June 2021

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June 2021 501lifemag.com | 1

2 | 501 LIFE June 2021

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EDITOR Stefanie W. Brazile PUBLISHER Jeremy Higginbotham FOUNDERS Donna Spears and Sonja J. Keith ASSOCIATE EDITOR Levi Gilbert COPY EDITORS Jordan Hickey and Andrea Miller BRAND AMBASSADOR Donald Brazile ART DIRECTOR Jeremy Higginbotham PHOTO DIRECTOR Mike Kemp FINANCE DIRECTOR Debbie Flowers ADVERTISING DIRECTOR Donna Spears

CONTRIBUTORS Becky Bell Donna Benton Don Bingham Kellie Bishop Donald Brazile Brittany Gilbert Laurie Green Dwain Hebda Linda Henderson Vivian Hogue Beth Jimmerson

Kevin McCoy Jennifer McCracken Mark McDonald Mark Oliver John Patton Susan Peterson Dr. Robert Reising Judy Riley Chloe Short Donna Lampkin Stephens Morgan Zimmerman



Hot fun in the summertime!

hen I think about summertime, my mind goes to watermelon, but how do you choose a ripe one? I’ve embraced the thumping method. If you see a lady knocking on melons at farmers’ markets and grocery stores this summer, it’s probably me. But summer is not just about the delicious fruits we’ll enjoy. It also revives a feeling that we all experienced as kids when school was out and summer vacation was here! For me, that meant watching a TV station out of Shreveport, La, until midnight, disappointed to see the color bars that signaled the entertainment was over for the day and there was nothing left to do but sleep. Summer also represents endless adventures and this issue is packed with fun activities your family can enjoy while the heat is on. Our contributors will introduce you to pickleball, a new splash pad at DickeyStephens ballpark, a 90-mile ATV trail that’s free and a tree climbing competition. As you turn the pages, Dwain Hebda will profile a five-generation carnival family that lives in the 501. Chef Don Bingham will have you craving caramel and chocolate, and those who enjoy real-life spine tinglers will want to read Susan Peterson’s monthly “Authors in the 501” feature to meet true crime writer Janie Jones. I’m also proud to announce a new feature about regional artists and must thank

devoted reader Suzann Waggoner of Mount Vernon for assisting me in its development. A national award-winning watercolorist herself, she has assembled a list representing many artistic genres that we’ll feature over the next year. We begin with Tim Donar’s spectacular work which is part photography, part digital painting. June marks Father’s Day and Morgan Zimmerman sat down with a great guy from Morrilton who is known by some as the “king of the dad jokes!” Brittney Gilbert offers six specific ideas to keep your kids happy this summer (and away from the TV) and Dr. Robert Reising presents the Huckeba Field House in Searcy, a must-see destination for all sports enthusiasts. These are just a few of the fun articles that we’ve packed into this issue for your summer vacation. And as you pack your ice chest or suitcase, add a copy of a 501 LIFE and take a photo with the magazine at your destination. Send it to us at info@501LifeMag.com with names, the location, where you’re from in the 501, and your phone number so it can appear in the “Loving LIFE” section. See you at the watermelon stand!

Editor 4 | 501 LIFE June 2021

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 Julie LaRue

Karl Lenser Monica Lieblong Lori Melton Kiera Oluokun Deanna Ott Pat Otto Jon Patrom Amy Reed Lori Ross Margaret Smith Jan Spann Kim Tyler Suzanne Waggoner Jennifer Whitehead

CONWAY COUNTY EDITORIAL BOARD 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 Mike Parsons Brooke Pryor Carol Spears Kristi Thurmon

To subscribe or order back issues, visit 501lifemag.com. Subscription rate is $20 for one year. (12 issues)

Make the Jump Media, LLC 920 Locust Ave., Suite 104 Conway, AR 72034 501.327.1501 • info@501lifemag.com

501 LIFE is published monthly by Make the Jump Media, LLC (920 Locust Ave., Suite 104, Conway, AR 72034, 501.327.1501) owned by Jeremy Higginbotham and Stefanie W. Brazile. 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.

Rehabilitation in a warm, home-like environment

and private rooms to help YOU get better so YOU can return home!

That’s Our Heritage 1175 Morningside Drive • Conway, AR 501.327.7642 June 2021 501lifemag.com | 5


June 2021 Volume 14 Issue 2

Letter from the Editor/Staff Box List of advertisers/Writers’ Room Upcoming events/News Loving LIFE Photos Greenbrier’s inaugural Art Jam Growing gardens & gardeners


4 7 8 10 12 14

By Judy Riley

16 Take me back to the ballgame

By Stefanie Brazile

18 20

Couple of the month: Lindsey & Brent Ashcraft Celebrate 501 Day: A photo scrapbook

On the cover

By Jeremy Higginbotham & Donald Brazile


24 Youth of the month: Mason Atkins of Vilonia

By Dwain Hebda

26 The ride of a lifetime

By Dwain Hebda

30 Entertaining: Fun to the last crumb

By Don Bingham

34 Fairfield Bay creates rocky road of fun

By Dwain Hebda

36 Out on a limb and loving it

By Dwain Hebda

38 OK Boomer we’ll play your game!

By Becky Bell

40 NEW MONTHLY FEATURE! Celebrating Artistic Excellence

By Aaron Brand

42 Get the sleep of your dreams

By John Patton

44 Spring feeds body & soul

By Vivian Lawson Hogue

46 From dude to dad

By Donald Brazile

48 Friends, faith and an open fridge

By Laurie Green

50 Old becomes new

By Stefanie Brazile & Courtney Martin

54 A summer of fun

By Brittany Gilbert

58 My Life, Powered by Conway Corp


By Beth Jimmerson

60 Apologizing to your kids

By Meagan Lowry

62 Kid of the month: Cameron Gooch

By Becky Bell

64 Celebrating Athletic Excellence: Huckeba Field House

By Dr. Robert Reising

66 Pet of the month: Hutchcraft & Harley

By Meagan Lowry

68 Authors in the 501: Janie Nesbitt Jones

By Susan L. Peterson

70 Cloudy with a chance of beauty

By Linda Henderson

76 Rich Moellers’ life of the party

By Morgan Zimmerman

79 FUNdamental exercises

By Jenn McCracken

80 Daffodil DAZE Art Contest results

6 | 501 LIFE June 2021


Trevor and Grace Martin enjoy the ride on Miller Spectacular Shows' "The Pharaohs Fury" during Thrill of Toad Suck in Conway. (Mike Kemp photo)

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

Did you know

501 LIFE

covers 11 counties

in Central Arkansas?

B Bledsoe Chiropractic, 55

C Conway Corp, 59 Conway Institute of Music, 63 Conway Regional Health System, 83 Conway Regional Rehab, 32


Jump right into 501 LIFE at home!

DJM Orthodontics, 25


For only $20 a year, you can have 501 delivered to your home. While the magazine is distributed to more than 700 locations in Central Arkansas, copies go fast. Home delivery ensures you won’t miss an issue.

Edward Jones, 74

F First Community Bank, 33 First Security Bank, 84 First Service Bank, 13 Freyaldenhoven Heating and Cooling, 49

Catch 501 LIFE on KARK News at noon on June 1, 2021!




Visit 501LIFEmag.com or call 501.327.1501 to subscribe.

G Garage Experts, 77

H Hartman Animal Hospital, 67 Harwood, Ott & Fisher, PA, 75 Heritage Living Center, 5 Hiegel Supply, 43

welcome to the Writers’ Room

M Methodist Family Health, 60 Middleton Heat & Air, 68 MSC Eye Associates, 77

O Ott Insurance, 19

P Pain Treatment Centers of America, 39 Patterson Eye Care, 23

S Salem Place, 9 Shelter Insurance, 23 Sissy’s Log Cabin, 15 South Conway County School District, 56, 57, 61 Superior Health & Rehab, 2

T Tokusen U.S.A.,78

U Unity Health, 3 University of Arkansas Community College Morrilton, 41 University of Central Arkansas, 47

Dwain Hebda is an award-winning writer, editor and journalist as well as president of his own editorial services company Ya!Mule Wordsmiths in Little Rock. His work is published in more than 35 publications, where he tells extraordinary stories about everyday people. Nebraskan by birth, Southern by the grace of God, he and his wife dote on their four grown children and two spoiled dogs. Contact him at dwain@ya-mule.com

Laurie Green

is a Greenbrier native and is a 501 LIFE faith contributor. Laurie and her husband, Will, share seven children, six grandchildren and a golden retriever named Marlo. They own and operate a lawn care business and are members of New Life Church in Greenbrier. Laurie can be reached at thegreens@ymail.com.

Morgan Zimmerman was raised in Northwest Arkansas and graduated with a B.A. in journalism from Arkansas Tech University where she met her now-husband, a Morrilton native. She works as a freelance marketer and writer and is a mom to two young children. Morgan serves on the Main Street Morrilton Board of Directors, Main Street Morrilton Farmers' Market Committee, and volunteers at Sacred Heart School. June 2021 501lifemag.com | 7


River Cities Dragon Boat Festival June 11 & 12

The 2021 festival is a two-day event at Lake Willastein in Maumelle. The fun begins Friday with a children’s area music, fireworks that night. On Saturday, the Dragon Cup races begin. For more information, visit rivercitiesdragonboatfestival.com.

Conway Morning Optimist Club annual fishing derby returns 7:30 - 11 a.m. • June 5

The Kids All-American Fishing Derby will be held at the at the Bob and Betty Courtway Middle School pond. Children ages, 3-13, are eligible to participate in the derby. Held in memory of Joe White, the derby will provide many prizes for local children including the “Most Fish by Weight Contest.” For more information, contact Bill Townsend at 501-679-3601 or Ronnie Barton at 501336-7200.

501 KIDS holds Magic Springs Drawing

A drawing was held inside the early spring edition of 501 Kids. The winner of four, single day tickets to Magic Springs was Tristin Duvall, a kindergartener from Conway. He is the son of Joy and Jordan Duvall and was very excited about planning his first trip to the amusement and waterpark in Hot Springs.

8 | 501 LIFE June 2021

The first concert will be held at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, June 12, at Simon Park near the Chris Allen Stage in Historic Downtown Conway. The complimentary event is sponsored by 501 LIFE Magazine. A few stand seats are available, but attendees are encouraged to bring a chair or blanket to sit on and any snacks they want to enjoy. More than 50 talented musicians will perform favorites such as medleys by The Eagles and The Beatles. Four guest conductors will lead different songs. They are Justin Cook and Brantley Douglas, both UCA band directors, along with Nathan Cunningham and Paul Taylor, both Conway High School band directors.

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501 readers are "Loving LIFE" and sharing their special moments and holiday trips with others. Headed out on a special trip? Have a special occasion or get-together coming up? 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! Photos can be submitted by email to info@501lifemag.com or by mail to Reader Photos, c/o 501 LIFE, 920 Locust Ave., Suite 104, Conway, AR, 72034. 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 LIFE office.

10 | 501 LIFE June 2021

While volunteering at Toad Suck Daze Tinkerfest Jamie Gates and his sons Walker (from left) and Cooper were "Loving LIFE" as they enjoyed the many activities along with some sweet treats from Las Delicias-Conway.

Trena Mitchell (from left) and Wonder Lowe represented the Arkansas Cancer Coalition, providing information on cancer, Fit kits, tobacco and nicotine cessation and the Be Well Helpline.


The McCarthy family was “Loving LIFE” while visiting Stone Mountain near Atlanta, Ga., during Spring Break. They are Erick, twins Catalina and Cecilia, and Zarina. Erick and Zarina were engaged at the top of the mountain 23 years ago. “Oh, how time flies!” Zarina wrote.

Avery Branscum of Perryville and Sam Stroth of Conway were recently caught “Loving LIFE” while taking pictures at Hendrix College before having dinner at Mike’s Place and then attending Perryville High School’s prom.

Officer Nikky Gonzalez and Sergant Sean Ragan of the Little Rock Mounted Patrol Unit were “Loving LIFE” as they served their community in Downtown Little Rock with the help of their trusted partners Chip and J.

The late Leon “Muscles” Campbell was the focus of the Celebrating Athletic Excellence feature in the March issue of 501 LIFE. A copy of the article was placed in “Muscles’” section of the Bauxite Historical Association and Museum (Saline County) by his son, Pat Campbell, who is “Loving LIFE” by honoring his father’s memory.

Owen Moran, of Conway, was “Loving LIFE” when he was at the Arkansas Capitol to meet Gov. Asa Hutchinson and pick-up the official proclamation that proclaimed May 14 as Apraxia Awareness Day.

Graham,4, and Zac Hendricks were “Loving LIFE” after his pet toad named Rocky made him a winner at the World Championship Toad Races in Conway.

To celebrate his graduation from UCA, Booker White’s family went on vacation to “Love LIFE” in New Orleans, La. They are from Mayflower, unless noted. Front row: Patricia Credit (from left), Booker and Mary Taylor. Back row: Dorothy Worthy (from left), Pamela White, Motion Foxx, Kyla Tolliver (of Conway), Delene Stubbs, Bernice Wallace (of Maumelle) and Jeryl McNeil.

June 2021 501lifemag.com | 11


Inaugural Greenbrier event jam-packed with fun and talent G

reenbrier hosted artists, authors, musicians and performers at Greenbrier Art Jam in Matthews Park on April 24. “This was the first public event held in Matthews Park, and we were so excited to bring our community together to celebrate our local arts and culture,” said Shellie O'Quinn, Greenbrier events director. The Art Jam brought together statewide visual and performance artists that included lively music, exhibits and hands-on activities with the theme “together we ART." There was also a student exhibit, featuring works from Greenbrier elementary schools. "We had a great turnout despite challenging weather and each of our local musicians was able to perform — many for the first time in more than a year,” said O'Quinn. “We were actually able to give a $500 scholarship to one of the student musicians there, Ezra Knight, who will be attending UCA in the fall. We're already so excited to begin planning for next year.”



12 | 501 LIFE June 2021

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June 2021 501lifemag.com | 13

501 FUN

GROWING GARDENS & growing gardeners By Judy Riley

Master Gardeners instill love of plants in kids through library projects


ecoming a Master Gardener isn’t just learning about plants, it’s one of the most fun things I’ve ever done,” says Mary Collins, a White County Master Gardener (MG). When she retired as Bald Knob Elementary principal, Mary knew she wanted to stay active, continue her education and meet new people. Becoming an MG was a home run on all counts. And she is typical of the 3,100 volunteers statewide — 1,337 of those reside in the 501 area code. Impressively, last year they volunteered 48,307 hours to projects that beautify public spaces and/or teach others new skills. Those hours represent about 33 percent fewer

hours because of COVID-19 restrictions imposed in 2020, according to Berni Kurz, University of Arkansas extension educator for consumer horticulture. The MG Program is conducted by the UA Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service. Volunteers participate in rigorous 40-hour training, either in person, via Zoom, online, or in some combination. After successfully completing the course, volunteers are expected to continue to learn and share their knowledge. Each subsequent year, graduates are required to participate in 20 hours of additional training and 20 hours of volunteer effort.

Typical projects include establishing and maintaining landscapes at public buildings, such as courthouses, libraries, community centers, museums, and public schools. Many MG groups freely share their knowledge in school classrooms. Innovative school programs were created and are conducted by White County MGs. According to Sherri Sanders, county extension agent with horticulture responsibilities, several retired teachers who were new MGs decided their calling was creating “Take and Go” teaching modules. Each module contains lesson plans fitting the Arkansas Department of Education Frameworks for Science, as well Gardens continued on page 75

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June 2021 501lifemag.com | 15

16 | 501 LIFE June 2021

501 FUN

Travelers return with fun the whole family can enjoy By Stefanie Brazile


aseball, hot dogs, fried oreos and … splash pads! Baseball isn’t just for those who love the crack of the bat or the sound of a fastball colliding with the catcher's mitt. At the Arkansas Travelers homefield, the focus is on giving families a good time for a great price. “If you go through our website, we offer extreme value,” said Rusty Meeks, executive vice president/CEO of the Arkansas Travelers. “For under $60, you can get four tickets, four hotdogs, four drinks and parking. We’ll cook you dinner and entertain you. We have tickets as low as $6.” The Travelers are one of the longest-running minor league franchises, according to the website. They have been a member of five professional baseball leagues, beginning in 1901 as a charter member of the Southern Association. Originally known as the Little Rock Travelers, the team was renamed for the entire state in 1957. They play at Dickey-Stephens Park in North Little Rock, which opened in 2007. After being off an entire season, the team and staff are excited to see fans coming through the gates to enjoy the national pastime. “When you walk in, notice the setting of the ballpark. It looks towards the river and into downtown Little Rock,” Meeks said. “It has a major league ballpark look, while keeping it a vintage feel. “We have something for everyone to have fun. The baseball purist can come and just watch the game. The family of eight can do that as well. Our

staff and ushers are friendly. We’re communityowned and community-based.” With 60 events planned for the season, including fireworks, a concert, and a chance to bring your dog to the park, it’s more than a game, it’s a home-run experience. Add to that a new baseball-themed splash pad with a $5 entry fee, and the fun won’t stop until the last play is called. “We have a brand new playground area, too — it’s a full kids corner that is gated with one way in, one way out,” Meeks said. “It’s the only minor league ballpark out of 120 minor league teams with a splash pad. “You can see the game from that area, so a parent can let their child play and not miss a play.” The Travelers have two mascots: Otey is a swamp possum and Ace is a horse. They still have 35 games planned for the season. If kids’ baseball teams let them know ahead of time that they’re coming, they can come dressed in their uniforms and be displayed on the huge video board. Before visiting, it’s important to read all the guidelines on www.milb.com/arkansas. Only clear bags are allowed and it is a no-smoking ballpark. Gates and the splash pad open an hour before game time. If you’re looking for affordable fun in the city, take time to smell the fried oreos at the ballpark.

June 2021 501lifemag.com | 17

MAUMELLE NEIGHBORS Couple of the Month

Lindsey Ashcraft



Brent Ashcraft WHERE DID YOU GROW UP: Ferndale area of Little Rock. EDUCATION: Graduated from UCA in 2013 with a degree in insurance and risk


WHERE DID YOU GROW UP: Conway. EDUCATION: Bachelor of science in early childhood education in 2014, and a master of science in library media and information studies in 2016. Both degrees are from the University of Central Arkansas (UCA). WORK: Owner of Ember + Grace Boutique. PARENTS: Monica and Greg Reap of Conway, and Steve Shipman of Maumelle. HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOURSELF: I’m independent — ask Brent, ha! I like a challenge, I enjoy learning new skills, I’m competitive and push myself to be better. I’m an introvert, so owning a business has definitely pushed me out of my comfort zone.

WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT LIVING IN THE 501: It’s home, always has been! 18 | 501 LIFE June 2021

WORK: My older brother and I manage my family’s company, Northwind Holdings. I own and manage a portfolio of businesses primarily centered around the construction and real estate development industry. In the fall and winter, I operate Green Lane Duck Club on our farm in Stuttgart. We recently acquired a piece of property near the river in Maumelle and are in the early stages of planning our next venture. PARENTS: Drs. Michael and Pam Ashcraft of Maumelle. HOBBIES/SPECIAL INTERESTS: Spending time with my son, Riggs. He’s growing faster than I can handle and is interested in virtually everything I do. Playing golf at Maumelle Country Club (MCC) has introduced me to some of the best people in Central Arkansas. MCC has taken my family in with open arms. WHAT IS YOUR MOTTO: My mentor, Chuck Hicks, instilled two mottos early in my professional career and I do my best to serve them daily: “When you get where you’re going, put your hand out and help the next person in line.” And: “Just be nice, it costs you absolutely nothing extra.” WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT LIVING IN THE 501: It’s a coinflip between the Saturday pancake special at Mug’s and whatever those incredible ladies down at “@ the Corner” in Little Rock have dreamed up to serve on a weekend morning. In all seriousness, I enjoy the mix of natural beauty, wonderful people, and ever-expanding food options.

Photo by Mike Kemp


December 2008: We met in the wee hours of the morning while studying for our very first finals week in our freshman year. We both lived in Hughes Hall at UCA.

THE PROPOSAL: Well, first he thoroughly convinced me that a proposal was a year or two away — so I was clueless! It was the sweetest and most romantic thing. We were in Florida and he took me to several places to reminisce on our lives together. We wrote memories from our favorite times together on index cards and shared them with each other before putting them in a memory box. The last one he gave me was on the beach at sunset and it said: “June 24, 2013 — The day I asked you to marry me.” Cue the tears! WEDDING BELLS: June 28, 2014,

in Conway.

CHILDREN: Riggs is 2 and we are expecting our second boy in September. PETS: We have two dogs, Layla and Annie, and a cat, Pinot. FAMILY ACTIVITIES ENJOYED TOGETHER: We enjoy golfing together and our son is obsessed with golf. We live for the summer — pool and beach!

June 2021 501lifemag.com | 19

1. Conway


2. Little Rock

4. Hot Springs

5. Bryant 9. Little Rock

7. Little Rock

8. Bryant

10. Hot Springs

11. Conway

3. Hot Springs

6. Conway

12.Hot Springs

The first annual 501 DAY was a huge success with special events, discounts, concerts, art festivals and contests happening throughout Central Arkansas. Saturday, May 1 was a sunny day with mild temperatures and people took the opportunity to get out of the house to visit attractions and events in their own communities, as well as discovering other towns to enjoy their stores, restaurants and events.

14. Searcy 15. Benton

Celebrate 501 continued on page 22

13. Little Rock

15. Benton

16. Little Rock


18. Sherwood

23. Sherwood

22. Searcy

19. Conway 20. Little Rock

21. Conway

22 | 501 LIFE June 2021

1. William Otto and Todd McWilliams as they prepared to take part in the Toad Suck Daze Plane Parade, an event they organized. 2. Executive Chef Andre´ Poirot of 42 Bar and Table at the Clinton Presidential Center where they were offering $5.01 beignets. 3. Members of the Hot Springs Area Cultural Alliance at the Arts & the Park on 501 Day. 4. Sidewalk art featured at Arts & the Park. 5. Bryant firemen at the city's 501 Day Block Party. 6. Marvin and Pearlie Williams at Omelettes with the Toadmaster. 7. Vendors enjoying the Little Rock Farmer's Market. 8. Annika Wade (from left), Tyler Schneider, Coco Rhodes, Jamie Gaston, Rob Gaston, and Nicholas Corn of the Copper Mule who helped put together the Bryant 501 Day Block Party 9. Leah Patterson (from left), Coordinator of the Rock It! Lab in the Central Arkansas Library System with Nathan James, Library Deputy Director and Joe Hudak, a partner of the library system. 10. Members of the Hot Springs Renaissance Faire made up of Pirates, Royalty, Fae and Gypsies were on hand in Downtown Hot Springs to celebrate the day. 11. Marine Lathan W. Poolee Gipson (from left), Sergeant Quemaine O. Tolar, and Sergeant Tylor Snow of the United States Marine Corps represented our country at the Toad Suck Daze Plane Parade. 12. Author Elmer Beard of "Let Reason Roll" shared his stories at the Hot Springs Arts & the Park event. 13. The 501 Legion came to celebrate 501 Day at the Little Rock Zoo. 14. Ashley Daugherty, (from left), Melody Brooks, Mark Brooks, Ethan Price, Addison Thomas and Julia Murphy of Breakaway 3937 Robotics, of Harding Academy, at the Museum of Discovery Tinkerfest in Searcy. 15. Valhalla Restaurant & Axe Throwing, Just Ice Cream and Stated Apparel Outfitters donated 10 percent of all sales on May 1 to Safe Haven. 16. Taz, the African Penguin, took a gander at the May issue of 501 LIFE to find activities for 501 Day! 17. Families in Greenbrier enjoyed bounce houses, mini-golf, special treats and activities at 2nd Baptist Church’s 501 Day Celebration. 18. Hundreds gathered in Sherwood for the 501 Day Community Block Party. 19. Conway Chamber team members and spectators pose with Croaker and Dazey to kick off the 2021 celebration. 20. Aaron Baldwin, of Porch Swing Farms in Toad Suck, visits the Little Rock Farmer's Market with his nieces Sloane and Charlotte LaFrance. 21. Raising money for Milestones Services, Board Members served many: Jason Hansen, President; Lesley Graybeal, Committee Chair and Vice President; Teresa Little, Executive Director; and, Brian Ratliff, Toad Master and Member. 22. White County firefighters Jayce Chisum (from left), Christian Mata and Drake Wilson visit the Downtown Searcy Farmer's Market. 23. Married international touring duo Cliff & Susan perform at the Sherwood Community Block Party. 24 & 25 SoMa 501, an accredited Main Street program that focuses on pursuing economic vitality in Little Rock, hosted a huge celebration named 501 Fest. 26. 3 bands from UCA performed Jazz at Simon Park in Downtown Conway to honor the special day. 27. Minnie Smith (from left), Suzanne Raiford, Amy Burton (Main Street Farmers' Market Director) and Nancy Joneshill in Searcy.


Celebrate 501 continued from page 21

The 501 DAY concept was brought to Central Arkansas Chambers of Commerce and Main Street programs by the Downtown Little Rock Partnership. “Everyone we contacted said ‘yes’ and it snowballed from there,” said Ellen Lampe, director of communications for the organization. “This celebration of hometown pride and local businesses very quickly became a team effort. Of course, a main goal is a celebration of community and The Natural State and all of the wonderful things we have to offer.” These photographs will give you a taste of all the fun that was experienced, from art festivals to chalk-art competitions to axe throwing, airplane parades, grand science experiments and concerts — the people at the heart of Arkansas made a memorable day of it! Plans are already being made for 501 DAY on May 1, 2022, but in the meantime, continue the celebration by adding the handle “@celebrate 501” and “#celebrate501” to any fun event you are a part of during the next year. Become a participant in a larger movement of being proud of where we live and celebrating all of the positive experiences one can have in the 501.

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27. Searcy

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June 2021 501lifemag.com | 23

Photo by Mike Kemp 24 | 501 LIFE June 2021

VILONIA NEIGHBORS Youth of the Month

Mason Atkins


Vilonia senior Mason Atkins defined by service to others By Dwain Hebda


here many people find their self-worth in acclamation from peers, Mason Atkins finds his by investing in others. The Vilonia senior, a son of Brian and Terina Atkins, has made volunteering and mentorship the centerpiece of his high school experience. “There’s a club called Crew, and the librarian at my school created this club for volunteer things to do around school like helping teachers and fundraisers and to set up and take down events for students,” the 18-year-old said. “Just volunteering for things that people need, volunteers for around school. We decorate the stadium sometimes, the gym for pep rallies and things like that.” “I also attend Vilonia First Baptist Church, and in the summer of 2019, I volunteered at a summer camp through that. I did that for a week and a half, basically staffing at the church camp, monitoring and helping these kids grow in Christ.” One of the reasons for his interest in helping others was due to the investment others made in him through sports and other activities, Atkins said. He said the personal growth he’s experienced as a result of the past four years’ participation has been considerable. “The first day in ninth grade, I was so shy. I didn’t want to talk to anybody,” he said. “Physically, I

was very small and chubby and I was very embarrassed about it. But now I’ve grown a lot physically and mentally. I’m much more outgoing. “I’m the president of the Crew Club, I’m captain of the tennis and swim teams. I’m just a lot more outgoing. I don’t feel uncomfortable talking to adults now, but I used to be. I can make connections a lot more easily.” Through his athletic endeavors, Atkins made multiple appearances in the state championships in swimming, tennis and as part of the school’s bowling team. He also used these activities as another way to invest in others, especially teammates who were searching for their stride in high school. “In tennis, there have been kids who were very small and shy who I kind of took under my wing,” he said. “Through us just being friends, I think they came out of their shell quite a bit. “Then on the swim team, this one kid was younger than me and it was kind of the same situation. I think I brought him out of his shell too.” As his high school career winds down, Atkins is set to attend Arkansas State University in Jonesboro this fall, where he plans to major in computer science. And, not surprisingly, he’s already begun to network

on campus. “There’s this organization called the Chancellor’s Class. It’s a group that gets to make a lot of connections,” he said. “There’s a lot of opportunities to meet with the chancellor every once in a while and meet with everybody else in that group. Out of the thousands of freshmen who applied, only 45 got into that and I am very proud to be one of them. It’s going to help me grow even more and help make even more connections and be even more outgoing.” As he closes one chapter of his life and enters another, Atkins offers some advice to younger peers for making the most of their educational experience. “Put yourself out there as much as you can,” he said. “You can make a real difference. Last year, just a few months ago actually, our superintendent was stepping down, and they asked 11 of us students to interview the candidates for the job. We basically got to choose our new superintendent. “I’m sure there’s other factors for it, but it really was nice that the candidate we chose got hired. It shows even if you’re just a student, you can really make a difference in your school. Making connections and putting yourself out there will really boost your confidence, and it’ll just help you in life.”

June 2021 501lifemag.com | 25

501 FUN

By Dwain Hebda

Photos by Mike Kemp 26 | 501 LIFE June 2021


reddy Miller’s office is a cacophony. From every direction, lights flash, bells ring and music blares out of unseen speakers. Corn dogs and funnel cakes are always on the commissary menu, and with a little luck, he might take home a giant stuffed gorilla after a long day. When you’re King of the Midway, life comes at you a little differently. "I graduated Greenbrier High School in 1985 and went straight into the family business,” Miller said. “I’ve been around it my entire life, grew up in this business, just like my dad did.” For decades, Miller Spectacular Shows in Greenbrier has spun, swung, swayed and lifted aloft thousands of thrill-seekers in small-town county fairs, corporate events and state fairs. Miller’s excitement for the business still rings in his voice like a barker luring locals to the ring toss and a chance to win a kewpie doll. “I knew from an early age that this was what I wanted to do,” he said. “We’re three generations on my dad’s side. And even on my mother’s side of the family, they’re from the carnival industry. I just jumped in head first.” Miller is a crack storyteller, the kind who can recite the weather and make it edge-of-your-seat interesting. Talking about the origins of the family business, he mentions his great-grandfather who started as a concessionaire, then in the next breath insists he doesn't know the man’s name. “Honestly, I never went that far back,” he said with a chuckle. Bert Miller, Freddy’s grandfather, managed another carnival outfit after World War II, eventually starting his own company, the date of which Miller spitballs at somewhere in the 1950s. His parents, Johnny and Sue Miller, stayed active in the business until 2017 and together with Freddy, they built it into the largest of its kind in the Central U.S. Ride continued on page 28

Photos by Mike Kemp June 2021 501lifemag.com | 27

Top: The Miller Family has operated a carnival for decades at the Wings Over the Prairie festival held each November in Stuttgart. Photo circa 1950. Middle: Freddy Miller, current carnival owner, on his grandfather’s tilt-a-whirl in the 1950s. Bottom: A 1950s photo of the Miller family carnival in California, Mo.

28 | 501 LIFE June 2021

“We have operated in as many as 18 states,” he said. “We operated as far north as Detroit, Mich.; as far west as Roswell, N.M.; and as far south as — well, the farthest south we’ve been is the Bahamas. We actually put equipment on boats and shipped it to the islands.” Miller now focuses on six states – Arkansas, Kentucky, Illinois and Missouri, with limited events in Louisiana and Mississippi. Some of the gigs in this footprint are so entrenched in the company’s summertime calendar, they’re more a part of company lore than a vendorclient relationship. “I’m doing one event in Mississippi, the Yazoo County Fair,” Miller said. “Our family has done that — well, we don’t know exactly how many years, but I’m the third generation of fair managers to have worked there. My grandfather worked it, my dad worked it and now, I’m working it with my sons. We’ve done that fair for – I’m going to guess right now – somewhere around the 65-, 66-year range.” Miller Spectacular Shows employs around 120 during peak season and some of the year-rounders have been with the company for decades;one employee even predates Miller himself. Given that, you can imagine how gutshot Miller and his family were – wife Patsy, sons Drew and Trey, and their wives Holly and Katie, respectively, are all involved with the business – when COVID-19 snuffed out the lights of midways from Texarkana to Pocahontas and Chicago to Baton Rouge. “Our business was shut down for 2020 and that’s not an easy thing to overcome,” Miller said. “As a family, we’ve seen a lot of positive things come of it; my grandson and granddaughter and I got to spend more time fishing in 2020 than I have my whole life. We had a lot of time to get together as a family, play games, have fun. “But there was not a card game or a board game that happened where at some point someone wouldn’t say, ‘Man, I wish we were on the road.’ As much as I enjoyed being home for that one-year vacation, we greatly missed being out there.” As 2021 has unfolded, Miller got his wish and then some. After a couple of tentative months, the phones started ringing and haven’t let up yet. “I have spent the last two months receiving calls, at least every other

day,” Miller said. “Organizers are trying to get a carnival because their previous carnival did one of two things: They either went out of business during COVID or they operated in some of the states that actually had fairs in 2020 and were already booked to go back there in 2021. "So yes, interest has been very heavy. In fact, right now, over 75 percent of my 2022 route is already in place.” Miller, who’ll be 54 in August, said he’s ideally got about six more seasons in him before he turns the business over to his boys and their families to run. When he does, he’ll hand them an operation that’s very different from the one his father ran, one that his grandfather likely could scarcely imagine. “During my dad’s time and mine, the manufacturers started pushing the envelope a little bit with rides,” he said. “Nowadays, the manufacturers are taking that envelope and they’re rolling it up into a ball and setting it on fire. We’re putting people 75-feet up in the air, upside down, with a simple safety harness over them. That never would have been dreamed of back in the ’60s and ’70s. But it’s just the changes in technology. “The old rides had diesel engines to power them. Nowadays, they’re all computer-driven and that makes them safer. Every ride is on the exact same time cycle and they’re easier to work with. In the old days, we had a ride called The Scrambler that required four men to assemble and disassemble it in about two, two and a half hours. The new generation is the exact same ride, but two men can fold it up easily in about 45 minutes.” But for everything that’s changed, it’s the things about his life’s work that have lasted that still get to Miller. As the name tells you, it’s still a spectacular place to come to work. “On a typical day, I walk the grounds and introduce myself to strangers leaving the midway,” Miller said. “I let them know who I am and ask them how their experience was to better my company. Believe it or not, a crying child leaving the grounds is usually a good sign. It means they don’t want to go home.” He pauses and smiles. “When people ask me about what I do, I tell them, ‘We sell fun.’”

“When people ask me about what I do, I tell them, ‘We sell fun.’” - Freddy Miller

The Miller Spectacular Shows is a family affair. They built a “Carousel Room” where they relax that features parts of antique rides and other carnival memorabilia. It can be rented for events or photograph backdrops. Three generations of the family is represented here (from left): Back row includes Katie and Trey Miller with Drew and Holly Miller. Front row: Rook, Patsy and Freddy Miller and Luxe. Rook and Luxe are the children of Katie and Trey.

June 2021 501lifemag.com | 29

501 FUN

Fun to the last crumb By Don Bingham


y wife and I were searching for a close-by, short-term outing for a relaxing change of pace. The first time we visited The Humble Crumb was a Saturday morning – the idea came from a student in one of my public relations classes. What we found was worth sharing with our readers, and we highly recommend your visiting this delightfully charming oasis. The Humble Crumb is located at 110 Loop Road in Sherwood. The first time we visited the restaurant, we drove from Conway in 40 minutes, taking the back roads for the scenic route. The second time, we drove Interstate 40 to the John F. Kennedy Exit in North Little Rock, and then made only one turn into a packed parking lot and a bright cheery atmosphere at The Humble Crumb. The Humble Crumb is a combination of tearoom, restaurant, meeting place, carry-out, drive-through, gift shop, and more! The co-owners are Ruth and Betsy Peters – Ruth is Betsy’s motherin-law. This delightfully quaint tearoom is in an older home with exposed beams and an atmosphere that projects warmth, caring, and a totally welcoming atmosphere. They are only open Thursday through Saturday and are consistently busy – the ordering line moves quickly – but the point is to come and enjoy, not to be rushed. There is a breakfast and lunch menu with plenty of choices for any diet. You

30 | 501 LIFE June 2021

must consider the quiche with the grits crust. They are known for their cinnamon rolls and have served thousands since their humble beginning of serving them at the local farmers market 10 years ago. From 6 a.m. to 1 p.m., you can enjoy the atmosphere or order online at www.humblecrumbbakery.com. In case you are interested (which, of course, we are), every first Tuesday of every month, you can visit for tea at The Humble Crumb! Call for reservations for your choice of High Tea, Afternoon Tea, Humble Tea, Crumb Tea, Cream Tea, and Children’s Tea with offerings such as assorted scones and tea sandwiches, soup of the day, mini pastries, chicken salad, assorted desserts, clotted cream, lemon curd and homemade jam. Each of their tea options come with a personalized pot of tea of your choice. See page 30 for the Humble Crumb's scrumptious Carmelita Bars and visit 501lifemag.com for additional recipies to enjoy. If you are interested in more information regarding the name of this hidden gem, you might read the account of the Syrophoenician woman in Mark 7:24-30 and Matthew 15:21-28.

Photos by Mike Kemp

June 2021 501lifemag.com | 31

the humble crumb

BAR 3/4 cup butter, melted 3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed 1 Tbsp vanilla extract 1 cup all-purpose flour 1 cup old-fashioned oats 1 tsp baking soda Pinch of salt

35 caramel squares, unwrapped

(of 1 bag caramel bits)

1/2 cup heavy cream 1/2 tsp salt 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

• Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8X8-inch pan with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray. Lining your pan is highly recommended for ease of cleanup due to the stickiness of the caramel. • In a large, microwave-safe mixing bowl, add the butter and heat on high power to melt about 90 seconds. • Add the brown sugar and vanilla, and whisk until smooth. • Add the flour, oats, baking soda, and pinch of salt, then stir until combined. The mixture will be quite thick. • Add half of the mixture to the prepared pan, and smooth it with a spatula or the back of a spoon to create an even, smooth, flat layer; set the remainder aside. • Bake for 10 minutes. While it bakes, make the caramel sauce. • In a large, microwave-safe bowl, combine the caramels and heavy cream and heat on high power in 60-second bursts to melt the caramels, stirring after each burst. It will likely take about 4-5 minutes to melt. Heat until mixture can be stirred smoothly. Alternatively, combine caramels and cream in a medium saucepan and heat over medium-low heat to melt, stirring nearly continuously, until mixture can be stirred smooth Optionally, stir in 1/2 tsp. salt, or to taste, for salted caramel sauce; set the sauce aside. • After 10 minutes, remove the pan from the oven and sprinkle evenly with the chocolate. • Slowly and evenly pour the caramel sauce over the chocolate. • Evenly crumble the reserved oatmeal and brown sugar mixture over the top. • Return the pan to the oven and bake for about 15 minutes, or until the edges are lightly browned. • Allow the bars to cool completely in the pan before removing and slicing. This can take up to 3-4 hours.

Find two more recipes at 501LifeMag.com, click on Entertaining.

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32 | 501 LIFE June 2021


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501 FUN

“I’ve always felt like we’re an outdoor wilderness playground,” - John Conry, Fairfield Bay Marina

By Dwain Hebda

34 | 501 LIFE June 2021


airfield Bay offers residents an embarrassment of recreational riches, from the sparkling clear lake to the emerald forest trails and clean mountain air. Recently, the north-central Arkansas town added another feature to an already full list of amenities with the completion of ATV trails. “I’ve always felt like we’re an outdoor wilderness playground,” said John Conry, manager of the Fairfield Bay Marina and head of marketing and advertising for the resort community. “We now have over 90 miles of ATV and side-by-side trails that people can ride. And people come from all over the state and country to ride these. There’s probably 30 miles of hiking trails and single-track biking trails, too.” Conry, an avid hiker, was a catalyst for the creation of the community’s hiking trails, starting about seven years ago. “Fairfield Bay was originally designed with hundreds of miles of roads cut into it,” he explained. “Well, that didn’t happen and as of 1993, everything fell through. So, these roads got overgrown. “We’d hike these roads and we’d find waterfalls and rock formations. There was just beautiful hiking, so we created multiple hiking trails. And that’s how it all started.” After turning some of the roads into hiking and biking routes, ATV trails started coming online around 2018. “The ATV trails can be shared by [hikers] or ATVs while the hiking and biking trails are just for hiking and mountain biking, single-track,” Conry said. “Arkansas passed a law that if you are within three miles of a trailhead, you could drive your ATV on a paved road. So, we made sure all the trailheads in Fairfield Bay are within three miles of a paved road.” Now that the trails are physically completed, community activists are tweaking the system to make them more user-friendly. “We’re trying to make things much more efficient and trying to enter the 21st century, so to speak,” Conry said. “We’re going to put QR codes on all of our trail signs, so that anybody on an ATV or a hiking trail can take a picture with their phone and the maps will be automatically on their phone. It will show where they’re at and where the trailhead is. “There’s multiple benefits to that. Number one, it makes the trails easy to follow. And if an accident happens, we can find them right away.” Conry may have been at the forefront of the projects, but he’s quick to point out he wasn’t the only one who pitched in to get things done. “So far, it’s all been volunteer help for the labor. The signs have all been donated by the Fairfield Bay Community Club,” he said, noting the many willing hands that set about the project are what make Fairfield Bay the special community that it is. “Everybody here wants everything to prosper,” Conry said. “This is great controlled growth because we have a 14,000-acre outdoor wilderness playground and only 2,200 permanent residents, which equates to about 860 permanent households. “Now every weekend, we grow to about 6,000 to 8,000 people because all of these weekend owners that own condos and weekend homes show up, and they use the marina and the trails and the golf courses. That’s been a joy to watch develop.” Such amenities are also an investment in the city’s future, Conry said. At 67, he’s still the prototypical demographic for Fairfield Bay -- but times are changing, and creating more attractions today results in more full-time residents tomorrow. “You know, I’m a baby boomer. I’m 67 years old and I’m pretty active,” he said. “But as I’ve watched, at least from the marina standpoint and our marketing and our ATVs, we have a lot of people who are buying condos in their 30s and 40s and 50s. They’re using it as a weekend home, with the goal of ultimately living here full-time when they retire. “I’ve seen dozens of couples here in the last five or six years who were weekenders and then, all of a sudden, they’re here full-time.” Considering the community's recreational riches, it’s no surprise.

Photos courtesy of Dave Creek Media.

Open your phone's camera and hover over this code. It will give you the option to launch the website visitfairfieldbay.com. Scroll down to the “Play” page and click on it, then scroll down to “Hiking, Biking & UTV Trails” to find all the trails to explore!

June 2021 501lifemag.com | 35

501 FUN

Out on a limb and loving it By Dwain Hebda

The first time Chad

Bryant saw a treeclimbing competition, he was instantly hooked. “It’s super-fun,” he said. “I can’t tell you how many people I’ve seen who were walking through a park and are like, ‘Whoa! What is this?’ and sat there and watched and enjoyed it. It’s a real good time.” As a tree care professional, the event took on a different significance. Not unlike rodeo, tree climbing competitions were built on proficiency in practical industry skills. Bryant quickly saw the events as living classrooms on how to do things right and safely on the job. “Tree climbing competitions are arboristspecific,” Bryant said. “It’s a very safety-conscious environment. That’s one of the big goals of the competitions, to promote safe work habits and to promote people being trained in rescue so that you can get somebody down in the event of an incident.” “Competitors are people who are doing residential tree care or people who are climbing trees to prune them. That’s the reason a lot of people don’t know about [competitions]; if you’re not in the industry, it’s not something you necessarily stay and watch and follow all day.” Bryant, founder and owner of Treegorilla in Cabot, started working for his father’s lawn and tree care company in high school. Like a lot of outfits then, as now, it was a heavily learn-as-you-go operation. 36 | 501 LIFE June 2021

“I have no formal training in arboriculture. I graduated high school and went to a couple years of college and decided I was going to make my living doing tree work,” he said. “Working in my dad’s business, we were not what I would call a professional tree service. We tried to look professional, but we didn’t follow safety protocol. I can’t tell you how many dangerous sights I saw. And we were not arborists by any stretch of the imagination.” His father eventually hired an arborist and working with that professional gave Bryant an appreciation for the science and craft of caring for trees. And it was the arborist who took him to his first competition. Today, he’ll attend a handful of events a year and is the driving force behind the Natural State Tree Climbing Championship, which just wrapped its fourth iteration in May. “We had 40 competitors; I believe we had 15 or 16 from Arkansas,” Bryant said. “Once we completed those Arkansas spots, we opened it up to everybody else in the country and it filled up in like, 12 minutes. It was completely full and we had a 30-person waiting list.” The 2021 event, held in Hot Springs, attracted tree professionals from as far away as Maryland and Wisconsin. But the star of the show was a familiar face: Kyle Jacobs, 32, a Treegorilla employee who took home first place. “Most of it is doing things that are difficult and making them look easy,” Jacobs said. “It’s a much more elegant sort of thing than timber sports with a lot of cutting. For the work climb, we start at the top of the tree, usually. There are four bells throughout the tree and we’ve got five minutes to make it to all four corners of the tree, ring the bell and simulate some sort of work task.” “At one station, for instance, there’s a bucket with sticks in it. You throw those towards a target on the ground, which simulates missing a greenhouse and

anything of value. It’s a very fast event, running all through the tree in five minutes. The goal is to make it look smooth.” Jacobs, who’s been competing for five years, had a very busy 2019 with nine competitions that took him through 26 states. He said in addition to bragging rights, the events make him better at his job by sharpening his mental and problem-solving side of the business abilities, as well as his physical skills. “My job is incredibly demanding, physically,” he said. “But I’m one of the guys who is more of a thinker, too. That’s why aerial rescue is my favorite event; that’s a scenario that somebody slipped and bumped his head or some rigging went awry and there’s a branch on top of him. There’s a dummy we have to bring down out of the tree with additional safeties in place. You have to assess the situation, access the tree and get [the dummy] to the ground in five minutes.” Bryant, who’s begun introducing age-appropriate elements for kids at the NSTCC, said competitions are key to building the next generation of safety-conscious tree professionals. “It opens the eyes of kids, but it also opens the eyes of guys who have been doing tree work wrong,” he said. “I was one of those guys and that’s probably one of the biggest reasons why I’ve continued to stay involved in these competitions. I know how important this is for helping to make our industry better. It’s one of those things that you get passionate about.”

Age appropriate activites are offered at the event.

Top three in-state competitors: Kyle Jacobs (from left), Jacob Perkins and Jeremy Williams.

Photo by Blake Hampton A rescue scenario is read by a competitor.

June 2021 501lifemag.com | 37

501 FUN

OK Boomer we'll play your game! Multiple generations are experiencing the fun of pickleball

By Becky Bell


t’s like tennis. It’s kind of like badminton, but not exactly. And you can definitely work up a sweat while playing. Pickleball is the unique name of this sport, which has been growing across the nation for years but has been gaining popularity in Arkansas more recently, according to David Stefan, an avid player from Bryant. The game involves players using paddles to hit a perforated plastic ball over a net. It was originally created in the 1960s as a backyard game for children, but is hugely popular with Baby Boomers. Pickleball is played on a pickleball court, which resembles a doubles badminton court, and can be set up on a tennis court. Stefan said he first learned about pickleball from his father, who introduced him to the game six years ago during a visit to Wisconsin. His father is in his late 70s and loves the game. “I wasn’t real interested in pickleball in spite of my dad’s urging and suggestions,” Stefan said. “But I decided to humor my dad and play with him one time and check that off. I had a great time and went back to visit him a month or two later. I think I played two or three times while I was there and decided this is something I want to figure out that I

can play back home in Arkansas.” For the past six years, Stefan has been a USA ambassador for pickleball and created the Central Arkansas Pickleball page on Facebook that has more than 1,000 followers. Other than his father, Stefan is the only person in his family to play pickleball. He said you can find the pickleball paddles at any sporting goods store. The court size of pickleball is smaller than a tennis court. It is played on a badmintonsize court, which is 20 feet wide by 44 feet long, he said. “Especially when you are playing doubles, you have a lot less real estate to cover, and there are other rules to pickleball that are unique that really skew it toward a finesse game rather than a power and speed game like tennis,” he said. “If you have a powerful serve in tennis, the other player doesn’t have a chance. But men and women can play competitively in pickleball. We sometimes have families of three generations having fun playing out on the court.” Stefan said he was really surprised that he became such an avid fan of the game after playing only a few times with his father. He said he was mainly playing the game to get

his dad’s mind off of his mother’s passing. But the game took hold and eventually led him to leadership in the world of pickleball. “Never did I know I would be an ambassador and start the nonprofit Pinnacle Pickleball,” he said. The nonprofit promotes pickleball in Arkansas and helps raise money to enhance the game. For example, the organization raised money to purchase the lights at the Kanis Park Pickleball courts in Little Rock so people can play after dark. The eye-and-hand coordination required to play is similar to what it takes to play ping pong. And finding a game when you are vacationing is not a difficult thing to do, according to Stefan. He mentioned a retirement community in Florida that has 100 courts. “The culture of pickleball is welcoming,” he said. “The culture is ‘come on in and we will teach you and it’s a blast.’ If you show up to a court, people will put a paddle in your hand and show you the ropes.” Stefan said he expects the sport to continue to grow in popularity and is so grateful to his father for introducing him to it.

Want to know more about pickleball? Visit usapickleball.org for answers to all of your questions, including what the sport is, how and where to play, as well as the official rules and merch needed to look like a pro. 38 | 501 LIFE June 2021

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The spectacular photography of


D O N A R By Aaron Brand

onway artist Tim Donar’s fine-art photography not only flashes his talent for capturing images, but also for precise artistry that adds much more to the photo after it’s snapped. Tim favors architectural shots and natural landscapes, including commercial and aerial work. His book “Arkansas State Parks” showcases his expert aerial photos of the complex, vibrant beauty found in all 52 state parks of our Natural State. But to appreciate his work, you need to understand the process. Drawing on his background in computers, and his interest in painting, Tim uses digital painting methods to give his photographs a distinct, almost painterly quality. Look close enough and you can almost see the brushstrokes. Almost. His work is part photography, part digital painting — all spectacular. Photography has always been an interest, but his day job centers on computers. “Over probably the last 15 to 20 years, I’ve really developed and, I guess, perfected my style of work in photography,” Tim said. “I think of photography [in part] as taking the photo — but really the important part is how it’s output, how it’s presented.” Although we all have phone cameras, not everything is suitable to frame. Part of Tim’s job is to make the right print so what’s suitable can be hung. Options are canvas, watercolor or metal. Editing and processing guide his thinking about how the photograph will hang as the final image on metal, which is newer and more modern; he partners with a company from Rogers that has the right equipment. “It’s a special printing process starting with ink on paper and ink which is infused on a metal surface with heat and pressure – it's aluminum with a special coating,” he said. “It actually melts the surface and produces a very high-gloss image.” Tim’s interest in processing and digital fine-tuning may stem from his professional work as a solution engineer for Vertica data analytics software group. Visualizing data and communicating complexities are essentials, so honing a photograph with software is a natural leap. Additionally, Tim meets other artists’ needs with fine art printmaking. And with his art, think big. A high-resolution, 12-foot-by-4-foot print of his photograph of the Conway Chamber of Commerce adorns the First Community Bank building. It’s 20 individual photos combined. The metal surface lends a unique, glossy quality to the details, which 40 | 501 LIFE June 2021

bank customers notice. “The image looks like you could almost step into it and walk through the scene,” Tim said. Taking the photograph is about 20 percent of the job with 80 percent post-processing, he believes. He makes a scene look more like what he truly saw, or he pushes an image into the realm of art. Photoshop’s brushes offer him what’s essentially a digital paintbrush. An average photograph of a pelican necessitated several layers of detailed work, for example, as Tim transformed it into a digital painting. “It wasn’t just a filter,” Tim said. “It was actually hand-brushing the feathers, hand-brushing every little piece of that bird.” With an ocean wave for the background, he painted a sunset sky. Layers combined, the image looks hand-painted with texture and beauty, but it’s all digital. “It’s kind of taking an old medium from what you might think of an oil painting or an acrylic painting, but it’s printed electronically and processed that way,” Tim said. Central Arkansas provides tangible perks for a photographer because the Ozarks and attractive architecture, such as the Conway Chamber building, nearby. Over nearly a year, the aerial drone project took him to dozens of locations across Arkansas. “We’ve got a lot of beautiful places, and I wanted to do a book, really, on Arkansas, so what I wound up doing was going to all of the state parks in Arkansas,” Tim said. The drone offered a different perspective to see the state’s natural diversity, farmland to mountains. “I learned that we have really, really nice state parks,” he said, adding, “On top of Mt. Magazine, I took a picture of the tallest point in Arkansas.” The entire realm of digital painting inspires him, while continuous improvement in artistic techniques motivates him to achieve new photographic heights. “I get inspired seeing photographs of very interesting places, trying to push the envelope of where you might travel to go see something,” Tim said. Find Donar’s book at upn7.com

“The image looks like you could almost step into it and walk through the scene,” - Tim Donar

Photo by Mike Kemp

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June 2021 501lifemag.com | 41


By John Patton


Neurologists encounter, diagnose, treat patients with sleep issues at Conway Regional Neuroscience Center

sleep disorder can be as simple as snoring that keeps others awake or as complicated and serious as an illness that causes someone to fall asleep while driving. Fifty to 70 million people have some form of a sleep disorder in the United States, according to the American Sleep Association (ASA). The ASA adds that insomnia is the most common sleep disorder -- 30 percent of adults have short-term issues -- and 25 million adults in the U.S. have obstructive sleep apnea. Tim Freyaldenhoven, MD, PhD, and one of his associates, Keith Schluterman, MD, are neurologists and sleep medicine specialists at Conway Regional Neuroscience Center. Dr. Freyaldenhoven and Dr. Schluterman have been treating sleep disorders for nearly 20 years each. According to these physicians, the average person who visits them is simply trying to overcome sleep issues that affect their work performance or home life. While common, sleep disorders should be taken seriously. Drowsy driving is responsible for 1,500 vehicle fatalities and 40,000 nonfatal injuries in the U.S., according to the ASA. Sleep deprivation can also cause a person’s overall health to deteriorate. Schluterman explains, “Sleep deprivation 42 | 501 LIFE June 2021

adversely affects overall health and wellbeing, including lowering our immune system function, increasing weight, increasing blood pressure, and increasing the risk of diabetes and heart disease. Inadequate sleep also affects cognitive function and memory, learning, and emotional well-being. It has been linked to an increased risk of dementia as well.”

How does someone know if they are not getting enough sleep?

The ideal amount of sleep can vary depending upon an individual’s genetics and age, according to Freyaldenhoven. “Newborns sleep half of the time, average adolescents require about nine hours, and adults can range from four to 10 hours,” he said. “Most people will require between seven to eight hours.”

Sleep Debt

“In a perfect world, you wake each morning having slept off your ‘sleep drive,’ he said. “Every moment you are awake through the day increases your drive to sleep. To avoid falling to sleep, your circadian system, or internal clock, counters this drive. When it starts to get dark, melatonin turns off the

circadian opposition to allow you to sleep. The timing of your internal clock creates your sleep/wake cycle.” Freyaldenhoven explained, “Sleep erases the accumulated sleep drive. In that same perfect world, you awaken having slept away the drive to sleep. When that occurs, you wake up spontaneously.” If someone is waking to an alarm clock or is awoken by someone else, they are not getting enough sleep. “Your brain will carry over that remaining sleep drive and can accumulate up to 40 hours or so. The best way to know that you are getting enough sleep is to allow enough sleep time in your schedule for you to wake each morning spontaneously,” Freyaldenhoven said. “If you have accumulated additional sleep debt, you won’t be fully rested until you have slept it off. That means your body’s nightly requirement plus all the accumulated sleep debt.” Most sleep disorders are treatable with medicine, lifestyle changes, the use of CPAP machines or other medical devices and procedures. Schluterman said it is crucial to have a routine sleep schedule, avoid daytime naps, avoid caffeine and alcohol late in the day, and avoid spending excessive time in bed when not sleeping.

Good sleep habits

There are proactive lifestyle changes that can improve sleep, Schluterman said, including: • Maintain a regular sleep schedule, including a routine bedtime and wake time. • Avoid daytime naps, as this will adversely affect the ability to sleep at night by eliminating the “sleep debt /sleep drive” that builds up during the course of the day during wakefulness.

How do you know if you have a sleep disorder? Freyaldenhoven: Symptoms of sleep disorders pertain to dissatisfaction with the sleep experience, daytime sleepiness, or both. Periods of insomnia are a common complaint but usually resolve spontaneously. Ten to 30 percent of people can develop chronic insomnia. Most people with insomnia do not report daytime sleepiness despite complaints of poor sleep.

How do you diagnose sleep disorders?

• Do not stay in bed too long if you are struggling to fall asleep. Arise and only return to bed when you are sleepy.

Freyaldenhoven: After discussing medical history and performing a physical exam, the polysomnogram (sleep study) is the primary tool. It is usually an overnight test that measures several sleep-related variables. An EEG is used to determine when the brain is asleep and in which stage. Air flow, oxygenation, pulse, limb movements, chin motor activity, snoring, and movements of the abdomen and chest are typically measured. These can be used to diagnose sleep disorders as well as to find an appropriate treatment, such as titrating the CPAP pressure. There are now home variations of this test, which have validated uses in certain populations. There are other specialized tests to measure a person’s degree of sleepiness or lack thereof.

• Maintain a quiet, comfortable bedroom with a calm pre-bedtime routine. This may include warm baths or meditation.

What should someone do if they think they have sleep apnea?

• Avoid alcohol in the evenings since it fragments sleep, particularly in the latter half of the night.

Schluterman: The initial step would be to discuss this with their primary care provider or seek an appointment with a sleep specialist. If the history and examination suggest that sleep apnea is a good possibility, then a sleep study will be arranged to evaluate the quality of their sleep. This allows us to diagnose a variety of sleep disorders.

• Avoid caffeinated drinks in the evenings. • Do not use the bed for things other than sleep, such as reading, watching TV, or looking at cellphones.

• Exercise early in the day and not before bedtime. • Hide the clock if you are a “clock watcher” at night.

About the Physicians

Tim Freyaldenhoven, MD, PhD

Tim Freyaldenhoven, MD, PhD, and Keith Schluterman, MD, are boardcertified in neurology and in sleep medicine and have been treating sleep disorders since they began practice almost 20 years ago. Sleep disorders are a common part of their practice. A percentage of their patients with neurological disease also have sleep disorders as comorbidities. This includes patients with Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, and migraines. They are graduates of Hendrix College and completed their medical education at UAMS, including residencies in neurology. Freyaldenhoven also earned a Ph.D. at UAMS. Freyaldenhoven began practice in Conway in 2002, followed by Schluterman in 2004. They joined the Conway Regional Neuroscience Center in 2017.

Keith Schluterman, MD

For more information about the Conway Regional Neuroscience Center, visit www.conwayregional.org or call 501-932-0352. June 2021 501lifemag.com | 43


Vivian Lawson Hogue A native of Conway, Vivian Lawson Hogue graduated from the University of Central Arkansas with a degree in art education. A retired teacher, she worked in the Conway School District for 23 years. She can be reached at vhogue@ conwaycorp.net.


very season has its own related sort of fun, and my least favorite — summer — is coming up. To give spring a great amount of credit before I begin whining, it does encourage planning and looking forward. Except for occasional wild tornadoes, the weather can be amiable in April and May. Even insects are not so present these months, although I hear mosquitoes are out very early this year. It is always a pleasure to dig up the raised beds and smooth them out like display bedding in a furniture store. They have sat all winter uncovered and unproductive, and there is hard evidence that either raccoons, squirrels, or feral cats have considered them convenient and roomy litter boxes. The bird netting has now been laid down, but animals are crafty. Full-size bricks fill in gaps void of netting. One morning I discovered that a critter had actually flipped over a brick, dug up an onion, and made itself at home. We have our share of illegal night-wandering cats, but we assume this had to be an animal with cute little hands, thus a raccoon. Incidentally, raccoons do not have thumbs, opposable or otherwise!) In our raised beds, I have planted green peas for the first time, as well as two rows of Egyptian Walking Onions mailed to me by a

44 | 501 LIFE June 2021

friend last year, and green onions purchased from the grocery’s produce section. Poke ’em in the ground and they’re off! A 5-gallon pot is sown with seemingly invisible lettuce seeds, the directions stating to plant them an inch apart. I found I cannot do that without a magnifying glass nor can I pick up just one. They are like grains of sand, but a sudden gust of wind can settle the issue. The Ozark Beauty strawberry bed is full of beautiful plants that made it through teen and 0 degrees and 8 inches of glorious snow. White blooms are peeking up from the bottom, and a few green berries have been spotted. We will be mulching them with straw soon. Potatoes will be planted, then will come green beans. Marigolds have been sown around the edges as “they,” whoever “they” are,” say it deters insects. We’ll see. The Earthboxes, which I call “set-it-andforget-it” planting systems, are being readied to accept seedlings of okra, tomatoes, and cucumbers. These are plants that will first sprout under our homemade, husbandmade, indoor grow light. While we wait for great growing to take place, I’ll dead-head bulb plants in the yard and encourage the peonies. My nearly dead amaryllises from my grocery store’s after-Christmas sale have sent up healthy buds. A gentleman’s gift

of many caladium bulbs is my next highly anticipated project. In our yard, the tiny, pink Spring Beauty blooms arrive first, escorted by the young forsythia bushes. Jonquils, tulips, and hyacinths join in the competition for beauty and sweet scents. There are no Miss Congenialities or runners-up as all are equally beautiful. As I survey a row of empty caladium pots, I suddenly spy an 18-inch garden snake draped over one as if deceased. The next day, the “corpse” was gone. I know they are beneficial, but regardless, their cousins of bad repute cause me alarm. I chose to leave and check the fig bushes to see if the freezes killed them. Right now, on first glance, my friend who likes to make fig jam may be disappointed. Those who like them raw, including myself, may have frowny faces. More unwelcome interlopers are black flies (gnats or “no-see-ums”) that leave large knots on one’s face and neck. They recommend applying smelly mouthwash as a repellent for those areas, but after a while you get sick of yourself. Mosquitoes are universal pests. “They say” (again!) the way to get rid of them is to put up a bat house on your property. Perfect. Substitute blooddripping fangs of bats for blood-sucking


1. 2.

4. 5.

1. Tomato plants in earthboxes. 2. Cut “seed potatoes” being dried 24 hours before planting. 3. “Egyptian Walking Onions” and green peas in raised bed. 4. Purple “Dead Nettle” weeds. 5.Green-leaf lettuce in large flower pot.

mosquitoes. My husband gave me tiki torches for Christmas so we’ll see how that goes. The only things that devour chiggers or ticks, or that can even see them, are guineas, a type of fowl that is forever bug-hungry. I would love to have some as they are as effective as guard dogs at making racket and being aggressive. Besides growing and harvesting vegetables, I enjoy mowing, weed eating, and chopping down whatever unwelcome overgrowth grows where it shouldn’t. This includes a neighbor’s wisteria vines growing on top of and through our chain link fence, then slithering down and underground. You feel the need to watch your ankles. It is surely of the kudzu family. My favorite weeds to whack are stick-tights (which harmlessly stick to your flesh or clothing); henbit (which has nothing to do with hens); white clover (where the four-leafed are found); Johnson grass (which looks just like corn leaves); and hairy bittercress (which is not hairy and I’ll never know about the “bitter” part). Regarding the last one, pull up or cut off the long seed pods while they’re green. If you wait until they are brown, they will shoot 16 feet away when disturbed because they usually disperse when walked on or brushed against, even by an animal. You can actually see and hear them eject themselves! The remaining three beloved seasons feature things that fall – leaves, winter precipitation (maybe, maybe not), and rain. Most of those times are full of fun for all. Piled-up leaves, piled-up snow, and piled-up raincoats and boots. I can whine all I want about summer, but we can’t do without it. As that ultimately wise book says, “As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, [and] summer and winter, day and night will never cease.” [Genesis 8:22] All whining aside, I can’t argue with that. June 2021 501lifemag.com | 45

From Dude

to Dad By Donald Brazile



wise man once said, “Being a father is like shaving, no matter how well you did it today, you have to do it again tomorrow.” You see, it’s far easier for a man to have a child than for a child to have a father. Fatherhood isn’t something you learn exclusively through books, movies, lectures, or online. It is gained through relationships, circumstances, and being present. As you’ve probably figured out by now: It’s possible to get so caught up in trying to manage things that we forget to be a part of things. It’s a truth that is potentially lived out every morning as you get the kids off to school, race to work, and cruise through the day, checking things off your “Dad-to-do” list. Later you stop to reflect, “Did I truly connect with the ones I love today?” It’s a hard question to answer, but more likely than not, you were just caught up in the endless loop of Do, Done, Repeat. Since being present is more than just showing up, keep this phrase on the wallpaper of your cellphone as you go “fathering” along: Whatever you’re doing — the job in the end is to be present. Secondly, a huge part of fatherhood is taking responsibility for what you’ve created, for who you love. My dad raised nine children, and he did a wonderful job of what fathers should do: He took responsibility as best he could. This month, we should honor the men who are responsible dads, and we should seek ways to shift the culture to make it more common for them to do so. Another thing about fatherhood — it isn’t always a success story. A quick read through the Bible is a somber reminder that good fathers do not always produce good children. King Jehoshaphat, a very good

man, was the father of Jehoram, who turned out to be a father’s worst nightmare. Then, there’s the story of the two prodigal sons (yes, two). A seemingly good father raised two immature and disappointing sons: The younger was self-centered and the elder brother was not much better, refusing to attend his younger brother’s “recovery” party after he returned from his extended “Spring Break.” Here’s the biblical end of the matter: Fatherhood is something you’re called to do. Regardless of the end result! Dads, there’s no doubt you have and will make a thousand mistakes. At times you’ll push too hard; other times, you’ll not push hard enough. You’ll be critical when you should remain silent, you’ll often be skeptical when you should have trusted your child, and way too often, you’ll deny your children time with you by staying compulsively attached to your work. You see, it takes a lot of practice, perhaps a lifetime, to transform into manhood and true fatherhood. Maybe that’s part of what Paul was rolling around in his head when he said, “Not that I have already obtained it, or have it all figured out. But here’s one thing I do, forgetting what lies behind, I reach forward to what’s ahead.” (Philippians 3:12) Being a father doesn’t come naturally; you have to grow from being a dude to becoming a dad. This month is a good time to remind ourselves that it’s high time to man-up, own up, shape up, and keep prayed up as we keep reaching up to the hard and holy calling of Fatherhood. Happy Father’s Day!



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June 2021 501lifemag.com | 47


By Laurie Green


ince this issue is all about fun, I thought I would share a fun fact about myself. When I was a student at Greenbrier High, I was once voted "Most Humorous." Yep, while other students were voted most beautiful, most popular, and most likely to succeed, I was simply funny! Don't get me wrong, humor has helped me through many awkward moments, but I have to admit that it took me quite some time to realize that I could be "fun" and be a follower of Jesus (at the same time). Having not grown up in a church atmosphere, I had to figure out a lot of things along the way, and, honestly, that allowed me to assume a lot of wrong things, such as thinking humor and religion couldn't work together. Somewhere along the way, I had decided that you had to be one way at church and another way when out and about. The funny thing is, over the years I've met a whole lot of folks that grew up in church and were playing the same game. Before COVID-19, I referred to this as "wearing a mask." Luckily for me, I was about to learn to literally "Be Real.” It all started when my husband and I decided to step out of our comfort zone and lead a Life Group at our church campus. We picked a book our pastor, Rick Bezet, had written called "Be Real ... Because Fake is Exhausting!" It seemed like something I was ready to attempt, because the truth is, being 48 | 501 LIFE June 2021

fake is exhausting. The thing is, I can't tell you how many times I had heard church leaders talk about the friendships made within Life Groups. As I listened to them talk about taking vacations together, doing life together, and having refrigerator rights (people that you feel comfortable enough to have come over unexpectedly and be OK if they open your fridge and help themselves to anything), I would look at my husband and we would roll our eyes and laugh. I loved our friends at church, but that was the problem. They were "friends at church," and I wasn't comfortable with them around me outside of that environment, much less showing up at my house unexpectedly and rummaging through my fridge. We could have never known what God had in store for us. Not only did we find a group of

people that we really enjoyed being around and wanted to do life with, but we were blessed with our very best friends, Mark and Shelia Pavlu. Yep, the kind of friends you vacation with! Don't be rolling your eyes, because it really is TRUE! I believe God never intended for us to do life alone. Hear me on this. You can be surrounded by people and still be alone if you haven't encountered those divinely appointed friendships. Those "refrigerator rights" friends. One of my favorite stories to share about fun, faith, and "being real" happened a few years back while vacationing with Mark and Shelia on a cruise to Mexico. I had learned that another couple from our church (Brock and Kim Vest) would be cruising the same ship. You see, Brock worked security on the Sundays that I worked the welcome desk, and we often talked during down times. I had

never met his wife, but we exchanged information, and I told them we would see them on the ship. What I didn't know then, but learned later was that Kim was furious that Brock shared they would be on the same cruise with us. The last thing she wanted to do on vacation was spend a week hanging with "the church lady," as she kindly referred to me. It wasn't that she had a wild week planned, it just goes back to that feeling we have that church people can't be fun people. She would soon learn that Mark was her mail carrier and also one of those "church people'' who would be looking for her. You can imagine her surprise on the very first day on a ship full of thousands of people when we ran into them. I had no idea at that time how traumatized she was. LOL. We spent a whole week laughing and having fun, occasionally mentioning it was odd that we never saw Brock and Kim again. However, on the very last day of our cruise, we sat with Mark and Shelia laughing about the giant pink sombrero I was wearing as Shelia enjoyed a fancy frozen drink from a souvenir coconut cup, and we saw Kim walk\ past us. She stopped, did a double take, and came and sat down with us. It was shortly afterwards that we learned she spent the whole cruise hiding from us. That last day, we all talked, laughed, and invited her and Brock to join our Life Group when we got back home. I'm sharing this story because the thing is, they did join our group and became some of our best friends over the years! We have been able to laugh, cry, and most importantly, pray for each other. In the years since, we even took a whole group of "church people" on a cruise with us, and the best part was Kim organized it all. You need friends, and even more importantly, you need Godly friends who come with full-fledged refrigerator rights! Friends are our chosen family and we all need that as we travel throughout the different seasons of life. And when you get lucky enough to find those friends who love God, love others, and make you laugh along the way, well you have discovered Proverbs 17:22 (that medicine for life that comes from a cheerful heart). God puts people we need right smack dab in front of us, most often when we allow ourselves to be real. When you find them, let me assure you, it's absolutely normal to be both fun and a follower of Jesus! So go ahead and stock up that fridge because you just found those "refrigerator rights" people. June 2021 501lifemag.com | 49



From Conway to Morrilton, innovators are transforming the

foundations of yesterday into visions of tomorrow

50 | 501 LIFE June 2021

EM Building revitalized for coworking and college O

n a cold January evening in 2006, Larry Rogers and his wife, Liz Snipan, partnered with the Conway Downtown Partnership for a fashion show and a special investment announcement. After 20 years of growing a successful retail clothing business, the couple was going to invest $1.2 million to build a 10,000-square-foot building at the corner of Oak and Chestnut streets. In 2003, the historic retail space had been destroyed by fire. As forward thinkers, the two wanted to move their nationally known EM Jeans business downtown and hired Conway architect Rik Sowell to create the plans. It would be an L-shaped building with a 7,500-square-foot first story, and a mezzanine that would give it the appearance of a two-story building. At that time, Liz was quoted in the Log Cabin Democrat newspaper as saying: “Everything old is new again. People are really beginning to look for the next thing and shopping downtown

By Stefanie Brazile

is the new thing again.” The pair opened EM Jeans in 2006. It was the first time that the entrepreneurs had owned a building, and their success continued until they retired in 2017. When they put the EM Building on the market, it became a sought-after piece of real estate. “I stopped counting at 28 buyers,” Larry said. But he and Liz were discouraged that many of the potential buyers wanted to make the building look traditional, rather than embrace the modern design elements of concrete floors, exposed steel beams and rafters, and cable railing bannisters that lead to the mezzanine. Instead, they leased a large portion of the building to a company. But when COVID-19 arrived and the staff was forced to work from home, the company decided that the model worked for them and they didn’t want to return to the space. Old becomes new continued on page 52

June 2021 501lifemag.com | 51

Photo by Stefanie Brazile

Old becomes new continued from page 51

In the meantime, in 2015 The Studio had leased a separate portion of Liz and Larry’s building and developed it as a coworking space. With an entrance at 911 Chestnut Street in Conway, The Studio was co-founded by Kate Carnahan and Jessica Crum, and was modeled after their experience in LA where coworking spaces are a booming business. This is similar to a hair salon where individual stylists rent booths from the owner, but solopreneurs, startups and remote workers are renting a desk and access to a professional meeting space. So, when a sublease option opened for the larger portion of the EM Building, Carnahan and Crum were interested.

“Liz and Larry love their building and have a heart for the community,” Carnahan said. “They have been very particular to make sure the building benefits Conway.”

Liz Snipan, Larry Rogers, Kate Carnahan and Jessica Crum celebrate the teamwork needed to make their vision a success.

View inside the current coworking space called The Studio.

52 | 501 LIFE June 2021

Crum owns and operates Silverlake Design Studio, a branding and design company, that is housed within The Studio. Other examples of people who use the coworking space would be IT specialists, life coaches and those in sales. Professionals can purchase a day pass, share a desk, or they can rent a resident desk. “This provides a professional space away from all of the distractions of home,” Crum said. At this time, The Studio has subleased the rest of the EM Building and it will house 50 additional businesses. They are also building a workshop space, a photography and podcast studio, and some private offices within the space. In addition to the coworking spaces, the modern, open floor plan will be home to The Creative Institute of Central Arkansas. This is a new gap-year program that has recently been licensed with the Arkansas Division of Higher Education as a post-secondary career school. It targets students, ages 18-24, who are young design professionals. They will earn 23 college credit hours during the year. Classes will begin in August and offer hands-on experiences in photography, writing, video, and graphic design. “We are really, really excited that there is going to be something creative and forward thinking in our building,” Liz said. “These young women have so much energy and excitement and it reminds me of how we felt when we first built this. I’ve always loved the arts and they are bringing a new genre of creativity here. “They make me feel like I’m ready to come back to work!” she said, laughing. The EM Building provided retail space for 11 years and is now being renovated to provide a work space for 50 people, plus an innovative college opportunity. Out of the ashes of a fire 18 years ago, Liz and Larry created a building that will continue to draw forward thinking people to downtown Conway. Learn more at www.thestudiodowntown.com and at www.CreativeInstitueAR.org

Photo by Mike Kemp

The Adams Building in the 1930s Provided by Conway County Historical Society

Mike Miller shows off the newly restored Adams Office Center.

The Adams Office Center A restored gem in Morrilton


was sitting in downtown Morrilton on a sunny spring afternoon and, as the wind blew a few stray leaves across the street into a dusty whirlwind, I heard the roaring sound of a train engine approaching. My mind wandered to memories of the movie “Fried Green Tomatoes,” in which two friends visit remnants of a café and share stories of past adventures in the once buzzing town. How easy it would have been for Morrilton to lie abandoned like that little ghost town. But instead, old buildings are becoming new and businesses are popping up one by one. One such gem was restored at 116 North Moose Street and is now the home of Adams Office Center. The standalone building, purchased in 2017 by Mike Miller, was originally erected in 1900 to serve as Witt Drug Store. However, in 1935, J.C. Adams bought and updated the structure to serve as a jewelry store. Adams’ name is engraved above the storefront, giving the facility its present-day title. In 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic first plagued the world, the stream of business and community life in Morrilton slowed for the foreseeable future. But amid that lull sprung opportunity to put life back into a downtown building. A plan was forged to restore the Adams building and transform it into a modern office services facility.

By Courtney Martin Over a four-month span, the 2,500 square-foot building was gutted and given a facelift from the inside out. This involved the removal of three layers of ceilings, demolition of temporary walls, and restorative upgrades throughout the structure to return it to its glory days. The interior once again features 14-foot ceilings with the original tin panels still intact. An intricate metal cornice was matched to the 1930s trim and painted a glossy white to round out the building’s upper portion, letting old and new collide. The openness of the building was maintained by use of glass walls and doors, with lowered ceilings in the office spaces and conference room. The northernmost side of the building is now used as retail space for a shipping and printing shop near the front, with a break room and lounge space at the rear.

Open since December 2020, Adams Office Center now offers five private furnished offices for daily and monthly lease, making it an ideal location for startups, small businesses, and anyone needing a dedicated professional office space without the worries of upkeep or fluctuating expenses. The goal with this project was to revive the structure and preserve many of its historic elements while providing a modern and useful space for future business. With the versatility of its new use, this goal was achieved.

June 2021 501lifemag.com | 53

501 KIDS


A summer of fun There are tons of memories to be made right here in the 501!


ast year, we experienced a summer that we don’t want to repeat. Theme parks closed, vacations were canceled, and even outdoor experiences were hard to come by. We are so fortunate to be able to see a more “normal” summer this year. Therefore, let’s get out of the house and enjoy what the 501 has to offer. With COVID-19 restrictions being lifted across the state and at many businesses, it is a great time to make up for all that we’ve been missing. Here is a list of ideas from our area that you can enjoy as a family. Kids Bowl Free is a program that bowling centers all over are offering, and we have some here in the 501. Our family registered at Conway Family Bowl, and we are looking forward to getting two free games each visit. At registration, they offer a package for parents to pay up front and be able to bowl all summer as well. This will be great for rainy or super-hot days when we still want to get out of the house. Movie theaters are open and safe. We have visited the theater several times since they re-opened. They even have 54 | 501 LIFE June 2021

By Brittany Gilbert this great option to rent a theater for an affordable price, especially if you get a group together and everyone pitches in. Twenty attendees (this was the max at the local Cinemark) was $7.50 per ticket. We loved having the whole theater to ourselves. The theater employees do a great job cleaning the rooms, too. Hiking is the buzzword for this year. I don’t know that it’s ever been more popular, which makes sense because you’re out in the open air with the ability to have plenty of space between families. Petit Jean, Wooly Hollow, Pinnacle Mountain, and Cadron Settlement are some recommended hiking locations, to name a few. You can visit the Arkansas State Parks website to view all of the programs they have planned for summer and try to make it to a few with your family. If not, just plan a trip to hike one or more of these beautiful trails. If you’re local to Conway or enjoy Toad Suck Daze, it’s important to know that this year’s festivities will not look like what we’ve been used to in the past. Thankfully,

they are trying to provide some programs, entertainment, and activities. This year, it will be a series of events over a six-week period. There will be several free events. The best way to see this information is to visit either their Facebook page. Some of the events encourage advance registration. Aside from these specific ideas, there are great options like restaurants and parks. We have fun and beautiful parks to visit all over the 501. Get with a group of families and pick a day of the week to meet for a picnic and play time at the park. Connect with families and enjoy all the beauty that our local communities have to offer. Several restaurants have kids-eatfree nights, and we all know how tired we are of cooking at home after 2020. Have a family date night and enjoy some family bowling time, too. You don’t have to go far to experience fun and adventure this summer.

56 | 501 LIFE June 2021

June 2021 501lifemag.com | 57

Arushi Huq's first place poster

My Life, Powered by Conway Corp contest winners By Beth Jimmerson 58 | 501 LIFE June 2021

Every year, Conway Corp celebrates public power by encouraging local students to show their energy smarts and participate in a poster, essay, and video contest. Students in pre-K through fourth grade were asked to create a poster on the theme “My Life, Powered by Conway Corp” while students in fifth through seventh grades and eighth through 12th grades were asked to write an essay or create a video on the same theme. Prizes were awarded in each age category.



llen Smith Elementary second-grader Arushi Huq won first place in the poster contest. Arushi won a cash prize and a $100 donation for his school’s art program. In the digital video category, Conway High School 11th-grade student Colby Thompson won first place. His winning video can be viewed at ConwayCorp.com/ EnergySmartContest. In the essay category, Payton Brannon won first place in the fifth- through eighth-grade category for her essay “My Life, Powered by Conway Corp.” Payton is a fifth-grade student at Courtway Middle School. Luke Caldwell won first place in the ninth- through 12thgrade category for his essay “Conway Corp: Making Conway a Community.” Luke is a junior at Conway High School. Students in the video and essay contest won cash prizes.

Below is an excerpt from Payton’s essay: Where does all of this power come from? Well, my friend, it’s a place called: Conway Corp! Conway Corp is an amazing company! But...what does Conway Corp do other than provide us with electricity? How do they power our lives? Well, let’s look into that a bit deeper. Think about when your mom makes you wash your hands before dinner; or there’s the million times a day that we have to wash our hands at school...AHEM, THANKS COVID! They provide our community with clean water! Because there’s warmer weather on the way, there’s going to be a ton of sprinkler and pool time for me and my brother. There’s also going to be a lot of coming inside wanting to cool off ASAP. Conway Corp supplies fresh water for me to brush my teeth every day. Don’t even get me started on my handy mechanical friend, the dishwasher! It requires water

AND electricity! I DO NOT WANT TO HAND WASH ALL OF THOSE DISHES! If you have a younger brother like me that uses 15 different water glasses a day, you know what I’m talking about.

To read the rest of Payton's excerpt, visit: 501lifemag. com/features

Below is an excerpt from Luke’s essay: What defines a community? Some people characterize a community as a group of people working together to accomplish a common goal. In an ecosystem, a community is multiple species sharing a common area for mutual benefit. In both these scenarios, there is a sense of harmony between different people or animals, but the question is: what powers this harmony? There is always a driving factor that compels this unanimity between species, and this is no different for us in Conway. The men and women who work every day for the better of our city power us not only with electricity but also with the helping hearts and positive attitudes that promote a healthy atmosphere. Conway heavily relies on Conway Corp, and with Conway Corp, we become not just a city, but an unstoppable community that will never fail. With the COVID-19 virus this year, a lot of things have been up in the air. Events are canceled daily, and people have missed out on life moments because we haven’t been able to get together. With so much uncertainty, we don’t know what we can depend on. Even though so many things are being changed, the one thing we can always count on is Conway Corp.

To read the rest of Luke's excerpt, visit: 501lifemag.com/ features

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June 2021 501lifemag.com | 59

501 KIDS

Apologizing to your kids By Meagan Lowry


his may come as a shock, but I am not a perfect parent. Cue the sarcasm. I wish that I always had it together. But the truth is, I don’t. There are days when being a work-fromhome mom and raising a feisty 4-year-old don’t mix very well. She’s moody, I’m stressed, and the combination of those two things can lead to me snapping and reacting in ways that are less than what she deserves. I don’t know about you, but when those moments happen, I feel about 2 feet tall. I instantly regret the words I chose to say, the tone I chose to use, the volume at which I said it, and on and on and on. Regret. So much regret. But you know what follows that regret? An apology. Because she deserves it. And the behavior I hope to see in her has to first be modeled by me. Apologizing to your kids may seem like an odd notion to some.

Growing up, I didn’t receive an “I’m sorry” if my mom lost her cool. I received a speech about the behavior that led to the blow-up but never an apology. This isn’t an attack on my parents for not apologizing, but rather a chance to learn and grow. I want Lennox to acknowledge when she’s wrong. But more than that, I want her to be quick to apologize. There is a big difference between the realization that you are wrong, and the action it requires to rectify the behavior. I want to raise my daughter to know that saying, “I’m sorry,” doesn’t mean you are weak or timid. In fact, it’s the exact opposite. Owning up to our mistakes makes us powerful. It makes us strong. It shows others that we are willing to admit when we’ve done or said something wrong. That’s the kind of woman I want Lennox to grow to be: strong,

powerful, self-aware, humble, gracious ... the list goes on and on. But she won’t become those things if she doesn’t see that example at home. Since starting pre-K, Lennox has picked up the charming trait of mimicking her dad and me on a daily basis. She’s our little parrot in the backseat. Ultimately, what her mimicking has done is made me aware that she’s mimicking more than our words. She’s mimicking our behavior, too. That hit me like a ton of bricks. But I’m so thankful for the lesson. And I’m even more eager than I was before to provide her with the example she needs. So, parents, next time you lose your cool, go to your kids, and apologize for the behavior. See how it changes both them and you. I promise it’s a practice you won’t regret.

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June 2021 501lifemag.com | 61

501 KIDS


Cameron Gooch By Becky Bell


ameron Gooch wants to become an engineer or heart surgeon when he grows up. His mother, Nicole Gooch, doesn’t quite think he needs to worry about that right now. “He’s got goals. And I say that’s OK, that’s amazing, but I always tell him to enjoy the age he is,” she said. Cameron, who will go into the fourth grade at St. Joseph School next year in Conway, has a busy schedule for a 9-year-old. He plays baseball and basketball, swims competitively, plays the piano, and is a member of the youth at Antioch Baptist Church in Conway. He also plays golf with his father, Chris Gooch. At 5 and a half, Cameron began playing piano at the Conway Institute of Music in Conway. “When I was starting, I very much liked math and also loved numbers and letters and music, and my mom thought it was really going to fit with me,” he said. His favorite song to play on the piano is “Bouree and Musette,” and he has also enjoyed playing Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. “Piano does help with math because there are half notes, whole notes, dotted half notes, eighth notes, 16th notes and 32nd notes,” he said. Gooch said her son’s gift in math came at a very early age. “It’s always been a very natural, God-given talent, and we saw that gift in him early on,” she said. “He was multiplying at the age of 4. He understood numbers and my father-in-law is an engineer. It’s very natural for him.” Cameron plays two piano recitals a year at the Conway Institute of Music. He said he was nervous at first but has gotten used to it. He already has plans for playing the piano at church when he grows up. “He says ‘I want to be just like them on stage, Mom,’ and I say, ‘That’s awesome, babe,’” Gooch said. Like most kids his age, he loves pizza and ice cream. One unique fact is that he shares a birthday with his 2-year-old brother, Cooper. Cameron cherishes the trophies he has received for music and the medals and ribbons won at swim meets. Swimming is something Cameron does year-round for Aquakids Swim Team in Conway and with Conway Crocs Swim Team in the summer. He made it to state last year with the Aquakids Swim Team. He got fifth place for the 100-yard butterfly and seventh in the 50-yard butterfly. When he is not busy with all his activities, Cameron enjoys vacationing in spots like DisneyLand, the Grand Canyon, and Petit Jean Mountain. His grandparents are Bill and Sally Gooch and Redis and Nena Edmonds. Gooch said she is so proud to have him as her son. “Our goal as parents is just to love our children and make sure at the end of the day they know they are loved,” she said. “We want them to have experiences. He is such a happy child and always sees the brighter side of everything in life. We are so blessed to have Cameron as our child.” 62 | 501 LIFE June 2021

June 2021 501lifemag.com | 63

June marks the beginning of our fifth year of profiling noteworthy athletes who made their mark in the 501. Each “Celebrating athletic excellence” annual series features an athlete from each of our 11 counties.


White County:

Huckeba Indoor Football Practice Center

In the early 19th century, John Keats alleged that “a thing of beauty is a joy forever”; two centuries later, Harding University illustrates the English poet’s wisdom. Completed and dedicated in the fall of 2019, the handsomely outfitted Huckeba Indoor Football Practice Center has dazzled the dozens who have already toured the facility. Certainly, its splendor will be no less impressive to visitors far into the future as long as an inspiring request to “Honor God” embellishes the walls of its lobby. The university discerned a legitimate need for the center when the longtime coach for whom it is named led the football program to unprecedented success. Always competitive, Harding football surged to national prominence between 2012 and 2016, the last five years Ronnie Huckeba was at its helm. Accompanying a 47-win, 11-loss record during that period were three national rankings, including a high of No. 6 in 2016, the setting was ideal for even loftier goals. The practice center quickly emerged as a top priority, and with it came, almost simultaneously, a call for money to convert the dream into reality. “The Bison Brotherhood” was spectacular in its response. Former players, alumni, and friends acted with a generosity, speed, and enthusiasm that amazed no one familiar with the university. Former Harding President David B. Burks explained: “Coach Huckaba embodied the concept of brotherhood not only for the football team but for Harding University in total … He taught and shared by example his commitment to all of his players to honor God in everything they did.” The initial gift was an anonymous $2.5 million, with another 64 | 501 LIFE June 2021

500,000 promised until matched. Soon thereafter, campus coffers held the total needed for full funding of the $5.5 million colossus, the largest indoor practice facility in the state (yes, larger than the University of Arkansas') and in NCAA II football. It is one of the largest, too, at any gridiron level in the nation. With a 60-foot ceiling, its 77,146-foot interior holds a full-size turf football field, plus end zones (133 yards long). Also available, in addition to the lobby, are a kicking net, storage closets, and two bathrooms. Giant fans and a heating system guarantee ideal temperatures at all hours of gridiron activity. Built directly behind Harding’s First Security Stadium home-seating section, the Huckeba Center proudly dwarfs the field on which the legendary coach gained many of his triumphs. Paul Simmons, his successor as head football coach, quickly exudes excitement when discussing the facility. The only Bison football player ever to earn first-team All-American honors three times can now schedule workouts during the state’s most inclement weather; neither rain nor snow can cancel or halt practices. Recruitment, too, has benefited. Simmons labels his first recruiting class since its completion his “most talented,” and after suffering through a $

pandemic-postponed 2020 season, they will debut in Searcy on Saturday, Sept. 4, against Great American Conference (GAC) foe East Central University from Ada, Oklahoma. Coming off a 10-win, 2-loss season in 2019, Simmons predicts not-yet-seen honors for his program. More GAC titles will be but steps on the path to consistent national success and acclaim, he suggests. Possessing an overall 3-year head-coaching record of 30 wins and only 9 losses at Harding, he candidly proclaims, “We are trying to build a dynasty here.” With the Huckeba Center a monolithic asset, there appears to be little reason to doubt he will. Consistent with what he foresees for Harding football, Simmons was instrumental in bringing a distinctive and distinguished National Football League star to the center last November. A devout Christian, 16-season NFL tight end Benjamin Watson spoke courageously and convincingly about racism in football and “the work of God’s grace” in thwarting it. His presentation was rich in stories about how, in his own battles with injustice in the gridiron sport, “God repeatedly showed up.” It is easy to understand why the live audience of Harding football players attending the virtual lecture not only found it inspiring but now appreciate why Watson has become a national voice for diversity and unity and why they should strive to become nothing less. The center has also become home to football clinics overseen by Simmons. Youngsters desiring improvement on the gridiron can now develop their skills in Keatsian beauty created to enhance excellence while honoring God, a structure in which 501 will “forever” take pride.

The Huckeba Family posing inside the facility named for Coach Ronnie Huckeba. Back row: Jordan Huckeba (from left), Jeb Huckeba, Coach and Peggie Huckeba, Hope Huckeba Ballentine and John Ballentine. Middle row includes wives Sarah (from left) and Jami. Ten grandchildren are in front.

Besides accommodating sports activities, the Huckeba Field House hosts speakers. Last November, the Harding University American Studies Institute welcomed Benjamin Watson, former New England Patriots tight end, for a in-person and virtual lecture event.

The facility is 77,146 square feet, including a full-size turf football field plus end zones (133 yards long). It provides a place to practice in inclement weather and additional space for weekly preparation. The building is the largest indoor football practice facility in NCAA Division II and one of the largest in the country for any level. (Jeff Montgomery photo courtesy of Harding University)

June 2021 501lifemag.com | 65


White County: Johnny Adams

In 2018, John Hutchcraft was given Harley and has raised him from a pup after losing his companion Happy that year.

Hutchcraft & Harley Man’s best friend Submitted by Shara Brazear and Dwain Hebda

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t has long been said that dogs take on the traits of their owners and vice versa. That certainly applies to Harley D. Hutchcraft, reflecting many of the personality traits of his owner, John Hutchcraft, owner of Hutch Auction and The Mall antique mall in Twin Groves, just outside of Greenbrier. Like his dad, Harley rarely meets a stranger and loves spending his days at work mingling with customers. Harley's physical structure and personality mimic Hutchcraft's long, smooth swagger, and his friendly personality and welcoming demeanor also mirror that of his owner. During the week, Harley works dual roles at the business property, as security guard and greeter to auction customers and antique mall visitors alike. When he’s not working, Harley hangs out on weekends in North Little Rock with Shara Brazear, his dog mom and Hutchcraft’s girlfriend. Yet it was a partnership that very nearly didn’t happen between Hutchcraft and Harley. In August 2018, the 3-year-old black standard poodle was just a puppy and owned by a friend who didn’t have the time to train him. Hutchcraft had just said goodbye to his longtime pup, Happy Hutchcraft, who died earlier that summer. Despite being offered the brown-eyed whelp, Hutchcraft wasn’t really looking to replace Happy that quickly. That’s when Brazear stepped in. An avid dog person herself, she called meeting Harley love at first sight. She insisted the poodle come home with them and on her offer to share custody, Hutchcraft relented and Harley joined the family. Since then, Harley has more than earned his keep as a major draw for Hutchcraft’s businesses. On the regular, passing junkers and antiquers stop by just to see Harley and the long-legged, shiny black favorite employee is always there to greet them. On his own time, the 75-pound Harley likes to play with his much smaller furry sisters, Gucci and Fendi Brazear. He’s also an aficionado of afternoon naps, chasing butterflies, rabbits and cats, and touring with his parents in their motorhome. He delights everyone he meets just by being the well-behaved, uber intelligent, and friendly companion he is. What a dog!

Harley enjoys catching some rays while out on the deck with Gucci and Fendi Brazear, his sisters, who collectively weigh under 20 lbs.

Shara Brazear dates Harley’s owner and loves spending time with the standard poodle on weekends.

Harley in his namesake jacket.

June 2021 501lifemag.com | 67


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anie Nesbitt Jones, who grew up in Conway, recalls her father telling her that she should be a writer someday. It wasn’t until after she turned 40 that she followed his advice. No wonder she calls herself a “late bloomer.” Janie has now been writing feature stories for newspapers and magazines for nearly 20 years, and in March her true crime book “The Arkansas Hitchhike Killer” was released. It tells the story of Faulkner County native James Waybern "Red" Hall, likely the state’s deadliest killer, having confessed to committing at least 24 homicides in the late 1930s and ’40s. Janie began her writing career in 1999 when she wrote an article for the River Valley & Ozark Edition of the Arkansas DemocratGazette. It was about her schnauzer, Sylvie, and the animal-assisted therapy program offered through the Humane Society of Faulkner County. More human interest stories followed. In 2006, she became a true crime writer for a monthly Arkansas magazine. Although she always had a certain

curiosity about homicides, she admits she never imagined she’d find her niche writing about true crime on a regular basis. It was a friend who recalled hearing warnings in her youth about the notorious Red Hall and suggested Janie write about him. She wrote a two-part article that was published in 2011 in the monthly magazine. When Janie mentioned she wanted to write a book, it was her husband who suggested she continue to examine Hall. Over the span of about eight years, Janie worked intermittently on the book. Although she loves the research aspect of her work, finding out about Hall proved to be quite a challenge because very little was written about him. She unearthed old newspaper articles, interviewed family members, and scoured documents and courthouse records. She discovered five articles in vintage detective magazines. In the process of tracing Hall’s history, she also attempted to elicit some rationale for his actions, since he did not seem to be motivated by money or sexual gratification. She discovered that Hall had a certain

charisma about him that likely enabled him to lure unsuspecting motorists into giving him a ride. The book details Hall’s known homicides, both in Arkansas and across the U.S., and his ultimate demise. Janie found a willing publisher in The History Press, which publishes books “infused with local color” yet aimed at a general readership. Unfortunately, Janie’s father never lived to see her name in print. He died when she was only 17. But she knows her father would be proud of her work, and she honored him by using her full name, Janie Nesbitt Jones. Interestingly, a dog, Tiny, played a role in meeting her husband, Wyatt Jones. The couple, now married 28 years, met in rather storybook fashion – walking their dogs. The two have penned two other books together: “Hiking Arkansas” (2003) and “Arkansas Curiosities: Quirky Characters, Roadside Oddities & Other Offbeat Stuff” (2010). “The Arkansas Hitchhike Killer” can be purchased from online booksellers and local bookstores.

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501-224-4888 | MiddletonInc.com June 2021 501lifemag.com | 69


Photos and story by Linda Henderson

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Sunset in Conway

Petit Jean State Park

Wheat field at Lollie Bottoms

Sunset on Lake Conway

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Barn in Alpine (Clark County)

Old Glory against a July sunset


Using clouds and skies to improve your 501 landscape and nature photos

f you are or have a photography enthusiast in your life, you will know a lot about weather. Most of the time, you will know the current weather, possible hourly changes, and the latest 10-day predictions. You will likely be aware of sunset/sunrise times, phases of the moon, wind speeds, humidity, track of storms, and dew points. The reason for all this knowledge is that weather makes good or bad light, and that light may determine the quality of the photo. What do you do when you plan a photography trip to a dream destination and the weather does not cooperate? The sky is gray or there are no clouds, and the light is so harsh that the subject is dull, and the color is washed out. Anyone can take a good photo when the light is amazing. If the clouds and light are perfect, a cellphone picture could be a printable photo. The person who can come away from the notso-ideal conditions is the photographer who has learned how to use clouds, the sky, and weather to improve their photos.


Being able to predict cloud cover, fog and visibility is the absolute best way to determine the quality of the light. This information will help plan how photo-worthy a morning or evening could be. Cloud cover can be divided into three types: low, medium, and high. Good landscape and natural light will be rendered by a mixture of all three types of clouds. Low clouds are also called stratus clouds. They are found at below 6,500 feet and are smooth and layered in appearance. Low clouds tend to block out the light from a sunset or sunrise. A few low clouds add color and interest at the horizon. Medium clouds are the big fluffy clouds and

are associated with weather fronts. They catch lots of good color, especially if they occur prior to sunset or sunrise. But many times, they disappear too quickly. High clouds are also called cirrus clouds. They are found at heights above 20,000 feet and are wispy in appearance. High clouds create beautiful landscape photos. They filter the light and catch the beautiful colors of sunset and sunrise. Because they filter out the harsh sunlight and provide good photography light, they extend the amount of time in the morning after sunrise and in the early evening before sunset. They add a good visual element to a photo and fill in a blank sky.

Photographing the sky

A bluebird sky is a common term used for a day where there is not a cloud in the sky. It contains little haze or interest. Most non-photographers think that is the perfect sky, but not photographers. We strongly dislike bluebird skies. The sun’s light is not filtered by clouds and produces very harsh or “hot” light. What to photo with a bluebird sky day? Photograph only during the golden hour, which is one hour before and after sunrise or sunset when the sun is low in the horizon and produces wonderful warm diffused light. Look for light falling on the landscape in an interesting way. Take photos of environmental subjects but do not include the sky in the photo. What to photograph with a gray sky? Gray skies are skies without contrast. Thick clouds cover and block the light, making it flat, dull, or dirty light as a result. The day is not lost. Great photos can be made under a gray sky. What to photo with a gray sky? Do not

include the sky in the photo. Find a high place from which to photograph the landscape so that you shoot downward. Do not shoot a wide-angle lens during a gray sky. Take photos of architecture like monuments, roadside attractions, old buildings, and churches. Just eliminate the sky, or look for small elements like flowers, bugs, or leaves. A rainy sky can enhance nature’s colors. Leaves and foliage will appear even more vivid. Photograph water droplets, puddles, umbrellas in the rain, people running in the rain, and children playing in the rain. Best skies do happen occasionally, so be prepared and not on the couch wishing for an opportunity. Most stunning skies occur around the time the sun rises and sets. The rising and setting of the sun bring out nature’s best colors. The sky will light up with pinks, reds, oranges, yellows, and purples at the horizon. The sky can take on ombre shades of blue that you only see between the light of day and dark of night. A sky like this is never seen during midday. Sometimes these colors will peter out prior to the sunset, but do not leave. Wait for twilight as the sky can catch light from the sun setting beyond the horizon. To increase your odds of getting fantastic photographs, I recommend two smartphone apps. Clear Outside and TPE (The Photographer's Ephemeris) are available on an iOS platform. Taking beautiful photos of skies and weather will require a little ability and knowledge, but with effort and the honing of your photography skills, you will be able to capture the beauty of the outdoors.

June 2021 501lifemag.com | 73

"Taking beautiful photos of skies and weather will require a little ability and knowledge, but with effort and the honing of your photography skills, you will be able to capture the beauty of the outdoors," Linda Henderson

Nimrod Dam in western Arkansas

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Gardens continued from page 14

as several props and supporting materials. Examples include “Backyard Birds,” “Honey Bees,” “Down the Drain,” and “Jack in the Beanstalk.” Two Lonoke County projects have raised the bar for innovation, turning their gardens into learning labs. They renovated, and/or built from scratch, flower, vegetable, and herb gardens at the libraries in Lonoke and Cabot. “Working with MGs has been a wonderful experience,” said Kathleen Ashmore, librarian at the Cabot Public Library. “Their expertise has made our programming more vibrant. We have the ability to include outdoor and farm-to-table type events. They allow us to have ‘hands on’ examples of what is included in the youth programs we do. The ‘Pizza Garden’ includes vegetables and herbs we use in pizza-making demonstrations.” Kay Roberts, chair of the Cabot volunteers, says their group is committed to keeping a learning garden with examples of pollinator plants, species attracting butterflies, and even a rock garden. MG volunteers in Lonoke (Marjorie Walker McCrary Library) got extra creative during the restrictions of COVID-19. Instead of preparing kits to accompany story time, they made videos and PowerPoints to post on the library’s website. A popular one was called “Sweet Potato Dig,” in which they showed how to grow and dig sweet potatoes and shared their nutrient content along with healthy recipes. Plans for this year include making kits relating to Saturday programs conducted by librarians, so students will have a hands-on experience. Marisue Rowe, chair of the project, says they want to get kids interested in learning about plants through library programs.

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To be an MG and become a part of a committed group who learns and shares their love of plants, an application is available through the UA ag division website uada.edu. Cost of participating and materials provided varies from $50 to $ 120, depending on location and the type of training, whether electronic or in person. To learn more about sharing in the fun, contact your local county extension offices in the 501 area: Cleburne Conway Faulkner Garland Hot Spring Lonoke Perry Pulaski Saline Van Buren White

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June 2021 501lifemag.com | 75



Rich Moellers’

L fe of the Party By Morgan Zimmerman

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elf-proclaimed “king of the dad joke,” Rich Moellers is the manager of local radio station KVOM and one of Morrilton’s biggest cheerleaders. To the unknowing bystander, he may not stand out as the life of the party. You won’t find him in the center of the room holding the attention of a crowd with an arsenal of boisterous stories — but if you keep looking, you will find him in that same room quietly observing, offering a supportive word or some comic relief, and brainstorming ways to make his community better. After living in every corner of the state and then graduating from Arkansas State University in 1993, Rich landed in Morrilton when his roommate was offered a job at KVOM and turned it down, recommending that Rich be offered the position instead. He set about making a name for himself in

the community and over the years has become the go-to master of ceremonies for many local events. He spends his free time serving on the Conway County Economic Development Corporation Board, the CHI St. Vincent Morrilton Hospital Board, and as a member of both the Morrilton Knights of Columbus and the Morrilton Rotary Club, among other things. Some might say Rich’s greatest attribute is his positive attitude. When asked, he said pointedly, “I don’t really have anything to be negative about.” There have been challenges in his life, like raising an autistic son, but he believes that fate landed his family in Morrilton where an organization like the Conway County Center for Exceptional Children and their ACTION Services day program exists — and where his son was able to thrive. He adds that having a sunny disposition means being able to work with everyone and every relationship brings some kind of value into your life. When the pandemic hit, Rich was called on by his church community to bring life to the virtual party by providing music for the weekly pre-recorded mass at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Morrilton. A lifelong lover of music, and having worked in radio stations since he was 16 years old, Rich is a skilled musician and plays several instruments. Outside of church, you can find him producing videos for his “one man band.” He blends audio and video of himself playing all the instruments and performing the vocals on popular cover songs. When asked what he thinks makes someone the life of the party, Rich says a big personality is the ticket. He doesn’t consider himself to have a big personality, but he remembers his former boss and longtime mentor, Stan Willis, saying that, even though they worked at an itty-bitty radio station, they were still in “show business.” Stan said people listen to be entertained and when you’re in a public job you’re always “on.” Rich quotes Thomas Jefferson: “Nothing gives one person so great advantage over another, as to remain always cool and unruffled under all circumstances.” The way he keeps his cool is to tell a dad joke. He says, “I think humor is how reasonable people cope.” June 2021 501lifemag.com | 77

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FUNdamental exercises T

Jenn McCracken

Director of Wellness Programs/Instructor Hendrix College Wellness and Athletics Center

his past week I had a friend from work contact me and give me the news every fitness professional wants to hear, “I am ready to start working out again.” She explained to me that her body isn’t where she wants it to be. What once were easy daily tasks have now become something that requires extreme amounts of effort. Furthermore, the increased demands on her body have led to injury and nagging pain. After talking with her about the plan, we decided that hiring a personal trainer to focus on functional fitness is where she needed to start. Without functional fitness training, people’s quality of life diminishes. Pushing the grocery cart around the store now feels like pushing a boulder up Petit Jean Mountain. Getting up out of your office chair to grab a copy from the printer now seems as if you are

trying to swim your way out of quicksand. If any of these things sound like something you are struggling with, I encourage you to get back to the basics of exercise. Functional fitness will focus on improving muscle strength and stability to help you easily move through common daily tasks. Furthermore, this type of workout will focus mainly on movements that will enhance everyday life rather than emphasizing performance-based exercises that improve speed, strength, and/or agility. Personal trainers help with this process so that you will not undertrain or overtrain, thus setting you up for greater success sooner. Below are some of my favorite types of exercises to do for functional fitness. As with any exercise, I encourage you to get a doctor’s consent or hire a professional before starting any program.

1. Squats

Advanced – squatting while holding dumbbells in each hand. Modification – squatting while holding on to a chair or handrail.

2. Lunges

Advanced– walking lunges with or without a dumbbell. Modification – lunges performed while holding onto a chair or handrail.

3. Push-ups

Advanced – pushing up from the ground with hands placed directly under the shoulders. Modification – pushing away from a wall in standing position facing the wall.

4. Deadlift

Advanced – single leg deadlift holding dumbbells in each hand. Modification – lifting a light weight or no weight at all during exercise.

5. Step-ups

Advanced – stepping up while holding dumbbells or doing an overhead press. Modification – stepping up while holding on to a chair or handrail. June 2021 501lifemag.com | 79

501 NEWS



he 2021 Daffodil Daze Art Contest winners have been chosen from more than 115 entries. 501 LIFE Magazine partnered with Conway Regional Health System and First Security Bank to present the annual contest that was open to all Faulkner County kindergarten through the 12th grade students. Entries had to be submitted on 8.5-by-11-inch paper in any art medium, including photos. They were judged in three school divisions: elementary (kindergarten through fourth grade), middle school (fifth through eighth grade), and junior high/high school (ninth through 12th grade). Both the winner and their teacher received a swag bag from First Security. To watch the video announcement of winners, visit the 501 LIFE Magazine page on Facebook.


2. 3.

5. 6. 4.

8. 9.


11. 10.

1. Noah Ball of Ms. Moore's 2nd Grade - Eastside Elementary, 2. Leah Satlerwhite of Mrs. Moore's4th Grade - Eastside Elementary 3. Aria Huq of Ms. Kay Barlow's 4th grade - Ellen Smith Elementary 4. Beaux Crow of Ms. Jeanne Ortiz's 3rd Grade - Julia Lee Moore Elementary 5. Calista Sprague of Ms. Copeland's 7th Grade - Carl Stuart Middle School 6. Chloe Nilz of Ms. Ann Harrod's 7th Grade - Greenbrier Middle School 7. Allee Kassman of Ms. Ann Harrod's 7th Grade - Greenbrier Middle School 8.Lily Douglas of Mrs. Spradlin's 10th Grade - Conway High School 9. Shai Jackson of Mrs. Spradlin's 11th Grade - Conway High School 10.Faith Rogers of Mrs. Spradlin's 12th Grade - Conway High School 11. Ella Boudrie of Mrs. Spradlin's 10th Grade - Conway High School

June 2021 501lifemag.com | 81

CONWAY NEIGHBORS Person of the month

Dr. Robert “Bob” Reising

CITY WHERE YOU LIVE: Conway. I was born in New Haven, Conn., where my twin sister still lives. WORK: From 1956, I taught, coached, administered, and researched at a variety of colleges and universities (largely in the U.S.) until retiring (for the third time) in 2013 from UCA. I am a professor emeritus of American Indian literatures, English, and education from UNC Pembroke, where I served from 1971 through 2005. In 1984-85, I was the director of studies in the Center for European Languages in Translation at King Saud University in Saudi Arabia. For two summers, early in the new millennium, I worked in Sabinas, Mexico, heading a small team working to improve their teaching of English as a second language. WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO GO INTO YOUR FIELD:

My father, an eighth-grade graduate with a lifetime commitment to reading and writing, and a one-time baseball player.


largely in the U.S., including co-authoring “Chasing Moonlight: The True Story of Field of Dreams’ Doc Graham” in 2009. Presently I am co-authoring a biography of Jim Thorpe with the iconic athlete’s great-grandson. I have published about 150 articles in professional journals and am a monthly contributor to 501 LIFE Magazine, providing the Celebrating Athletic Excellence content.

COMMUNITY ACTIVITIES: I am a board member of the local Fellowship of Christian Athletes and of the Faulkner County Historical Society. I remain an active member of UCA’s Purple Circle, the Newcomers Club, the Conway Writers' Group, and the Statistical Association of Baseball Research, an international baseball organization. CHURCH ACTIVITIES: I attend First United Methodist Church (FUMC), including its Forum Sunday School Class. FAMILY: My wife is Judy Lee Reising, my children Paula and John


EDUCATION: I hold three degrees: a Bachelor of Arts in English and education from Michigan State University, a master’s in English from the University of Connecticut, and a doctorate in English and education from Duke University. I have also held five postdoctoral awards in American Indian literatures. MOST CHERISHED POSSESSION: A medal awarded upon my induction into the Michigan State University Sports Hall of Fame with my teammates from the 1954 varsity baseball team. We took third place in the NCAA College World Series. MOST ENJOYED WEEKEND ACTIVITY: Sunday School and 11 o’clock services at FUMC, followed by a quality lunch in Conway, and an afternoon and evening with my wife, PBS, and area newspapers. WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT LIVING IN THE 501: The people, the four libraries, the three institutions of

higher education, the healthcare professionals and facilities, and the amenities -- intelligent folks, all! Conway is also home to many retired coaches who do not tolerate my lengthy discourses on my head baseball coaching career with a record of 105 and 85, with one team in the NAIA College World Series, another in the NCAA National Tournament,

IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE YOU WOULD LIKE TO INCLUDE: I have lived in more cities than I dare list, but find

Conway uncommonly comfortable and pleasant.

82 | 501 LIFE June 2021

A Growing Health System for a Growing Community

Innovative Services

Expanded Access

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Down the Hallway, not the Highway As our community continues to grow, we are growing alongside you to ensure all of your healthcare needs are met right here in Conway. When your family needs emergency care, our board-certified providers will give you the comprehensive care you deserve when you need it most. When you’re facing an emergency, trust the care you’ll find down the hallway, not down the highway.

We’re not just growing—we’re growing together.

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84 | 501 Member FDICLIFE June 2021