October 2021 501lifemag.com | 1
2 | 501 LIFE October 2021
A PATH OF
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October 2021 501lifemag.com | 3
“There are three things that I've learned never to discuss with people: religion, politics and The Great Pumpkin.” - It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown When I look at this photo that
was taken two years ago at the Schaefers and Collins Pumpkin Patch in Mayflower, I remember a fun fall day shared with a couple of my favorite people. I also remember lots of families with young kids waiting in line for the hayride and barrel pull. Don and I spent many hours in those lines when our two kids were young, and we could relate to some of the bewildered faces we saw! There were so many colors and shapes of pumpkins (all of which are squashes — who knew?), including perfect carving pumpkins and Cinderella pumpkins. When we walked through a nearby corn maze and my silly husband pretended to eat corn, I didn’t know that a pandemic was coming or that we would move to this region in the middle of the health crisis. We were there at the invitation of our only daughter who attended college nearby. Don and I were so glad to spend time with her because we missed her presence at home. It’s so nice to remember carefree afternoons like this one. When I consider all the stress and grief that humanity has collectively endured in the past 18 months, it’s difficult to not feel emotionally overwhelmed. Like you, we have lost friends and loved ones to the virus. Yet we are here with a purpose, we are cherishing moments and trying to live a healthy life. This issue’s theme is “Health and Wellness in the 501,” and we’ve included stories that approach the topic from a physical, mental and spiritual standpoint. As the Bible says, we are body, mind and spirit, and if one of those is out of balance, the other two suffer. Our cover story is about Paige Revis, the lady who brought Jazzercise to Conway 25 years ago. This energetic woman has helped hundreds of women on their fitness journey. She also developed deep friendships with Jazzercise members, which is a bonus to having workout buddies. We’ve included a story about a program called “Get Fit,” which is offered by county extension offices throughout our 11-county distribution. Our fitness expert, Jenn McCracken, offers practical exercise tips that you can incorporate into your weekly routine. Another inspiring story is from White County where a young woman named Kristi Miller realized her calling to be a nurse while helping her mom through cancer treatment. Now, as a registered nurse in that same cancer center, Kristi is raising money to purchase another comfortable chair for patients to receive chemotherapy in. It will be donated in memory of her mother. Have you thought about the exhaustion our health care workers and caregivers continue to experience? We’ll tell you what leaders are doing to prevent burnout. Our contributors have written numerous health and wellness stories and I hope you enjoy them all month long. Now that the cooler temps are rolling in, Don and I are enjoying Friday night football games and can’t wait to explore many more pumpkin patches with our daughter and son. Spending the day outside allows me to check all of the boxes — mental, physical and spiritual wellness. I hope to see you out there!
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PUBLISHER/ART DIRECTOR Jeremy Higginbotham EDITOR Stefanie W. Brazile FOUNDERS Donna Spears and Sonja J. Keith SPORTS AND DIGITAL DIRECTOR Levi Gilbert COPY EDITORS Jordan Hickey and Andrea Miller BRAND AMBASSADOR Donald Brazile PHOTO DIRECTOR Mike Kemp FINANCE DIRECTOR Debbie Flowers ADVERTISING SALES: Donna Spears
CONTRIBUTORS Becky Bell Don Bingham Aaron Brand Donald Brazile Jessica Duff Tina Falkner Laurie Green Dwain Hebda Linda Henderson Vivian Lawson Hogue Beth Jimmerson
Jennifer McCracken Mark McDonald Mark Oliver John Patton Susan Peterson Dr. Robert Reising Judy Riley Abby Sanders Jennifer Skinner Donna Lampkin Stephens Morgan Zimmerman
FAULKNER COUNTY EDITORIAL BOARD Johnny Adams Jack Bell Don Bingham RaeLynn Callaway Glenn Crockett Kay Dalton Beth Franks Russ Hancock Spencer Hawks Mathilda Hatfield Roe Henderson Jerry Hiegel Mike Kemp 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 • email@example.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.
October 2021 501lifemag.com | 5
October Volume 14 Issue 6
4 Letter from the Editor/Staff Box List of advertisers/Writers’ Room 7 Upcoming events 8 9 News 10 Loving LIFE Photos 12 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb 14 Women’s Business Showcase 16 Loving LIFE Photos 18 Couple of the month: Brenda & D. Brent Herring 20 A happy home
On the cover Paige Revis with Conway Jazzercise co-owner Alicia Gough. "I was one of Paige’s first class managers and started with her as a customer in 1996 - one of the best decisions I have ever made!"
By Donna Benton
Fitness is a journey not a race
By Jenn McCracken
24 Youth of the month: Jacob Cater of Quitman By Dwain Hebda
Photo by Mike Kemp
29 Treatment options for chronic pain By Stefanie Brazile
30 Get Fit offered by county extension offices By Judy Riley
Dinner at the mansion
By Chef Don Bingham
34 Conway Co. Center helps disabled adults By Morgan Zimmerman
36 Fearless in the face of cancer By Jennifer Skinner
39 Monitor your child’s mental health By Stefanie Brazile
42 Just breathe
By Mark McDonald
44 Artistic Excellence: Watercolorist Selma Blackburn By Aaron Brand
25 Years and still jazzed up!
By Donna Lampkin Stephens
50 ‘Set a spell’ and think on these things By Vivian Lawson Hogue
PCSSD works to keep students healthy
By Jessica Duff
54 Benefits of public power By Beth Jimmerson
56 UCA opens Health Sciences Building 58 Pet of the month: Zoey By Becky Bell
60 Kid of the month: Thomas Rouse
By Becky Bell
62 Nursing home leaders appreciate team By Stefanie Brazile
64 Author weaves romance into 501 town By Susan Peterson
66 Athletic Excellence: Karl Koonce, Garland County By Dr. Robert Reising
68 UACCM student claims silver medal By Abby Sanders
70 Vivid visions of fall By Linda Henderson
Conway Regional Men’s Health Q&A New clinic opens to treat disorder
By Stefanie Brazile
78 Person of the month: Jennifer Boyett
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501 LIFE would like to thank our advertising partners for their continued support and encourage our readers to visit these businesses: A Arkansas Coding Academy - UCA, 52 Arkansas PBS, 35
B Baptist Health, 28 Bledsoe Chiropractic, 26-27
C Centennial Bank, 63 Central Bapist College, 23 Conway Corp, 71 Conway Regional Health System, 79 Conway Regional Rehab, 69
D DDS Denture + Implant Solutions, 31 DJM Orthodontics, 9 Downtown Conway, 40-41
Did you know 501 LIFE is a vital part of a happy, healthy LIFEstyle? For only $20 a year, you can have this delicious, nutritious publication delivered to you and the ones you love. Copies go fast each month. Home delivery ensures you never miss an issue!
Visit 501LIFEmag.com or call 501.327.1501 to subscribe.
Edward Jones, 25
F First Community Bank, 55 First Security Bank, 80 First Service Bank, 13 Freyaldenhoven . Heating and Cooling, 38
Catch 501 LIFE on KARK News at 12:30 on October 1.
G Garage Experts, 77 Greenbrier Nursing & Rehab, 65
H Hartman Animal Hospital, 59 Harwood, Ott & Fisher, PA, 53 Heritage Living Center, 5
welcome to the Writers’ Room
J Julie's Sweet Shoppe, 71
M Methodist Family Health, 43 MSC Eye Associates, 51
O Ott Insurance, 70
P Pain Treatment Centers of America, 17 Patterson Eye Care, 77 Pulaski County Special School District, 68
R Reynolds Performance Hall, 46
S Salem Place, 57 Shelter Insurance, 51 Sissy’s Log Cabin, 15 Superior Health & Rehab, 2
U Unity Health, 3 University of Arkansas . Community College Morrilton, 39 University of Central Arkansas, 61
Donna Benton Living in Greenbrier for nearly 25 years, Donna enjoys the small town culture and community in the 501. “But most of all, my friends and family are here and that is what makes it home!” She is a rock climber, whitewater kayaker and a backpacking guide. Donna blogs at waterhousemarket.com and can be reached at donna@ waterhousemarket.com.
Jennifer McCracken From Kentucky, Jenn longed to raise her kids in a town that felt like “home.”This is definitely the place! Jenn loves her life as a coach's wife and cheers loudly and proudly at all of her husband's basketball games at Hendrix College. She enjoys running and teaching Sunday school at Conway FBC. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. Robert Reising Retired from the University of Central Arkansas in 2013, Dr. Reising held a variety of teaching, coaching and administrative posts during more than a half-century in education. His doctoral dissertation at Duke treated literature and sports. In 2009, he co-authored “Chasing Moonlight: The True Story of Field of Dreams’ Doc Graham.”
October 2021 501lifemag.com | 7
501 Events Sacred Heart Oktoberfest 4 - 7 p.m. • October 1-2
The Sacred Heart Oktoberfest will be held at Sacred Heart Catholic School in Morrilton. On Friday, Beer, Brats & Bid will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. and includes a silent auction, beer garden, live music from The Kordsmeiers and custom cocktails. Cost is $20 per ticket. From 4 to 7 p.m. on Saturday, there will be a socially distanced silent auction and bingo on the lawn. To learn more, call 501.354.8113.
Blue Jeans and Bubbles 4 - 8 p.m. • October. 9
Conway Business Expo and Taste of Conway 8 a.m. - 7 p.m. • October 14
The Conway Area Chamber of Commerce's Business Expo will be held at the Conway Expo Center. Taste of Conway will cap off the day beginning at 5 p.m. and tickets cost $15. More than 25 restaurants will participate, giving the community the chance to sample some of their best food. Tickets can be purchased in advance online at conwaychamber.org or at the door. To learn more, call 501.327.7788.
Arkansas State Fair
Times vary • October 15-24
Benefiting Ronald McDonald House Charities of Arkansas, a party with a purpose is planned from 4 to 8 p.m., Oct. 9, in Little Rock’s SoMa district. Guests will indulge in a custom menu and desserts from a SoMa restaurant while sipping champagne in Bernice Garden. Live entertainment featuring Bijoux, and Juicebox Jake and the Lunchables, discounts from retailers and bubbly are offered. Tickets begin at $35 and can be purchased at rmhcarkansas.org. Click on Events, then choose Blue Jeans & Bubbles 2021.
The Arkansas State Fair is back and better than ever! The fair has everything you could want, rides, games, food, music, competitions, and action! The event usually brings around 430,000 people to Central Arkansas. To learn more, visit arkansasstatefair.com.
Community Tent Meeting
6 p.m. • October 19
Times vary • Oct. 10-17
Hosted by Stanfill Baptist Church in Jacksonville. A free eight-day Community Tent Meeting will feature several speakers and musicians. “Southern Raised,” a group of award-winning kinfolk, trained in classical music but raised in the bluegrass-soaked Ozark Mountains, will perform as well as The Ellis Family, Sen. Jason Rapert & His Bluegrass Friends, and The Believers. For a full schedule of speakers and musicians, text "TENT" to 833.880.5011. 8 | 501 LIFE October 2021
Conway Festival of Chairs
The 20th annual Festival of Chairs will take place at the St. Joseph Spiritan Center in Conway. The signature feature is the beautifully repurposed chairs created by local artists. The chairs, along with other works of art and hundreds of other unique items, will be offered in live and silent auctions. Food will be provided by local restaurants and there will be a beer and wine bar. Funds raised support The Children’s Advocacy Alliance. To buy tickets, visit hopeandjustice.org/festival-of-chairs or call 501.328.3347.
Catholic Campus Ministry on verge of new home By Dwain Hebda
t wasn’t quite the wandering of the Israelites, but the decades-long march toward a permanent new home for Conway’s Catholic Campus Ministry certainly felt lost in the desert at times. But as with Moses himself, Deacon Richard Papini never lost faith that the day would finally come. “After 22 years, I believe that God wants this,” said Papini. I think it’s something that we need.” Papini has been in charge of the campus ministry, tending to the spiritual needs of students at the University of Central Arkansas and nearby Hendrix College for all of those 22 years, during which time the organization has shifted among a number of temporary and make-do residences. Often, these structures were so modest, students didn’t even know they were there, which hurt attendance at the group’s Bible study and other Catholic worship and fellowship activities. Now, however, the group is closer than it has ever been to finally reaching the Promised Land. On Sept. 18, the organization launched the public phase of its “Sacred Space, Sacred Time” capital campaign to build a permanent home. The group has less than $1 million left on its goal of $3 million for the new home. “Owning our own home is really important for attracting students,” said John Nabholz, chairman of the campaign. “We want this to be their place, a place that they’re comfortable gathering, hanging out, having events, and doing things. Some of them are coming back to their Catholic faith and some are discovering Christ for the first time. That requires a space that is welcoming and homelike and warm.”
Lori Ross, a Catholic and consultant who is formally directing the fundraising campaign, said such a facility would have had a major impact on her life during her years at UCA. “If there had been a more organized group like there is today when I was attending UCA, that would have made a huge difference for me,” she said. “I always stayed connected to my faith because of my strong family roots in Center Ridge, but I would have loved to have been able to connect with other Catholic college students my age. “This project is so worthwhile because when you look at the statistics about college-age kids and the decisions they are making, they can really change the whole trajectory of their lives in this time. There’s so many we lose from the Catholic Church and all Christian backgrounds, and that is such a shame.” The new plan calls for a 160-seat chapel, an open dining area to seat up to 100, a large kitchen, and separate gathering space that will allow for activities and attendance far and beyond what the ministry could traditionally handle. Nabholz said he was humbled by the response thus far from donors, saying the investment many are making is an investment in the lives of students they may never meet. “In one of the ‘Jurassic Park’ movies, they talk about the butterfly effect where the flapping of wings of some butterfly over the Andes Mountains causes a hurricane somewhere else on the planet,” he said. “Well, I think sometimes these little shifts, these changes during the college years, can have a lifelong impact. I’m a big believer in what Catholic Campus Ministry does in helping give people a better peer group to model their lives after. I’ve seen it change people for a lifetime.” To learn more, visit conwaycatholic.com/capital-campaign.
October 2021 501lifemag.com | 9
The team at Methodist Family Health in Vilonia are “Loving LIFE” and counseling kids. They are Keith Whaley (from left), Regina Thomas, Amanda Owens and Courtney Brewer.
Devoted nurses at Baptist Health Medical CenterConway are “Loving LIFE.” They are Heather Pruitt (from left), Meagan Moore, Bailee Thorn and Claudia Morrison.
Chiropractors Dr. Rianna Nicodemus, Dr. Amanda Bledsoe, Dr. Caitlin Corona and Dr. Garrett Goodlett are “Loving LIFE” as they help patients at Bledsoe Chiropractic.
The staff at MSC Eye Associates are “Loving LIFE” and caring for patients. They are Samantha Carr (from left), Kim Glover, Stephanie Bagwell and Mary Ann Stobaugh. Nurse Judy Glenn “Loves LIFE” and serving patients at Unity Health in Searcy These friendly ladies greet patients at Heritage Living Center. Charity Ingram (from left), Hattie Smith and Christy Rasico are “Loving LIFE” as they help others.
Freda Davis is “Loving LIFE” as she works as an assistant manager at Planet Fitness in Conway.
10 | 501 LIFE October 2021
Team members at Conway Regional Health and Fitness Center are “Loving LIFE” and helping others get fit. They are Amanda Castillo (from left), Reed Gotcher, Mallory Lefler and Garett Fusilier.
Headed out on a special trip? Have a special occasion or gettogether 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 email@example.com.
You had one job Jerry! Jim O'Heir, star of NBC's “Parks and Recreation,” was “Loving LIFE” in downtown Little Rock last month at the Arkansas Comic Con. Thanks for taking time for us and for being part of a show that shares our mission of celebrating the good in the world!
Past members of the CHI St. Vincent Emergency Room of Little Rock were "Loving LIFE" at their annual retirement reunion party.
C.H. Turner was “Loving LIFE” when he stopped by the 501 LIFE office to bring us a delicious watermelons.
Bryan Sanders (from left) and 501 LIFE Contributor Don Bingham were “Loving LIFE” at Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ public appearance in Conway as part of her 15-stop “Freedom Tour.”
Brett McDaniel (from left), Stefanie Brazile and Jim Davidson were “Loving LIFE” at the Kiwanis Club of Conway meeting.
Mechelle Lovell of Charlotte (Indepence County) was "Loving LIFE" with her two great nieces, Ruby and Raigen Wolverton, along with Gary Philibert of Coushatta, La., at the National Championship Chuckwagon Races in Clinton. An estimated 20,000 attended.
Enjoying a family vacation and “Loving LIFE” in Gulf Shores, Ala. Back row, Josh Vernon (from left), Doug Mallett, Jeff and Stephanie Koonce; middle row, Mason Vernon (from left), Whitney Vernon, Debbie Mallett, Marley Koonce and Lathan Koonce; Jordan Vernon in front.
Edward Jones Financial Advisor Josh Crawford and Senior Branch Office Administrator Tammy Burleson were "Loving LIFE" at the ribbon cutting of their new Greenbrier location.
October 2021 501lifemag.com | 11
Arkansas First Responders gather for Little Rock 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb The 3rd Annual Little Rock 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb took place with the promise to “Never Forget” those who lost their lives when the twin towers fell. Participants climbed 110 floors at War Memorial Stadium to symbolize the height of the twin towers. The morning began with a solemn memorial ceremony to remember the fallen. Climbers then were escorted by pipes and drums as they began their climb. Each participant wore a tag with the name and photo of a fallen hero. Participants then climbed 1960 steps in their honor. The Little Rock 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb was established in 2019 by event director Roy Wert, II. “We had so many different types of climbers this year, including many first responders. The one thing they all said is that the event made them feel so at home and they left with nothing but positive feelings,” Wert said. Participants also took the time to sign personal messages on two fire hoses. The hoses will the be given to the Arkansas Fire Department that has the most climbers participate over the first five years of the event.
Photos by Linda Henderson
12 | 501 LIFE October 2021
October 2021 501lifemag.com | 13
UCA hosts third
Women’s Business Showcase By Stefanie Brazile
North Little Rock's Pam Beasley at her Motivatd Apparel booth.
Pete Tanguay presents a $3,500 check from the Central Arkansas Open Women’s Professional Golf Tournament to Dr. Shaneil Ealy to sponsor the first Women’s Leadership Academy.
e want women to dream. What do you want to do that you feel is not even possible?” Pete Tanguay said to attendees at the third annual kickoff of the Women’s Leadership Network on the UCA campus. Tanguay represented the Central Arkansas Open Women’s Professional Golf Tournament and presented a check for $ 3,500 to sponsor the first Women’s Leadership Academy. The academy is under the umbrella of the WLN and 17 women have been named to the first class. “You’ve got to have a dream and you’ve got to have support — like the Women’s Leadership Academy — and then you have to work hard, and for some of you, your dream will come true,” Tanguay said. Dr. Shaneil Ealy, associate vice president of UCA’s Division of Outreach and Community Engagement, received the check and announced the names of the women who were chosen for the academy, which will span seven months. During classes, they will discuss leadership and education, government, business, community development and healthcare. “Most importantly, they will take a deep dive into their personal development, helping them to learn about themselves and their strengths, how to elevate their voice, and how to take up space,” Ealy said. The announcements were part of the Women’s Business Showcase, held Sept. 16 in the Brewer-Hegeman Conference
14 | 501 LIFE October 2021
Center. The annual event is an opportunity for women to promote their businesses and network, while providing a fun atmosphere to support women-run businesses from Central Arkansas. More than 40 businesses showcased their products and services. UCA’s Women’s Leadership Network was created for women, by women, to support women who are seasoned or aspirant leaders in the home, at work, or in the community, according to the website. The purpose of the network is to provide opportunities for women to connect from various backgrounds. In addition to the academy, women were encouraged to join a Circles of Influence Group. Five topics are led by experts, and up to 20 women can attend the monthly, hour-long meetings. Most are being held virtually. Ealy also invited women to participate in the WLN Book Club on Oct. 19 with a “Discussion of Bridgerton,” a popular Netflix series. A discussion of “Set Boundaries, Find Peace” will take place Nov. 16. Both discussions will be facilitated by Leslie Zorwick and registration is required. To learn more about WLN, the Academy, Circles of Influence, or the book clubs, visit uca.edu/outreach/women or call 501.450.3118.
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October 2021 501lifemag.com | 15
In an effort to welcome students at the University of Central Arkansas into the community and city of Conway, they were invited to experience Conway Daze during UCA’s Welcome Week. Students were able to browse booths and pick up information, coupons, discounts, and free giveaway items.
The Student Government Association had a booth at Conway DAZE. They are J’lyia Thomas (from left), Mya Hall, Cheney Dale and Brennan Price.
The Minority Mentorship Program at UCA was “Loving LIFE” at Conway DAZE. They are Tajaro Hudson and Erika Williams.
The UCA Student Orientation Staff was living strong and “Loving LIFE” at Conway DAZE. They are Kaylee Hopper (from left), Landon Henning, Hunter Hayes, and Carlie Teague (in front).
UCA Student Activities Board Members were “Loving LIFE” and giving away freebies at Conway DAZE. They are Hazel Bonilla (from left) and Daisy Martinez.
Conway Symphony Orchestra Concert in the Park On Friday, Sept. 17, friends, families, picnics and blankets made their way to Laurel Park for the symphony’s season opener featuring the Lord of the Rings Suite and Song of the Rivermen as well as other popular favorites.
Kody (from left), Isaac and Meredith Montz were “Loving LIFE” and turtle cheesecake at Conway Symphony Orchestra’s seasonopening free concert.
Peyton and Felix Williams were “Loving LIFE” enjoying the Conway Symphony in Laurel Park.
16 | 501 LIFE October 2021
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COUPLE OF THE MONTH
BRENDA & D. BRENT HERRING
WHERE DID YOU GROW UP: Nine towns in Arkansas and Michigan, including Conway, Jacksonville, Little Rock, Damascus, Bradford, Searcy, Magnolia, Quitman, and Sawyer, Mich.
WHERE DID YOU GROW UP: Dumas (Desha County).
EDUCATION: Graduated high school at Quitman; Associate of Arts, General Education, Central Baptist College; Associate of Arts, Intelligence Analysis, Community College of the Air Force, Montgomery, Ala.; Bachelor of Arts in Economics, and a Master of Science in Instructional Technology, both from UCA. EMPLOYMENT: Project manager at Simmons Bank in Little
PARENTS: Carrol Herring of Quitman and Louise Mason of
CHURCH ACTIVITIES: Second Baptist Church in Conway for 30+ years where I serve as director of security. HOBBIES/SPECIAL INTERESTS: I enjoy motorcycles,
software programming, and amateur radio.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOURSELF: I am a
Christian and mostly a private person of few words.
WHAT IS ONE THING PEOPLE DON’T KNOW ABOUT YOU: Though not currently practicing, I am a certified martial
MOST ENJOYED WEEKEND ACTIVITY: Spending time
WHAT IS YOUR MOTTO: It’s only temporary. WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT LIVING IN THE 501: I have lived in other states, including Michigan, Colorado, and Virginia, but I always return here because this is my home.
EDUCATION: An Associate in Information Resources Management from the Community College of the Air Force, Montgomery, Alabama; Bachelor of Science in Education, Physical and Health Education, UCA. EMPLOYMENT: Administrative analyst at UCA. PARENTS: The late Birda and Pervis Russell Sr.. COMMUNITY ACTIVITIES: Arkansas Baptist Disaster Relief Team (a ministry of the Southern Baptist Convention); reading program with second-graders at Marguerite Vann Elementary School. CHURCH ACTIVITIES: Second Baptist Church in Conway for 28 years, where she serves in the worship choir, kids ministry and women’s ministry. HOBBIES/SPECIAL INTERESTS: I love the idea of running. I’m interested in reading more books, but mostly it’s collecting and hoping to get some reading done. I’m always interested in doing nothing on weekends at home. HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOURSELF: Others describe me as honest, wise, smart, confident, selfless, having a great sense of humor, fun, and caring. WHAT IS ONE THING PEOPLE DON’T KNOW ABOUT YOU:
I have 10 siblings, and one of them shot me with a gun when we were 3 and 4 years old.
WHAT IS YOUR MOTTO: Always be ready. WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT LIVING IN THE 501:
The weather, which allows us to explore the trails and parks year-round.
THEIR STORY: HOW WE MET: We worked together at the Conway Human Development
THE PROPOSAL: Valentine's Day 1993 in Conway. WEDDING BELLS: April 17, 1993, in Conway. PETS: Foster dog named Champ. FAMILY ACTIVITIES ENJOYED TOGETHER: Concerts, Branson/Silver
Dollar City, camping, visiting museums, including the Ark Encounter and the Creation Museum.
WHAT IS SOMETHING UNIQUE ABOUT YOU AS A COUPLE: Brent retired from the Arkansas Air National Guard in 2009, from the 123rd Intelligence Squadron, Little Rock Air Force Base, Jacksonville, with 24.5 years of service at the rank of chief master sergeant. Brenda retired from the Arkansas Air National Guard in 2020, from the 188th Medical group, Ebbing Air National Guard Base, Fort Smith, with 28.5 years of service at the rank of chief master sergeant. 18 | 501 LIFE October 2021
Photo by Mike Kemp
October 2021 501lifemag.com | 19
Photo by Dana Ferguson Enjoying some downtime on the front porch of their modern farmhouse, Lane (from left), Charlee, Marley and Dana love to include their dog, Chief, who will turn 13 on Halloween.
By Donna Benton
Interior design photos by Makenzie Evans
he sun was setting over the glassy Arkansas River. A sea of cowboy hats swaggered to and fro as Justin Moore belted out a tune from beneath a straw Stetson.
“Has he kissed you in a hay field as a summer rain falls down? Has he took you to meet his mama back in his hometown?” Lane was out with the boys on a Saturday night. Dana went along with the girls even though she wasn’t much of a country music fan. As the standing-room only crowd shuffled, swayed, and sang along, Lane caught Dana’s eye and made a gentlemanly gesture, offering for the girls to move ahead to the front row for a better view. Introductions were made, both straining to hear over the reveling crowd singing along in a jangled harmony.
“Does he drive the interstate or does he take them ol' back roads? Can he melt your heart with a country song every good ol' boy should know?” “I have a daughter named Marley!” Dana yelled over the crowd. “I have a daughter named Charlee!” Lane yelled back with a beaming smile. If this were a movie, the camera would pan away overhead as the pair locked gazes, oblivious to the country crooner and the crowded field, and the viewer would know that this was much more than a chance encounter. “To be quite honest, I thought it was a pick-up line to woo me over,” remembers Dana. “Little did I know it would turn into a full-blown family. Daughters just eight months apart with rhyming names! It was truly meant to be, right?”
20 | 501 LIFE October 2021
a chance encounter...
a happy home It certainly seems like a matchup made for the movies, but if this played out on the big screen, Dana and Lane would be the supporting cast and Charlee and Marley would be the co-stars. Although they are not sisters from birth, they quickly developed a sisterhood bond. They have shared lots of “firsts” together, like learning to ride a bike, losing first teeth, and starting school. “People often ask if they are twins,” says Dana, “but their personalities are polar opposites. Marley is adventurous, brave, and confident, and Charlee is kind, gentle, and cautious, but they balance each other out.” “We built this home specifically to raise our girls in,” Dana says of their comfortable home at the end of a quiet street in a Bryant neighborhood. “It's a single cul-de-sac with more than 20 kids under the age of 16. The girls have a unique bond with all the neighborhood children since we've all lived through quarantine together. The kids always play outside, and we get many knocks on the door each day asking if the girls can come out. It truly is an idyllic family place to live.”
Photo by Dana Ferguson
“My husband and I were quite the design team, and when we built our home, we made every decision together. We have similar design aesthetics and we both loved the modern farmhouse vibe. My focus was on creating budget friendly beautiful spaces where I could find visual inspiration every day. Working from home, I wanted my surroundings to be beautiful and calm. But I also wanted functional spaces where my kids could be kids.” Dana and Lane created an ideal space for entertaining. The open layout and vaulted ceilings are great for gathering, and a wall of windows floods the living room with natural light. The large back porch extends the living space to the back yard, where they host summertime barbecues at the built-in grill. An outdoor fireplace warms up the porch on fall weekends, when the whole family cozies up, listens to music, and cooks at the outdoor kitchen. Dana keeps her home festively decked for every season and holiday. “I get my love of entertaining from my grandmother, Lee Wallace,” says Dana. “My grandfather was a colonel in the U.S. Army and she used to host all their holiday parties. And my love of seasonal decor comes from my mom, Leslie Clements. She raised me as a single mom and always made every holiday magical. It never was with things that cost a lot of money; it was just always so thoughtful. Whether it was grape juice in plastic champagne glasses for New Year’s or green cut-out card stock shamrocks all over the house for St. Patrick's Day. I now share the same love of making each season magical for my girls. For fall, we have a number of traditions from annual trips to the pumpkin patch to hot apple cider around the fire pit. We also started a big cul-de-sac fall festival, where each home hosts games for the kids and gives out fun treats before we go trick or treating on a hayride.” “Creating seasonal spaces doesn't have to cost a lot of money,” says Dana. “To create a fall atmosphere, I take lots of inspiration from nature, using beautiful branches or clippings from outside for indoor arrangements and pinecones or small gourds for accents. I create warmth with blankets and pillows.” Whatever the season or holiday, you can be sure that festivities are happening here. Dana shares her home décor, seasonal styling, and entertaining tips on her Instagram page @ourfergusonfarmhouse.
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Fitness is a journey... not a race Add activity into your week
By Jenn McCracken
or many, the hustle and bustle of starting back to school has left our exercise routine on the back burner. Between shuffling kids to practice and then helping solve thirdgrade math (bless you, teachers!) we are left exhausted both mentally and physically. This often leads to binge eating, decrease in the quality of sleep, and if you are like me - ONE CRANKY wife and mom. Luckily, with a little bit of schedule shifting and creativity, we can find ways to get our bodies moving and back on the path to better health. One of the main things that I have incorporated into my health journey is waking up early to exercise before my kids even wake up for school. I know that this isn’t a popular option for lots of people, and honestly it wasn’t for me when I first started. However, now I find myself less stressed in the mornings because I am able to focus on “me time” first thing in the morning, which also allows me to squeeze in a few chores that I would normally be scrambling to get done at night. Another creative way to be active during busy seasons is by taking advantage of any time you are “waiting” for something.
Maybe you are waiting for your oil to be changed or for a friend to meet you for lunch. Use this time to walk around a nearby park or neighborhood. It is important to remember that any exercise is better than none at all, so don’t be discouraged if it only amounts to 20 minutes of walking. There are still health and fitness benefits in short bouts of exercise. Probably my favorite way to include exercise into my daily life is by including others. This is where true creativity comes into play. Instead of joining a friend for lunch at a restaurant, ask them if they would want to meet up for a smoothie and walk on a community trail or running path. If you are lucky enough to live close to your child’s school, then take advantage of these cooler mornings by riding bikes each morning to drop them off. I have also seen lots of parents walk together around the sports complexes where their kids have practice. No matter which way you choose to squeeze in exercise, just make sure you commit to finding a way. Health and fitness is a journey, not a race. Any amount of activity, big or small, will enhance your quality of life. Just be creative!
October 2021 501lifemag.com | 23
YOUTH OF THE MONTH
JACOB CATER QUITMAN
CALLING THE SHOTS By Dwain Hebda
acob Cater loves calling things like he sees them, and when you combine that with the Quitman High School senior’s passion for baseball, it’s no wonder he’s got his eye on a career in broadcasting. Cater can already be heard on the mic for morning announcements and introducing the basketball starters before every game, but he’d one day like to be heard by millions on a national television broadcast. “I like to talk in front of people and talk to people and get to know them. It’s just something that I feel like would be a perfect fit f or m e,” h e s aid. “ My f avorite a nnouncer t oday would have to be Tim Kurkjian, because he knows what he’s talking about. He doesn’t just sit in the booth and talk about stuff that doesn’t relate to the game. He knows what’s going on.” Such a skill is especially appreciated by Cater, whose love for the game goes well beyond a passing fancy. It’s something he shares with his father, Kevin, who’s love of the St. Louis Cardinals inspired and equals his own. “I have loved baseball since, I guess you could say, before I was born,” he said. “My dad started collecting baseball cards for me to have. That’s really just something that he and I share, and we talk about it every day, about what happened that day in baseball, how the Cardinals are doing. We go to card shows together and buy baseball cards. I like looking at the statistics and keeping up with certain players.”
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Should broadcasting not pan out, Cater has also shown himself adept at community service and organizational leadership. In addition to competing on the high school golf team and serving as student manager for the basketball team, he’s a school ambassador and active in the local Fellowship of Christian Athletes organization. Cater said the motivation for being involved and holding the leadership offices he does — including as president of the student council, president of the senior class and secretary for the school’s FFA chapter — comes down to serving others. “It’s not really about me,” he said. “I like to do well in school, but I would much rather see my peers do well. I like to give a voice to those who feel they don’t have one. I want them to feel like they’re represented well and I feel like I can do that for them. I want to do that.” Cater hasn’t nailed down his choice of colleges yet, but said he is confident about his future thanks to the smallschool environment of Quitman, which gave him the chance to grow into a leader across multiple activities. “A lot of people think going to a smaller school might be like a hick town or something to look down upon, but I think it’s the best,” he said. “You couldn’t be this close to your teachers in a bigger school and you wouldn’t have as much of an opportunity to stand out. I feel like going to a smaller school gives me that. It’s just awesome.”
“I like to give a voice to those who feel they don’t have one.” - Jacob Cater
Photos by Mike Kemp
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Dr. Amanda Bledsoe Owner - Bledsoe Chiropractic
“Pain keeps us from doing the things we love.
Discover the freedom of hope & healing.” What Health and Wellness services do you offer?
Chiropractic adjustment- traditional manual and computerized instrument, massage, therapy and rehab, decompression, acupuncture, laser treatment, taping, custom orthotics, and nurse practitioner medical treatment.
What are some of the challenges your patients/clients are facing in their lives today?
Stress!! Which means chronic tightness in the muscles of the neck and shoulders. Lower back pain, sciatica and plantar fasciitis from working from home and sitting too much!! Getting used to pain, numbness and headaches to the point that it becomes “normal” and part of “getting old” Myth!! We can offer HOPE & HEALING!
What brought you into a career that focuses on helping others?
I experienced healing at the age of 18 with chiropractic after being diagnosed with scoliosis at age 14. Four years of no treatments and no hope! Now at 42, I have early degeneration of discs and chronic pain, but manage to feel great thanks to ongoing maintenance using all our amazing services! Drug and surgery free!!!
What sets you apart from other chiropractic clinics?
A mission of generosity. The goal is to GIVE hope through healing. We always have in mind to be accessible and affordable to ANYONE & EVERYONE! We give back to this community that we love!! We are here to love our patients and the physical treatments are only one part of getting the patients to a level of health where they want - and should be - naturally!
What is a moment you are particularly proud of in your career?
Being brave enough to branch out and become an entrepreneur 12 years into my career. Best decision ever!! Scary, but we’re doing it day-by-day. Taking care of 30 employees, our amazing patients, our family, self-care, 2 dogs, a cat, 2 fish and a bearded dragon. We are now in a brand-new, beautiful clinic at 775 Amity Road filled with grace, hope and faith!!
What is the one piece of advice you would give to someone to live their healthiest life?
Invest your time and money in your body. You are not old at 40. You started aging much earlier and are harder on your body than it may tell you at times. Start early with good rest, a healthy diet, exercise, water and chiropractic care!! Massages aren’t a luxury either!!
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What future plans do you have for your business?
Add exciting new services for the benefit of our patients and community. Stephanie Rittman joins our team as a nurse practitioner this month. She offers rehab therapy exams to Medicare patients to add therapy and massage to their treatments! She can see patients of all ages for various medical needs. We’ve added more doctors and with that comes acupuncture! We just added cervical and lumbar decompression! We will always be growing and staying on top of the latest trends in healthcare. We are bringing the best to the 501!!
What is something else important for prospective customers to know?
Most of our services are covered by insurance. We work hard to stay in network, helping our patients use their benefits and get the most variety of healthcare under one roof!! We also offer accident care working with car insurance and injury protection!
501.504.6999 775 Amity Road • Conway, AR
President Baptist Health Medical Center-Conway
opening, Baptist Health Medical Center-Conway has experienced a steady growth in all clinical areas, including opening our Women’s Center to provide state-ofthe-art care to mothers in our area, expanding bed capacity to care for more patients and more medically complex conditions in intermediate and intensive care departments, and becoming designated as a Level III trauma hospital. Additionally, we have responded to the COVID-19 pandemic by offering drive-through testing and monoclonal antibody infusions, as well as expanding critical care capacity. As we celebrate the hospital’s five-year anniversary, we look back at the nearly 100,000 unique patients and their families who we have impacted -- whether through a simple outpatient lab test, radiology scan, emergency room visit, or inpatient stay. We’ve made a significant impact on the health of our community, and we will continue to respond to our community’s needs with Christian compassion as we serve each other. Our greatest achievement is wrapped up in the positive impact that we make in each and every patient who we have the pleasure of serving. The team at Baptist Health Medical Center-Conway strives to provide quality, compassionate, and faith-based care for all patients and treat them as our own family members. We are also committed to utilizing the latest state-of-the-art technology, including those that are unique to our hospital such as the da Vinci XI robotic system that allows our surgeons to perform minimally invasive procedures. The MyChart bedside tablets allow patients to gain immediate access to their treatment plan and view realtime information. Caregility is a technology we purchased during the pandemic that allows providers to remotely drop in on a patient to assess or discuss a plan of care and allows patients to connect with their loved ones via video chat.
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On behalf of Baptist Health, we want to say thank you to our community for all the support and the trust you place in us to serve your health care needs. Thank you to all the great physicians and providers who serve on the medical staff. Finally, thank you to all of our devoted team members who work tirelessly each day to serve this wonderful community with Christian compassion.
when wellness seems out of reach
Treatment options for chronic pain By Stefanie Brazile
veryone seeks a pain-free life, but underlying health conditions or past injuries make that an unreachable goal for many people. The Centers for Disease Control reports that about 50 million U.S. adults live with pain and that can result in lost work days, anxiety or depression, and a reduced quality of life. It has also contributed to an opioid epidemic. Fortunately, in response to the massive need, treatment options are increasing. There is a growing number of clinics that specialize in the treatment of pain. “Pain Treatment Centers of America offers various minimally invasive pain treatment procedures that we have perfected to help patients achieve pain relief,” CEO Bill McCrary said. “Our treatments have been proven effective and are on the cutting edge of science. A few of the most frequent procedures performed are nerve blocks, epidural steroid injections, pain pumps, and spinal cord stimulators.” Most commonly, patients complain of pain in the lower back, knees, head, hip, and neck. Frequently, the conditions causing the pain are: arthritis, cancer pain, compression fractures, failed back surgery syndrome, fibromyalgia, herniated discs, migraines, muscle and joint pain, neck pain, and spinal stenosis, according to McCrary. Chronic pain is the leading cause of long-term disability in the country, and the nation annually spends up to $635 billion on chronic pain in terms of medical treatments, disability payments, and lost productivity, according to the U.S. Pain Foundation. PTCOA treats adults and younger patients. “These patients have the highest rates of injury and accidents as causes of their pain,” McCrary said. “The needs of people suffering from chronic pain are ever-evolving, and pain management has evolved along with it,” he said. “The biggest misconception is that pain management involves patients taking lots of pills.” For some patients, medication management may be the best course of action; however, pain management and pain relief are far from one-sizefits-all. “At PTCOA, we take a comprehensive approach that involves physical therapy, nerve blocks, minimally invasive procedures and also includes
medication management,” McCrary said. He said another misconception is that all pain doctors are the same. “Our physicians are interventional pain management physicians. Unlike other pain management physicians that can only prescribe medications, our physicians perform nerve blocks, spinal cord stimulators, intrathecal pain pump implants, and other minimally invasive pain management techniques.”
nother option that helps patients of all ages is chiropractic care. Most chiropractors have a bachelor’s degree, as well as a doctorate in chiropractic. They take a tremendous amount of anatomy courses and do extensive internships with hands-on training. “I would say the bread-and-butter of what brings patients to us is pain,” said Dr. Amanda Bledsoe, CEO and chiropractor at Bledsoe Chiropractic. “And 75 percent or more of the pain that gets patients’ attention is in their lower back, often radiating into the hips and pelvis, knees, legs, and feet. The interesting thing is the low back gets their attention, but most people are carrying around a lot more tension and stress in their neck that could be causing shoulder pain, headaches, and numbness in their hands.” The chiropractor believes that a variety of symptoms are connected to the spine. “Once the body is restored with full nerve flow, there’s so much potential and hope for relief from everything from headaches to earaches, carpal tunnel, plantar fasciitis, less knee pain, and more mobility from head to toe.” Bledsoe said that many patients at her clinic have received traditional treatments for pain and some are still receiving medications, injections, and/or surgeries. “We try to meet patients where they are so we don’t push them to discontinue any of their current pain management regimens,” she said. “We do try to help them avoid surgery as much as possible. We have a great working relationship with many other health professionals in our area and love being able to co-manage patients with them. Our goal is to give the patients information so they can make an educated choice for their own body.”
Editor’s note: Articles should not be considered specific advice, as individual circumstances vary. A medical doctor should be consulted to determine appropriate treatment options.
October 2021 501lifemag.com | 29
Finding affordable fitness training and support groups in the 501 By Judy Riley
The local county extension offices offer an exercise program called Extension Get Fit. These ladies participate in Faulkner County’s program which is held in Greenbrier: (Front row, from left) Jackie Mahan, Doie Raley, Laura McNinch, Sherril Bowling and Beverly Allbritton. (Back row, from left) Linda Treece, Carol Kircher, Lori Lybarger, Linda Ward (leader), Callie Sutterfield and Chenatta Case.
xtension Get Fit may be the answer to getting in shape with a group of friends near you. This opportunity is available through local county extension offices of the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture. Extension Get Fit (EGF) is a research-based, safe, structured, and affordable strength training targeting mid-life to older men and women. According to Dr. Bryan Mader, assistant professor and health specialist, 448 individuals participated in classes in the 501 area in 2019 and 371 individuals participated in 2020. Based on the latest research, the program is designed to improve strength, balance, and flexibility. The results are impressive. Participants report weight loss, increased energy, and fewer falls. Classes typically meet two to three times a week in local communities for about an hour. Each session includes a warm-up, eight to 10 strengthening exercises and a cool-down. The only equipment needed are 5- to 10-pound dumbbells and adjustable ankle weights. And it is affordable; the cost is only $20 per person, which covers a full year’s participation. Garland County appears to be ahead of the curve in participation. According to Alison Crane, a county extension agent in family and consumer sciences, there are 105 participants with certified volunteer leaders at four sites. Before COVID-19, they had nine locations with 300 participants and leaders. She adds that she has benefited personally from the training. She has heard countless testimonials from others. One individual struggled with a range of motion after shoulder surgery. After being involved in EGF, not only can she move more freely, but she also discovered a group of friends with common interests. Others
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have shared how they bounced back after knee surgery because they regularly exercised with one of Garland County’s groups. Mary Beth Groce, family and consumer sciences agent in Faulkner County, said the Greenbrier EGF group reports their certified volunteer trainer, Linda Ward, is phenomenal. She is committed to making the group’s participation fun and professional. Another participant, Callie, adds that she is so grateful for the class, not only for the physical benefits, but for the social interaction. It’s a great way to stay committed when you have friends that count on your being there. Linda says the class has helped her emotionally because she was a widow when she joined and it gave her a group of friends to bond with. Others add that their bone density tests have improved since they began the exercise regimen. Another indicated she no longer takes medication for bone loss. According to Katie Cullum, FCS agent in White County, one of her participants was on a path to osteoporosis but avoided needing medication. Another said she could now lift her iron skillet. One Hot Springs EGF member sums it up, “I have always exercised, but Get Fit is different. From my head to “my toes, I feel strengthened, stretched and balanced after each class. I am committed to this program to maintain a healthy body as I age.” So, if getting fit is a goal for fall and winter, joining an Extension Get Fit group could be the solution. More information is available by visiting uada.edu and entering Get Fit in the search tab or by contacting your local county extension office for groups near you.
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DINNER AT THE MANSION By Don Bingham
Photo by Mike Kemp
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Chocolate and Peanut Gelato Pie perusing through hundreds of books in
This recipe was served at the Arkansas governor's mansion and was featured in the 20th anniversary edition of The Spirit of Christmas by Leisure Arts, Inc., of Little Rock.
our cookbook collection, I was amazed at how many came from various governors’ mansions throughout the United States. In our tenure of serving in state government, Nancy and I were guests in 10 governors’ mansions for wonderful meals and conferences, while serving at the pleasure of the governor and first lady of Arkansas. The gatherings of all mansion administrators and first ladies’ assistants were hosted in various states. Each state took the opportunity to display their strengths and state offerings in the tourism industry, and we were there to enjoy think tanks, to learn how to serve our governor and first lady and to learn the trends in hospitality. The mansion staff, as host, would prepare three sumptuous meals a day with the conference lasting three to four days. Because the majority of the governors and their families lived in the mansion, we would all stay in a local hotel and be bused to the home (often by police escort) for dinners, tours, meetings, and networking. Most administrators would offer the very height of elegance on the opening night dinner, with formal reception, seated multi-course dinners (usually featuring the entre of the state, such as lobster in Maine), and entertainment ranging from string
Crust 1 1/2 cups sugar-free chocolate cookie crumbs 3/4 cup of peanuts, ground 2 tablespoons sugar substitute • 3 tablespoons butter, melted Combine cookie crumbs, peanuts, and sugar substitute. Add melted butter and stir. Press into a 9-inch pie plate. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes, then cool.
Filling 1/2 gallon fat-free vanilla ice cream, softened 1 cup peanuts Combine ice cream with peanuts; pour into the crust. Freeze overnight.
Fudge Sauce 1 cup sugar substitute • 1 cup light corn syrup 1/2 cup cocoa • 4 tablespoons butter 1/2 half and half • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 1/8 teaspoon salt
Combine sugar substitute, corn syrup, cocoa butter, and half and half in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Boil for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, add vanilla and salt. Cool and drizzle over the pie.
quartets to local personalities. Ice sculptures and florals were everywhere. When this service-oriented collection of state employees would be invited to Washington, D.C., or to the annual National Governors Association meetings, the group would be treated as royalty. The mansions were all historic and beautifully appointed with treasures from decades of rich and colorful history. Among our favorites would be The Blaire House in Augusta, Maine, and the mansions in
Alabama, and of course, Arkansas. Many of the governors and first ladies would present their assistants and administrators a copy of their Governor’s Mansion Cookbook — these books are ones we cherish among our vast collection. Arkansas hosted the administrator's and first lady's conference several times during our 10-year tenure with Gov. Mike Huckabee and first lady Janet Huckabee. It goes without saying, the color of Arkansas hospitality was the driving energy with each seminar!
Two delicious and healthy recipes are printed for your enjoyment!
From “The Blaine House” in Augusta, Maine
Maple-Blueberry Granola Packaged granolas are often loaded with fat and sugar. This version is lower in fat and slightly sweetened. It’s a real time-saver if you make it ahead, especially in double batches, as we often do. We use maple and blueberry syrups from the pantry, which are two authentic tastes of Maine. If you don’t have blueberry syrup, use all maple instead. The dried blueberries will carry the blueberry flavor. Dried cherries or raisins will work, as well Serve this granola with milk or plain yogurt for a hearty breakfast..
3 1/2 cups rolled oats 1 1/2 cups sweetened shredded coconut 1/2 cup unsalted sunflower seeds 1/2 cup whole, raw almonds (unblanched) 1/2 cup wheat germ 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon 1/2 cup Maine maple syrup 1/4 cup Wild Maine blueberry syrup or maple syrup 1/2 cup canola oil 2 tablespoons honey 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 1/8 teaspoon salt 1 cup dried blueberries (or dried cherries or dark raisins) Preheat the oven to 300. Combine the oats, coconut, sunflower seeds, almonds, wheat germ, brown sugar, and cinnamon in a large mixing bowl and toss until wellcombined. Combine the maple syrup, blueberry syrup, oil, honey, and vanilla in a small mixing bowl and stir until well-blended. Pour over the oat mixture and toss, using two large wooden spoons, until the dry ingredients have absorbed all the liquid. Spread the mixture onto two 11 X 17-inch sheets. If you only have one pan, bake the granola in two batches. Bake for 30 minutes, stirring the granola and reversing the baking sheets, top to bottom, every 5 to 10 minutes. Remove the baking sheets from the oven and sprinkle with blueberries.
Photos by Mike Kemp Director Kara Jones with Joy who makes sure that office supplies are sorted appropriately.
EXCEPTIONAL CARING Conway County Center provides employment, social activities for disabled adults and children By Morgan Zimmerman
or Executive Director Kara Jones and the staff of Conway County Center for Exceptional Children (CCCEC) in Morrilton, the mission is simple, to empower people with developmental disabilities and delays. They do this every day through various support programs that focus on what their clients can do, not what they can’t. The CCCEC has around 90 individuals enrolled in three programs that include services for children and adults in Conway County and a site that serves children in Perry County. Jones said that enrollment has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and is lower than average for them. The organization has been serving Central Arkansas since 1970 through the Beginnings Preschool program as well as the ACTION (Adult Center Toward Independent Occupational Needs) Services program on the main campus in Morrilton. The children’s program provides therapies for children with developmental delays and disabilities. The adult program provides meaningful employment and life skills training for adults in that same demographic. Jones believes that what makes ACTION Services special is its attention to both the physical and mental well-being of its adult clients. The events of the past two years have limited access even further for individuals with developmental delays and disabilities. The isolation brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic has increased the likelihood that therapy will be missed and that developmental milestones will not be met. The ACTION program provides a safe space for clients to focus on their strengths, build independence, and know they are valued. Jones added that for her and her staff, “It’s about
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our clients' strengths and all the wonderful goals they are accomplishing.” That list of what the clients get to do is quite long. The life skills program teaches self-care, cooking, and household management. Clients also get time for recreation and leisure activities, like using the gym, learning computer skills, or doing arts and crafts. A fringe benefit of these activities that contributes to the overall wellness of clients is the opportunity to socialize. Things like “Fun Fridays,” where a different speaker comes each week to teach clients about an organization in their community, are expanding horizons. ACTION Services also provides accessible transportation to and from campus, and Jones says the bus is like a social hour full of singing and lively conversation, noting that riding the bus with clients is one of her favorite parts of her job. Her second favorite thing comes from the ACTION Shredding Workshop. ACTION Shredding provides confidential document shredding for nearly 300 Central Arkansas businesses. Clients can sometimes shred up to 1,000 pounds of paper in a day. This work gives clients a sense of independence as they earn a paycheck each month. Jones is grinning from ear to ear when she recalls delivering paychecks to the workshop and being met with shouts of joy and proud exclamations from the program participants. “Thank goodness they are here with us and that we get to witness everything that they accomplish,” she said. While there are other programs that serve children and adults with developmental disabilities around the 501, ACTION Services is one of the few that provides a work
program for clients and the only one providing that service in Conway County’s surrounding counties. The nonprofit organization works in partnership with the state, and while their primary source of funding is Medicaid, they are also funded in part by the United Way of Central Arkansas and by community support from local fundraisers as well as civic and business partnerships. According to the Arkansas Developmental Disabilities Provider Association, without nonprofit community programs like this one, many people with developmental disabilities would receive no services or support at all. Plans for the CCCEC include adding more accessible outdoor spaces for the adult program and continuing community outreach to reach more adults and children with developmental disabilities. For more information, visit centerforexceptionalchildren.org or contact Jones at 501.354.4484.
Now In Passport Nearly 3,000 episodes of content offerings from the American Public Television catalog will be made accessible to stream with PBS Passport on PBS. org and the free PBS Video app over the next 18 months. These episodes consist of stand-alone specials and seasons of longstanding series. Arkansas PBS Passport offers members extended on-demand access to a rich library of public television programming. Arkansas PBS Passport is available to Arkansas PBS members who contribute at least $60 annually or $5 or more monthly.
Alli shreds paper in the ACTION Shredding Workshop.
Jeremiah and team member Princess working on colors and lacing beads.
Jones is writing a message so Allison, who is fluent in American Sign Language, can teach others how to sign the words.
P. ALLEN SMITH’S GARDEN HOME
THE BEST OF THE JOY OF PAINTING
J SCHWANKE’S LIFE IN BLOOM
CHRISTOPHER KIMBALL’S MILK STREET
PATI’S MEXICAN TABLE
KEVIN BELTON’S COOKIN’ LOUISIANA
AMERICA’S TEST KITCHEN
RICK STEVES EUROPE AWAITS
Sign up for Arkansas PBS Passport today!
PBS VIDEO APP
October 2021 501lifemag.com | 35
Kristi Miller with a photo of her mom, Cindy, in front of the Pyeatt Family Cancer Center in Searcy.
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fearless in the face of cancer
By Jennifer Skinner
risti Miller is passionate about her career because it is very personal to her. Nursing wasn’t something she had even considered until her mother, Cindy Mendenhall, was diagnosed with stage 2B cervical cancer in 2013. Kristi desired to understand the diagnosis and treatments. As she began to ask questions, she found herself wanting to know more. Cindy saw her daughter’s interest as a potential career in the medical field. She steered Kristi into pursuing a registered medical assistant certification (RMA) and supported her every step of the way. Kristi completed her RMA certification and came to work at Unity Health-White County Oncology in the Pyeatt Family Cancer Center, where her mother was receiving chemotherapy. She would be there with her in the clinic during the long hours of treatments. Kristi loved caring for patients as an RMA but longed to do more for them. With additional support from her mother, she pursued a registered nurse degree. Cindy remained by her side, studying with her every day, and Kristi remained by her mother’s side during her treatments. She graduated with her RN degree and a 4.0 GPA at the end of 2019. She attributes her success to all her mother’s dedication and support. Unfortunately, Cindy lost her battle with cancer during Kristi’s last semester of RN school. This was a difficult time for Kristi, but when she graduated, she received a letter her mother had written to her. Now, less than two years later, Kristi still cares for cancer patients at the Pyeatt Family Cancer Center, where her mother sat day after day in the chemo chair she now
affectionately calls “my mom’s chair.” She admits, “Some days, it’s very hard. I see my mom in a lot of patients.” However, she remains dedicated to making patients smile and laugh. She explains, “Even with cancer, you can have joy. You don’t have to give up or give in.” That’s what Kristi’s mother taught her and the other patients around her. She says, “Sometimes patients need you not to treat them like a patient, but like a person, to joke with them and talk with them about their day.” Kristi helps bring them joy in the midst of their struggle. Kristi sees a lot of different cancer situations, and she really wants people to understand the importance of getting their annual exams. “That’s how we catch it, and that’s how we save people,” she says. She encourages people to do everything they can to prevent cancer and get an early diagnosis, so they have a better chance of beating it. She knows personally what a horrible disease cancer really is for patients. Her mother was having complications for a long time before she went to the doctor, and by then she was already at stage 2B cervical cancer. After the cancer progressed even further, her mother experienced excruciating pain as it metastasized, attaching to the bones in her hip, spine, and femur. Kristi sees patients fighting for their lives every day. She stresses the importance of getting physician-directed diagnostic screenings, such as prostate screening, colonoscopy, mammogram, pap smear, skin cancer screening, and even genetic screenings, to identify potential risks for cancer so it can be caught early. When caught early,
October 2021 501lifemag.com | 37
treatment can be more successful, and the quality of life can be preserved. Today, as a working mother with support from her husband, Michael, Kristi is continuing her education to obtain her BSN this December and then on to her master’s degree. She is currently raising money to purchase a new chemotherapy chair at the Pyeatt Family Cancer Center in honor of her mother, Cindy. Cancer patients spend many hours in the chemo chairs — sometimes eight hours a day several days a week — and the chairs are very important in making them comfortable. Kristi will also have her mother’s favorite quote engraved on a piece of wooden artwork and hung near the chair to inspire patients to have strength: “Fear comes because of forgetfulness of God. Whatever you’re afraid of is bigger than God in that instance.” This tribute is important because, even in the darkest days, her mother never showed fear. “She would talk about where she was going to be.” Unity Health - White County Oncology and the Pyeatt Family Cancer Center's comprehensive approach to cancer care allows patients to be diagnosed and treated close to home with a team of board-certified experts using advanced diagnostic and treatment technology. The cancer center is undergoing expansion, and new chemotherapy chairs can be sponsored at Unity-Health.org. Anyone wishing to contribute to the new chemo chair in honor of Cindy Mendenhall can donate at unity-health.org/foundation/donate-now/ and use “Cindy’s Chair” as the tribute name.
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The late Cindy Mendenhall
“Some days, it’s very hard.
I see my mom in a lot of patients.” - Kristi Miller
Take time to monitor your child’s mental health wellness By Stefanie Brazile
he COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted nearly every aspect of children’s lives, and counselors are encouraging parents to increase attention to their mental health wellness. There are many reasons why kids are stressed out. The efforts to contain the spread of the virus kept a lot of kids out of school, and they couldn’t spend time with one another to hang out or to participate in extracurricular activities like art or music classes, scouting or sports. Add to that the constant fear of infection, and one can see that the pandemic has robbed kids of the peace of normalcy for the past year and a half with no end in sight. Not all children/youth deal with stress in the same ways. “A good way to separate typical child and teenage behavior is to see if it disturbs social functioning,” said Nickolas Black, MS, LPC. “Does the behavior change how they function in daily life? That might look like an increase in insolation, changes in eating habits, or sleeping patterns. It’s beneficial to monitor a child’s mood, look for an increase in irritability or sadness persisting for two weeks or more. Watch for withdrawal, changes in appearance (weight), and loss in previously enjoyed activities.” Black is a counselor and his concern is that many children who need extra support are not receiving it. He cites recent studies that show that even though most parents believe that the pandemic has negatively impacted their children's mental health, there has been a decline in the number of those seeking counseling services in Arkansas. “Nationally there was a 29% increase in school-age children seeking mental health services, yet here in Arkansas, for example at Methodist Behavioral Hospital in Maumelle, we have seen a decline in admissions overall,” Black said. “When the schools closed, it limited or eliminated the accessibility of services for many.” In addition to seeking professional guidance, parents can be proactive at home to support mental wellness. Black encourages communication as the main thing that most families need to increase. “This means having some difficult conversations, but also offer reinforcement and praise,” he said. “Being mindful as a parent can
be a game changer. Mindful parenting means that you bring your conscious attention to what's happening, instead of getting hijacked by your emotions. Being mindful is being aware and intentional.” Examples of mindful parenting include validating a child’s emotions before starting a conversation, listening to the child, and asking questions to be sure that you understand what they mean. It’s also important to be mindful Nickolas Black, MS, LPC of conversations that take place in front of children. Are they age-appropriate? Does the child/youth have the emotional maturity to sort through the information that they hear? “It’s also probably a good idea to have a safe place to vent,” Black said. “Lastly, trying to maintain structure, consistency, and stability in a child's daily life can help the child handle life’s stressors. When we are off-balance, we are easy to knock over.” Sometimes it’s the parent who needs support and guidance from a professional, and there are numerous resources in the 501. An easy place to start is by contacting a local school counselor. “They are an accessible resource that can help provide support, and they can connect you to local mental health providers,” Black said. Parents can reach out to mental health providers directly. Support can also be found through friends, community organizations, churches, and peer support groups. For those looking to educate themselves or seeking quick tips, the internet has many resources. Black recommends the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website (cdc.gov), which has solid mental health and parenting information. He also suggests the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (samhsa. gov) and even Pinterest, which can help with conversation starters and activities to do with children to support mental health wellness.
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October 2021 501lifemag.com | 39
40 | 501 LIFE October 2021
A message from
Director, Conway Downtown Partnership
DOWNTOWN CONWAY COMES ALIVE IN OCTOBER OR OCTO“WAY”BER AS WE CALL IT! There is just so much to see and do in Downtown Conway in this perfect fall weather. Let us be the headquarters for all your seasonal needs. The first weekend in October brings the much anticipated City of Colleges Half Marathon, ArtsFest and Neighbors, an Art Show. Plus, the Downtown Conway Farmers & Craft Market will be in full fall harvest mode. There is a great lineup of live music at the Hatchet House, JJ’s Grill, Kings Live Music and O’Malley’s Irish Grill. Also, get ready to experience Downtown Conway’s newest attraction: THE MAX! THE MAX will be an event space like no other you have seen. Plus, on Thursday, October 28 the Conway Downtown Partnership will be celebrating our 20th Anniversary at our Annual Meeting at the Old Conway Block Plant.
October 2021 501lifemag.com | 41
The first step to health and wellness begins with a breath T
hroughout COVID-19, I have explored many new ways of maintaining health and wellness. I've tried many methods of prayer and meditation, a gratitude journal, new exercising, a silent retreat, fasting, and dieting. And of course, I’ve binged TV, spent too much time on meaningless social media, ate too much, and avoided physical activity. Obviously, some worked better than others for my health and wellness. Overall, I believe I made it through COVID-19 fairly well and actually grew stronger in many ways. Or so I thought. When the second wave came, I had made some big life changes and found myself in what felt like unfamiliar territory. I knew the drill – wash your hands, wear a mask, and watch your distance – but I wasn’t ready for the unrest that having another round of COVID-19 would bring to my spirit, to my soul. I was literally and figuratively in a different place, and I panicked. I fell into what psychologists call my “default mode network.” Some estimate that we make around 35,000 decisions a day and virtually all of them are subconscious decisions. In other words, we run our lives on autopilot. It helps us juggle all the things that make us busy, but it can also
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By Mark McDonald cause us to revert to behaviors that are short-sighted and impulsive. We often think that the things that help (such as eating right, exercise, and rest) are suddenly out of reach, so we default to the quickest thing we can find to make us feel good (eating junk food, working more, and sleeping less.) That is what happened to me. While I had found a whole new level of peace in my life in 2020 through all my intentional changes, they seemed to go out the window when the COVID-19 resurgence of 2021 came back and I was in a different situation. My impulsive, reflexive reactions worked against me, and it seemed like I was destined to lose my health and wellness I had only recently rebuilt. Then, I ran across the concept of the “default mode network,” and I read about how there is one thing that helps us avoid falling into the bad choices that can come in stressful times. It can literally change the way our body regenerates cells: meditation. I know that some people think meditation is a new-age tool that isn’t founded in reality, but I had learned through experience that meditation is one of the tenets of my faith tradition. Prayer isn’t just talking to God; it is listening for God. Psalm 46:10 says it most succinctly: “Be still, and know that I am God” (NRSV). In fact, the Psalms
speak of the necessity and power of meditation more than a dozen times. Meditation is stillness that focuses on the present moment and helps us find God in that moment. Busyness creates the opposite. It focuses on the worries of the past and the fears of the future, and it also centers our attention on ourselves. That causes us to act impulsively and to search for the quickest way out instead of the best way through. Scientists have found that meditation (the moments we grow still and focus intentionally on the present) actually creates new growth in the brain that helps us make better decisions. A few moments each day of stillness and silence can help us get back to a new and improved “normal.” I invite you to join me in a simple step that brings health and wellness that is both spiritually and scientifically proven. Breathe. Find a time to stop, breathe, and meditate on the present moment for about 20 minutes. If that seems too difficult, start with two or three minutes, then keep adding a couple minutes each day. Just breathe and listen to what is happening around you, not on what has happened previously or what might happen next. Search for the holy in that moment. Then, make the good choices that you already know bring you health and wellness.
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October 2021 501lifemag.com | 43
SELMA BLACKBURN 44 | 501 LIFE October 2021
Photos by Mike Kemp
WATERCOLOR CONNECTS ARTIST TO WORLD By Aaron Brand
s an artist, teacher, and explorer of watercolor’s ways, Selma Blackburn can look back on decades of beautiful artwork. Blackburn has long been an advocate for all things watercolor as a member of Mid-Southern Watercolorists since 1977. As the Arkansas-based nonprofit arts organization puts it, the two are synonymous. With MSW, she found common cause with a medium where she has flourished. But that’s not where she began. “Actually, I started in oils with Doris Mapes. She was teaching private classes at the same place where I was teaching preschool and kindergarten,” Blackburn recalled. Try watercolors, suggested Mapes. “It was a whole different set of materials and so forth,” Blackburn said. New directions drew her in. “I started her class in watercolors, and I was hooked from the moment that I started,” Blackburn remembered. What hooked her? Design and composition were the start, but technique would come along. She was accepted into an MSW exhibition, which brought a workshop invitation to Louisiana Tech University. “I came back a changed woman,” she recalled. “Because the thing that had to happen was I had to believe in my heart that I could do this. I had always thought of myself as an observer of art, but not a creator of art.” She wanted to find her creative juices and bring them to the surface. “I use my brush to express my creative ideas,” Blackburn said. “The emphasis from then on became my heart and my hand and my mind, working together, concentrating on process rather than on product.” She committed herself to the starts and stops, practicing the craft, learning from invaluable teachers. Why watercolors? “Because it has so many surprises,” Blackburn said. “The surface and the brushes and the paints all work together to create the images. Learning to let the painting speak back to
me as I was painting it almost without a lot of guidance, just with a lot of understanding of design.” She’s tried different varieties of watercolor paper, finding a few she likes: smooth and rough surfaces. She enjoys gouache. “I like the contrast of the transparency and the opacity,” Blackburn said. The properties of mark-making also appeal to her, such as crayons and stamping lines, guided by the elements of design she knows. She likes print-making tools like blocks. For Mid-Southern Watercolorists, Blackburn has served in several essential positions: president, juried exhibition chair, secretary, and a vital member-at-large. Her work itself found homes in nearly three dozen of those annual juried shows. Her teaching career totals roughly three decades of instruction at Hendrix College, Arkansas Arts Center (where she taught 27 years), Louisiana Tech, and privately in her studio. As a true teacher should, she works with ideas. She can be representational or go more abstract. “Sometimes the idea is just to see what I can do with shapes, colors, and spaces without representing anything. And I let the painting tell me what it’s going to be. And then I name it,” Blackburn said. Occasionally, she thinks of the name first, then paints. “I’ve done that as a challenge to my students, also,” Blackburn said. From students, she’s learned a lot. “It helped me sharpen my skills so that I could teach idea-making to the people who are taking my classes. They were wonderful learners, and because of that over the years I had occasion to be so proud of the students that came out of my classes who have gone on to do wonderful things themselves,” she said. It’s been a boost to her, that connection between teacher and student. Art, as communication, provides the way forward. “I think connections are what the world is all about,” Blackburn said.
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46 | 501 LIFE October 2021
25 Years and still jazzed up! By Donna Lampkin Stephens
Jazzercise of Conway is celebrating its 25th anniversary this fall, and the milestone takes Paige Revis’ breath away.“I still love it,” said Revis, 58, the mother of Jazzercise Conway. “I still get excited about it; I still want to think about it. That astounds me. “I look back over the pictures of the current and former customers, and I think of the friendships that have grown out of it. These people would’ve never met without Jazzercise. People have come and gone, and we’ve done divorces, breast cancer, celebrations of children and everything you do in your life. And I’ve gotten to be a little snippet in all these women’s families, their lives. “It’s such an honor.” October 2021 501lifemag.com | 47
Revis grew up in Jonesboro and, after attending “all the colleges in Arkansas,” completed a degree in speech communications from the University of Arkansas-Little Rock. “My dream was to find a job at a big company helping upper-level management understand and communicate with middle- and lower-management so they could help share their goals, and it would be a win-win,” she said. “And it never happened.” Or did it? She has certainly helped thousands of women in the 501 achieve their fitness goals and much more. According to jazzercise.com, it is “the original dance party workout and still the world’s leading dance fitness program.” After several years with World Wide Travel, based in Little Rock, Revis made the leap to Jazzercize franchisee in Conway in 1996. She had taken one Jazzercise class in college. “It was upstairs in a big empty room on Dickson Street, and there were 75 to 100 people in that class,” she remembered. “It was overwhelming. I loved it, but I didn’t go back.” After having her first child, she rediscovered Jazzercise in Little Rock in 1990. “It was in its own studio with just a few people, and they had child care,” she said. “I made my first mom friends and found a community of women. I just loved everything about it. I was a cheerleader in high school and loved to dance, so it just fit.” She remembered that she didn’t have the discretionary income to pay monthly dues, so she traded a membership for babysitting services. From babysitter, she moved up to class manager. “My body changed,” she said. “It was the workout I needed. I looked better than I’ve ever looked. I was strong and lean and then I got pregnant again.” After her second son was born, she and her husband decided to move to Conway for the smaller-town atmosphere and to be closer to Greers Ferry Lake. But there were no Jazzercise options in Faulkner County, and she said she couldn’t justify driving back and forth to Little Rock. Ultimately, she decided to do the franchise herself with a
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little help from her friends. She earned her certification on Sept. 13, 1996. “My luckiest day ever,” she calls it. Over the last 25 years, there have been several locations, including several years at the McGee Center. “That’s when it really, really took off in Conway in late 2000 or early 2001,” she said. “I’d spent years answering this question: ‘What is Jazzercise?’ Then it was, ‘Where is Jazzercise?’” In 2014, she sold her ownership to her associate Alison Williams but remained an associate. Williams moved the business to its current location, Townsend Center on Donaghey Avenue. When Williams took a kindergarten teaching position, Revis had a chance to retake ownership. “But I decided businesses need to keep moving forward,” she said. So Alicia Gough, one of those old Jazzercise friends who had worked with her as a class manager, became the owner. Now they effectively operate as co-owners. “I told her I would rather be 1,000% supportive of her than 100% responsible,” Revis remembered. “We wanted to keep Jazzercise here. We know how important it is for the people who want it.” Why Jazzercise? “Jazzercise Inc. provides all of the choreography and the exercise,” Revis said. “The choreography is screened by a physiologist, so that sets us apart for safety and effectiveness. On the physical side, we are for everybody, all fitness levels participate in the same class, and we have lots of different formats, including strength-only, cardio and strength, kickboxing, core, and HIIT (high-intensity interval training). “Jazzercise is so cutting-edge and current, and we always have been,” she observed. “It had its big appearance in the early ‘80s, so everybody thinks they know what it is. But it’s not what it was in the ‘80s.” A quarter-century in, what does the future hold for Revis? “As long as I can keep moving, I‘m going to keep moving,” she said. “And encourage others to do the same thing.”
October 2021Photos 501lifemag.com | 49 by Mike Kemp
‘Set a Spell’ and think on these things By Vivian Lawson Hogue
art of the condition of “wellness” has to also be a sense of “well-being.” Our five senses make life pleasurable, safe, and productive. Then there’s that sixth sense that has to do with perception and intuition. It’s that thing where you are sitting in church and think something isn’t right but you don’t know what it is. Then you know what it is when you see that your shirt buttons are not locked into their assigned buttonholes. So since you’re on the back row and lights are low, you focus on the pastor and begin a stealthy maneuver to start at the top button and work your way down until all is well. Wellness means you’ve eaten your broccoli and walked daily. Well-being is that certain feeling of knowing you are taking care of yourself. In the event you do not take care of yourself, there is hopefully still a good feeling that your last will and funeral plans are completed. A little broccoli wouldn’t have hurt. Maybe you haven’t thought of the things that bring on that pleasant awareness of well-being. For me, it can be sitting on the front porch swing and suddenly there is not a sound except the “we-you-we-you” of a locust. For a few seconds, there is no incessant traffic or unbridled motorcycles going by. It is 1960 and I am 17 again, once more enjoying a quiet Old Conway. A minute later, there are three nonstop barking dogs, an ear-splitting sport cycle and roaring vehicles, all able to ignore noise laws. My tranquility vanishes. I attended two Scots-Irish wakes in my childhood and, regardless of the occasion, they seemed tranquil. At a wake, the deceased would “lie in state” in their home. No expensive funeral home chapel rental. Mason jars or pewter pitchers holding field flowers like Queen Anne’s lace, black-eyed
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Susans and butterfly weed. Straight-back wooden chairs. Empty tobacco cans for spittoons. Youngsters playing outside. Guests visited, chatted and “set a spell,” and brought things to eat that were not broccoli. On the red and white checked oilcloth-covered kitchen table, there were iron-skilletfried chicken, fried pies, fried green tomatoes, sugar-free cornbread, home-grown green beans, and homemade rolls the size and shape of a 1960s pillbox hat. Certainly nothing blasphemous from a bakery. The funeral home sometimes provided a lavender shade of lighting that I learned later was to make the deceased’s complexion look, well … less deceased. A long-time story about someone on their “death bed” concerned my great-great grandmother, her unusual last utterance, and an “angel’s crown.” The women of the house took care of this Christian grandmother’s every comfort for her well-being. She mostly slept, but someone remained vigilant as the end neared. One evening, she became restless and the attendant called for others to come. They all watched as a smile came upon her face, and her usually closed eyes opened and brightened as she searched the ceiling and room. Her last words were clear, audible, and excited. “Can you see them? Oh! Can you SEE them?” They could only assume she was being visited by angels coming to receive her spirit. In those days, pillows and mattresses were made of chicken feathers. After someone’s death, it was a custom to cut open the pillow and see if there was an “angel’s crown” inside it. It was said that if the feathers were somehow woven into a circular form, the deceased went to heaven. This was done in her case and there was indeed a crown.
“Local resident, Nancy Breeden Mitchell, has her own story. She says, “My sister, Anita, was spending the night with our mother in the home where we grew up. She had returned from the hospital to die. She would occasionally talk to an unseen someone, perhaps an angel. One morning, Mother instructed us to place chairs around her bed, as seating would be needed for the Eucharist and Rosary led by Nancy’s father. It was an overcast day, but the darkening shades were also lowered for privacy. Regardless, when Mother passed away, the sun came out and the room became brightly illuminated for a moment … and then the light faded.” A “sense of well-being” is what everyone on this earth wants to feel. Sometimes it is nourished through small or monumental moments. Today it is hard to see them, and we may have to look quickly! My mother used to say there is a feeling of confidence when you wear clean underwear. You may smile, but she was serious. One can explain that thought with one of the most peaceful Biblical passages. It speaks to ALL of us, saying, “ … whatsoever things are honorable, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” (Philippians 4:8 ASV)
So wear clean underwear. Oh, and speak softly but firmly when needed; do what is right; do good deeds secretly; simplify your life and be grateful for it. It just might help you get one of those angel crowns one day!
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October 2021 501lifemag.com | 51
The staff at Landmark Elementary takes special care to clean items between classes.
PCSSD takes precautions to keep students, staff healthy By Jessica Duff
52 | 501 LIFE October 2021
he Pulaski County Special School District’s focus for the 2021-2022 school year remains the health and safety of our staff and students. In August, the PCSSD school board approved a recommendation that masks are required for all students, staff, and guests. This requirement was in place for the first 60 days of school and will be reconsidered by the school board at the October meeting. As parents, school administrators, teachers, and community members, we were all hopeful that the 20212022 school year would look a little more “normal” than the 2020-2021 school year. Unfortunately, we are still facing the COVID-19 pandemic. And this means that PCSSD is taking extra precautions to keep your kids safe and healthy on our campuses.
As the COVID-19 pandemic is ongoing, we are continuously monitoring and adjusting under the advice and guidance of the Arkansas Department of Health. Our staff will continue its efforts to frequently sanitize all common areas in school and District buildings. We encourage frequent handwashing, social distancing, and mask wearing on all of our campuses in order to slow the spread of the virus. Also remaining in place is the District’s contact-tracing efforts. That means temperature checks for all students and staff, as well as the continuation of the COVID-19 hotline. Despite this pandemic, PCSSD also remains committed to equity and excellence in education. We aim to provide curriculum, instruction, and learning opportunities that are diverse, engaging, and developmentally appropriate for all students, K-12. As a District, we know we are poised for a successful school year, no matter the challenges the pandemic continues to throw at our teachers, staff, and students. We have all learned a lot since the COVID-19 pandemic started in 2020. A lot about ourselves, our families, and our school district. PCSSD is proud of our teachers and staff for making each child a priority no matter the circumstances that present themselves each and every day.
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October 2021 501lifemag.com | 53
Public Power By Beth Jimmerson
This October, Conway Corp is celebrating
Public Power Week along with more than 2,000 other community-owned, not-forprofit electric utilities that collectively provide electricity to more than 48 million Americans Public power puts the people of Conway first, and Public Power Week gives us the chance to celebrate the reliable, affordable electricity Conway Corp provides to our community. As one of only 15 public power providers in the state and 2,000 across the nation, Conway Corp is special. We have operated alongside our customers in Conway since 1929. We not only work for Conway, we are Conway. Knowing our community and its needs helps us keep homes, businesses and public places powered year-round. Our service is safe, reliable and affordable, and we take pride in serving our friends and neighbors. Conway benefits from public power, including affordable energy costs, superior service, local control and reinvestment in the community. Local needs are considered when decisions are made about rates and services, power generation and green alternatives. Plus, public power revenues are reinvested into community programs and projects that are for the common good. We work hard to keep the lights on, and we work to keep rates low, invest in our local community and provide hometown jobs. Reliability is our No. 1 job. Our crews work tirelessly to keep the power on and restore it quickly when outages occur. Through continued training and ongoing preventative care, we are prepared to act quickly and safely to restore power to Conway. We are the only utility in the state to be designated a platinum-level Reliable Public Power Provider by the American Public Power Association for demonstrating high proficiency in reliability, safety, workforce development and system improvement. Plus, our employees are dedicated and passionate about this community because it’s where they live too. As a public power provider, we also benefit from mutual aid agreements with other providers. Last year, our crews helped restore power in Jonesboro following tornado damage and in Louisiana after Hurricane Delta. Should a large outage occur, similar crews would travel to Conway to help restore power for our residents. We focus on providing affordable electric rates, and on a national average, our rates are lower than industry competitors, saving money for citizens and businesses. We also consistently have the lowest residential rates in the state
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of Arkansas. Lower rates mean citizens have more available to spend on other goods and services, which boosts the local economy. We aren’t motivated by profits to sell more power, so we also provide energy-efficiency programs like energy audits and 0% interest loans to benefit customers. Our revenues are reinvested into maintaining and upgrading our system’s substations, distribution lines and more so we’re able to safely deliver low-cost, reliable electricity. Keeping energy costs affordable serves our community’s long-term needs – and that’s what public power is all about. Conway Corp exists to serve the residents of Conway. We provide friendly, local service to customers. Customers can also call 24 hours a day, seven days a week and be connected to a customer service representative who is a local member of the community. We are responsive to customers’ needs and concerns and make customer service a priority. Recent data shows we keep the lights on 99.99% of the time, but when an outage does occur, we restore power quickly and efficiently because we’re located in the community we serve. On average, our customers get electricity restored after an outage 44 minutes sooner than the national average. We live here and have a vested interest in getting service restored as quickly and safely as possible. We’re accountable to our friends, neighbors and families. Conway Corp is dedicated to exceeding our customers' expectations in producing and delivering safe, affordable, reliable, innovative and environmentally sound utility and telecommunication services while enhancing the quality of life in our community. We believe in enhancing our city through community projects and educational opportunities. We were founded to support area education, and today we provide technology, scholarships and more to our local schools and colleges. We invest in the community because we are the community. We’re invested in Conway, and so are our employees. We employ more than 250 local individuals who serve on local boards, participate with local charities, coach local youth sports teams and more. Each year, Conway Corp employees collectively donate more than $35,000 to United Way. Our employees also hold an annual food drive for a local charity and participate in the Angel Tree program. As a public power utility, our loyalty is to our customers and our community. Public power is an American tradition that works, and we thank you for your support and for allowing us to serve you for more than 90 years. For more information about Conway Corp’s public power history in the community, visit ConwayCorp.com/who-we-are.
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October 2021 501lifemag.com | 55
UCA opens Integrated Health Sciences Building
The UCA Board of Trustees and President Houston Davis hosted a grand opening celebration for the new Integrated Health Sciences on Aug. 13.
“Health care — at its core — is a team sport, and we see what this facility seeks to accomplish. Our drive to improving community health is an innovative and exciting realization of this collaboration. We are inspired by this bold project and what we can do together.” Matt Troup, president and CEO of Conway Regional Health System. Guided tours of the facility that showcased its unique operational amenities took place during the celebration.
he University of Central Arkansas hosted the grand opening celebration for its new Integrated Health Sciences Building in August. The cutting-edge, 80,000-square-foot facility offers expanded educational opportunities for the university’s health care students and faculty in the College of Health and Behavioral Sciences. The new facility is home to the School of Nursing, the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, an expanded Nabholz Center for Healthcare Simulation, and an interprofessional teaching center which is the first of its kind in the region. During the event, UCA President Houston Davis announced the naming of the interprofessional teaching center in partnership with the Conway Regional Health System. The announcement represents Conway Regional’s continued support of UCA’s innovation when it comes to health education programs. “The Conway Regional Health System has long been a health care and wellness champion for our communities and a dedicated healthcare partner with UCA,” said Davis. “We are proud of this partnership and thankful for their legacy of support.” The teaching center fosters collaborative educational experiences where students will learn and work alongside one another instead of independently, creating a modern health care team. These experiences prepare students for internships, employment and, ultimately, careers as health care professionals. The new IHSB allows the expansion of the university’s
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health care programs’ size, reach and impact on the state’s health care resources. This impact will be immediately realized through the addition of 50 more nursing students during a national nursing shortage. With more than 90 percent of UCA’s health care graduates remaining in the state, Arkansans will reap substantial health benefits. Wellness is one of the pillars of the university’s $100 million fundraising campaign, UCA Now: Impact Arkansas and Beyond. The campaign seeks to transform the university and communities — one student at a time. Currently, a $5 million fundraising campaign is underway for the new IHSB facility and for equipment support. The building campaign has raised $4.8 million for the project to date. This includes a $1 million gift from the Sunderland Foundation whose mission is to improve the quality of life by reinvesting in the communities where the Ash Grove Cement Company has historically operated. The Sunderland Foundation focuses on supporting construction projects, with an emphasis on health care and education. “We are extremely grateful to the Sunderland Foundation,” Davis said. “Their generosity speaks to the reputation of our faculty and the impact of our health care graduates. What a resounding vote of confidence.” Planning and architecture for the facility is by Taggart Architects. Nabholz Construction is the general contractor for the project. Primary funding for the project is provided through a $37.7 million bond appropriation by the UCA Board of Trustees.
October 2021 501lifemag.com | 57
Photos by Mike Kemp
PET OF THE MONTH
Accident doesn't keep Yorkie-poo from being talk of Downtown Conway By Becky Bell
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“I have had a deep love for animals since I was little, I think. That’s really all I can say,” - Chris Quinn
hris Quinn takes her pet Zoey, a Yorkie-poo, to work every day and while that may not be too unusual, how Quinn acquired Zoey is. Quinn got Zoey this past April from the Conway Animal Welfare Shelter Support (CAWSS) group. Quinn is president of the group that helps support the Conway Animal Welfare Unit by providing help with medical assistance or any needs that benefit the welfare of the animals when funds are needed but just aren’t in the budget. Zoey was hit by a car in March and a good Samaritan found her and took her in for help, Quinn said. “We were called late on a Friday afternoon with a report that a dog was found hit by Stoby’s,” she said. “Her bone was hanging out and they tried to see if it would heal on its own. It was her right front leg and we paid for all of that. This is one of the many things we do as a nonprofit.” Unfortunately, the little dog’s leg had to be taken for her survival. Quinn knew of the story and fell in love with the dog who would now be a tripod. “I have had a deep love for animals since I was little, I think. That’s really all I can say,” Quinn said. “So many animals are abandoned and neglected, so anything we can do, I am proud to be a part of an organization like that.” Although some might consider Zoey disadvantaged without one leg, it does not appear so as she greets the customers at Quinn’s Furniture Consignment Place. “She runs like the wind,” the business owner said. “She bonded with me and got attached to me almost immediately. I think Yorkies are known for that, but I’ve never had a Yorkie-poo. She is extremely loyal to me, which is fine.” Zoey often wears a red bandana that says, “I am a rescue CAWSS,” and has a little dog paw print on it. For the most part, she stays near the counter. Customers who notice Zoey are always glad to make her acquaintance. “Most of the time, she is up on the counter in her pen,” Quinn said. “Anytime someone goes by there, she kisses and licks and loves them. Then they start a conversation about their animals, which is fun. I think some of the people who start talking may not have been in a good mood, but I’ve just seen her bring it out of them.” Chris said she is glad Zoey is the CAWSS mascot. For more information, go to firstname.lastname@example.org. Board members include President Quinn, Secretary Sharon Clack, Treasurer Terri Horn, Betsey Helton, Karl Justice, Scott Hayes, Charlsie Hum, Branden Hampton, Cody Stoner and Colby Kinggard.
October 2021 501lifemag.com | 59
KID OF THE MONTH
SET TO S YOUNG MAN'S JOURNEY IS ANYTHING BUT PAR FOR THE COURSE
By Becky Bell
Photos by Katie Rouse
ome people have a problem keeping junk mail from scattering throughout the house. But at Thomas Rouse’s house, discs for disc golf are everywhere. “When you come into our house, they are on the bar, they are on the dining room table, they are on the hearth of the fireplace,” said Kati Rouse, Thomas’ mom. “There are a ton of them in the garage. They are just stacked everywhere. He has a bunch in his room.” The 10-year-old is a fifth-grader at Heber Springs Elementary. He competed in the Junior World Disc Golf Championship in July in Emporia, Kansas. He placed 20th out of 40 participants. Kati said her son did well for having never been in that type of a tournament before. “There was pressure, and you had cameras, you had crowds all of a sudden,” Kati said. “At local tournaments, you don’t have a lot of people. It was intense. I mean it was five days and on one day he played two rounds, and this was really the first time he had competition and he was playing in the 12-yearold division.” Thomas plays disc golf every Sunday locally with the Heber Springs Mossy Bluff Disc Golf Association. He mostly wins every game with other recreational players and sometimes wins against the advanced players. He became interested in the sport at an early age, he said. His father, Jamie, and his friend Tony Simmons helped that interest to spark into a hobby. “So, my dad’s friend was probably playing with him that first year we started playing,” Thomas said. “He told us about
it when I was 4 and I thought it was amazing. Then I got my first disc at Christmas when I was 5.” Kati said the Rouses’ home is on 3 acres and her son spends most of his free time outside playing disc golf. “He just goes out the door and throws discs until dark,” she said. “He kind of has a knack for it.” And his talent with the game has shown. He won in the local Wildcat Open in Hot Springs in March and the Persimmon Ridge Open in Greenbrier on Sept. 4. Thomas said he wants to get even better in the sport, and his mother said that will mean the family will need to travel more. He has a 13-year-old sister named Allie, and his maternal grandparents are Wayne and Janet Randolph, who also live in his hometown. His paternal grandparents are James and Debbie Rouse from Southaven, Miss. Kati said that disc golf has seen a lot of growth in the past year because of the pandemic. “A lot of people picked it up because other sports weren’t happening, and we are seeing more kids around Arkansas and that will give him more tournament experience,” she said. The boy also enjoys soccer and skateboarding, but if he can find someone to play with, Thomas prefers disc golf. “It’s just really something that I’m good at,” he said. “In my childhood -- well, I’m still in my childhood -- I didn’t play a lot of sports and all that, but disc golf stood out to me.”
OAR THE FUTURE OF HEALTH CARE?
IT’S HAPPENING HERE. U
CA’s new Integrated Health Sciences Building fosters an interprofessional educational environment like never before. Modern collaboration. The most innovative technology. Real-life health care scenarios, plus simulation experiences that allow collaboration within all majors in the College of Health and Behavioral Sciences.
UCA.edu October 2021 501lifemag.com | 61
Leaders Erica Gunther (from left), Sheri Heslep and Alysa Tiner celebrate the heroes that work at Salem Place Nursing and Rehab.
A PLACE WHERE CARING NEVER STOPS Nursing home leaders appreciate staff going the extra mile Photo and story by Stefanie Brazile
he COVID-19 pandemic has stretched healthcare workers to their physical and emotional limits and leaders are trying new techniques to avoid burnout. When the lockdown began in 2020, Salem Place Nursing and Rehabilitation Center’s Administrator Sheri Heslep and her managers noticed the effects on staff morale. Because family and friends could not enter the building and community groups could not visit to sing, play games, or even cut hair, the staff added to their duties. “Staff members have absolutely been picking up slack with the lack of visitors,” said Erica Gunther, a registered nurse and the director of nursing. “In fact, our administrator was cutting residents’ hair during the time period that we were not able to have a beautician come in. The residents have always been like family to our staff members, but during the pandemic, the caring ways of our staff has truly come to light as they continue to go above and beyond to keep residents’ lives as normal as possible.” Healthcare workers also have concerns at home and with the health of their loved ones and friends. Fear of infection and making an extra effort to stay healthy add to the emotional load. “COVID-19 has really put a damper on staff morale. Everyone is exhausted, and the weight of a pandemic really does weigh heavily on healthcare workers,” Heslep said. “We have done things like the all-too-familiar pizza parties, but we also just make it a point to acknowledge the positive things that are occurring. If someone did something right, we want
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to give them credit for that. I think that simply recognizing employees goes a long way.” The facility has served patients for 32 years and about 110 people work to care for patients. Even though the staff is needed more than ever, they are encouraged to take time away from serving patients to avoid burnout. “Ensuring that staff does not overwork themselves and that they are taking the all-too-important days off plays a major role in managing burnout,” said Alysa Tiner, a registered nurse and the assistant director of nursing. “We also encourage staff to come and talk to us when things are becoming too much and they feel that there is a need for change,” she said. “Salem Place has such a strong team and the amount of teamwork and encouragement internally has been amazing to experience. Every department from housekeeping to nursing has worked hand in hand to ensure that our residents and staff stayed safe.” Experts wonder what effect the worldwide pandemic will have on the number of people entering health professions in the future. The term “essential workers” has been highlighted and shortages have been felt. “My hope is that this will lead to more people feeling called to help,” Heslep said. “Healthcare workers have come to be held in such a high regard and the respect around healthcare workers has certainly increased. Hopefully, this will turn into people aspiring to have a career in healthcare and feeling called to help others as the nurses and aides have done during all of this.”
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Author weaves romance into fictitious 501 town By Susan Peterson
Kathleen Fuller from Cabot is
a best-selling romance author. “Hooked on You,” her most recent novel, combines her love of crocheting with a sweet southern romance in the fictional town of Maple Falls, Arkansas, which is based on the Malvern and Hot Springs areas. The book tells of the everyday struggles of small-town life and the internal struggles of the two main characters. Riley McAllister, a struggling New York artist, is called home to assist Mimi, who broke her leg. Reluctantly returning to Maple Falls, Riley helps at her grandmother’s house and store, the Knots and Tangles Yarn Shop. While in town, she reconnects unexpectedly with Hayden Price, a former high school crush, whose baseball stardom was derailed by a shoulder injury. As one reviewer stated, “The telling of the tale gets as sweet as anything you can get off the dessert menu at Sunshine Diner in Maple Falls.” Kathleen now has 57 published novels and has hit the USA Today, ECPA, and CBA bestsellers lists. Ironically, she didn’t intend to become a writer. She recalls taking a journalism class in high school at Mount St. Mary Academy in Little Rock. At the University of Arkansas-Little Rock, she earned a degree in early childhood/ elementary education, and went on to receive her master’s in special education, with an emphasis on teaching the blind and visually impaired. She met her husband in storybook fashion. When she was in graduate school, they were enrolled in the same ballroom dance class. They married in 1993. Soon, they had three children and his work took them to Northeast Ohio, near Amish country. At the time, she was homeschooling their three children, which she loved doing, but she started to question her purpose in life. “God has a way of opening doors,” she said. Her door unlocked when she started reading Christian romance. After
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devouring numerous books, she realized she wanted to try writing one. And she did it. Kathleen joined the Romance Writers of America, took classes, and networked with local writing groups. In 2003, with the encouragement of other writers, her first work was published by Tyndale House. She continued to write while teaching full-time, and her work was eventually noticed by publishers. Her early writing includes books inspired by the Amish/ Mennonite settlement near them in Ohio. Those titles include the Hearts of Middlefield novels, the Middlefield Family novels, the Amish of Birch Creek series, the Amish Letters series, the Brides of Birch Creek series, the Mail Order Brides of Birch Creek, and a middle-grade Amish series, the Mysteries of Middlefield. She has also contributed to numerous novella collections. She truly found her niche in the Christian romance genre and has now sold over 1 million books. Her writing formula often includes some type of craft, such as cooking, sewing, or crocheting, which gives added appeal to many readers. Kathleen took up crocheting following a back injury. Again, another door inadvertently opened. The family moved back to Arkansas in 2016, and in 2019, Kathleen met Lorri Ann Helberg, yarn designer and owner of Arkansas Yarn Co. in Malvern. When “Hooked on You” hit the stands this May, Helberg hosted a special book signing event at her store, which was the inspiration for the fictional store Knots and Tangles. She also created a limited-edition multicolored yarn inspired by the cover of the book. More information can be found on Kathleen’s website. “Hooked on You” is the first in her Maple Falls Series. The next in the series is “Much Ado About Latte,” which is scheduled for release in January 2022. For the past six years, Kathleen has written full-time. She says writing is no longer a hobby but her job, and she gets in the chair and writes every day. “If you just wait for inspiration, you’ll never write.” She enjoys people watching, pondering about “what if” questions, and being open to guidance from above to help her see the next open door. The author loves to speak to groups and used to enjoy girlfriend getaways with other authors (before COVID-19). But quarantining has been advantageous in one way; last year was the most productive in her career. She also finds time to continue crocheting and runs the Facebook group Books & Hooks.
‘Hooked on You’ Yarn Kit Kathleen Fuller, who is from Cabot, has written her most recent novel to combine her love of crocheting with a sweet southern romance in the fictional town of Maple Falls, Arkansas. Maple Falls is actually based on the Malvern and the Hot Springs area.
Kathleen Fuller found her niche in the Christian romance genre and has now sold more than 1 million books. “God has a way of
“Hooked on You” features a yarn store in small-town Arkansas which was inspired by a business in Malvern called Arkansas Yarn Co. The store’s owner, Lorri Ann Helberg, dyed a colorway on their Merino DK base to match the book’s cover. Kits containing an autographed copy of the book, a skein of the unique yarn, and the crochet and knitting patterns are available at arkansasyarnco.myshopify.com. In the search box, type “Hooked On You.”
opening doors,” she said.
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athletic excellence By Dr. Robert Reising
He has done the 501 proud. It has been the site of his spectacular athletic success. To the 70-year-old retiree, it has always been and always will be home. He has no desire to live elsewhere, he recently confided. Yet, as a public-school and intercollegiate athlete, he excelled far from Central Arkansas. In Southwest Arkansas at Genoa Central High School and at Henderson State University, both served by 501, the state’s only telephone area code until 1997, he garnered numerous honors. Subsequently, as a Garland County coach for 41 years in the current 501, he added handsomely to that total. Karl Koonce’s career has been a decades-long celebration of the athletic excellence of the 501, old as well as new. His beginnings were humble. Born on Oct. 20, 1951, in Texarkana, he was raised in nearby Boyd, an unincorporated community. A self-proclaimed “country boy,” he thrived on church-centered family activities, chores featuring cows and chickens, and gravel roads that, after 1957, transported him to the Genoa Public Schools. The second son of George Alvin and Rita Koonce, Karl quickly developed the strong work ethic that his parents modeled and that subsequently was to serve him so well in and away from the classroom.
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At Genoa Central High School, he was a multi-sport performer with special prowess and potential in track and field. He claimed Class B state championships in the 880 and the mile in both 1968 and 1969. In the latter year, he registered a state record in the mile that was unbroken for 38 years. Also in 1969, he topped his honors by being named Arkansas’ Class B Athlete of the Year. At Arkadelphia’s HSU, which had won a recruiting battle for his skills, Karl continued his stellar 501 success. While lettering for four years in cross country and track and field, he set school records in the mile and the 880, claimed the 1973 Arkansas Intercollegiate championship in the mile and finished second in the 880, and ran a 4.08 mile for eighth place in the same year’s NAIA National Championship Meet. After earning his Bachelor of Science in Education in 1973, the recipient of HSU’s Duke Wells Inspirational Athlete Award and Outstanding Physical Education Major Award immediately transitioned into the institution’s graduate program. In the fall of 1974, armed with a year of experience as assistant track coach as well as a Master of Science in Education with an emphasis in physical education, he embarked on 46 years of meritorious teaching and coaching. The first of his coaching awards came in 1986, Conference Boys Track Coach of the Year; he was to earn it five times. State honors in boys track and field soon followed, again five times. Comparable state honors in boys cross country reached him an amazing eight times, and starting in 1990, he garnered state awards three times each in both girls track and field and girls cross country. The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette capped his state honors by naming him its 2018 Track Coach of the Year. Predictably, following sectional honors for coaching girls as well as boys came recognition from his profession’s highest level. The National Federation of High Schools named him National Boys Track Coach of the Year in 2009 and its National Boys Cross Country Coach of the Year nine years later. In 2019, his final year of publicschool employment, he was named National Girls Track Coach of the Year by the National High School Coaches Association. Although grabbing far fewer headlines than his coaching, Karl’s teaching brought him inestimable satisfaction and pride. In a document publicly available this year, he admitted that he had “had numerous Biology, Anatomy, and Physiology students go on to be pharmacists, doctors, nurses, and coaches.” In the same document, he added that at Lake Hamilton High near Hot Springs, where he was a faculty member for 38 years, “five of the seven Science … staff members were Biology or Anatomy and Physiology students of mine.” It can never be said that his immersion in extracurricular activities forced neglect of his pedagogical responsibilities.
te Champs 2018 Track and Field Sta
Cross Country State Ch
Karl Koonc e
Matt Vining, a veteran assistant coach of track and field at Arkansas State University, summarizes what Karl means to him and many other students and athletes who have had the benefit of his teaching and/or coaching: “He is wise, thoughtful, and empathetic in a way that makes you want to emulate his every move. I love Coach and can only hope I leave a legacy half of what he will leave behind.” There is little doubt that the entirety of 501, old as well as new, share Coach Vining’s affection for an icon who never strayed from home.
Karl Koonce, second from left, was named a Coach of the Year at the conference, state and national levels.
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UACCM student claims silver in national competition By Abby Sanders
or Shamard Thomas, hard work and persistence are key to success. Thomas, a recent graduate from the ComputerAided Drafting and Design Technology program at the University of Arkansas Community College at Morrilton, has been honing his craft long before coming to UACCM. “My initial introduction with SkillsUSA was during my 10th-grade year of high school when I had just begun taking architecture and architectural design seriously,” said Thomas. “The organization was introduced to my fellow peers and I on the first day of our drafting class by our teacher, Randy Wiedmaier. After learning about the organization, what they represented, and what the competitions held for my trade, I was hooked.” SkillsUSA is a partnership of students, teachers, and industry working together to ensure America has a skilled workforce. The association offers 107 competitive events that invite competitors to showcase their skills and tackle realworld problems. Students at UACCM can join the SkillsUSA Club and participate in competitions that align with their coursework and future occupation. Additionally, students that place first in a state SkillsUSA event receive a $1,000 scholarship to UACCM. The 2021 SkillsUSA Championships were held virtually from June 14-24. Thomas competed in Architectural Drafting, earning second in the nation. More than 3,700 students from every state in the nation competed in the championships, making it the largest skill competition in the world. “For the Architectural Drafting competition, competitors
are first given a written test,” Thomas describes. “SkillsUSA’s mission includes creating smart and passionate individuals who will become the new workforce, and the competitions try to represent and replicate the industry standards for each trade. For the main portion of the competition, all competitors are given a prompt, which will include a scenario describing an issue that needs to be solved whilst also providing restrictions and guidelines for the project.” The competition simulates a day in the workforce, lasting a full eight hours with a lunch break in the middle. Competitors are given additions and changes during the competition, much like they might experience when working with clients. At the end, they present their plans to scrutinizing judges who ensure the accuracy and feasibility of the final project. “Shamard was a wonderful student,” said Kristen Karetov, CADD Technology instructor and SkillsUSA Club sponsor. She was thrilled knowing that this is the best placement that a UACCM student has ever achieved at the national competition. Karetov stated, “I knew that he was in the top nine because of an email we had received alerting us to his placement, but then on the night of the awards, we learned he placed second. It was surreal. This award helped put the CADD Tech program on the map for UACCM. It let us know that we are doing something right with our students.” Thomas attributes his success, in part, to his time at UACCM and to Karetov, his instructor. “UACCM gave me a place to learn and hone-in on my skills as a designer and drafter. This university was able to provide me the tools that I needed in
Fine Arts in PCSSD
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“UACCM gave me a place to learn and hone-in on my skills as a designer and drafter.”
- Shamard Thomas
order to become successful in my field of study and be able to place second in the country among peers in my trade. My advisor, Mrs. Karetov, played a huge role in my success at the SkillsUSA competition and my success here at UACCM in general,” said Thomas. He also recounted personal hardships he was facing when he came to UACCM, dealing with family illness and leaving what he thought was his dream school behind. At a time when he had stopped pushing toward his
career goals, Karetov kept him on track and pushed him to compete in SkillsUSA and keep working toward his dream. “She believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself,” said Thomas, “and for that I am thankful.” To learn more about the CADD Technology program at UACCM and the opportunities it can provide, visit uaccm.edu/academics/ degree_prog/drt.html.
One One Step Step Closer Closer to to Home Home The only certiﬁed acute inpatient rehabilitation hospital in Faulkner County
501-932-3558 On-site Physician • Certiﬁed Rehab RNs Physical Therapy • Occupational Therapy Speech Therapy • Average Stay 10-14 Days October 2021 501lifemag.com | 69
A better state of health New clinic opens to treat disorder that affects 2.5 million people annually By Stefanie Brazile
o many families travel to Arkansas Childrens’ Hospital to find specialized services. However, turning 18 leaves some patients searching for continuity of care. Until recently, that was the case for adults living with a medical condition called neurofibromatosis, or NF. NF is a genetic disorder that causes tumors to grow on the nerves and can include tumors in the brain and spinal cord. Annually, one in 3,000 births has NF. It affects all genders and ethnicities equally. Although there are 60 clinics in the NF Clinic Network, there wasn't one in Arkansas until recently. Fortunately, Dr. Santos Horta and the University of Arkansas Medical Sciences – Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute decided to develop the Adult Multi-Disciplinary NF Clinic. Lesley Oslica raises money for NF research and programs as the Arkansas Chapter President of the Children's Tumor Foundation. Oslica's 30-year-old daughter, Katie, was diagnosed with the disorder when she was 10 and received care at Arkansas Children's
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Photos by Mike Kemp
Dr. Santos Horta is developing an Adult Multi-Disciplinary NF Clinic at the University of Arkansas Medical Sciences – Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute.
Hospital until she was 18. But then she aged out and did not have a team of specialists helping to navigate her care. The new clinic will help more than 700 adult Arkansans living with NF. "As a neuro-oncologist, I have been trained to treat those problems and also know what kind of screenings are needed for patients to have a better quality of life," Horta said. "There are over 700 [adults] affected with neurofibromatosis, but no specialized clinic. Therefore, those patients must go out of state to be treated. With the NF clinic, they will be seen by someone that understands their needs. Also, we want to bring clinical trials to offer to those patients." Oslica said that her family is excited about the new clinic. "Since Katie met Dr. Horta, she has a great sense of relief and hopes that she will receive care and medical advice she hasn't had in a long time. She will have a team of doctors helping her navigate the difficult journey of living with NF." Horta completed a fellowship in research at the Neuro-immunology Laboratory at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, and a clinical fellowship in neurooncology at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit. She served a residency in neurology at the University of Minnesota. Horta also received the McDonald Fellowship from The Multiple Sclerosis International Federation. Horta has worked at the Cancer Institute for a year. She is also a Neuro-Oncology Assistant Professor at the UAMS College of Medicine. "I went into my field because of the patients," Horta said. "The rapport that I have with my patients is what makes me go to work every day." Horta said she loves the people, the city, and the outdoors of Central Arkansas. She is married to William Cossens and lives in Little Rock.
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My obsession with fall Story and photos by Linda Henderson
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very year in late summer and early fall, I get a bad case of “fall obsession.” I start dreaming of cool fall weather and vibrant fall colors. This obsession is fed by tiny glimpses of leaves changing from green to palettes of yellow. The addition of pumpkins at the local grocery stores adds a little more to my fall preoccupation. Then the return of mums to my neighborhood plant store sets me into full fall fever. As the season progresses and days shorten, the tree canopies start to explode into colorful displays of oranges and golds. By that time, I am in full-blown fall fixation. At that point, it is time to start planning a foliage photography road trip. Fall provides Arkansas a welcomed weather respite from the hot summer temperatures. Fall also provides we who take pictures an abundance of photography opportunities. Photographing fall leaves can be fun, but it can also be overwhelming. With color all around, it is hard to find and maintain a sense of visual balance. Our brains can easily process multiple colors and subjects, but a strong camera image requires visual simplicity. Understanding the use of the camera’s rectangular frame and eliminating unnecessary clutter is critical to having a Facebook- or Instagram-worthy photo. Saturated colors of fall can be photographed with just a little planning. Look for still water surrounded by trees to capture a mirror-like reflection of fall color in the water. Include a colorful leaf or log in
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the water to add an item of interest. Look for rays of light coming in through the tree leaves. Photographing fall leaves if the weather is rainy or foggy adds mood and interest. Wet conditions will enhance the color of the leaves. Fog and moisture in the air are a magical formula for beautiful fall pictures. Rain and fog soften and mute the autumn colors. Blue bird-colored skies do not provide the intensity of color that overcast skies do. If the forecast is for overcast skies, then photograph fall color all day long, but leave the sky out of the scene as it will not enhance the image. Don’t forget about the leaves themselves. Photographing the fallen leaves that cover the ground can be an amazing shot. Include some fall close-up pictures of seeds, mushrooms, or native grasses. Look up when in a grove of trees. A great picture can be captured with the lines of the tree trunks against a blue sky and colorful leaves. Fall generally peaks in the northern 501 counties around Oct. 23 through Oct. 29 and Nov. 1 through Nov. 8 in Central Arkansas. If we time our fall photography trips just right in the 501, we can shoot most of the month of October and into November. Before planning your fall road trip, check out fall foliage prediction maps and reports at these websites: Arkansas State Park’s Fall Foliage Map, The Weather Channel Fall Foliage Map and The Foliage Network’s Report.
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with Hematologist-Oncologist Neelakanta Dadi, MD. Neelakanta Dadi, MD, a highly experienced hematologistoncologist, recently joined the Conway Regional Multispecialty Clinic. Hematology-oncology physicians are blood and cancer specialists.
One of the major challenges for men in living a healthy life from about 45 to 65 years old is their reluctance to go to a doctor (whether a family doctor or a specialist). Why do you think they are so reluctant? The major issue is men ignoring their symptoms because they get busy with many family commitments as they get into their middle ages. Access can also be an issue in rural areas. Most men in their middle ages tend to ignore their health because of personal and family commitments. One of the big challenges in healthcare today is preventative medicine and identifying the disease in the early stages because detection of the cancer is the key to surviving it.
What do you tell your male patients to reassure them about health care experiences?
Speaking from a hematology-oncology perspective, I reassure my patients who are dealing with the diagnosis of cancer. I tell patients it’s okay to ask questions. The more they know about the disease, the more they will be reassured and able to participate in the decision-making. I explain what the tests mean and show my patients their scans and lab tests. I avoid language and behavior that could seem judgmental to the patients. Lastly, I ask them questions that will help decide their treatment goals and preferences. Those are all things that help them gain more confidence in me as a physician.
What are the most common forms of cancer among men?
Prostate, lung, colon, and urinary/bladder are the four most prominent forms of cancers in men. Due to lifestyle changes, pancreatic cancer has also been on the rise over the last few decades.
What are some of the signs and symptoms of cancer that men should watch for after they turn 40 years of age?
You want to watch for any changes in your routine. The majority of cancers have common symptoms, such as changes in appetite, weight loss, constant fatigue, and persistent pain. Some other symptoms include changes in breathing patterns, skin color, a persistent cough, hoarseness of voice, trouble swallowing, and indigestion.
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What are some specific screenings that men should undergo and at what ages? Depending upon your family history, cancer experts have recently begun emphasizing colon cancer screenings at age 45. If you have a family history of colon cancer, you should consult a gastroenterologist and may need to begin screening at an earlier age. Colon cancer tends to be hereditary. Regarding lung cancer, it is very clear that anyone between the ages of 50 and 80 who has smoked for at least “20-pack years” and has quit within the last 15 years should receive an annual CT scan. “Twenty20-pack years” means they have smoked a pack of cigarettes every day for 20 years. I would recommend that you discuss the most ageappropriate time for prostate screenings with your family physician and a urologist, especially if you have a family history of prostate cancer.
What are some actions that men can take to avoid a diagnosis of cancer later in life? Annual wellness visits with a primary care provider are the key. You should discuss any unusual symptoms with your primary care physician as soon as you experience them. Also, watch for any changes in the norm of your routine, such as changes in breathing patterns, bowel habits, fatigue, and unintentional weight loss. I recommend paying attention to cancer screening guidelines so that we can treat the cancer at any early stage.
Do you have any successful disease prevention stories that you would like to share with the readers? When I was in my training at Louisiana State University, we did a lung cancer prevention study that changed the guidelines for annual lung CT scans to the current “20-Pack Years” of smoking and patients who had quit within 15 years. That made a difference for the patients in terms of detection of cancer.
Is there anything you would like to add about men’s health and cancer care? There are some important things to remember: • Report any changes in your health to your primary care provider. • Maintain healthy diet and exercise habits. There is a strong link between eating red meat and colon cancer, so diet habits are very important. We are also seeing a major trend in colon cancer being diagnosed at a younger age. • Always avoid tobacco and limit alcohol use. • Make sure vitamin D levels are at a healthy level. Studies have linked low vitamin D levels to cancer. • Increase the number of urological and hormone tests when using testosterone supplements.
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Pa t t e r s o n E y e C a re
2505 Donaghey, Ste 102 • Conway, AR
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PERSON OF THE MONTH
My husband, Corey, who works for the Arkansas Department of Transportation, and our son, Hunter, who is a fifth grader. We were all born and raised in the 501!
I’m a Conway High Wampus Cat (Class of 1997). After that, I earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from UCA in 2001, and a master’s degree from UALR in 2005.
Since early 2020, I’ve had the privilege of serving as executive director of the United Way of Central Arkansas (located in downtown Conway). I am blessed because, in this role, I get to work with a lot of nonprofits across four counties in the 501, community and business leaders who lend their support, and clients who are so grateful for the assistance of local nonprofits.
I am a member of Grace United Methodist Church.
AWARDS AND HONORS:
I am a 2013 graduate of Faulkner County Leadership Institute and was the 2013 Conway Bicycling Advocate of the Year.
MOST CHERISHED POSSESSION:
When I was little, I loved my grandma’s wedding ring. I even picked out a ring that resembles it for my wedding. I wasn’t sure what happened to the ring after she passed in late 2018, but the next summer, my mom surprised me with it for my 40th birthday. My grandma had a huge influence on my life and on my faith. I’m grateful that I have this special piece by which to remember her.
MOST ENJOYED WEEKEND ACTIVITY:
When the weather is just right, you’ll find me in my hammock with either my latest crochet project or reading a book I’ve borrowed from the Conway Public Library’s online collection.
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT LIVING IN THE 501:
The people! I’ve never encountered more kind, generous people than the ones living in the 501. It makes me so proud to be among like-minded folks who care about their communities, their friends and their neighbors. Together, we are building a better tomorrow!
DO YOU HAVE ANYTHING EXCITING COMING UP?
I look forward to seeing lots of friends from the 501 on Thanksgiving morning. The United Way of Central Arkansas’ 7th Annual Turkey Trot 5K will return on Nov. 25. It’s our biggest fundraiser since before COVID-19, and it’s a live race this year. All participants get a medal with a spinning turkey and a T-shirt. We even have a virtual option for those who can’t join us in person. The best part is race proceeds help the UW and our nonprofit partners to keep doing good things in the community. All the race details can be found on our website: uwcark.org. 78 | 501 LIFE October 2021
A Growing Health System for a Growing Community
New Medical Ofﬁces
Compassionate Cancer Care Conway Regional is proud to offer hematology and oncology services at the Conway Regional Multispecialty Clinic. If you are diagnosed with cancer, the need for high-quality follow-up care is immediate. At Conway Regional, our highly qualiﬁed team is here to provide you with the compassionate care you deserve. For more information or to make an appointment, please call 501-358-6145.
We’re not just growing—we’re growing together. Pictured: Rachana Yendala, MD, Lindsay Massey, APRN, and Neelakanta Dadi, MD
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Member FDIC 80 | 501 LIFE October 2021