnishings and specializes in classic painted the finishes for antique and vintage refrigfurniture. You can see her work erator at WaterHouseMarket.com. next to the electric knife that is still in its box? Or is it in the china cabinet where it’s been sitting so long that its stuck to the shelf? You can’t get rid of it because Grandpa sold a mule to buy it. And you don’t use it much because every time you set the table with it, it looks like you are having some heads of state over for tea and watercress sandwiches, whatever those are. I have a confession. I like vintage china. Each piece is a little handcrafted work of art, not only in the artistic painted patterns but also in the craftsmanship to form the piece itself. Let me be more transparent. I may have an obsession with vintage china. But it’s the perfect vice! It’s harmless, easy to find and cheap, just like Netflix, my other obsession! My grandma’s china was once stuck to my shelf too, until I figured out how to use it and still be cool, and I’m going to share that with you.

Mix and match it. This is how you get past that Victorian tea party look. You can start with Grandma’s set if you want to. It would make her happy. Then blend in a mismatched menagerie of sizes and patterns. You can go with a color or a theme, but I think the crazier the better. Mix and match styles for serving platters, tea cups, small plates and glasses. No matter what your style is — modern, rustic, farmhouse or industrial — I believe there is a

Home continued on Page 61

A colorful mix of plates and serving dishes pop like museum pieces in this white, glass front cabinet. (Makenzie Evans photos) April 2020 501lifemag.com | 59

Share an unexpected surprise of vintage china at a picnic or backyard dinner party.

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At the Benton house, it’s out with the paper plates and in with the flea market china.

Home continued from Page 59 vintage china that will work with your look.

Not just for special occasions. Mixing and matching china gives your table an eclectic, casual feeling. Think about a bohemian, gypsy, thrown-together kind of look that would be almost the complete opposite of that fancy table that you envisioned when we started talking about china. Some time ago, I replaced paper products in my house with a giant stack of mismatched vintage plates and bowls. I can hear what you are thinking. I’m not handwashing all that china. I know your mother always told you to handwash the china, and I’m sure there are some glassware connoisseurs out there right now drafting their letters to the editor, but I put it all in the dishwasher, and I’m about to tell you why this is ok.

A mix of mismatched blue china on a plank board wall greets visitors in this guest cottage.

It’s cheap! Out there in the world, there are thousands of pieces of china that used to have a position of pride along with its set, on the top shelf of the china cabinet and front center of the family table on Sundays and holidays. But time passed, it saw its comrades fall to gravity, acrylic-ware and estate sales. Maybe it was its set’s lone survivor, dismissed and relegated to

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A display of vintage china frames this recycled metal sink base, which got to stay and take center stage in this new kitchen.

China continued from Page 61 a dusty flea market shelf with stacks of others; alike, but not the same. Its misfortune is your gain though because you can buy mismatched china by the armloads at antique stores and flea markets and give those wayward strays a second chance. My target price is around $5 apiece. The fancy stuff is still expensive, but I just leave those pieces for the collectors. So when it comes to dishwashing, if you only paid $5 for it, put it in the dishwasher! As a side note, I didn’t tell anyone to put their family heirloom china in the dishwasher.

Don’t forget the silverware. Pair your vintage china with old mismatched silverware and serving utensils. I’ve seen $1 bins of old silverware. Go crazy! Here’s a pro tip. Most old silverware is silver plated. Some is made from sterling silver. The latter is worth its weight in silver, literally! There is a real easy way to tell if a piece is sterling silver. Look for the word “sterling” stamped right on it. You have to have good eyes and good luck but maybe you will find a treasure!

Take it outside. I like to use vintage plates for picnics 62 | 501 LIFE April 2020

and backyard meals. It’s a neat unexpected twist. I think a barbecue sandwich looks a lot better on a vintage plate than a crumpet does, whatever a crumpet is.

Display it like art. Because it is. In my pantry, I have several towering stacks of vintage plates and platters of varying shapes and sizes and I have a wire basket full of vintage cafe style coffee cups that are beautiful and functional. One of my favorite tricks for the kitchen or dining room is to display a grouping of old china on the wall. You can buy special hangers or use one of my favorite inventions of the decade, Command Strips. They work most of the time, and if a plate falls off, it was just $5 anyway! I know by now that some of you are already thinking about your strategy to be first in line to inherit the vintage dishware that is still stuck to the shelf in your grandma’s china cabinet. I can’t offer any advice here except to remind you that mismatched china is pretty cheap at your local flea market and in the spirit of staying in good family graces, it might be best to build your collection this way for now. Happy hunting!


Makeover a birthday treat Marilyn Walter of Conway received a special birthday present – a makeover experience. Marilyn’s son and daughter-in-law, Jeremy and Emily, had the high bid on the makeover, which was a silent auction item offered during a Conway Symphony Orchestra Guild fundraising event. Emily was the previous winner of the makeover experience and thought it would make a nice gift for Marilyn. “This was a really special gift,” said Marilyn. Several businesses/individuals donated items for the makeover. Golden Girls store manager Lisa Croson assisted Marilyn with selecting clothes. Mary Johnson, a stylist at Studio West, did Marilyn’s hair. LimeLife by Alcone Beauty Guide Breana Hernandez worked with her on makeup. “I was extremely excited to receive this birthday gift,” said Marilyn. “I enjoyed the entire experience and meeting new people. I’m loving my new clothes and new haircut and I’ve been wanting to try LimeLife skin care and cosmetics.”

Marilyn Walter models her new clothes, hairstyle and makeup from her makeover experience. (Mike Kemp photo)

Marilyn with Mary Johnson (back, left) and Breana Hernandez.

Golden Girls store manager Lisa Croson helps Marilyn with a new outfit. April 2020 501lifemag.com | 63


501 kids


Jobs for everyone in the kitchen

The Gilbert children check out a baking project. I don’t know about you, but it has been really difficult for me to find shows on TV that I can watch with my kids that aren’t cartoons or animated kids shows. Sometimes I want to watch real shows with real humans, but finding one that is kid friendly is almost impossible. Brittany My kids and I have Gilbert really started to bond over cooking and baking Brittany Gilbert is a former FACS teacher at Maumelle High School. shows, and I’m so glad She and her husband, Levi, because they’ve started askhave three children and live in Conway. Brittany can be reached at ing to be involved in the b.gilbert37@gmail.com. kitchen. As a kid, I never felt any desire to learn, and as an adult it’s been more work to teach myself, so I’m thankful to get the opportunity to help my kids. Also, we’re a homeschool family, so cooking together helps reinforce science, math, reading and life skills. 64 | 501 LIFE April 2020

Involve them in the entire process Years ago, when our oldest was just a preschooler, I read a book about transforming entitled youth. Sure, my son was way too young to be considered an entitled teenager, but moms I respected were recommending the book, so I decided to get a head start. This book recommended requiring each child to organize, shop for and prepare one meal a week. They could cook whatever they wanted; they could try a new recipe or go with an easy family favorite. Obviously, I couldn’t do this with a 4-year-old, however, I could modify it for him. So, we would talk about what food he would like to prepare for dinner that night, and I would help him understand what all went in to making a meal from start to finish. He couldn’t do any of the preparation by himself, but he could certainly help. By being involved in the entire process, he saw that his dinner doesn’t magically appear in front of him. Someone lovingly plans, shops and prepares each item. The table is set, and plates are filled, and then when dinner is over, we clean up. The kitchen doesn’t miraculously go back to the way it was before. Start with one meal a week and modify to your

child’s age and ability instead of assuming they can’t help. One day, their future spouse will thank you for equipping them in this way. Give lots of grace A lot of moms I talk to that don’t want to cook with their kids or find it difficult to make the time for it say it’s because they can’t handle the mess. Kids are definitely going to make mistakes, and they will definitely make messes. Occupational therapists will tell you that kids that aren’t allowed to make messes with food are more likely to be picky eaters or have food aversions. Messes make learners. Kids won’t learn responsibility or skills if they aren’t able to practice. There will need to be lots of grace for everyone. Start slow so you don’t overwhelm yourself, and if you’re a planner, use it to your advantage. Pinterest is full of fun ideas, but honestly, just start with anything. Make the kitchen a place where you spend time together. Even if they aren’t helping with the meal, they can sit at the bar or table and keep you company while you’re cooking. No matter the age, there are jobs for everyone in the kitchen.




Benjamin Decker AGE: 9. CITY: Conway. SCHOOL: Third grade, St. Joseph Elementary. FAVORITE SUBJECT: Social studies. MUSIC INSTRUMENT PLAYED: Piano. FAMILY: Parents, Dan and Tricia Decker; and brothers Noah and Drew.

FAVORITE MEAL OR SNACK: Chicken noodle soup. MOST CHERISHED POSSESSION: My pets Wishbone (my dog) and Queso (my cat). MORE INFORMATION: I love to play on my Nintendo Switch and play outside with my cousins. I LOVE going to the Conway Institute of Music every week!


One Crucial Component of Our Continuum of Care

MethodistFamily.org April 2020 501lifemag.com | 65


501 kids


Gardening aids healthy living Kellie Bishop Kellie Bishop is a pediatric nurse practitioner at Central Arkansas Pediatrics in Conway. She lives in Plumerville with her husband, Greg, their son and two dogs. She obtained her bachelor’s degree in nursing at the University of Central Arkansas and her master’s and doctorate degrees in pediatric primary care at UAMS.

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Most parents have experience with how difficult it can be to convince your children to eat fruits and vegetables. You want your children to eat healthy but their favorite foods are chicken nuggets and mac and cheese. You have probably tried hiding vegetables in the macaroni or finding other fun ways to sneak healthy foods into your child’s diet. One way to initiate an interest in healthy foods is to involve your child in growing those foods! Children are fascinated by little things that we take for granted. They love to dig in dirt, help you with tasks and learn about their surroundings. Gardening is the perfect way to foster their curiosity while also teaching them about healthy living. Let your children decide which fruits and vegetables they want to grow and

take them with you to buy the supplies. This makes them feel involved and helps build their confidence and independence. After you gather your supplies, allow your child to dig and plant with you so they can learn how to garden. Young children will have the most fun playing in the dirt and being outside, while older children will enjoy watching a seed turn into a piece of food. You will be teaching your child about science while also instilling confidence and healthy living concepts. As your plants grow, they will need to be watered and tended to so this is a great opportunity to teach your child responsibility in caring for things and finishing projects.

If you do not have a yard space for a garden, you could always use large pots on a porch or patio to plant in. Many herbs will also grow in small pots on an indoor windowsill. There are many different ways to grow fruits and vegetables at home! Children love to feel involved and learn about the world around them so gardening is a great activity to do with your children this spring. They are much more likely to eat foods that they helped grow as well, as they have interest from being involved in the process. Allowing your child to pick out and grow the foods he or she wants will give you hours of springtime fun while also encouraging healthy eating habits and hopefully eliminating the fight to get healthy foods in every day!


Davis – author, poet and playwright Coffy Davis is a spoken word artist who identifies herself as an author, poet and playwright. Although she enjoys writing, she loves it even more when her words inspire others, whether through their meaning, sounds or rhythm. She was born in California and raised in Susan the San Francisco Bay Peterson area. Her parents were full-time military with Susan Peterson holds a PhD in education and taught roots in Arkansas. While at the University of Central growing up in the urban Arkansas and Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania. She California environment retired in 2004 and now spends in the 1990s, Coffy her time doing artwork (painting and pottery). She is the executive faced challenges and secretary of the Arkansas Reading life-altering experiences Association, a professional organization for educators that molded her into the that has about 800 members woman she is today. statewide. She came to Arkansas in 1999 to attend college and find her roots, and here she flourished as a poet and writer. In 2004, she became a trailblazer and created The Underground Railroad Neighborhood project (TURN project) an initiative that bridged art and literacy with at-risk communities. She received her degree in English from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock in 2012. While a student, she wrote and directed a play called “Freedom.” Following graduation, she presented the play throughout the state and regionally. Although Coffy worked full time for the Arkansas Department of Health and in alternative education settings, she continued to live her dream,

writing and performing. She currently works with disenfranchised youth ages 16-24 who are trying to obtain their high school diploma/GED. She published her book, “MEdusa: Reflections of an Angry Black Girl,” in 2018. Part biographical, the story is a continuation of an autobiographical poem that she wrote years earlier. “MEdusa” has been described as “a powerful memoir of tumultuous, bold teenage girlhood blossoming in the ruins of black life circa 1990.” The heroine is being raised by a single mom who is a military veteran suffering from PTSD. Coffy identifies with MEdusa, as evidenced by the capital ME in the book’s title. Like the mythological character, some people are turned stone cold from outward appearances. MEdusa is battling the

“angry black woman myth” and the facades women create for protection that end up imprisoning them. Portions of the book are “dark and raw,” so the book is most appropriate for those older than 15. In a radio interview, she said she Coffy Davis gets a lot of feedback about her piece “The Prologue.” It is a choreopoem, a form of dramatic expression that combines poetry, dance, music and song. She also enjoys sharing “Me Against the World,” which tells her story of going to court as an unrepresented teenager, alone and scared. It won awards in 2017 and 2018 even though it is a chapter within a larger work. Coffy also edited a local magazine, served on the board of a community arts association, and hosted a radio show. Her work has garnered her several awards including the Senator Pryor Award for Community Service (2009), the Arkansas Arts Council Fellowship Award (2017) and the Nan Snow Emerging Artist Award (2018). Reviewers remark on Coffy’s style and creativity, especially the way she mixes prose and poetry. She is an active member in the local poetry community. Her latest writing endeavor is “Shoo Fly,” a book of short stories, which she hopes to publish by the end of the year. She has been active doing book signings and “open mics” around the state. She lives in Little Rock, has been married for 20 years and has two children. For more information about Coffy, visit her Facebook page. “MEdusa” is available from Amazon and Goodreads.

April 2020 501lifemag.com | 67


Spirit of Unity Award presented The Unity Health Foundation recently presented a Spirit of Unity award to recognize the Acute Inpatient Rehabilitation Center staff. Nelda Allison was a patient at the rehab facility and wanted to thank the unit for helping teach her to walk again, and providing excellent care. Allison’s Spirit of Unity recognition benefits the Foundation’s “Home is Where the Heart is” campaign, specifically the Acute Inpatient Rehabilitation Center. The renovations include patient rooms, family room, dining room, gym area remodels and a new covered entrance, all with a home-like environment. “The work the therapists do is just amazing,” Allison said. “I want the people who work for [Unity Health] — doctors, nurses, therapists, aides — to know how much I appreciate everything they did for me. I just think it is a wonderful place.” The Spirit of Unity Award is a way for patients or family members of patients to show their gratitude by giving a gift in the employees’ honor to the Unity Health Foundation. These gifts go toward special projects and equipment upgrades that will help to ensure Unity Health is here to care for patients for generations to come. “The Foundation is grateful for people like Ms. Nelda,” said Unity Health

Nelda Allison with inpatient rehabilitation therapists, nurses and Unity Health Foundation team members. Foundation Executive Director Cassandra Feltrop. “They help us to continue to make improvements to our facilities to further provide for the health and wellbeing of our community.” For more information about Spirit of Unity or to honor a Unity Health associate, please call 501. 278.3186 or visit unity-health.org/foundation/donatenow/.

Crow’s Rohlman, Doyle earn design-build certification UACCM named top in state The Crow Group’s Brian Rohlman (above) and John Doyle are nationally certified Associate Design-Build Professionals. The Crow Group’s Brian Rohlman and John Doyle have successfully completed the DesignBuild Institute of America’s (DBIA) comprehensive education, training and certification testing program to achieve the design-build industry’s designation as a nationally certified Associate Design-Build Professional. Rohlman is the president of Crow Group, a Central Arkansas-based construction and engineering firm. He is a licensed professional engineer with more than 13 years working as a civil engineer in the construction and utility industries. He holds a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Arkansas and is a member of the National Society of Professional Engineers. Doyle is an Engineering Project Manager at Crow Group. He is a licensed professional engineer with more than 15 years of experience working as a civil engineer. His area of expertise is environmental engineering and water/wastewater design. 68 | 501 LIFE April 2020

He holds a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Louisiana Tech and is a member of the National Society of Professional Engineers. He also was recently approved for his Professional Engineer comity license in Mississippi, permitting him to offer engineering services to Crow’s growing list of clients in that state. Crow Group is a full-service design-build construction management and general contracting firm. Crow provides a diverse range of services to clients across multiple divisions including commercial, industrial, water/wastewater and heavy civil construction. For more information, contact Morgan Zimmerman at 479.264.4332 or mzimmerman@crowconst.com.

The University of Arkansas Community College at Morrilton has been named the top community college in Arkansas, according to a new ranking from the news website Stacker. The rankings, which included a community college for each state in the country, consider various factors regarding quality and affordability. The researchers studied the student-to-faculty ratio, acceptance rate, tuition, six-year median earnings and the employment rate two years after graduation. Stacker chose UACCM due to the small campus environment. Particularly, Stacker pointed to the “high degree of personalized instruction” that students enjoy. With a low student-to-faculty ratio of 21:1, Stacker determined that UACCM instructors can go “above and beyond” when working with students. UACCM’s affordability was also a strong factor in the choice, which the study considered the ultimate advantage of two-year schools. UACCM’s in-state tuition is $92 per credit hour for residents within Conway County and $102 per credit hour outside of the county. In recent years, UACCM’s graduation rate has increased far beyond the rate of other two-year colleges in Arkansas. The rate for the 2016 cohort was 37 percent, surpassing the statewide average of 31 percent. For more information, visit uaccm.edu.

Day of Giving

Campaign raises more than $1 million

University of Central Arkansas President Dr. Houston Davis announces the record-breaking results from the school’s annual Day of Giving. (Sonja J. Keith photo) For the first time in the history of the University of Central Arkansas, the institution has raised more than $1 million in a single Day of Giving event. During the Sixth Annual Day of Giving, held on March 5, the university raised $1,126,580, another all-time record for the university. This is a 49 percent increase over the previous year’s record of $757,939. A record of 1,668 donors contributed during the event. Donor participants were from 47 states and Puerto Rico, eight countries, and also included a constituent in Antarctica. UCA President Houston Davis announced the news during a special Day of Giving celebration the following day. “Setting a record for participants and then reaching, and surpassing, the $1 million mark is a remarkable feat! This shows the incredible support of our alumni, donors and community partners,” said Davis. “They are making a huge difference in the lives of our students, and their generosity will be felt in the state and beyond for generations.” Continuing to outpace itself, the annual Day of Giving drive has raised $2,427,363 for students and programs since its inception in 2015. During the 24-hour fundraising campaign, alumni, parents, faculty, staff, students and friends were challenged to make a gift of any amount to support the campus.

The Day of Giving theme, “Take Your Pick,” references the numerous funds available for donors to choose from during the campaign. By providing multiple funds to pick from, donors were able to select and support the areas that most aligned with their specific interests. Funds raised during Day of Giving help provide for numerous student, campus and community needs including scholarships, state-of-the-art equipment, experiential learning opportunities and first-class exhibits and performances on campus that are available to the larger communities of Conway, Faulkner County and Central Arkansas. “Day of Giving is an especially inspiring fundraising effort,” said Haley Fowler, director of Annual Giving. “Students, faculty and staff from across our campus come together in a determined effort to raise funds for scholarships and programs. The energy this year was amazing!” The celebratory event featured UCA cheerleaders and members of the UCA band as well as a cookout for campus partners and donors who helped make Day of Giving a success. In support of Day of Giving, the Student Government Association hosted a fundraising station in the Student Center to focus attention on students supporting students. The SGA also provided a 100

percent matching gift for the first $2,000 in student donations. The matching gift will support the Emergency Student Scholarship Fund through the UCA Foundation’s annual fund. Numerous other departments identified challenge matches that were unlocked for Day of Giving. The following donors pledged a matching challenge to benefit a variety of funds: Gary Bunn, Janet Filer, Carolyn Ishee, Michael Mills, Louis Nadelson, Vicki Groves-Scott and Karen Sullards (College of Education Enhancement Fund); Gayle Seymour (College of Fine Arts and Communication); Peter Mehl (College of Liberal Arts); Tom Williams (College of Liberal Arts and the College of Fine Arts and Communication); Stephen Addison (College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics); Joe and Connie Whisenhunt (Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre); and Acxiom, American Safeguard Insurance, Conway Development Corporation, Conway Regional Health System, Dave Creek Media and Edafio Technology (Conductor). Food for the celebration was provided by Centennial Bank; grilling services were provided by UCA Athletics. To see more details about the results and the breakdown of individual funds, visit uca.edu/dayofgiving. April 2020 501lifemag.com | 69


PBIS improves behavior patterns

The leadership team at Crystal Hill Elementary School. by Jessica Duff

The Pulaski County Special School District is integrating two new frameworks into district-wide practices. PBIS (Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports) is a preventive framework which utilizes the Response to Intervention (RTI) model. This three-tier approach is to enhance academics and social behavior outcomes for all students. “PBIS is an extension of our RTI approach that can improve upon and enhance our efforts in reaching our students where they are,” said PCSSD Superintendent Charles McNulty. “We will 70 | 501 LIFE April 2020

continue to work tirelessly to build a culture of inclusion and community throughout the Pulaski County Special School District.” PBIS changes the focus to prevention from punishment to improve school safety and promote positive behavior with the understanding that kids can only meet behavior expectations if they know what the expectations are. Schools will still respond to inappropriate behavior, but the punishment isn’t the focus – instead the focus is on teaching expectations and prevention of inappropriate behavior. PBIS is a three-tiered framework for improving and integrating all of the data, systems and practices affecting student outcomes every day. It

is a way to support everyone – especially students with disabilities – to create the kind of schools where all students are successful. RTI provides struggling learners with interventions at increasing levels of intensity to accelerate their rate of learning. Components of the process include high quality, scientificallybased classroom instructions, ongoing student assessment, tiered instruction and parent involvement in order to address each student’s specific needs. All schools have developed three to five behavioral expectations that can be applied throughout the school building. For example, all of the Maumelle Feeder Schools have the behavior acronym

of SWARM: S - Successful W - Winning Attitude A - Accountable R - Respectful M - Motivated SWARM is being implemented across ALL settings such as the cafeteria, hallway, bathroom, playground/common areas, etc. When asked, 96 percent of the students could explain their school’s behavioral expectations and what it meant for their school. Currently, nearly three quarters of schools in PCSSD are at a 70 percent or higher level of PBIS implementation in the building. According to the schoolwide PBIS (also known as SWPBIS) Tiered Fidelity Inventory, a score of 70 percent or higher is

The Maumelle High School PBIS Team. accepted as an implementation level that will result in improved student outcomes. The purpose of the SWPBIS Tiered Fidelity Inventory is to provide a valid, reliable and efficient measure of the extent to which school personnel are applying the core features of schoolwide positive behavioral interventions and supports. Each school’s PBIS team is administering the Tiered Fidelity Inventory to help improve the implementation of PBIS. PBIS isn’t a curriculum you purchase or something you learn during a one day professional development training. It is a commitment to addressing student behavior through systems change. When it’s implemented well, students achieve improved social and academic outcomes,

schools experience reduced exclusionary discipline practices, and school personnel feel more effective.

PCSSD Pulaski County Special School District spans more than 600 miles in central Arkansas and requires highly skilled and passionate personnel to adapt educational policies and personalization to 25 schools. Every school is accredited by the Arkansas State Board of Education. PCSSD has served schools across Pulaski County since July 1927. PCSSD is committed to creating a nationally recognized school district that assures that all students achieve at their maximum potential through collaborative, supportive and continuous efforts of all stakeholders.


REGISTER NOW pcssd.org/register

SCHOOL CHOICE ENDS MAY 1 April 2020 501lifemag.com | 71

Van Buren County: Meagin Warren Dr. Robert Reising Dr. Robert Reising retired from the University of Central Arkansas in 2013 after holding a variety of teaching, coaching and administrative posts during more than a half-century in education. His doctoral dissertation at Duke treated literature and sports.

Meagin Poole Warren prefers to be a face in the crowd, nothing more — an inconspicuous member of a board of directors — hardly discernible among a collection of capable colleagues on whom she can deflect publicity and praise. The combination of a race director who seeks no glory and a board of eight who work as zealously as she does has brought distinction to Clinton’s Hunger Run and, more importantly, sizable and sorely needed monies to Van Buren County’s food banks. Hundreds now attend and/or participate every spring. Far beyond the county, it enjoys a reputation not only as an event securing funds for a worthy cause, but as a skillfully organized, family-oriented, fun-for all-ages community spectacle. Joining Meagin in overseeing the annual 5K run/ walk are eight other county volunteers: Kim Beard, Jessica Farnsworth, Stacy Isom, Laura Keith, Debbie Lawrence, Elisa McKinney, Belinda Pack and Shannon Smith. Like their director, all are adroit at recruiting resources, monetary and otherwise. Never have enough sponsors failed to appear, and always providing invaluable assistance are Arkansas’ Christian Motorcycle Association, Clinton High’s Band, Beta Club and Future Business Leaders, along with contingents from the junior high school and area fire

At the start of the race.

72 | 501 LIFE April 2020

Presentation of the 2019 race donation: Scott and Betty Spencer (Clinton Foods for Life), Claude and Karin Ruiz (Choctaw Food Bank) and a few Hunger Run board members including Belinda Pack, Elisa McKinney, Kimberly Beard, Debbie Lawrence, Stacy Isom, Meagin Warren (right of check number) and Shannon Smith. and police departments. The eighth run – scheduled for Saturday, March 28 — promises to be yet another inspiring illustration of volunteerism, teamwork and leadership that Meagin orchestrates. It promises, too, to add handsomely to the $62,500 that the Run has raised for the food banks since its 2013 inception. Arkansas has not always been the beneficiary of Meagin’s energies and talents. Born on March 31, 1980, in Aiken, S.C., she completed high school in that city a year early, 12 months before her classmates in 1997. A straight A student, she immediate-

ly enrolled in the College of Charleston, majoring in science and mathematics. Continuing to excel, she earned no baccalaureate, the Medical University of South Carolina granting her “Early Admission” before she had completed her undergraduate program. Thus, by 2005, at age 25, on Meagin’s wall hung a diploma identifying her as a Doctor of Pharmacy. Hers was a speedy and successful journey through South Carolina education, but never neglected during her string of superior academic performances were the almost daily workouts that she had launched in high school to keep herself

501 LIFE is once again profiling noteworthy athletes, men and women who were born outside of Central Arkansas but who made their mark in the 501. The “Celebrating athletic excellence” series features one from each of the 11 counties in the 501. The 11 are representatives of the quality of athletes found throughout Central Arkansas and are not meant to be the best or the most noteworthy. This is the 10th installment in the third “Celebrating athletic excellence” series.

Meagin Warren and her daughter Cadence with a medal after the race. physically fit and mentally alert. Occasionally, competitive tests and tournaments offered her pleasant distractions. She fared handsomely, too. Yet prizes and plaques were low on Meagin’s list of priorities; human health and welfare topped that list. She carried those priorities into Arkansas in 2006, a few months after her marriage to Dr. Darryl Warren, a graduate of the School of Dentistry at the University of Tennessee. Both immediately plunged into activities designed to aid Clinton. Seven years later, Meagin leaped at an opportunity to participate in the first Clinton Hunger Run, a project created by Whitney Lindsey, a Clinton High teacher who believed it could introduce students to the complexities of organizing and offering community functions. With Lindsey’s departure from Clinton after the 2014 Run, the transplant ceased to be a participant and became the race director. As such, aided by her committee, she quietly and modestly witnessed sizable annual increases in both participant numbers and monies for the hungry. Simultaneously evolving was a public perception that Meagin was a tireless, talented leader who tactfully abhorred and avoided public plaudits; unacknowledged, her competence and compassion became undeniable. Today, Clinton’s mayor is among her countless admirers. Richard McCormick enthusiastically labels Meagin “a little dynamo… [who oversees] a great event. She is an asset to the community.” He quickly adds what he especially respects: “The Hunger Run begins with a prayer and the National Anthem.” One of Meagin’s board members is no less glowing in her description, certain her sentiments are shared by her colleagues: “Meagin is “one of the most giving people you could ever meet, beautiful inside and out….She doesn’t like the less fortunate to go without.” Decades ago, another admirable leader, Eleanor Roosevelt, America’s First Lady for 12 years, identified the combination responsible for Meagin’s effectiveness: “To handle yourself, use your head; to handle others, use your heart.” Van Buren County and the 501 are delighted Meagin’s head and heart interact so compatibly. April 2020 501lifemag.com | 73


Vilonia High School’s Michael Stout has been recognized again with Coach of the Year honors. (Mike Kemp photo)

74 | 501 LIFE April 2020

A class act

Vilonia coach earns recognition by Donna Lampkin Stephens

For the second straight year, Vilonia’s Michael Stout has been named the National Federation of State High School Associations Section VI Boys Track and Field Coach of the Year. In his 11th season atop the Eagle program and 17th overall, Stout, 52, has collected loads of accolades. After winning the Section VI award for the 2017-18 school year, he repeated for 2018-19. “I’d been recognized as the (Arkansas High School Coaches Association) state coach of the year, and when you win that, they nominate you for nationals,” he said. “Out of those 50, they choose sectional coaches of the year, and our section includes Arkansas, Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Colorado. “But the fact that the original award from Arkansas is voted on by Arkansas coaches is what makes that special.” His career has been pretty special. Under Stout, the Eagles won Class 5A outdoor state championships in 2012, ‘13, ‘14, ‘18 and ‘19 and the Class 5A indoor state title in ‘19. Those are in addition to Class 2A outdoor state titles at Clarendon (2001), Stamps (2003) and Lafayette County (2004) prior to his arrival in Faulkner County. Vilonia finished state runner-up outdoors in 2011, ‘15 and ‘16. Stamps finished runner-up in 2002. Stout’s 2005, ‘06, ‘10 and ‘17 teams placed among the top four. His teams have never finished outside the top four at a state meet. Stout, a 13-time conference coach of the year, has led 13 of his 16 squads to conference titles. His other individual coaching honors — including the two NFHS Section awards — are just as impressive. He was named Arkansas’s U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Boys High School Track & Field Coach of the Year in 2018; Arkansas High School Coaches Association Track Coach of the Year in 2014, ‘18 and ‘19; and NFHS State Track Coach of the Year in 2014, ‘18 and ‘19. “There are two types of track coaches — ones that have to coach track and ones that get to coach track,” said John Steward, girls track coach at Vilonia. “There is a marked difference in the two. His success is directly related to that. The kids know which type he is, and it shows. “Awesome coach. Awesome friend.” Stout said he joked that with the sectional honor, he had bettered his peers in Texas. “Texas track and football are elite, and I have bragging rights two years in a row,” he said, chuckling. “But the most important things are the kids that train with me. Anything or any kind of accomplishment or award I get, I’m halfway embarrassed about it — but it all goes back to the athletes that I had that buy into our program, and my junior high

There are two types of track coaches — ones that have to coach track and ones that get to coach track. There is a marked difference in the two. His success is directly related to that. The kids know which type he is, and it shows.

— John Stewart, girls track coach at Vilonia and seventh grade coaches. It’s such a team effort.” Stout grew up in Gillham (Sevier County), just north of De Queen, in southwest Arkansas. At Gillham High School, he participated in track and basketball — the only sports offered. He graduated in 1985 and went on to Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia. He was undecided about his major, but he had friends who were going into coaching, so he took some coaching classes with them. While he had worked for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and at one point considered a career in law enforcement or as a park ranger, his experience as a student teacher and coach at Magnolia High School solidified his decision to pursue a career in education. His first stop was at West Helena Central, where he worked as assistant football and track coach at the high school and head junior boys coach for football and track. After one year in Charleston, Miss., he returned to Arkansas to serve as head boys track coach and defensive coordinator for the football team at Clarendon. He remembers great athletes along the way. Among those helping him win his first state track title were Cedric Houston, who went on to star at Tennessee and play professionally for the New York Jets, and Torrance “Tank” Daniels, a two-time AllAmerican at Harding University who went on to the NFL and earned a Super Bowl ring with the New York Giants in 2008. From Clarendon, Stout landed at Stamps as defensive coordinator and head track coach in 2001. The Yellowjackets finished runner-up in the state track meet in ’02 and won a state title in ’03 before the district consolidated with Lewisville to form the Lafayette County School District, which yielded his third state championship. As head football coach, head high school track coach and athletic director, Stout had things going

Track continued on Page 79 April 2020 501lifemag.com | 75


The majority of the Hot Springs murals are easy to find, and most are in the downtown area. “Black Broadway� is at 350 Malvern Ave. on the Habitat for Humanity Restore building.

Public art

Enjoying the murals in Hot Springs

Linda Henderson Jim and Linda Henderson are lifelong residents of the 501. They travel the 501 and other areas of Arkansas. Jim drives and hauls equipment. Linda takes photographs of Arkansas. During their travels, they have gained appreciation and love for The Natural State. They have found the 501 has so much to offer for fun and beauty to photograph.

76 | 501 LIFE April 2020

Punxsutawney Phil didn’t see his shadow this year so an early spring is predicted. Spring is the perfect time for a road trip to view public art in Hot Springs, where there is a growing number of murals painted on walls throughout the Spa City. These murals depict Hot Springs history, attractions and people. I have noticed as we travel across the 501 there are more and more walls being decorated with colorful displays of art. Local artists are turning empty walls into huge public canvases. People who would never go into an art gallery are able to view examples of fine art just walking down a city sidewalk. Many murals tell the story of the community or what is important about the area. The majority of the Hot Springs murals are easy to find,

and most are in the downtown area. If you plan the whole day to view the murals, there are lots of other things to do. The day could include a stroll down bathhouse row to admire the historical architecture, a visit to one of the local stores or a meal at one of the unique downtown restaurants. If you are up for an adventure, take a hike in the national park. One of the most celebrated murals is a colorful work called “Black Broadway.� The mural is found at 350 Malvern Ave. on the Habitat for Humanity Restore building. It was painted by Italian artist Giuseppe Percivati (aka Pepe Gaka), Anthony Tidwell and Cut Well 4 Kids. During the 1930s, this avenue was known as “Black Broadway � a section of town that had many entertainment spots where worldfamous entertainers like Count Basie, Duke Ellington and B.B. King performed. There are several more of Percivati’s works at various spots around town. These include “How We Play at C4K,� which is located at 247 Silver St., on the side of the Cutwell 4 Kids building. “Moonlight Stroll� is located at 833 Central Ave. on the side of Core Brewing. Up a block from “Black Broadway,� there is a mural honoring Hot Springs’ baseball history. In the early days of baseball, several major league baseball teams conducted their spring training in Hot Springs. The town was chosen

“Promise of Peace� mural at 127 Pleasant St.

A mural that pays tribute to the Quapaw Tribe.

get f ra m e d at

Pa t t e r s o n E y e C a re

“Hot Springs Alligator Farm” mural 847 Whittington Ave. as a training camp because of the city’s warmer spring weather and the thermal properties of the hot water bath houses. “Playing Cards” is located at 204 Malvern Ave. This mural was painted by Chris Arnold and Jeff Garrison. Depicted in the mural’s “baseball cards” are Babe Ruth, Mel Ott, “Smoky” Joe Wood, Jackie Robinson and Walter Johnson. As you drive through the Hot Springs downtown, you will be welcomed by a giant Quapaw Native American. This image pays tribute to the Quapaw Tribe, which played an important role in the early establishment of the city. The mural was painted by Pepe Gaka, and it is on the south wall of the Simon Mendel Building in the 500 block of Central Avenue. As you continue to the 300 block of Central Avenue, another Pepe Gaka mural is “Verna’s Dream.” It is located at 320 Central Ave., next to the Waters Hotel. The mural represents the natural beauty that is found at Garvan Woodland Gardens. Next to the Mountain Valley Water building in the 100 block of Central Avenue is the Tom Moore Cigar “ghost sign.” This is one of the best examples of ghost signs in Arkansas. Ghost signs are the remains of an old hand-painted advertising sign. These signs were painted on buildings as a way of advertising a

product of a business. The artist is unknown. At least four other older signs can be seen bleeding through the Tom Moore Cigar sign. The mural was exposed in the 1980s when the building next to the sign was demolished. A colorful graphical mural is found on the Emergent Arts building a few blocks off of Central Avenue. The “Emergent Mural” is located at 341 Whittington Ave. It was painted by Sike Stlye. My favorite is the “Hot Springs Alligator Farm” located on 847 Whittington Ave. It was painted by America Carillo. It is a row of vibrant painted characters that represent the animals found at the Alligator Farm. A touching mural of a young man with beautiful piercing eyes painted by a local artist, Rayshaun McNary, is located on the side of the Webb Community Center at 127 Pleasant St. It is called “Promise of Peace.” This month I have highlighted some of the murals of Hot Springs. In the coming months, I plan to share other towns’ and cities’ murals. So, it’s spring; get out there and learn about the history and the people of our communities by enjoying the public art of the 501.

2505 Donaghey, Ste 102 • Conway, AR








juliessweetshoppe.com 201 Skyline Drive in Conway Towne Centre

“How we play at C4K” located at 247 Silver St.


(501) 205-4301

April 2020 501lifemag.com | 77

“Playing Cards,” a mural honoring Hot Springs’ baseball history, is located at 204 Malvern Ave.

Tom Moore ghost sign at 126 Central Ave.

“Emergent Mural” located at 341 Whittington Ave.

“Verna’s Dream” at 320 Central Ave.

“Moonlight Stroll” at 833 Central Ave. 78 | 501 LIFE April 2020

Michael Stout was named Arkansas’s U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Boys High School Track & Field Coach of the Year in 2018; Arkansas High School Coaches Association Track Coach of the Year in 2014, ‘18 and ‘19; and NFHS State Track Coach of the Year in 2014, ‘18 and ‘19. (Mike Kemp photo)

Track continued from Page 75 at Lafayette County when he took a position as head junior high football coach at Vilonia in 2006. He had promised his wife, Rebekah, that he would find “a very solid academic school” for their children, even if it meant giving up track. The original plan at Vilonia included track, but the opening didn’t materialize. But later, when it did, Matt Sewell, then the Eagle athletic director, knew who he wanted. Sewell, a former Eagle track coach, was middle school principal when Stout was hired in 2006. Michael and Rebekah, a sophomore English teacher at Vilonia, have been married 17 years. They have three children — Ethan, a junior at VHS; Emily, an eighth-grader; and Abigail, a sixth-grader. All three are athletes. This spring, Stout’s Eagles are going for another

Stanton continued from Page 39 30s and I now have operated on a few people in their 20s. I think it has to be the food that we eat. It is so refined. We just don’t get the fiber in our diet that we used to.” Diverticulitis occurs when a person’s intestines become inflamed or infected. If left untreated, it can lead to abscessing, perforation or tearing of the inside of the intestine wall, blockage of the intestine and the formation of fistulas that spread infections to other organs.

state three-peat. “That’s probably one of the hardest things at any sport at any level,” he said. “We have an uphill battle ahead of us, but that’s our goal.” The team is the thing for his Eagles, who have averaged 40 to 55 kids on the roster the last 11 seasons. He credits junior high coach Tommy Stephens for much of the enthusiasm. “Most coaches don’t treat track like a team sport, but to me, it’s the ultimate team sport,” Stout said. “Nothing is easy about our practice, and to watch the kids come out on the other side champions — and it’s not always the kids who win, but also those who set (personal records), knowing they did better than the week before. They hold each other accountable.” To remind themselves of the team angle, the Eagles warm up in practice with 17 jumping jacks

together — signifying all 17 events — before dividing into their groups. “No one event or person is more important than the other one,” Stout said. “We also do that right before they give us the conference or state trophy. We do two things at the end of every meet — a team prayer and 17 jumping jacks to signify the team aspect.” He said he loved watching his charges grow as athletes and young men. Obviously, he is educating for much beyond sports. “If we’re not, we’re in it for the wrong reason,” he said. “We start every year with seven or eight or nine team goals. The last one is always a state championship. No. 1 is we will be a class act. “My kids understand that if we don’t reach our No. 1 goal, we will never reach No. 9.”

While aging is a cause of diverticulitis, being overweight, smoking cigarettes, lack of exercise, eating red meat but not enough fiber and taking certain drugs such as steroids, opioids and non-steroidal anti-inflammatories like Ibuprofen or Naproxen are also risk factors. “Obesity is a problem in our culture that complicates a lot of things. It’s not like some rocket science thing; it’s real. We need to eat better.”

finds another blessing. “My wife, Denise; it’s been very important to have her. At times it has been much harder on her than me,” he said, recalling their eight boys, ages 18 to 38 years. “Only one is medical, he’s a nurse anesthetist at Conway Regional,” he said. “One’s a musician, another is an architect, a computer guy; one works in the Governor’s Office.” Two are still in college and one is a senior in high school. All of them were home schooled by Denise. “Every day is a gift. Every breath is a gift.”

Family blessing As he continues to look back on his practice, he

April 2020 501lifemag.com | 79

NEIGHBORS special friends

Making a difference Class project helps humane society

Humane society board member Linda Earnhart accepts the donation from students Annabel Simmons (left) and Emma Cariker. Story and photos by Sonja J. Keith

Two Conway Junior High School students recently used a class assignment to lend a helping hand to the Humane Society of Faulkner County. Ninth-graders Emma Cariker and Annabel Simmons were assigned a year-long project in their pre-AP Civics class taught by Jennifer Barnett. The project also continued in an economics class taught by James Brogdon. Emma is a daughter of Kelley and J.D. Cariker. Annabel is a daughter of Catherine and Damon Wheetley. For the assignment, students were asked to select a problem in society to research and to develop a strategy to make a difference in addressing the problem. Emma and Annabel identified puppy mills as the problem they wanted to research. Emma said she was interested in the topic because her family suspects that their pet – a Yorkie-Poo named Shadow – came from a puppy mill. “He was not in great health and had a broken rib,” 80 | 501 LIFE April 2020

The back of the shirt that the students designed.

The Humane Society of Faulkner County (HSFC) is an all-volunteer, 501c3 nonprofit animal advocacy and rescue organization. It is funded exclusively by local donations, fundraisers and grants. The group’s mission is to help pet owners and their animals through spay/neuter assistance programs, affordable vaccination clinics, pet food donations and financial aid for sick and injured animals. For more information, visit fixingfaulknercounty.com.

Conway Junior High School ninth-graders Annabel Simmons (left) and Emma Cariker in the T-shirt they designed. she said. “If it was legit, they would be taking care of The proceeds from 48 shirts – $377.61 – were them really well.” presented to the humane society at the group’s Annabel said she was also interested in a project spay-neuter clinic on Highway 65 in the Springhill that involved animals. “Puppy mills are such a big community. In addition, Emma and Annabel posted problem in Arkansas,” she said. She and her family awareness messages about puppy mills on social have a rescue dog, named Daisy, who wandered up media. to her family’s home. While making the presentation, representatives To help address the problem, they developed and of the humane society explained the group’s work sold a special T-shirt. “We both collaborated on what and discussed different options for the money to we wanted it to look like,” said Kelley. be used, including a pet food pantry, spay-neuter

services and a fund to help with sick and injured animals. The students will write a report on the project, including the progress that was made in addressing the problem and their accomplishments. “We want to spread the word about puppy mills,” Annabel said, adding that they would like to see more regulations on who can breed dogs and requirements for sanitary conditions. “It’s not a common topic that is discussed.”

April 2020 501lifemag.com | 81

NEIGHBORS person of the month

Tina To

CITY: Sherwood. WORK: Administrator at Salem Place Nursing and Rehab in Conway.

EDUCATION: Bachelor of science degree in healthcare administration from the University of Central Arkansas, 2017. WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT YOUR WORK: Working with the geriatric population can be very enlightening. I enjoy hearing their stories, advice and their perspective on life. I appreciate them sharing their stories. They are full of knowledge.

MOST CHERISHED POSSESSION: My very first trip to visit my family was when I was 5 years old, and before I left, my grandmother gave me a small, hand-carved jewelry box. Since my grandmother lives overseas I don’t get to see her very often which is why this jewelry box is special to me. It is something that I will definitely cherish and hopefully pass down to my kids one day. MOST ENJOYED WEEKEND ACTIVITY: Spending time with friends and family; fishing with my dad; hiking and exploring more of Arkansas.

NO. 1 VACATION SPOT: Anywhere on the beach or somewhere tropical. My ideal vacation spot would be Bora Bora. FAVORITE QUOTE: “If you talk about it, it’s a dream. If you envision it, it’s possible, but if you schedule it, it’s real.”- Tony Robbins WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT LIVING IN THE 501: I was born and raised in Arkansas and this is Tina To is the administrator at Salem Place Nursing and Rehab in Conway. “Growing up, I had always had a desire to help people; specifically, in the health care setting,” she said. “It wasn’t until my junior year at Mount Saint Mary Academy that I realized my true calling. I had taken a class where community service outreach was part of the class. I was assigned to a nursing home in Little Rock and fell in love with working with the elderly. I quickly found my passion and was determined to go into this field.” (Donna Spears photo)

82 | 501 LIFE April 2020

home. There are always friendly faces and people willing to help one another. This is home and feels like home.

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Profile for 501 LIFE

April 2020  

501 LIFE is “Celebrating home and garden” in this month’s edition. (Mike Kemp photo/Styling by Donna Benton)

April 2020  

501 LIFE is “Celebrating home and garden” in this month’s edition. (Mike Kemp photo/Styling by Donna Benton)