September 2022

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September 2022 | 3

501 LIFE is published by Make the Jump Media, LLC (920 Locust Ave. Ste. 104, Conway, AR 72034, 501.327.1501) and is owned by Jeremy Higginbotham and Stefanie 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. Advertisements are not necessarily endorsed by 501 LIFE.

PUBLISHER Jeremy Higginbotham EDITOR Stefanie W. Brazile FOUNDERS Donna Spears and Sonja Keith SPORTS AND DIGITAL DIRECTOR Levi Gilbert COPY EDITORS Andrea Lively and Andrea Miller BRAND AMBASSADORS Donald Brazile and Paulette Higginbotham PHOTO DIRECTOR Mike Kemp FINANCE DIRECTOR Debbie Flowers ADVERTISING SALES Donna Spears There's

Our art feature is as unique as 501 LIFE flavored ice cream. We bring you “The Art of Communication” and its representative — the one and only Craig O’Neill, who has been described as the “voice of Arkansas.”

The ladies procure ingredients from orchards, farms, a coffee house and even a distillery in the 501 to create signature offerings, in addition to the many cold, creamy favorites one would expect.

CONTRIBUTORS Becky Bell Don Bingham Jessica Duff Lori VivianLindaDwainLaurieBrittanyDunnGilbertGreenHebdaHendersonLawsonHogue Tammy Keith Beth Jimmerson Mark RitaDonnaCarolJudyDr.SusanMcDonaldPetersonRobertReisingRileyRolfLampkinStephensHalterThomas Johnny Adams Jack Bell Don SpencerRussBethKayGlennRaeLynnJessicaBinghamBrownCallawayCrockettDaltonFranksHancockHawks Mathilda Hatfield Roe MikeJerryHendersonHiegelKemp Julie LaRue Karl JenniferSuzannKimJanMargaretLoriAmyJonPatDeannaLoriMonicaLenserLieblongMeltonOttOttoPatromReedRossSmithSpannTylerWaggonerWhitehead FAULKNER COUNTY EDITORIAL BOARD Mary Clark Shelli Crowell Dr. Larry Davis Shawn Halbrook Alicia AlishaHugenKoonce Stephanie Lipsmeyer Stewart Nelson Kristi Strain Jim MorganTaylorZimmerman CONWAY COUNTY EDITORIAL BOARD Betsy Bailey Tara NataliePhilCassandraCatheyFeltropHaysHorton Matt LaForce Mike KristiCarolBrookeParsonsPryorSpearsThurmon WHITE COUNTY EDITORIAL BOARD Behind the cooler with Loblolly Creamery staff, Editor Stefanie Brazile is ready to scoop some Little Rock-y Road. Freshawn Womack (from left), Owner Sally Mengel, Brazile, Mira Hatcher and Salem Fuller.

Born Randy Hankins, the Little Rock Central High School graduate was a radio deejay from 1972 until 2000. Then, he took his communication skills on camera. Nowadays, he is passionate about his Reading Roadtrip segments, where he travels to schools to read to children and hopefully ignite a lifetime passion for books and magazines. I support that effort.

4 | 501 LIFE September 2022

Whether you are “Made in the 501” or a transplant like me, you’re sure to learn something new and find several articles in this edition that will make you smile, too. nothing cooler than 501 LIFE.

C reating a new product each month for readers in 11 counties ensures a hectic schedule, so I find our cover photo shoots to be a welcome outing from my seated and standing desks — especially the one for this month’s cover.Ona hot August afternoon, Photo Director Mike Kemp and I met at Loblolly Creamery in the SoMa historic district of Little Rock. Luckily for me, I had been to the relaxing shop before when I wrote about the ESSE Purse Museum & Store, which is located nearby. Standing in front of a large cooler and choosing which ice cream flavor you want is sure to bring a smile to your face. As I visited with co-owners Sally Mengel and her mother, Dr. Laura Frankenstein (whose name also brought a smile to my face), I learned that their ice cream store was named for the state tree — a loblolly pine.

Sally and Laura are makers who founded a business in Central Arkansas which qualified their yummy product to be the focus of the cover of our “Made in the 501” themed issue. Publisher Jeremy Higginbotham and I are so excited about an original flavor they have curated and named for our magazine. Turn to page 26 for a big surprise!

6 | 501 LIFE September 2022 2022September Volume 15 Issue 5 On the cover Want a taste of our 501 cover? Visit local favorite, Loblolly Creamery, and order a scoop of Double Vanilla, Cotton Candy, Strawberry Buttermilk, Fresh Mint Chip and Watermelon Lime Sorbet, drizzled with strawberryhomemadesauceandrainbowsprinkles.PhotobyMikeKemp 44 66 4 Letter from the Editor 8 Upcoming events 9 Conway Chamber named Chamber of Year 10 Loving LIFE photos 12 $24.6 million grant for greenway trails 14 38th Annual Conway Symphony season 16 Couple of the Month: Terri & Brian Kinder of Little Rock 18 New director at Windgate Museum of Art 21 Local business shines bright 22 Cover: A Central Arkansas flavorite! By Tammy Keith 26 The Flavor of 501 LIFE 28 Cheese dip is Central Arkansas original By Dwain Hebda 30 Youth of the Month: Skyler Austen of North Little Rock By Rita Halter Thomas 32 Lonoke's big pond of little fish By Judy Riley 36 Veterans Plaza at Pompe Park By Carol Rolf 38 Entertaining: Say cheese! By Chef Don Bingham 42 Hot Springs Arts & Craft Fair By Stefanie Brazile 44 UCA head football coach building family on and off the field By Dwain Hebda 50 Making a difference with water conservation By Beth Jimmerson 52 Memories of an age of civility By Vivian Lawson Hogue 55 UACCM receives donation of robot cell 57 Press Box named for beloved Greenbrier coach By Stefanie Brazile 60 Kids of the month: Lydia Darnell & Lucas McDaniel By Becky Bell 64 STEM education at PCSSD By Jessica Duff 66 Artist of the Month: Craig O’Neill By Donna Lampkin Stephens 70 Author of the Month Cassidy Kendall of Hot Springs 100 Things To Do in Hot Springs By Susan Peterson 72 CRMC 3D printing replaces bone By John Patton 74 The Maker & makers - a spiritual connection By Rev. Mark McDonald 76 Arkansas State Parks grand adventure Story and photos by Linda Henderson 80 Athletic Excellence: Faulkner County’s Bailey Sisson Eller By Dr. Robert Reising 82 Pet of the Month: Gibson and the cat cafe By Becky Bell 84 Arkansas Farm Family finalist from Conway County By Carol Rolf 86 Person of the Month: Edward Haddock, Small Business Admin.

Mark McDonald is a retired pastor who lives in Conway, where his family roots go back to the 1840s in Faulkner County. He and his daughter run McDonald Agency (insurance), and Mark also works as a chaplain with the FBI and Arkansas Children's Hospital. He loves movies, hiking and spending time with his wife, children and their families.

Rita Halter Thomas is a Conway native and a pastor’s wife. She attended the University of Central Arkansas and is an award-winning writer, author, editor, writing coach and speaker. She is married to Jimmy and has one daughter, Marinna, and enjoys horseback riding and spending time with family. She sings with the worship team at Mountain Top Cowboy Church in Heber Springs.

September 2022 | 7 501 LIFE would like to thank our advertising partners. welcome to the Writers’ Room Catch 501 LIFE on KARK News each month! Did you know this of a magazine shares the most delicious stories from 11 counties in Central Arkansas? In fact, we deliver to more than 700 locations in the 501! And for those who want to savor the flavor of 501 LIFE at home, you can get a subscription for only $20 a year! Home delivery ensures you never miss an issue! Visit or call 501.327.1501 to subscribe. ArkansasA Single Parent Fund, 62 BigB Cuppa, 54 Begley Aesthetics, 56 Bledsoe Chiropractic, 43 Braswell & Son, 75 Burris Heating & Air, 49 CloverC Alley, 54 Conway Corp, 51 Conway Flooring, 29 Conway Institute of Music, 63 Conway Regional Health System, 87 Conway RehabilitationRegionalHospital, 48 Conway Symphony Orchestra, 71 DiamondD State Overhead Door, 69 DJM Orthodontics, 61 EatE My Catfish, 65 Edward Jones, 69 Engage Management, 62 FirstF Community Bank, 20 First Security Bank, 88 First Service Bank, 13 HeatingFreyaldenhovenandCooling, Inc., 19, 35 GrownG Girl Succulents, 59 HartmanH Animal Hospital, 83 Harwood, Ott & Fisher, PA, 79 Haynes Ace Hardware, 18 Heritage Living Center, 5 Hot Springs Arts & Crafts, 71 JCIJ Construction, 37 KilwinsK Chocolate, 18 Koontz Electric, 55 TheL Lounge, 24 MagicM with Meag Travels, 56 Morrilton Family Dental, 54 MSC Eye Associates, 58 NaturalN State Retrofoam, 75 OttO Insurance, 25, 73 PattersonP Eye, 73 Pulaski County Special School District, 64 ReynoldsR Performance Hall, 47 Rise Above Alcohol & Drugs, 30 Roberts Real Estate, 56 SalemS Place, 41 Sissy’s Log Cabin, 15 Shelter Insurance, 9 Sowell Architects, 37 Stables at Cherokee Creek, 53 Superior Health & Rehab, 2 UnityU Health, 3 University of Arkansas Community College Morrilton, 85 University of Central Arkansas, 31 Tammy Keith worked for granddaughter,honornationalwinnerCommunicationsArkansasgraduate,Democrat-Gazette.DemocratincludingnewspapersArkansasfor38years,theLogCabinandArkansasAnASUsheisa12-timePressWomenContestandthree-timewinner.HerbiggestisbeingMimitoherKennedy.

10 a.m. Sept. 3 • North Little Rock

6 p.m. Sept. 17 • Little Rock

Skipping Championship

Why do we run — to eat funnel cake! Run the 5K before the festival and get a voucher for a funnel cake! If a 5K is too long, run the Cotton Candy Classic 1-mile event and receive a free cotton candy. Race starts at 300 N. Spring St. Register by Sept. 12 to guarantee shirt size. Benefits Main Street Searcy. and search for Funnel Cake.

2022 Southern Silks Stakes

8:45 a.m. Sept. 24 •Conway

11 a.m. Sept. 11 • Downtown Little Rock

10 a.m. Sept. 10 & 11 • Little Rock

Arkansas Comic Con

Don’t miss one of the top 10 food truck festivals in the U.S. Enjoy more than 80 food trucks and craft vendors, local musicians, street performers, beer gardens, and great volunteer giveaways and prizes! The festival attracts tens of thousands of attendees from all over the region. Sign -up to sponsor or volunteer at

Bring your friends and family, take in the beautiful scenery at Lakewood Lake, and send a flat stone dancing across the cove. Benefitting the Arkansas Food Bank, skippers can feel good about raising funds to help feed fellow Arkansans. There will be prize money for 1st, 2nd and 3rd places for the Children’s Flight, as well as the Adult Flight. Visit

8 | 501 LIFE September 2022 Great Southern Stone

Meet the voice of SpongeBob SquarePants, Tom Arnold, and Harry Potter’s Matthew Lewis, along with two dozen other celebs. The two-day event will be held at the Statehouse Convention Center and will bring together a diverse list of guests, vendors, artists and fan groups, in an affordable, family-friendly environment. Visit

The Methodist Family Health Foundation’s 9th annual signature fundraiser is back to a live event at Embassy Suites by Hilton. The evening will take off with in-person faux horseracing and fundraising to benefit Arkansas children and their families. There will be live and online silent auction items, and a special appeal for Christmas gifts. For tickets, call 501.906.4209.

An obstacle course is planned and kids ages 1 to 12 can participate. The younger kids up to age 6 will go ½ mile, while older kids will complete 1-mile. The race fee is $15 plus a $2.50 sign-up fee. Proceeds help children living with life-threatening illnesses. Pray, then sign up at

Funnel Cake 5K at Get Down Downtown 8 a.m. Sept. 24 • Searcy

Main Street Food Truck Festival

September Events

Praying Ninja Warrior Kids Obstacle Course Fun Run

September 2022 | 9 SHELTER STRONG Roe RHenderson@ShelterInsurance.com501-327-3888Conway,1416HendersonPrinceSt.AR72034(CallorText) ® AUTO • HOME • LIFE We’re your Shield. We’re your Shelter.

he Conway Area Chamber of Commerce was named the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE) Chamber of the Year on July 27. It is the second time the Conway Chamber has received the honor, winning the first time inThe2013.Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives is the professional society supporting the women and men who lead local, regional, statewide and international chambers of commerce and related business and economic development organizations.


Terrific customer service, a policy you can count on, and rates that won’t break the bank. Shelter’s strength comes from providing all three, and our customers have relied on us for more than 75 years.

“Chambers of commerce have never been more essential to regional prosperity,” said ACCE President & CEO Sheree Anne Kelly. “This achievement reflects how hard chambers work to ensure the vibrancy of their communities and organizational success. Congratulations on the Conway Area Chamber of Commerce’s outstanding leadership, commitment to its community and for serving as a role model for the chamber profession.”


Organization wins prestigious award for the second time

“I’m happy that we represent a great city of 70,000 people that punches above its weight class every day,” said Brad Lacy, president and CEO of the Conway Area Chamber of Commerce. “We represent 1,600 business members that invest in us in ways that are humbling, but what keeps me going every day is our staff. We have the best team in the chamber world and I am happy to see their efforts recognized.”

The Conway Chamber was named the Category Three Chamber of the Year at ACCE’s Annual Convention in Indianapolis, Ind.The chamber’s application detailed its work in updating Conway’s strategic plan with Conway2035, which set benchmarks in arts, entertainment and culture, as well as diversity and belonging, education, economic development and entrepreneurship. It also detailed its work to sustain Toad Suck Daze through a pandemic.

Chamber of the Year, which is sponsored by Personify, is the most prestigious and competitive award presented annually by ACCE. It recognizes the leadership role chambers of commerce have in their communities. Those honored with the Chamber of the Year designation have demonstrated organizational strength and made an impact on key community priorities, such as education, transportation, economic prosperity and quality of life.

10 | 501 LIFE September 2022 THIS SEPTEMBER, 501 READERS ARE

The First Security Bank Gold Club of Saline County was “Loving LIFE” at Glacier National Park in Montana.

John Hawley (from left), Mikhail Robinson, Azaleigh Robinson and J.D. Henderson were “Loving LIFE” and enjoying a day of live action role play (Amtgard) at Laurel Park in Conway.

Jerry Wright (from left) and brother Billy were “Loving LIFE” as they celebrated their shared birthday of Aug. 24. Billy, of Conway, turned 91 this year, while Jerry of Atlanta, Ga., celebrated still being 16 years younger than his brother!

First United Methodist Church members from Conway, Vilonia, Russellville, Bryant, Batesville, North Little Rock and Fort Smith were “Loving LIFE” in Jerusalem in June.

David Hampton Butler was "Loving LIFE" at the beach in Destin, Fla. He is the son of Stephanie and Marshall Butler of Cabot. He is the grandson of Brenda and Virgil Hampton of Perryville and Nina and David Butler of Cabot.The First Service Bank Travelers were “Loving LIFE” when they took a trip to Branson, Mo., in May.

September 2022 | 11

Staying cool while off-roading in the Ozarks at the "Picnic Hole" on Brushy. John Beck (from left), Joanie Elsinger, Ava Martin, Wynston Enloe, Jeffery Enloe, Brandi Enloe, Waylon Enloe, Audrey Elsinger, Jeremy Elsinger, Greg Semora, Mason Elsinger, Matt Elsinger, Della Rose Enloe, Jackie Elsinger, Max Simon, Ella Martin, Marci and Gerard Martin.

Headed out on a special trip? Have a special occasion or get-together coming up? Pack a copy of 501 LIFE in your suitcase, snap a photo at your destination and send it to us for publication in a future issue! Photos can be submitted by email to

Connect Conway aims to build a safe, equitable and accessible transportation system through investment in 15 miles of bike and pedestrian infrastructure, providing a viable transportation option for many by connecting 10 city parks, seven schools, three major retail areas, three higher education institutions, 14 major employment centers, 16 neighborhoods and other vital community services.

“I'd like to thank our team at the City Hall who put in the work to get the job done successfully,” Mayor Bart Castleberry said. “A number of community stakeholders came together to work on a short time frame on this historic endeavor. I'd especially like to thank Felicia Rogers, Robbie Alberson, Aaron Knight, James Walden and Kurt Jones.” Most of Conway's existing bike and pedestrian infrastructure is in the city's western portion. Connect Conway will create a crucial link between the eastern parts of Conway and west Conway, providing more equitable access to services and opportunities.

12 | 501 LIFE September 2022 Connecting Conway

City awarded $24.6 million for greenway trail infrastructure


he City of Conway has been awarded $24.6 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation to construct the Connect Conway greenway trail. The money comes from the Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) discretionary grant program.

“This grant fully funds the project, and it has to be completed by 2027,” Castleberry said. "This grant will enable us to take a huge step to provide a viable alternative for the people of Conway to vehicular transportation through inter-connectivity between parks, schools, neighborhoods and commercial centers," said Transportation Director and City Engineer Kurt Jones. "We've taken small steps in the past. This is a giant leap."

Photo by Bobby M. Kelly III

"The name of the project rings true to what the project is all about: connecting Conway," said Planning & Development Director James Walden. "This will be a tremendous recreational asset. But it provides a real transportation option for those who can't, or choose not to, drive."

Little Creek Trailhead Plaza Conceptual Rendering. The greenway trail will be a result of Connect Conway's work that began four years ago. Rendering of a shared-used greenway trail facility.

Councilman Mark Ledbetter (from left), Congressman French Hill, Councilwoman Shelia Isby, Mayor Bart Castleberry, Councilman Andy Hawkins, Councilwoman Anne Tucker, Councilwoman Shelley Mehl, Councilman David Grimes, Planning and Development Director James Walden, Assistant to the Mayor Felicia Rogers, Grants Administrator Robbie Alberson, and City Engineer Kurt Jones

14 | 501 LIFE September 2022

“This season is truly a landmark in the history of the CSO,” Music Director Israel “Izzy” Getzov said. “This March we christen a new performance space for our orchestra and audience at the UCA Windgate Center. Join us for this once-in-a-generation season!”

T he Conway Symphony Orchestra (CSO) announced the 38th season at “Encore,” a private event hosted at the home of Jenny and Houston Davis, president of the University of Central Arkansas. Live music, heavy hors d’ oeuvres and a champagne toast were shared by CSO board members, staff, sponsors and supporters.The2022-23 season includes five exciting performances, including a free concert for the public at Laurel Park at 7:15 p.m., Friday, Sept. 23. Guests are encouraged to bring the whole family, along with chairs or a blanket and a Then,picnic.formal performances will follow: Power, Mystery & Fate: An Electric Violin, A Magical Night, and Beethoven’s Fifth on Oct. 30, featuring Alexander Markov on violin; Holiday Spectacular on Dec. 4, featuring the Arkansas Festival Ballet and Conway Men’s Chorus; Sacred Spaces and Glorious Places: The opening concert at the new Windgate Center for Fine and Performing Arts featuring Ana Maria Vera on piano; and, Luminous! on April 22, featuring Kristin Lewis, soprano.

The CSO Guild is a group of volunteers who raise funds to support the symphony. The Guild will host “Jazz It Up!” at 6:30 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 8, on stage at Reynolds Performance Hall, 223 Beatrice Powell Dr. Tickets are $75 per person. Guests will enjoy hors d’oeuvres, libations and live jazz, as well as a silent and live auction. They can be purchased by calling 501.513.7096.“Weinviteyour readers to share in the excitement of this special year,” Getzov said.

‘Once-in-a-Generation’ Season

1. 2. 4.5. 7.6. 8. 3.

Conway Symphony Orchestra kicks off 38th year

All names are listed from left: (1) President Houston Davis, CSO Board President Judy Harkrider and Music Director Israel “Izzy” Getzov; (2) Pete and Lynn Tanguay; (3) Christine Mayo, Zada Koen, Beverley Freiley, Mary Mosley and Sally Roden; (4) John Parrack, Carrie Grantham and Phillip Gullic; (5) Albert Garcia Delgadillo, Qinqing Yang, JoAna Rusche, Stephen Feldman and Anna Bass; (6) Terry and Joyce Fiddler, Justin Hoadley and Amanda Horton; (7) Akiko Fujimoto, Morgan and Osmar Garcia; (8) Betty and Bill Cohen and Sandra DeVore.


Children: Janna and Mike Childers, of Beebe, have two sons; Justin Phillips (his wife, Brittany, died from COVID-19) of Kountze, Texas, has two children; and, Jacob Phillips of Little Rock.

Hobbies: When we are not doing children’s programs, which is a favorite, we love to play golf. When we were first married, we enjoyed East Coast Swing dancing and hope to one day get back to it. I also like working in my yard. How would you describe yourself: A wife, mother, grandmother, peacemaker, caregiver and grateful person. What is one thing people don’t know about you: My biggest fault is I procrastinate.

Parents: Bob and Jean Griggs, Little Rock. Both are deceased.

Community: We have volunteered for 20 years at Arkansas Children’s Hospital until COVID-19.

Brian and Terri Kinder performed for Pre-K through 2nd graders at Rapides Parish Library in Glenmora, La. The theme was “Oceans of Possibilities.”


Job: I worked for orthopedic surgeons until we both quit our jobs to do children’s music full-time in 2008.

Education: I graduated from McClellan High School and attended St. Vincent School of Radiologic Technology.

Children: I didn’t have any children of my own, but when I married Terri, I was honored to become a stepfather and a grandfather.


Church: We attend First United Methodist Church of Little Rock.


Church: We attend First United Methodist Church of Little Rock. Hobbies: Music and golf. How would you describe yourself: fortunate and grateful, and as a singer, songwriter and performer. What is one thing people don’t know about you: I have a twin brother. Weekend Activities: I never pass up a yard sale, and I like to golf. Motto: Live, Laugh, Love. What do you enjoy most about living in the 501: In the 501 area, there is such a vast variety of opportunities for recreation, entertainment and dining. There is always something to do.

Education: I graduated from Fredericktown High School. I have a bachelor’s in music education and a master’s in liberal arts.

Where did you grow up: I was born in Clinton. I have lived in Little Rock since I was 12.

Job: I am an eight-year veteran of the United States Air Force, and a career educator of music and art in the Little Rock School district. I took an early retirement to do children’s music full time. We perform at schools, libraries, churches and festivals. Parents: Floyd and Virginia Kinder, Fredericktown. Both are deceased.

Community Activities: Before COVID-19, we volunteered regularly at Arkansas Children’s Hospital.

16 | 501 LIFE September 2022 501 LIFE COUPLE OF THE MONTH

Weekend Activities: I follow Brian to yard sales. Motto: Choose happiness because everything will work itself out. What do you enjoy most about living in the 501: We live in downtown Little Rock, and we have great neighbors and are within walking distance of the river market with great restaurants. Where did you grow up: I was born in Fredericktown, Mo. I have lived in Little Rock for more than 40 years.

Photo by Mike Kemp

T erri was on her front porch swing when she noticed a neighbor coming down the street. If someone had said to her, “See that guy walking his dog? You’re going to meet, fall in love and marry that man. Then you’ll both quit your jobs and tour the region annually performing hundreds of concerts for kids. You’ll record a dozen albums, appear on several TV shows, and love every minute of it,” then she would have said, “That’s crazy.” And yet, that’s just what happened. He said, “Hello,” and the next thing you know, they were conversing on Terri’s porch. Dating soon followed, with dancing, golf, and other shared interests. Two years later, Brian proposed. Terri said yes, and in a small gathering of family and friends, Brian surprised everyone by suddenly picking up his guitar and singing, “Could I Have this Dance for the Rest of My Life?” They’re now enjoying year 20 of the rest of their life.


He will be responsible for leadership and strategic planning for museum work in collaboration with constituents on and off campus; management and preservation related to the facility and collection; working with artists, collectors, galleries, museums and foundations to secure loans of artwork for exhibitions; and overseeing the College’s permanent collection, including new acquisitions, collection records, loans and returns across campus and“Mystorage.undergraduate experience shaped my view of higher education, and that is why I find producing interdisciplinary exhibitions one of the most rewarding experiences as a gallery director and curator,” Cutler said. “Drawing a diverse audience of students, faculty and community members and encouraging them to see or think in new ways is both personally and professionally gratifying.”

“We are thrilled to have Christian Cutler join the Hendrix community and lead the Windgate Museum of Art,” said Hendrix College Provost Dr. Terri Bonebright. “He has built a reputation for creating thought-provoking, thematic exhibitions that bring diverse and culturally relevant contemporary art, historical artwork, and design to audiences.”

C hristian H. Cutler became the new Director of the Windgate Museum of Art at Hendrix College on July 18. The Windgate Museum of Art is housed in the Miller Creative Quad, which opened in the fall of 2019. The museum serves as a pedagogical resource for Hendrix College and is free and open to the public.

Cutler brings more than 23 years of combined private art gallery, museum and university gallery experience, from behindthe-scenes preparations for show openings, juried exhibitions, visiting artists and fundraising to managing overall operations of gallery exhibition programming, education and design.

18 | 501 LIFE September 2022

In 1997, we set out to start a true community bank, a bank that would change the landscape of our communities. Because of you, we’ve forged long-lasting partnerships that have made our communities better. We can all agree that a lot has changed in 25 years, but our promise to always be a true community bank remains the same. Our roots run deep; our commitment to you runs deeper. We’re celebrating 25 years of First Community Bank, and we’re just getting started in Conway! CONWAY 766 Harkrider | 1089 Front St. 501.764.9640 25 YEARS OF

From print ads to online searches, it’s easy to find several stores offering retail options to suit your needs.

Centered between Canada and Mexico and located in the middle of the United States, Arkansas is strategically placed to reach tens of millions of people easily and cost-efficiently. Not only do people in the 501 prefer to do business in the with their neighbors, but people in other states recognize the quality products and services our local businesses are producing. The state is home to four Fortune 500 companies and more than 141 international corporations. Arkansas is an industry melting pot from which one success builds on another.Themore you know Arkansas, the better the opportunity for you. We invite you to explore the local businesses featured in this section to discover one that will offer solutions to your problems and enhance your life.


September 2022 | 21

local business

F rom restaurants to real estate, manufacturing to mechanics, there are business owners throughout the 501 who create their products, share their gains and support their communities right here at home! Local businesses provide earning opportunities that enhance the quality of life for this region. Buying, banking and investing in Arkansas businesses benefits all of us. This is an era of rapidly changing challenges both at home and at work, and we look to trusted companies to provide solutions to our problems and to support our dreams. Being able to do business with people whose names you know and faces you recognize from your community is reassuring. We are fortunate to live in a region with businesses that can provide a service or product for anything we need. Add to that the years of experience that so many local businesses offer customers. When you’re looking for knowledge and expertise, you can turn to a local business and receive world-class service.

The Central Arkansas economy is one of the most diverse in the United States. Three industries that stabilize and stimulate economic growth are healthcare, technology and education. Growth and development power the engine of opportunity for those who live in this region, and we’re fortunate to have citizens with the educational background to support these main industries.

Shopping locally is easy with so many options for clothing, home furnishings and décor, vehicles and outdoor sports.

BRIGHTSHINES in Central Arkansas

Photos by Mike Kemp

Sally Mengel, who co-founded the company in 2011, operates Loblolly Little Rock Scoop Shop and Loblolly Benton Scoop Shop. “I love ice cream; I’m kind of obsessed,” she said. “I never get tired of it.” She puts that energy and passion into every detail of her madefrom-scratch ice cream using Arkansas products from berries to bourbon. Strawberry Buttermilk and Blackberry Sorbet use berries from Barnhill Orchards in Lonoke; Rock Town Bourbon Pecan uses Arkansas pecans and a touch of the libation from the Little Rock distillery. Coffee and Cream is made with Fidel & Co. Coffee, roasted in North Little Rock. Any ice cream connoisseur can find a favorite among the 14 signature offerings that include decadent chocolate-based Pinnacle Trail, a popular Little Rock site; Arkansas Mud (her favorite); and Little Rock-y Road.

L oblolly Creamery in Little Rock offers 32 unique flavors of handcrafted ice cream, but Arkansas is the special ingredient that runs through all of them.

Local creamery creates made-from-scratch joy from Arkansas-grown ingredients

By Tammy Keith

A flavor certain to honor Central Arkansas will be offered Sept. 1 through Sept. 15 (see pg. 26). It will be available exclusively at Loblolly Scoop Shops in Little Rock and Benton and at Bell Urban Farm in Conway. If tastebuds demand, it will continue to sell through the end ofReadersSeptember.will receive a 10 percent discount at, using code 501LIFE for shipping orders, or they can go to the online Scoop Shop order site at to receive the discount on ice cream pick up orders. The discount cannot be used at the register of the Loblolly Scoops Shops which are located at 1423 Main St. in Little Rock and at 115 N. Market St. in Benton.

Magazine co-owner Jeremy Higginbotham said from the minute he and Editor Stefanie Brazile learned about the 501 LIFE flavor, “We said, ‘Bucket list, check!’ “We know this flavor will take many by surprise, which is why we adore the idea,” he said. “The flavor is a perfect example of our mission to take something everyone knows and loves in Central Arkansas and present it in an unexpected way.”

She considers Loblolly’s birthday to be November 2011, when it had its first big test. She and Moore entered the Arkansas Cornbread Festival and made buttermilk ice cream to go with their entry. “We’d gotten our first commercial ice cream machine the day before; it was really scary,” Mengel said. The ice cream was “chunky,” and she was worried.Theywon first place in the nontraditional category. “I said, ‘OK, we can do this!’”

Even the business name has Arkansas roots: It’s named after the state tree, a Loblolly pine. Mengel said many people don’t know the state tree, and she likes the way Loblolly rolls off the tongue. “I think it’s really fun. It kind of sounds like you have a mouth full of ice cream when you’re talking. It’s ice cream, so it doesn’t need to be serious.”

Becoming an ice-cream shop owner was somewhat of a happy accident, too. When Mengel attended Emory University in Atlanta, Ga., she started a student-run coffee cart with fair-trade coffee and worked part-time at an ice-cream store. Fast forward to 2009 when she moved to Little Rock, where her parents live, and she worked for Shelley Green, owner of The Green Corner Store in the historic Lincoln Building on South Main Street. It had once been home to Dawson Drug Store and soda fountain.Greengave

Mengel and her employees have fun experimenting with flavors to create tiny batches of special offerings. “It’s like art. Ice cream is like a blank canvas. You can layer any scent or texture,” she said. Here’s the latest scoop: Loblolly Creamery is creating a limitededition concoction as the official ice cream of 501 LIFE Magazine.

Mengel takes pride in making as many of her products as possible “from the ground up.” That means mixing the sugar and milk, baking their own sandwich cookies and brownies to use for ingredients, and making their own batter for the vegan, gluten-free waffle cones. Other popular treats are their macarons and marshmallows. The marshmallows were a happy accident. The waffle cones were too large in the beginning, Mengel said, so they made marshmallows to plug the holes in the bottom. “People started asking, ‘Well, do you sell these?’ So we packaged them.” Mengel said they are working on new marshmallow flavors.

September 2022 | 23 Continued on page 24

Mengel and former co-worker Rachel Moore the freedom to start another soda fountain inside the gift shop, and Mengel said they made 10 ice-cream flavors from scratch. They needed a business name that represented Arkansas, and she and a group of friends came up with Loblolly. In addition to being the state tree, “if you squint, the Loblolly pine looks like a cone on top,” Mengel said, laughing.

24 | 501 LIFE September 2022

Continued from page 23

“It’s amazing that people want us to be a part of their lives. In the 501, people have had open arms from the beginning. Arkansas likes to support local and support their community, and that’s really lovely.”

In 2017, they opened Loblolly Scoop Shop next door to The Green Corner Store, and the Benton shop in fall 2021.

Since 2014, Mengel has co-owned the business with her mother, Laura Frankenstein, a former family doctor. (Yes, that would make her Dr. Frankenstein.)“Shehelpswith the big decisions of growth, human resources, and our mission,” Mengel said. “Sometimes running a company can feel like raising a kid, so having the support of your family helps raise the business.”

Loblolly also partners with nonprofit organizations, such as the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, to give back to the community. Every third quarter, the shop offers “the very, very popular” Mosaic Templars Maple Leaf Ragtime, she said, and gives a percentage of the profit to the organization.Makingadifference in the community and becoming a neighborhood destination is important to Mengel.

In addition to the two brick-and-mortar locations, Loblolly Creamery has a solar-powered truck that is available for events and catering, and the business sells its ice cream through wholesale partners all over Arkansas.

“Ice cream is so nostalgic and memory-based. Our scoop shops have been part of celebrations and people’s rituals,” she said. “Our ice cream truck has been part of 10-20 weddings a year. Someone had the truck 10 years ago at their wedding; now we’re going to be part of their gender reveal. We’ve had two couples get married at the courthouse and come in to share ice cream. We had an actual wedding and a little reception in the back of the shop. I think they had their first date at Loblolly. Being part of their memories in an important part of their life was cool. There are just a lot of important memories around ice cream. People will say, ‘’Oh, this is my 1-year-old’s or 2-year-old’s first ice cream cone.’

26 | 501 LIFE September 2022 dipin! dipin! TO THE FLAVOR OF 501 LIFE

September 2022 | 27

T his magazine has been honored to partner with Loblolly Creamery as they create a limited-edition concoction as the official ice cream of 501 LIFE!

If you want to pick it up directly from a Loblolly Scoop Shop, loblolly--creamery.square.sitevisittoreceivethediscountonicecreampickuporders.

501 LIFE Magazine is the most widely published magazine that focuses on the people, events, values and flavors of Central Arkansas.

We hope you are ready to try "501 LIFE Cheese Dip" ice cream!! It will be a savory sweet treat with tortilla chip crunch in honor of the state’s culinary claim to fame.

Introducing the newest Loblolly Ice Cream Creation

501 LIFE Cheese Dip ice cream will be available Sept. 1 through Sept. 15 at Loblolly Scoop Shops in Little Rock and Benton and at Bell Urban Farm in Conway. If tastebuds demand, it will continue to sell through the end of September.

The discount also can be used on marshmallows, cocoa mixes, s’mores kits and merchandise that is available to ship. One cannot use the discount at the register of a Loblolly Scoop Shop.

501 LIFE readers will receive a 10 percent discount at Use the code 501LIFE for shipping orders.


S ome dishes are synonymous with their places of origin: Buffalo wings, Kansas City barbecue, Chicago deep-dish pizza. In Arkansas, that dish is cheese dip, a creamy concoction that is a staple throughout the state’s Mexican restaurants, as well as eating establishments of many other varieties.

Arkansans so love the dish that it has inspired a short film and the annual World Cheese Dip Championships held in Little Rock. When Arkansan Kris Allen won “American Idol” a few years back, his hometown favorite, Stoby’s, awarded him free cheese dip for life.

Given the dish is so ubiquitous, it’s not hard to find fierce debate over which establishment serves up the best. One fact not in dispute, however, is its birthplace, Mexico Chiquito, which traces its cheese dip-soaked roots back to 1935 and a restaurateur by the name of BlackieDonnallyDonnally.came to Central Arkansas from the Texas/ Mexico border and launched Mexico Chiquito in Hot Springs. A year later, he moved the business to North Little Rock. The original building wasn’t much on atmosphere — in fact, the earliest location had dirt floors. But the food packed them in from hundreds of miles, headlined by the yellow cheese dip that is still served exactly as it was back then.

Arkansas not only claims cheese dip as its own but has risen to defend it in recent years. When the New York Times ran a piece on the culinary delight in 2016, it inflamed tempers in Texas. The Lone Star State set off a border war over the dish, not only claiming its provenance as a version of that state’s chili con queso, which appeared well before the 1930s, but that Texas’ version was far superior. In these parts, them’s fightin’ words and a cheesy showdown was arranged by the two states’ U.S. Senate delegations. Scott McGehee, well-known Arkansas restaurateur behind Big Orange, Lost 40 Brewing and Heights Taco & Tamale Co. — and the reigning World Cheese Dip champion at the time — was tapped to defend the state’s honor against Texas restaurant chain Uncle Julio’s.

Blackie Donnally served the first cheese dip in 1935 in Central Arkansas.

The two dishes were served at high noon in a blind taste test during a Senate luncheon. When the chips fell, McGehee’s liquid gold won handily, and the legendary cheese dip debate was settled once and for all.

28 | 501 LIFE September 2022

By Dwain Hebda World Cheese Dip Championship held each year in Little Rock is nationally recognized as one of the best food festivals.

30 | 501 LIFE September 2022

A quick online search of cybercrimes data will return eyeraising statistics from a variety of sources, but they all paint an alarming picture of vulnerability. The rapid development of new technology is outpacing the number of people entering the cybersecurity field.

development and those with the skill set and training to test and secure these products, Austen recognized the need to raise interest in the field and tackled the challenge.

“I started the Cybersecurity Club at UCA just because of the experience I had in high school. I was like, this competition team was so impactful and so much fun, I wanted one at UCA.”The club hosts speakers, provides a training environment for college students, offers demonstrations and workshops, and competes in cybersecurity competitions locally.

Austen credits his high school exposure to cybersecurity for lighting the fire he holds for the field. He hopes to ignite this same passion and interest in other high school students across the state. With the growing gap between new technology

“We’ve actually done pretty well,” Austen said of the seven-member team. “Back in March, we competed in a cybersecurity competition at the national level and placed in the top Austen3%.”wants to recreate a portion of his high school experience by developing a more beginner-friendly version of the competitions and making them accessible to high school students, along with developing programs for teachers.


Austen, a 22-year-old North Little Rock native, will graduate in December with a double major in computer science and cybersecurity. He found his passion for the industry after participating in cybersecurity competitions while in high school.


North Little Rock native interns at Arkansas Coding Academy

When he’s not creating online cybersecurity training for high schoolers, Skyler enjoys camping, playing guitar and cooking. Fun fact: He used to work as a tour guide on a WWII submarine.

Photo by Mike Kemp

Skyler Austen, a senior at the University of Central Arkansas, hopes to change that.

By Rita Halter Thomas

“There was a University of Arkansas at Little Rock student who came in to set up a cybersecurity competition team at Catholic High. We competed in some cybersecurity competitions, and I absolutely loved it,” he said.

“Arkansas is on the cutting edge of how we teach cybersecurity at the high school level. We’re, like, leading the charge,” he said, touting the governor’s initiatives in computer science and cybersecurity and the state’s approach to teaching these disciplines in the classroom.

“Arkansas’s government is like a national advocate for computer science education, and that’s what we’re propelling our people into,” he said. Skyler Austen: Arkansas can be proud to call this differencemaker one of their own, born, raised and made right here in the 501.

September 2022 | 31

U CA has everything you need – academics, athletics, outdoor adventure and so much more. Plus, Conway is a fun, welcoming college town that’s an easy drive to anywhere. Convenient. Affordable. Accessible. Enroll now.

Austen is a Cybersecurity Intern at the Arkansas Coding Academy who develops curricula and programs and tutors students. Last summer, he interned with the NASA Jet Propulsion Lab and created workable challenges for NASA employees.What’snext? Grad school.

“Arkansas is trailblazing in computer science and cybersecurity education, which is good. We are a player at the national level, and so far, we’re setting the pace when it comes to how we teach those topics in school,” Austen said.

“There are some high school teachers who have the technical background [to teach cybersecurity], but a lot of times what we’re seeing is an English or math teacher being asked to teach computer science or cybersecurity. And so, they’re learning right alongside their students.”


While teachers can teach from slides to explain concepts, Austen understands most students learn best when they are “hands on.” For that reason, Austen created a program using the frameworks already in place in some cybersecurity competitions. These competitions, which are basically virtual Capture the Flag games designed to develop skills and teach strategies used in real-world cybersecurity operations, are accessible online from the classroom. The programs and challenges are designed so teachers can administer them without the complex knowledge of setting up a server vulnerable to hacking. The program also promotes student sharing in group settings for problem-solving, so students share knowledge and help each other learn different techniques. As a bonus, teachers can cue up the program, select a challenge, and let students learn without the teacher needing to dive in and learn everything right alongside their students. The program contains everything the students need to know to meet the challenges.

Austen speaks to civic groups, schools and other organizations about cybersecurity and the growing demand

for employees in the field. He shares staggering statistics regarding the vulnerabilities in the software released into the marketplace and dangles a carrot in front of career seekers.

Cybersecurity professionals, based on skill and abilities, can earn an income of more than $100,000 annually, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. With the growing demand, it’s attractive for those interested in cybersecurity as a career.

“While I can definitely see myself coming back to Arkansas, I’d like to take this opportunity to go out of state,” he said. His short list includes Purdue, Northwestern and the University ofInMichigan.thelong term, Austen sees himself eventually teaching at the university level.

32 | 501 LIFE September 2022 Photos by Mike Kemp Top: Kenneth Pearson (from left) and Preston Cline; Middle: Devin Kohlenberg; and bottom: Jose Rincon.

Lonoke is home to the world’s largest supplier of bait fish B aited a hook lately? Ever fished using minnows? Chances are that minnow spent its formative years and early schooling in Lonoke. That's right, these minnows are “Made in the 501.” Anderson Minnow Farm is the world’s (that’s correct: “world’s”) largest supplier of bait fish. How in the world did such a company hail from Lonoke? It was not without humble beginnings. In the early 1940s, I.F. (Andy) Anderson from Yazoo City, Miss., ran a bait fish route from Mississippi through Memphis and ending in Lonoke. He would trade wild-caught minnows from Mississippi with a goldfish farmer in Lonoke. He was impressed with the heartiness of native wild fish that were caught out of Bayou Meta.

The family planted permanently in Lonoke, where they found flat land and plenty of good groundwater. Andy’s dad William L. (W.L.) partnered with his son, and the company grew as they learned primarily by trial and error. They slowly bought and cleared land and built ponds. They were true pioneers in the bait fish industry. Andy’s son, Neal, continued growing the enterprise, which is run today by W.L.’s great-grandson Jamie Anderson.Avisitwith Jamie gives one a glimpse of the American dream played out over four generations of success with one family’s hard work and perseverance. When asked what is the secret to the company’s success, Jamie said, “It’s simple — hard work, hard work and hard work.” Today, Anderson Minnow Farm produces baitfish, goldfish and shiners. Including all species, their hatchery produces between 1.3 and 1.5 billion fish annually. Most are sold by the pound, amounting to more than 1 million pounds per year. Their fish are shipped all over the world by truck, even by FedEx, to wholesale and retail outlets, as well as to zoos. When asked why he continues in the family tradition, Jamie quickly said he loves everything about it. He started working at the farm when he was 12 and knew then it was where he should be. Working outside and working with his family were all perks for him. He said few people get the opportunity to work every day with their dad and granddad, learning at their feet and just being with them. After graduating with an agriculture business degree from the University of Arkansas, he returned to the farm and later took the reins of the business. He has much pride in the ingenuity and foresight of his forefathers and wants to continue that legacy. By Judy Riley


September 2022 | 33

Jamie Anderson, vice president of Anderson Minnow Farm looks at a pool of goldfish. The farm produces baitfish, goldfish, and shiners. Including all species, their hatchery produces between 1.3 and 1.5 billion fish annually. page

Continued on


Dr. John Tackett, former superintendent of Lonoke Schools, said Jamie and Elizabeth are pillars of the community. They are pro-Lonoke and pro-education. They were instrumental in getting both private and public funding for Lonoke School District’s Business Academy Carver Campus. This is a one-of-a-kind center integrating business and real-world experiences for high school students, offering training in agriculture, aquaculture, small engines and the medical field. Jamie and Elizabeth lent their time, their reputation, and credibility to support an idea they knew the community needed. Lifelong friend of the family Gary Elmore said that the Andersons have always supported the church, the school and the Andersoncommunity.Minnow Farm is truly the pride of Lonoke. The Anderson family’s success through their 73-year history is an example of work ethic at its finest, played out by one family, for the benefit of many.

Jamie is quick to give credit to the loyal, hard-working folks on his staff. He says some of them have been with the business 25 to 30 years. The work is like many other farming enterprises with long hours. He quotes the saying, “When you love what you do, it is never really work.”

Continued from page 33

‘When you love what you do, it is never really work.’

Jamie and wife Elizabeth could have lived anywhere, but chose to build their home on the farm so he could be close to the work. Early on, Elizabeth fell in love with the people and the community. They have two sons, ages 13 and 11, who love the farm. “They love playing in the mud, catching turtles, and generally having fun on the farm.” When asked if he wanted his sons to continue the family business, Jamie said, “If that is what they choose, then that would be wonderful, but I want them to develop a good work ethic and be happy in whatever they do. Right now, they can’t see themselves doing anything else.”

- Jamie Anderson

September 2022 | 35

“We feel strongly about recognizing our veterans and their contributions to our freedom,” said Rik Sowell, president of Sowell Architects Inc. “When the mayor asked if we would be interested in contributing our services to the design of a veteran's appreciation monument, we jumped at the opportunity. This project is long overdue and we are grateful for the opportunity to participate.

“Veterans Plaza is not a memorial,” Conway Mayor Bart Castleberry said. “It is a way to honor our military veterans … past, present and future. “This is all about our veterans and their families. It’s a way for us to thank them for their sacrifices.”Surrounded by seating and walking paths, the plaza will showcase a monument featuring flags recognizing each military branch of service, prisoners of war, and those missing in action. “I envision this as a place where veterans can come and ponder … sit and remember,” said local veteran Mike Mason, who retired in December 1992 after 20 years in the military.Castleberry said the project began about five years ago “as a conversation between me and Mike.”

Mason said he and the mayor introduced the idea for the project in 2019 on at least two occasions honoring veterans.

“Each branch of the armed forces, including our newest branch, Space Force, is featured with its own monument and flag arranged in a circle around the taller United States flag,” he explained. “Also, each monument has a bench located immediately in front of it for a place of rest and contemplation. Each monument consists of a large stone slab with the name of the branch cut out of a one-half-inch plate steel that is held an inch off the face of the slab. The monuments signify strength and stability, working together to support and defend our country, represented by the U.S. flag in the center.

Photo by Bobby M. Kelly III

V eterans and their families will soon have a special place to gather in OfficialsConway.fromthe City of Conway and Faulkner County were joined by veterans and family members, as well as interested citizens, for the groundbreaking ceremony of the Veterans Plaza at Pompe Park on Aug. 1.

Jamie Cozzens, vice president of JCI Construction Inc., said he hopes construction on the monument will start before September. “The estimated time of completion is the summer of 2023,” Cozzens said. Sowell Architects of Conway designed the monument.

Mason said it was his wife, Peggy, who suggested Pompe Park because it is a large open space of approximately 20 acres at 2560 Prince St., near Chick-Fil-A and the Walmart Neighborhood Market. Tucker Creek and Kinley Trail runs through the park. Members of the Conway City Council voted to move forward with the construction project at their July 26 meeting. They accepted a bid of $1,562,729 from JCI Construction, Inc. of Mayflower for Phase 1 of Pompe Park, which includes everything east of Tucker Creek.

Community leaders turning Faulkner county park into celebration of service


“There is also a monument for POWs and MIAs,” Sowell said. “Our hope is that our veterans and their families sense the gratitude that we hold for their commitment and sacrifices.”

City and county officials, along with veterans and interested citizens, turn the dirt where the Veterans Plaza will be built at Pompe Park.

36 | 501 LIFE September 2022

“It was first envisioned to be located in a roundabout on Prince Street, but we learned there was too much infrastructure involved at that location so we had to choose another site,” Castleberry said.

By Carol Rolf

Castleberry said, “We hope the plaza, amphitheater and seating area will provide a blank canvas for future events, celebrations, and ceremonies. We also hope this investment in Pompe Park demonstrates not only our continued commitment to our parks but also building quality public spaces.”

September 2022 | 37 Veteran Mike Mason worked with Conway Mayor Bart Castleberry to develop the idea for a place to honor veterans in Faulkner County.

Photo by Carol Rolf

38 | 501 LIFE September 2022

Cheese has a long history of being a feature in cooking and table cuisine, beginning 4000 years ago. Now we have more than 1,831 varieties of specialty cheeses from 74 countries. This recipe for Two-Ingredient White Cheese Dip is a classic! The energy to make this cheese dip is minimal - two simple ingredients and stirring! It's rich and wonderful.

By Chef Don Bingham

The Cheesy Bean Dip is a recipe transplant from Texas parties, layered with refried beans and the star of the show - cheese!

The pièce de résistance is the Cheese and Eggplant Tart. This recipe has been published in our Christmas Cookbook "Celebrate the Holidays" for many years, and we never tire of its versatility. It's made with sautéed eggplant and fresh tomatoes in a cream cheese crust; the sauce is created in the oven while baking, with heavy cream and a variety of cheeses!

A s the fall season approaches, the flavors of hot spices and cheeses grow even stronger with the arrival of tailgating, parties, school gatherings and cooler weather! These recipes that "say cheese" are a perfect marriage, with our 501 LIFE Cheese Dip ice cream as the crowning dessert!

Photos by Mike Kemp

The result is an amazing meatless dish; serve with your favorite green salad for a terrific, full-flavored meal. 501 LIFE welcomes the fall with recipes that “Say CHEESE!” Recipes continued on page 40

Cheese and eggplant tart Items needed:

3 cups of heavy cream

1-2 cups of freshly grated parmesan cheese

Butter for dotting top of tart prior to baking

Cheesy Bean dip

2 cream cheese pie crusts Peel eggplant, cut in thin slices, sprinkle with salt and let stand at room temperature in a bowl for 2 hours. Drain and wipe eggplant. Fry lightly in olive oil until soft and golden. Drain on paper towels. Sauté the onions. In the pie crust, layer the eggplant, pepper, cheeses, cream and dots of butter. Repeat the layers with the onions and then the tomatoes. Bake at 375 for 45-60 (Thisminutes.recipe makes a very large sheet pan to feed a crowd; the pictured recipe is made by halving the above recipe, and using the one recipe of cream cheese pie crust as given below.)

nanC y's two ingredient white Cheese dip

1 cup all-purpose flour Mix well, pat in pie plate; prebake, if necessary, at 350 until lightly browned.

2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Cream Cheese pie Crust

1 8-ounce package of cream cheese

1 cup sour cream

2 cups of pepper jack Cheese, shredded 2 cups of heavy cream Heat the cream, while gradually stirring in shredded pepper jack cheese until cheese is melted and cheese dip is creamy and hot. Serve with favorite dipping chips. Continued from page 39

2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese

40 | 501 LIFE September 2022

1-2 cups freshly grated gruyere or Swiss cheese

3 ounces cream cheese, softened 1 stick margarine

1 can refried beans

1 package taco seasoning Mix Monterey Jack cheese, refried beans, sour cream, cream cheese and taco seasoning in a bowl; place mixture in an oven baking dish and top with cheddar cheese. Bake in a 350 oven till the cheese is melted and Cheesy Bean Dip is heated thoroughly. Serve with favorite dipping chips.

4-6 medium eggplants OliveSalt oil 4-6 medium onions, sliced 4-6 medium tomatoes, sliced Ground pepper

Tart or quiche pan

The 53rd Annual Hot Springs Arts & Crafts Fair, hosted by the Garland County Extension Homemakers Council, comprises 11 clubs from the county. The public event will feature more than 200 vendors from 10 states. There are a limited number of vendor spaces still available and the application can be found at or by calling 501.520.1333.

42 | 501 LIFE September 2022

The Hot Springs Arts & Crafts Fair has welcomed guests since 1968, missing only one year due to the recent pandemic. Founded by 11 women who wanted to sell some crafts, Homemakers Council members take pride in connecting makers with consumers who appreciate the time and effort it takes to create one-of-a-kind items. Oliver said the committees hope to see familiar faces and meet new shoppers this year.

LEFT: Hot Springs painter Alison Parsons will sell art again this year at the event.

In addition to a variety of oil paintings, quilts, soaps, candles and other one-of-a-kind finds, the Homemakers allowed booths from artisans with wooden bowls, cutting boards and utensils, windchimes and walking sticks. There will also be homemade foods like peanut brittle, honey, soup and dip "Manymixes.people attend because they look forward to the homemade food that the Extension Homemakers Council sells from our kitchen," Oliver said. They will offer ham and bean dinners, doughnut holes, hamburgers and hot dogs in an area where patrons can sit at tables. Additionally, 11 food trucks will be on the fairgrounds.

The fair offers a petting zoo, jump houses, and other activities for children. As a free service, there will be strollers and wheelchairs that shoppers can borrow. In addition, the Homemakers Council will offer golf cart transportation to and from the parking lot throughout the three-day event.

"We are a nonprofit organization, and we do this to promote craftsmen and their homemade wares to serve our community and the surrounding areas," said Jane Oliver, chair of the Arts & Crafts Committee.

An ATM is on-site. Vendors accept cash and checks and some also accept credit cards. The building offers large public restrooms cleaned several times daily during the event.

R eaders looking to purchase handmade items should look no further than Hot Springs on Oct. 7, 8, or 9 to a popular arts and crafts fair featuring unique items. There is no cost to park or to attend the fair at the Garland County Fairgrounds, 4831 Malvern Road, Hot Springs. The event will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday.

"It is exciting to see our clean, empty building begin filling with excited vendors on Thursday in preparation for Friday's opening," Oliver said. "Our craftsmen will decorate each booth in a fall theme, and people will be lined up outside before the doors open at 9 a.m. on Friday."

53rd Annual Hot Springs Arts & Crafts Fair slated for Oct. 7-9

By Stefanie Brazile

TOP RIGHT: Homemakers Council Committee Member Peggy Barnett visited the petting zoo at the last Arts & Crafts Fair. CENTER RIGHT: Homemakers Council Committee Member Joyce Rice with crafters Darrel and Debbie Schwilling. BOTTOM RIGHT: The committee who planned this year’s event: Back row, Publicity Chair Peggy Barnett (from left), Christina Clement, Food Vendor Contact Jerry Oliver, Secretary Joyce Rice and Marcia Albaugh; front row, Wanda Felts, Martha Wilson, Chairman Jane Oliver, Treasurer Josephine Spoerle and Merylann Black.

44 | 501 LIFE September 2022 PAPABEAR UCA head coach building family on and off the field

Brown said the family-first approach he takes with his players is critical in the new age of collegiate sports. The transfer portal has given players more control than ever

A sk virtually any athlete who reveres their male coach and you’re likely to hear the term “father figure,” an honorarium reserved for men whose impact on their team goes beyond the arena to address issues of life, maturity and success.

Coach Brown has been Head Football Coach since 2017. Photo by Mike Kemp

“I don’t have the gray hairs that some of the great coaches do in this country. But at the end of the day, I think our players recognize that I do demand respect, that I do love them. I think authenticity is ultimately what it’s about. I mean, 18- to 22-year-olds can see right through fake.”

Nathan Brown is an odd fit in the “father figure” category; at 35, he’s a little too young to fit the mold of dad to the young men who make up his football roster at the University of Central Arkansas. For now, he’s an older brother, at best.

The Nathan Brown Family proudly stands with the 2022 UCA Football Team on the practice field near the stadium.

"Getting hired as the youngest Division I head coach in the country in 2017, something you worry about is, am I going to be that authoritative figure to these young men? Are they going to respect me? Are they going to listen to me?” he said.

Photos by Mike Kemp

September 2022 | 45

By Dwain Hebda

Continued on page 46

- UCA head football coach

Continued from page 45 Continued on page 48

Brown grew up in Russellville, where he was a football and baseball standout. After a decorated high school career he attended UCA, where he played quarterback. After being named Gulf South Freshman of the Year for taking the Bears to the quarterfinals of the Division II playoffs, he led the team to the school’s first FCS conference championship as a redshirt senior. He’d also meet a striking coed from North Little Rock who would become an indispensable part of his life in and outside of“Whenfootball.people say, ‘Did you always know that you’d be a football coach’s wife?’ I’m like, ‘No, I really didn’t. For a while I didn’t know I was dating someone who played the sport in general,” said Jessica Brown. “He never brought it up. I think that’s what attracted me to him then and still to this day is he’s extremely humble, and a very Godly person.

UCA Head Football Coach Nathan Brown and his wife, Jessica, with their children Rylee, 9, and Luke, 8. The couple met while he was the quarterback at UCA and have been married for 13 years.

Nathan Brown

“We’ve got a lot of new faces,” he said. “We’ve got more than 40 new players on our roster going into the 2022 football season. That is a huge number compared to what we’ve been used to in years past. We’ve got young men from 14 different states on our roster. It’s our job as coaches to put them in a position to be successful in the classroom, on the field and off the field.

“I think ultimately our bedrock is having a good foundation of love and respect. I also think that the coaching world and all that it entails is a lot of times a calling, and God has a way of weaving our stories together in getting us where we need toAfterbe.”

“It’s huge to show our players what being a husband and being a dad looks like. A lot of these kids don’t come from great families or home lives, so for them to see what sacrificial love looks like is invaluable.”

the 2009 Senior Bowl, which got Nathan an invite to two NFL training camps, the Browns came home to their alma mater, where Nathan worked his way up the coaching hierarchy and Jessica started a career at Hewlett-Packard.

46 | 501 LIFE September 2022 over where they choose to play, meaning very few coaches survive, much less succeed, with a dictatorial, my-way-orthe-highway approach.

“My approach is simple: Give these guys more than just football. I try to show these guys that we do have a family atmosphere, that I do truly care for them, that I am trying to better their life, not just for the near future but for 10, 15, 20 years down the road.”

“What she brings to the table is absolutely invaluable to our family and our program,” Nathan said. “She’s as great a mom and wife as any man can ask for. She comes to practice, she loves on our players just like I will. She loves on our coaches and our coaches’ wives. I think that’s huge.

The Browns got to see the fruits of their philosophy last season when former Bear and NFL cornerback Robert Rochell, a fourthround pick of the Los Angeles Rams, snagged an interception on Monday Night Football. After the game, Coach Brown’s phone buzzed.“Robert was a young man who dealt with a lot of close people in his life losing their lives in tough circumstances while he was here at UCA,” he said. “I can’t tell you how many times he sat in my office and we had real conversations. Sometimes they were joyful, and sometimes they led to tears, and sometimes we were butting heads and sometimes we were laughing.

“When he got his interception last year, he shot me a text that said, ‘Coach, thank you for all you’ve done for me. That interception wouldn’t have happened without your impact.’ He didn’t have to do that, but he did.”

48 | 501 LIFE September 2022

The couple welcomed two children of their own, as well as dozens of players since then, with Jessica an ex-officio member of the coaching staff.

Brown pauses, smiles at the memory.

Continued from page 46

“I also think it’s huge to show our players what being a husband and being a dad looks like. A lot of these kids don’t come from great families or home lives, so for them to see what sacrificial love looks like is “There’sinvaluable.”success and then there’s significance,” Jessica said. “I think it’s about understanding that success is winning a national championship or winning your games each week, but significance is passing on a positive legacy.

“Was every day perfect? Absolutely not, and Robert would tell you the same thing. But I think the role I’ve got to play in these guys’ lives is I’ve got to be brutally honest sometimes and I’ve got to challenge them, and I’ve got to push them and teach them through tough situations and circumstances. At the end of the day, they may not like what they hear in the moment, but hopefully they love me in the end, and I think this is a perfect example of that.”

“We talk a lot to our own children, as well as to the players, about who we’re becoming in the process of what we do. That takes intentionality over time. What we leave with the generations behind us matters.”

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Nathan Brown started 40 games in his career as quarterback for the University of Central Arkansas. This photo was taken in 2008 during his senior year. They were playing against University of California Davis at Estes Stadium in Conway and won the game!

Most flower and vegetable gardens require watering to stay productive, but far more plants die from over-watering than under-watering. For many garden plants, the best way is to let your finger be the guide. Dig down several inches near the base of the plant. If the soil is dry, that’s an indication you need to water.

Water conservation makes a difference now and for future generations

Uncovered backyard pools lose hundreds of gallons of water each month from evaporation. Using a pool cover and keeping it covered when not in use will reduce evaporation of water and chemicals by nearly 70%. Check your pool for leaks often, and always consult a professional with pool maintenance to reduce your risk of structural failure like a cracked shell that would waste thousands of gallons of water.

S ummer vacation might be coming to an end, but summer temperatures will be around for a little longer. We all know ways to conserve electricity on a hot day, but air conditioners aren’t the only thing affecting our util ity bills this season. During warmer temperatures, our water consumption rises as well. In fact, we use almost four times as much water in the summer than the rest of the year. Some homes can even use 3,000 gallons of water on a peak day, which is the equivalent of leaving a garden hose running for eight hours straight. That’s a lot of Thewater.good news is a few small changes can add up to big sav ings. Try a few of these water conservation tips so you can save water while still enjoying your favorite summer activities.

Rain Barrels

Place rain barrels or buckets beneath your gutters or downspouts. For every 1,000 square feet of roof surface, you will collect 420 gallons of water during every inch of rainfall. You can use the rainwater for outdoor plants or to wash your car. Channel storm water across lawns and into garden beds away from your house.

Swimming Pools

The easiest way to conserve water is turning off the faucet. It sounds silly, but it’s easy to use water when we don’t really need to. Running dishwashers and washing machines when they are full rather than every day can save more than 1,000 gallons of water each month.

Inside the Home

Each month, catch Editor Stefanie Brazile on Conway Corp. Channel 5's “Here and There.”

Consider a short shower over a bath. A bath can use up to 70 gallons of water, while a shower uses between 10 and 20 gallons. Keep your shower to less than 5 minutes, and you’ll save up to 1,000 gallons per month. Save another 8 gallons of water a day each time you turn the water off when brushing your teeth or shaving.

By Beth Jimmerson Flower and Vegetable Gardens

Most well-established trees and shrubs can withstand a prolonged period without rain or watering, and mulching can help retain additional moisture in the soil and around the roots. Apply the minimum amount of fertilizer necessary to yards and plants as they increase water consumption.

September 2022 | 51 get home entertainment that doesn’t have to stay at home . Introducing ConwayCorpTV – delivering everything you love to watch – movies, shows, live sports, Wampus Cat coverage and more – on your TVs and mobile devices. No boxes. No cables. No limits. Make the switch today. | Powering Conway since 1929. | (501) 450-6000 | | streaming tv | cloud dvr | live sports | local channels | much more Conway Corp customers don’t have to worry about water. We pour ourselves into serving Conway, and our investment in advanced facilities, innovative water treatments and a local water source means safe, reliable water for our customers at some of the lowest rates in the nation. We are constantly planning to ensure we have water to meet our needs today and in the future.Still, we all want to save money and do our part to protect future generations. We’re committed to helping you balance the increasing demand for water with our responsibility to providing affordable rates, and when it comes to conserving water, small adjustments like these can have a big impact. To learn more about Conway Corp’s efficiency programs, call 501.450.6000 or visit

Some of my own recollections are clear. My mother draining her fried chicken on a paper grocery bag. Having skeleton house keys and rarely needing them. Squeaky screen doors slamming after every kid’s entrance and exit and the flies and mosquitos that accompanied. TV antennas that I hear are coming back. Black-and-white TV carrying three channels. Add to that, playing croquet and badminton in the backyard. Using hand-held funeral home fans. Using a non-steam iron and dampening clothes with a cork sprinkler head inserted into a water-filled brown whiskey bottle. Wire stretchers for jeans in the 1950s and ’60s. Walking to and from school. Keeping a bottle of water in the refrigerator and brother Noel swearing he didn’t drink from it, and I know he did ‘cause I saw him. Using our first phone, a candlestick version. Picking up the phone and hearing someone else on the multiple party line. Seeing women shopping with their hair in curlers, with or without a scarf.

Today, those in their 40s and 50s seem to primarily remember the beginnings of technology we now use daily and often drive us to distraction. Already, small children have devices used as babysitters or diversions. While mom shops, the child sits in the grocery cart clicking a keyboard. Myself? I walked by my mother and listened as she taught my small self to shop. “The freshest cans are in the back of the shelf, but check the dates anyway.” “Two for $1.99 is the same as two for $1 each!” “Always wiggle all the eggs in a carton to check for those broken or stuck to the carton.” And my favorite, “You can tell what’s inside a can by the number of rings on top.”

In closing, I have two quotes, one from God and one from my God-given mother. God saying, “Honor your father and mother.” (Exodus 20:12) And Mother yelling from another room, “Someday you’ll wish you had listened to me!” (Vivian c. 1950) I still dare not argue with either.

N one of us knows how our years of life will contain memories that will pop up unexpectedly. Whether they are humorous, embarrassing, spiritual, comforting, horrifying or educating, most can be told for the truth, and some are “enhanced” or downright fictional! Truthful versions can become quite valuable as more years pass and generations are added, particularly regarding events, inventions, discoveries orItdevelopments.hasbeenmy pleasure lately for others to remind me of things we used to own, use or experience, particularly those that are not owned, used, or experienced anymore! I have written before of my late mother’s “artifacts,” including her bygone wringer washer that was plugged into a naked, hanging light with a plug-in. I can still hear her yelling from another room, “Keep your hands away from the wringer!” My mother could be heard three blocks away when calling us to supper, so I knew by the decibels that she meant business. My “shirttail cousin” in San Antonio provided many examples that she recalled. She prefaced her suggestions using a word with which you are perhaps not familiar: “Luddite” — which means someone who is opposed or resistant to new technologies or technological change. However, it is not necessarily only technologies. She began to recall telephone landlines (Does anyone say “telephone” anymore?). She said they are related to the lost art of conversation – speaking to another human being, hearing a voice and replying in “real time.” Hearing your child’s voice is still a want and need. People working in the same office will text rather than moving bone and muscle to walk a bit. Young people get together, and what do they do? They text each other while sitting feet apart. She and I agree that we are losing the human touch. We agree on other things and actions once part of our lives, like hand washing and drying dishes. When the process was shared by another, they discussed family, family history, and shared recipes. She considered this a bonding experience for women. She mentioned Polaroid cameras – amazing! And sweeping floors? Now there are robotic vacuums that wander alone through the house picking up lost buttons, needed receipts and wayward contact lenses.

Memories of an age of civility

By Vivian Lawson Hogue

52 | 501 LIFE September 2022

Others contributed comments to this project as well. When did you last see or use a pay phone? How wonderfully cool was your house if it had an attic fan? Do you ever see originalstyle roller skates? Have you noticed the little workable “wing (or vent) windows” in cars are gone? These were a blessing with my dad’s lethal cigar smoke. How about if your grass grew too high and you had to use a scythe before you could mow with your rotary mower?

I miss seeing laundry hanging on lines, something that is forbidden in many subdivisions today. There is no better aroma than fresh air in your sheets and pillowcases! I believe if someone had told my mother she could not hang her clothes outside, she would have given them an earful and spoken with the mayor!

What started out as a husband’s dream barn for his prized horses and a wife’s love of entertaining, grew into the perfect business marriage that is now affectionately called “The Stables”. The Stables at Cherokee Creek is a family owned and operated event venue only 8 miles off I-40, in Conway.

Husband and wife team Josh and Hannah Riley constructed a magnificent barn with more than 6,000 square feet of indoor entertaining space alongside the horse stables. Its grand vaulted ceilings, open floor plan, and natural light, along with its modern farmhouse charm, all nestled on a 400 acre farm make for an idyllic setting for weddings, birthdays, showers, reunions and corporate events. “Chic” and “not your typical barn” are comments clients often use to describe this unique space. The expansive grounds include a covered pavilion, silo bar, stocked pond, volleyball, playground and yard games.


With October marking the first anniversary of The Stables, the Riley’s are thankful to their 501 community and feel blessed to do what they love as a family. “We have had the opportunity to meet so many amazing people and are honored to be a small part of their celebrations. For this, we could not be more thankful to God, He has truly blessed us to do what we love.”

The couple’s venture opened its doors in October 2021, and they just booked their 42nd wedding. With the fully equipped kitchen, tables and chairs, and an amazing preferred vendors list available, The Stables can accommodate up to 500 guests. While the venture specializes in weddings, they host a number of other events. “Coming this Fall we have pictures with Santa and a painting workshop with Korry Jones. We are also planning to host two market days per year, inviting local small business entrepreneurs to showcase their products” explained Hannah.

The Riley’s mutual love of horses was important to incorporate into their event venue as a way to share these majestic beauties with the community. “We allow our horses to be a part of your special day! You can either house them in our state of the art stalls during your event or rent our horse drawn carriage for your guests to arrive in style,” says Hannah.

Of course it is. There are few experiences in life that involve invasion of personal space like going to the dentist. This feeling of anxiety is even more heightened when visiting a new office or new doctor. Our primary goal at Morrilton Family Dental is to create a caring, relaxed atmosphere, and we believe in this so much that it is found in our Mission Statement.

Che benefit of finding and sourcing local coffee is that typically you’ll get a higher graded bean. Better beans = better coffee and you will know that it was roasted much more recently. When coffee beans are freshly roasted, you get a better tasting cup of coffee because oxygen hasn’t had much time to make it stale. I put a roast date on every bag, so you know you are getting the freshest cup possible.

But you can, as always, buy it at our shop at 205 E Broadway St. in Morrilton or online at BigCuppa.Coffee/retail. If you prefer K-Cuppas – we have those, too!

What are the benefits of locally roasted coffee and where can I find it? to be nervous about seeing a dentist? are the benefits of shopping at a local boutique?


Is it normal

Local coffee has only been available at the shops that source them, but now local roasters are getting in on the spotlight and, in our case, you can start to get that fresh local coffee from Big Cuppa at your Wal-Marts in Central Arkansas including Greenbrier, Russellville, and Conway’s Neighborhood Market.

We have one chance to make a first impression. We need to meet any concerns and expectations in an initial 50-60 minute visit. I often joke with patients by calling this appointment a “first date,” and the patient gets to decide whether to continue our relationship based on our recommendations and suggestions. In a typical week, we may have as many as 20-30 first dates. Our team would love the opportunity to show you our office and our caring, laid back team with a combined experience of over 150 years in dental care. Stop by the office at 9 Medical Services Drive or call and make a date with us today!

Shopping local is vital. It creates job opportunities, supports local families, keeps tax dollars at work in your hometown and helps to revive city store fronts. It brings new life and energy to your community. When you shop local, you are making a difference for those people you see every day.

At Clover Alley Gifts in Morrilton, our #1 goal is to love God and love others well! (Mark 12:30-31) This means customer service and appreciation come first. You will feel this when you walk in the door of our boutique. We cherish relationships made and cater to our customers’ styles, trends and budgets. You won’t get that type of personal service while shopping online. Our boutique offers unique women’s clothing, jewelry, Razorback merch, totes, shoes, gifts and much more. We recently moved to a larger location at 201 North St. Joseph in downtown Morrilton. We restored a building built in the 1920s with a wealth of history! We are excited to bring its vibrancy back, and many more local businesses are doing the same. Stop by, say “hello” and enjoy retail therapy and a smile.

Big Joe LOCAL EXPERT IN coffee Dr. Bill Eggart LOCAL EXPERT MORRILTONDENTISTRYIN Abby Gibby LOCAL EXPERT shoppingIN 501.289.6518 501.354.8800 501.354.0266

"We are so grateful to Tyson Foods for the donation of the ABB Pick and Place Robotics Cell to the UACCM Industrial Mechanics and Maintenance Technology program,” said Mary Clark, director of marketing and public relations for UACCM. “The robotic cell is being used as a valuable training tool for instruction in automation and greatly enhances UACCM’s ability to provide hands-on training that is relevant to a wide variety of industry sectors from manufacturing to food production.

“The support and donations of Tyson and our other industry partners ensures that UACCM’s technical programs can offer our students world-class training close to home while addressing the workforce shortage of skilled technicians.”Thisnewrobot cell will benefit students by providing them another opportunity to work with equipment that is used in industry. It will allow students to put cross-curricular skills into action on one piece of machinery. This experience would not be possible without the support and guidance of industry partners such as Tyson Foods.

September 2022 | 55 University of Arkansas Community College at Morrilton (UACCM) recently received a donation of a robotic cell from Tyson Foods. The cell was previously a training device used at their TMAC (Tyson Manufacturing Automation Center) facility. It has an HMI operator station, dual conveyors, vision system, IRB 360 Flexpicker, and IRB 1200 robots.

A view inside of the cell from the end of the conveyor belt. The control pane of the machine is located outside of the cell.

UACCM receives donation of robot cell from Tyson Foods

If you would like to buy or sell or have any questions, then please feel free to reach out to me! I want to be your Realtor!

So the real question should be: Why aren’t you using a travelTravelagent?agents are skilled travel lovers who have years of insight and knowledge on many travel destinations. If it doesn’t cost you a dime extra, and saves you hassle and headaches it’s really a no brainer!

All the data shows there is still an extreme shortage of housing and new houses aren’t being built quick enough to offset it.


My clients always say how thankful they are that they had additional resources to fall back on that I provide. Let a travel agent (more specifically me) take all the stress out of your next vacation! Why should I hire a travel agent?? Lowry EXPERT IN 501.764.2554



Don’t wait on buying a house because you are waiting on interest rates to come down, just refinance the interest rate when interest rates come down.

What is the difference between Botox and fillers and how do I know which one is right for me? now a good time to buy or sell a house or should I wait? Sutterfield 501.730.2740 501.358.9503

I always encourage clients to schedule a free consultation to discuss their concerns. Each client’s medical aesthetic needs are uniquely theirs. During a consultation, we can determine which treatment plan is best to achieve their personalized goals and create a beautiful, natural result.

Katie Begley LOCAL EXPERT aestheticSIN Heather

This is a question I hear quite often, and the answer is simpler than you may think.



Hiring a travel agent does nothing but save you time and money! Most people don’t realize that the price of a travel agent is already in the price of your vacation whether you use one or not.

Neurotoxins (i.e., Botox®, Dysport®) are used to treat wrinkles that are present with muscle movement. These medications work by blocking the release of acetylcholine, which prevents muscle contraction. Neurotoxins are injected to help smooth the appearance of wrinkles and are generally used to treat upper face areas such as frown lines, forehead, and crow’s feet.

56 | 501 LIFE September 2022

There are a variety of other services offered at Begley Aesthetics including Sculptra® which is a truly amazing product. It offers clients an opportunity to age in reverse by stimulating collagen production with results that can last up to two years.

Dermal fillers (Restylane®, Juvederm®) are used to treat wrinkles that are present at rest. Fillers are used to replace volume loss that occurs as we age. As volume loss is corrected, it results in improvement in wrinkles and recreates structure that is lost over time, resulting in a more youthful appearance.

I agree with Dave Ramsey and the Mortgage Bankers Association when they say that the next 6 months is the best time to buy and sell a house because in the next 5 years prices aren’t going to go down, they are going to get more expensive.

Now is also the best time to sell your house because the market is still really hot and it will sell for a great price. Even if you don’t need to sell it, the market shows that this is the best time to sell.

Greenbrier dedicates new press box to football coach

T hrough the eyes of B.J. McMillen, Greenbrier is the most wonderful place in the world and working with its football team is his purpose. The 42-year-old coach has been part of the team since seventh-grade and the school district recently added his name to the stadium’s new $1.6 million press box.

“As everyone knows, B.J.’s been a mainstay in the Greenbrier Athletic Program for nearly 30 years so we have wanted to do something for him for a long time,” Athletic Director Stephen Wood said. “We just had to wait for the right opportunity, and this press box was a perfect chance to honor him for all the joy he has brought to our school and community.”

Athletic Director Stephen Wood and his assistant, Coach B.J. McMillen.

September 2022 | 57 Continued on page 58

By Stefanie Brazile

When he is congratulated on the honor, he is quick to say, “Thank you.”

Greenbrier,” he said. “I’m coaching high school baseball now. We’ve got a new head baseball coach and he’s gonna be a good one. I help Coach Wood on Thursday nights as the assistant athletic director at junior high games and I’m on the sidelines on Friday nights. I also attend the basketball games as a fan.”

“Having a special needs child, it was hard raising him and not knowing what his future would hold,” Lameta said. “Greenbrier has embraced him and they have given him something to look forward to every day of his life. They’ve asked him to come back and help year after year and he’s been part of the program for 28 years.”

The GHS Spirit Booth is selling a commemorative Coach B.J. jersey for $40 as a fundraiser for the Booster Club. A portion of the proceeds will go towards the athletic scholarships that will be awarded at the end of the year. “Panthers” is printed on the front, and “McMillen 13” is printed on the back. The sleeveless shirt is a basketball jersey. You can inquire about them at the Spirit Booth at Don Jones Stadium or order on Facebook at “GHS Spirit Booth.”

He is issued official gear, including a baseball uniform. B.J. not only supports the athletic program, but also the

Continued from page 57

B.J.’s face lights up when he talks about that moment and how he felt. “Good. Fun! I was totally surprised.”

students at pep rallies, where he revs-up the crowd each week. “Susan Harmon tells me what time to be there and I speak in the microphone and say things like, ‘Guys, students, administrators and principals, I want you to come out and support the Panthers and let’s win a football game!’ Then I say, ‘That’s all I got to say.’ And everybody gets really excited.” Before each home game, they announce B.J. and the crowd cheers.“Ilove

A ceremony will be held at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 30 to dedicate the press box and the public is invited to attend. B.J. extends a personal invitation to all readers. “I’m proud of it and proud of the administrators for building it for me, and I want everybody to come out and enjoy my press box every home game.”Asyou look through the eyes of B.J. McMillen, the bright Friday night lights are always on in the town he calls home … and they are tinted blue.

When B.J. considers what the Panthers will achieve this season on the gridiron, he is confidently optimistic. “I think we’re gonna win all the games this year and make it to the playoffs again.” Wood is glad to have B.J. at every practice and at home and away games. “B.J. means more to this athletic program and to these coaches, past and present, than he will ever know,” he said. “He brings an indescribable positive energy to everyone he meets and he has never met a stranger. He is the heart and soul of everything Greenbrier!”

Over time, his responsibilities have grown, along with his love for all things Greenbrier. He wears a blue pro-Greenbrier shirt every day, except to Martinville Church of Christ services, but changes into one soon after arriving home.

On Aug. 8, present and former coaches, along with the McMillen family, were invited to the stadium and surprised B.J. At the appointed time, all of the coaches walked him onto the field under other pretenses and “happened” to angle him toward the new press box. Then, the sign was unveiled.

“I’m proud of myself, I’m proud of my coaching staff, I’m proud that I’ll be working with them. I’m just happy to be right there with them,” he said. “Football means a lot to me. I like to be out there on Friday nights working the headset, just calling plays, just having a good time and winning. I want everybody to come and sit under my press box and watch.”

Known for his smile and sunny disposition, B.J. graduated from Greenbrier High School in 1999. His work with the football team started in seventh grade as a motivation to have good conduct in the classroom. Doug and Lameta McMillen raised their son and two daughters, Emilee and Hannah, in the close-knit Faulkner County community.

Conway Men’s Chorus to begin fall rehearsals

R ehearsals will begin soon for the Conway Men’s Chorus 22nd Christmas Holiday Concert. Men in the Central Arkansas area interested in singing and fellowship with others are invited to be part of this exciting group as a returning or new member. Rehearsals begin for the fall season at 6 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 12, in the choir room at Woodland Heights Baptist Church on Prince St. at Hogan Lane in Conway. Rehearsals are designed for busy men, as they meet in the choir room for about an hour beginning at 6 p.m. each Monday night. Under the musical direction of Jordan Bennett and with Paul Bradley as accompanist, the Conway Men’s Chorus will prepare for its holiday concert scheduled for 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 6, in Reynolds Performance Hall on the campus of the University of Central Arkansas. Some of the musical pieces that the chorus of 50+ men will be working on include “You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch,” “Silent Night,” “Dona Nobis Pacem,” “What You Gonna Call Your Pretty Little Baby,” “Let It Snow!” and “O Holy Night,” along with other songs of the season and the traditional audience singalong.The Men’s Chorus will also sing several songs with the Conway Symphony Orchestra during their Christmas Concert at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 3, also in Reynolds Hall. Men of all levels of musical ability and talent are welcome and accepted, and there is no cost required to participate. According to Chorus President Mike McCullars, “The Men’s Chorus is an important part of the lives of these men in the chorus as they celebrate music and enjoy being together. We always have room for one more.”

September 2022 | 59

More information may be obtained at or by emailing

501 LIFE KIDS OF THE MONTH Lydia Darnell & Lucas CONWAYMcDaniel Photo by Mike Kemp

DESIGNER GENES Conway youth destined to build a better world By Becky Bell

“So, I mainly needed stability with it because we had the boundary set for the structure for 10-by-20,” he said. “I had to figure out a way to get as much space as possible for that size. It didn’t really intimidate me, but it was challenging for sure.”Lucas said he enjoys math, but the reason his favorite subject is science is simple. “In science, we are actually learning new subjects,” he said.

All participants received full scholarships, and supplies and materials were made possible with support from the Alex Foundation, Adcock Family Foundation, Garver USA, Nabholz Construction and Ray and Phyllis Simon. Charles Nabholz, chairman emeritus of the company, and Mr. and Mrs. Simon visited with students.

September 2022 | 61 I magination, creativity and intelligence were shown by two top prize-winning seventh-graders at a recent Architecture and Design summer camp sponsored by Alex Foundation, a Southeast Arkansas-based nonprofit organization.

When he is outside the classroom, Lucas enjoys MMA fighting and competing in Quiz Bowl for his school. He said the MMA fighting he is involved with is not like the kind you might see on TV.

“I mean it was a fun competition,” Lydia said. “I had the tallest structure. We made these with toothpicks, marshmallows and gummies. I actually did eat some of the supplies. I mean, it was fun because I built it in 10 minutes, and me and my friend were only one-half inch apart.”

Lydia Darnell, a home-school student, was the runner-up in the tree-house challenge with her dragon design and was the winner of the structural design category, having the tallest and longest independently standing design. With the structural design challenge, students learned basic structural concepts about rigidity, weight and density of materials and which shapes were more structurally sound thanLydiaothers.said she is not a huge fan of school but loves reading Tui T. Sutherland’s children’s books. However, she said the structural design challenge was both enjoyable and tasty.

Thirteen students took part in the July 25-29 camp, and the group was made up of 10 boys and three girls. The Conway camp was held at the Faulkner County Library.

Lucas McDaniel, a seventh-grader at Carl Stewart Middle School whose favorite subject is science, won a prize for his tree house design. In his design, the ‘trunk’ of the home fit within a 10-by-20 footprint, while the different rooms of the home branched out in the sky, similar to branches of a tree.

Both Lucas and Lydia won a Wal-Mart gift card for their design prowess and were treated to lunch each day of camp. They also received certificates of completion and Alex Foundation T-shirts.

Perhaps Lydia is so clever with design work because she has been playing with LEGO as long as she can remember. She is so into the hobby that she wants to be a LEGO designer one day.Lydia serves in her church’s younger ministry called Kid Life and does crafts with kids, reading to them or teaching them about earning and spending. Anna and Brian Darnell are Lydia’s parents, and she has one sister, Naomi.

Continued on page 62

“Normally, there are safer moves and less physical striking,” he said. “It includes karate, boxing and kick boxing. It covers anything that is normally used. I’ve been doing it for about twoLucasmonths.”isthe son of Jeff and Angi McDaniel. He has one brother, Jackson. When Lucas was talking about other tough competitors he faced when creating his tree house, he talked about one of the other students who created a house shaped like a dragon.

The Alex Foundation’s mission is to engage students to consider careers and entrepreneurial opportunities in architecture and design. This mission is achieved through mentoring, strengthening students’ capacity, and supporting their educational attainment. The foundation was established in honor of Alex Courtney, who studied architecture as his major in college before his untimely passing. For more information or to donate, visit

Continued from page 61

Lucas and Lydia both built benches during the camp. On the left, Luca cuts a piece to begin the project and on the right Lydia relaxes on the final product.

Kira A. & her daughter Arkansas Single Parent Scholarship Fund Recipient FREE ADMISSION OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

In addition to the lessons already mentioned, participants also were treated to flying drones at Laurel Park and learned just about everything there is to know when taking one into camp, students sketched sections of the library and were introduced to woodworking and furniture design skills. Each student was asked to build their own bench. On the last day of summer camp, the 13 middle schoolers displayed all of their designs for their families.

62 | 501 LIFE September 2022

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September 2022 | 63 Sign up for lessons and receive a $35 registration & 1st lesson ($67.50 value) for $67.50FREE! Expires 9/30/22 Limit one per household, one per customer. Can’t be combined with any other offer. Coupon must be surrendered at time of original registration. Not valid for cash refunds. Conway’s Largest Music ConwayInstituteofMusic.comSchool! • Great parking for parents • 13 state-of-the-art teaching rooms • Security cameras in each room • Large glass windows on each door • No hidden recital fees • Free trophies, achievement wristbands and certificates • Full-time office staff • Lessons 6 days a week, morning until night • Lessons for children and adults • Unlimited make-up lessons • Children’s play areas for families • Device charging stations in lobby • Outdoor patio seating • 13 years in business Call 501.450.2931 now to get your spot! or request more info online at GUITARPIANOVOICE DRUMSBASSBANJO MANDOLINUKULELEVIOLIN PLUS ROCKCLASSES!BAND 945 Carson Cove ConwayInstituteofMusic.com501.450.2931 MUSIC LESSONS TIME! It’s Back to School

STEM Lesson at Maumelle Middle School

The Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education continues to prove its value at the Pulaski County Special School District as interest in these areas increases among students at all grade levels. Maumelle Middle School eighth-grade science teacher Dr. Brandy Henderson is just one dedicated educator in the Maumelle Feeder who understands the importance of the lessons learned in STEM classes.

“Lessons in STEM help students to sharpen a student’s scientific processing skills, increase critical thinking, improve selfefficiency, and open minds to new opportunities,” said Dr. Henderson. “It also helps students hone and master problem-solving, which has weakened due to the instant gratification of Google searches.”

Science, Technology, Engineering and Math more important than ever

STEM education proves valuable to PCSSD students

By Jessica Duff

64 | 501 LIFE September 2022



September 2022 | 65

teachers are always looking for new and fun ways to reach their students while ensuring a quality education.

“I engage the students in real-world problem solving like how to engineer a sturdy bridge, building, or robotic hand. Giving them realworld problems to solve using blueprints, metric measurements and math, looking at the different materials that would work the Maumellebest.”

About PCSSD Pulaski County Special School District spans more than 600 square miles in Central Arkansas and requires highly skilled and passionate personnel to adapt educational policies and personalization to 26 schools. Every school is accredited by the Arkansas State Board of Education. PCSSD has served schools across Pulaski County since July 1927.

Dr. Henderson explains one of her favorite lessons she uses to end each school year: “I describe a scenario in which an EMP (electromagnetic pulse) attack has occurred at our school, completely knocking out our everyday comforts like electricity, cars, phones, internet, cellphones, microwaves, refrigerators, stove, etc. Then I have my students figure out how to survive using the critical thinking, problem solving, and scientific processing skills they have learned throughout the year. The students love it, after they get over the frustration of losing access to technology!”

PCSSD is committed to creating a nationally recognized school district that assures that all students achieve at their maximum potential through collaborative, supportive and continuous efforts of all stakeholders.

PCSSD is looking forward to seeing even more growth in the areas of STEM as Dr. Justin Luttrell moves into the second year in his position of Director of STEM. In his first year, Dr. Luttrell implemented monthly STEM is LIT challenges for students to encourage fun and educational activities for students of all ages.

Dr. Henderson explains that she understands not all students will enter a STEM field for a career, but it is still important for students to understand the real-world applications of STEM and how they can make a difference.

Oobleck: the Dr. Seuss Science Experiment at Pine Forest Elementary

Photo by Mike Kemp


Until the advent of caller ID, a major source of laughter was the prank radio calls he perfected. He recalled his first two tries failed as he was unable to get David Pryor or Jim Guy Tucker, who were in a run-off election for U.S. Senate, on the phone. But a couple of weeks later, after posing as an Arab sheikh, complete with fake accent, calling Union National Bank wanting to buy the bank, he was off and running.

“When you first start in communication, when I started in radio/TV, you’re just looking to make a name for yourself, whether it be a stunt or a joke or a personal appearance,” he said. “You want to put yourself on the radar. And then the older you get, the less that becomes the goal, and instead you replace it with benevolence.

“I wanted to be the next Johnny Carson,” he said, referring to the long-time host of NBC’s The Tonight Show. “He was so cool. He was funny, and he was sophisticated, and he dressed well and had a great voice and made people laugh. Even when he bombed he was funny, and I loved that. Watching him in 1965, that was what I was going to be after graduation. He had started out in local radio, so boom — I said, ‘That’s what I’llHisdo.’”radio

career started at KBTM in Jonesboro while he was studying TV/Radio Communications at Arkansas State University. After entering the 501 market at KARN-AM 920 in 1972 (when he became Craig O’Neill), he had memorable stints at KLAZ-FM, KKYK-FM and KURB-FM before moving to television as sports anchor at KTHV in 2000. In 2008, he became news

“She’d just started to make it big, and the interview was terrible,” he remembered. “She would give four- or five-word answers. I asked, ‘Who inspires you?’ and she said, ‘There’s just so many people to name,’ — and with that amount of energy. You can tell if someone wants to be with you by the energy they give you back.

“She was young and just starting to make a name for herself, and she couldn’t quite grasp how some deejay in Little Rock was wanting to talk to her.”

O’Neill is the stage name for Randy Hankins. A 1968 graduate of Little Rock Central High School, he was a radio deejay from 1968-2000 before making the move to television. His early inspiration?

He said the hardest interview he’d ever done was over the phone with the singer Olivia Newton-John in 1974, shortly after she hit the charts in the United States.

By Donna Lampkin Stephens C raig O’Neill has been communicating with Arkansans for 50 years, and through radio, television and speaking engagements, he has perfected his art.

O’Neill, 10 p.m. anchor on KTHV, Channel 11, is one of the state’s most recognizable faces and voices. But over the years, his own communication style has evolved.

Continued on page 68

“That one scored,” he remembered. “From then on, I just went. If I ever meet the man who invented caller ID, I’m going to hit him. I mean, full-bore Will Smith.”

In the early years, he said, his speeches on the civic club circuit consisted mostly of jokes and skits.

“The whole aim has changed.”

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He’s also learned how important listening is to communication.“Tobeabetter writer, you need to be a major reader,” he said. “To be a better speaker, you need to be a better listener. The art of speaking comes from the art of active listening. And some of the funniest moments in my career have come — they’re all impromptu — when you’re paying attention to what’s happening in front of you, to what’s being said.”

Throughoutanchor.hiscareer — and his life — laughter has been a constant.“Iamaddicted to it,” he said. “I have to have it. I like to get it early when I’m giving a speech, and sometimes that involves resorting to jokes I’ve told for 40 years, knowing I’ll get the laughter. It’s like a preacher who has a sermon that really works, and you go back to it again and again.”

“Then around 1996, with the wonderful book ‘The Artist’s Way’ by Julia Cameron, I began to change,” he said. “I still use humor — I have to have it in my diet. But when I became news anchor and things became more serious, I began to preach more.”

Top: Jane and Craig in 1971. They have been married 51 years. Middle: At the podium at Mableval Middle School in 1991. Bottom left: Morning deejay at KKYK in 1985. Bottom right: Promotional photo session outtake at the Dreamland Ballroom in 2016. Craig O’Neill was on the road with his Reading Roadtrip program on Aug. 4 at the Des Arc Public Library.

A few years ago, he gave up the fundraising dates to focus on the reading. The purpose behind his literacy efforts is to show kids the joy of reading. “This is a borrowed concept, but it’s so true, that with a book you have a best friend that is always going to give you its best,” he said. “With a book, you find something about yourself, and with a book you are never alone. And that’s what I’m trying to impart. My whole point is, go to a book if you want to have a great time. And if you’re talking about the joy of reading, you’ve got to be joyful.”

“She said, ‘When I was in third grade, I was in foster care, and they’d taken me out of the foster home I loved and put me in another, and they changed my school,’” he recalled. “She said, ‘My first day at Terry Elementary, I was upset and angry and hated being there. And you came and you made me laugh and took me to places I didn’t think I’d ever see again.’”

Over the years, he followed her career and saw her become more engaged in interviews after she was diagnosed with breast cancer “I saw those and said, ‘I’d like to try that interview again.” (NewtonJohn died a few days before this interview.)

He recalled one library visit where a woman brought her daycare children to hear him read. She told him afterward she had been one of those kids several years earlier.

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During his career, O’Neill has emceed countless fundraisers, given who-knows-how-many speeches and deejayed any number of high school dances. But he came to realize the dates on his calendar he looked forward to the most were his visits to schools to read to elementary-aged children.

“More and more, when I would leave a school, that’s when I felt the best,” he said. “You go into a school and stand in front of 40 or 50 second-graders with a book in your hands. They’re clean slates. There’s all this potential that’s sitting right there in front of you, and you cannot wait to see if you can reach out and impact that potential.”

Statistics show the importance of children reading at grade level by third grade.“If they’re not, then that’s a prison bed,” O’Neill said.

He incorporates his joyful hobby into his duties at KTHV with the Reading Roadtrip segment. “I don’t know if it’s going to move the needle, but the greatest thing I hear is from a parent who tells me, ‘After you came to the school, over the weekend my child reached for a book and not a phone.’ “You live for that.”

September 2022 | 69


W ant to do something fun and unique? Amazing experiences can be found right in our own backyard of Hot Springs. In the newly published “100 Things to Do in Hot Springs Before You Die” (Reedy Press, May 2022), Cassidy Kendall provides a list of experiences that will either delight your taste buds, give you the chance to do something extreme, or provide wild or relaxing encounters.

Although she liked writing in school, she didn't know she wanted to make a career from it. After enrolling at the University of Central Arkansas in 2015, an advisor suggested she look into the program, and it turned out to be a great fit. She graduated in December of 2018 with a degree in print journalism and a minor in creative writing.

One thing Cassidy loves about Hot Springs is how the city transforms itself for various holidays. Halloween, Christmas and St. Patrick’s Day, which featured the 19th Annual World’s Shortest St. Patrick's Day Parade this spring, are a few examples.AndCassidy’s favorite? It's hard to list just one. She is a big fan of the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival and its nine days of festivities, which will take place October 7-15. She also adores Magic Springs, especially in August, after most kids start school. Then there’s Wednesday Night Poetry, a downtown gathering that has taken place each week since 1989. The list goes on.

of the Month: Cassidy Kendall

At age 25, Cassidy is still new in her career. As she continues to work and play in Hot Springs, she plans to put her degree to good use by continuing to produce news and feature stories for journalism and other media. She recently founded Kendall Communications and is expanding her client pool.

By Susan L. Peterson

Cassidy, who grew up in Camden (Ouachita County), credits her grandparents for introducing her to Hot Springs. She and her two sisters loved spending summer vacations with them on the lake.

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“100 Things to Do in Hot Springs Before You Die” may be purchased online at Amazon, at local book stores, or from, where Cassidy Kendall can also be contacted regarding availability to speak to groups.

In June of 2021, St. Louis-based Reedy Press was actively looking for someone to write a book about Hot Springs to expand its “Things to Do Before You Die” series. Cassidy landed the job with the option of completing the book’s delivery in either six or twelve months. She chose six and admits she procrastinated a bit the first three months. But the hardest part was choosing what to exclude from the list, since there were so many options. Her expansive listing has something for everyone, complete with helpful tips. Foodies will enjoy recommendations for breweries, burgers, and brunch. Shopping enthusiasts will revel in options such as handmade pottery, markets, specialized stores, and boutiques. For nature lovers, there is Garvan Woodland Gardens and a myriad of trails. And getting around is fun, too! You can rent a pontoon boat or bicycle, or take a romantic horse-drawn carriage ride. In addition to the attractions Hot Springs is known for, such as Bathhouse Row, the Mountain Tower, and Mid-America Science Museum, there are oddities like Tiny Town and the Gangster Museum. The Machine Gun Grotto, an indoor firing range, is guaranteed to get your adrenaline pumping.

Things‘100 To Do in

Following graduation, Cassidy immediately relocated to the city she loved and began working as a journalist for the Sentinel-Record. In 2021 she left the newspaper and began The Hot Springs Post, an online media outlet that provides regular local news updates at


September 2022 | 71 Bring Your Family and a Picnic! Laurel Park 2310 Robinson Ave, Conway Sept. 23 | 7:15 pm FREE CONCERT! Author Cassidy Kendall proudly holds her newly published book at the party celebrating its release.


Dr. Head performed his first ever talus bone replacement surgery on Knight on July 7, her 58th birthday.

The talus is a small bone that sits between the heel bone (calcaneus) and the two bones of the lower leg (the tibia and fibula). It has an irregular, humped shape like a turtle's shell. The lower leg bones ride on top and around the sides to form the ankle joint. A fracture of the talus causes extremely severe pain along with swelling, tenderness and the inability to put weight on the foot. In Janet Knight’s case, the talus fracture did not heal, and the bone “died” due to avascular necrosis or lack of blood flow.

Dr. Head found a new option pioneered by 4WEB Medical that involves the 3D printing of a cobalt chrome bone replacement. The metal has been used for hip and knee replacements for years but only recently for the talus bone. He utilized 4WEB Medical engineering design services via webinar, as special software was used to recreate a 3D model based on CT scans of Knight’s ankles. Under Dr. Head’s direction, the cobalt chrome bone replacement design was developed using her healthy left ankle as the template.

Image provided by 4WebMedical.

Janet Knight of Greenbrier celebrates CRMC for her “miracle” procedure. Photo provided by Conway Regional Health System.

J anet Knight of Greenbrier felt a pop while walking on the beach last November. The injury led to swelling and pain in her right ankle and, eventually, to a visit to the Conway Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Center urgent care clinic.

Instead, Dr. Head, who was unwilling to settle for such lifealtering outcomes, presented her with what she is now calling a “miracle” procedure.

Knight had been struggling with the concept of an amputation or, at best, an ankle fusion, both of which would affect her ability to drive. She is a former EMT and truck driver who settled with her husband, William Rodden, a retired master sergeant in the Air National Guard, in Greenbrier seven years ago due to a decline in the petroleum business in the Houston area.

Conway Regional Surgeon performs new bone replacement procedure

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An MRI revealed a break in her talus bone caused by a stress fracture that resulted in avascular necrosis, a condition in which the bone is dying due to a lack of blood flow. Her talus also collapsed, further complicating any hope of salvage. The talus bone is a turtle shell-shaped bone that connects the foot and ankle.The prognosis was grim as her orthopedic surgeon, Jimmy Head, MD, a foot and ankle specialist with Conway Orthopedics and Sports Medicine Center, explained that due to the lack of blood flow, Knight needed to consider a life-altering fusion procedure or face the eventual amputation of her foot. After a seven-month-long battle with extreme pain, Knight was ready to have an amputation. “It was agony living with a broken bone in my foot,” she said. “By the time I saw Dr. Head again, I was begging for the amputation.”

By John Patton

continued, “Before if someone had the same problem as Janet, you would only have had the option to fuse the bones. Then if it didn’t heal, you could end up with an amputation. The patients also lose all motion and mobility. You’ve got one bad option.”

Because this particular bone replacement technology is new, there is still space to perform long-term follow-up research. However, “Even if it gets her only five more years without pain, there are still a lot of possibilities to enable her to continue to have mobility from there,” he added.

“I know Conway Regional went through a lot to make this happen. What Dr. Head did was nothing short of a miracle. Not only did he save my foot, but he also saved my mobility."

Jimmy Head, MD, performed the surgery. Photo provided by Conway Regional Health System.

She spent one day at Conway Regional Medical Center before returning home. Within three weeks, she was able to wear a walking boot and put weight on the new talus implant. Knight said she had complete range of motion in her ankle the first day she could walk on it. She added, “Before surgery, I was in a tremendous amount of pain. Today, the pain is gone. I could cry with joy. It was a long way to get here but incredibly worth it.”The procedure is the first of its kind in Faulkner County. 4WEB Medical is an orthopedic device company focused on developing innovative implants with an advanced structural design. 4WEB Medical produces a variety of devices and is principally known for utilizing its proprietary Truss Implant Technology™.

“I never did the replacement in training. It wasn’t available when I was doing my foot and ankle fellowship,” Dr. Head said. “It’s a new, innovative surgery. It’s only been done a for few years in the United States and only a handful of times in Arkansas.”Dr.Head

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In the book of Psalms (Old Testament or Torah), there are two verses you might have heard: For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Psalm 139:13-14, NIV

When you read this issue built around the theme of “Made in the 501,” remember that there is a real spiritual connection when we shop locally, especially when the item is from one of our makers. It is a symbol of the way we are all fearfully and wonderfully knit together in the community and how we can bring joy to each other, to the makers, and to our “Maker!”

By Rev. Mark McDonald

I’m intentional about capitalizing the “M” when I reference God as the Creator and leaving the “m” lowercase when referencing local artists, but it’s not because I don’t want my wife, Kelley, to get a big head! It’s because it helps communicate a spiritual connection that local makers bring to us with their work.

Fear is best understood as reverence, which is what we often refer to as a deep respect in worship, bowing down before our Maker. Wonder is best understood as awe, and it represents that feeling of amazement when something exceeds our expectations in a good way. In other words, God carefully and reverently made you who you are, and God is filled with wonder at who you are becoming. Compare it to times you watch a child you know do something amazing. It can be your child, grandchild, cousin,

nephew, niece, or even the child of a friend or neighbor. When they do something that we find amazing, we feel much the same way — we are filled with reverence and awe. When we have an investment in a child, we have a sense of helping create who they are and who they can become. Their success brings us joy and hope. That is what God feels when we rise up and do what we have been created to do.

Do you hear what is embedded in this passage? Not only are you made by God, but God made you in fear and wonder.

My wife, like many artisans, does not mass produce her creations. She will organize her process when she is making several items at once, but she still creates each item to be unique. I am always amazed at how she knows her works and how attentive she is to the details that make each one what it has become. I’m equally amazed when the people that buy her crafted items find delight for completely different reasons. They find joy in those moments of seeing the potential, and it is often different from what my wife would identify as the potential.Nopotter makes duplicate items exactly the same. Each piece is fearfully and wonderfully made. Each mural, each painting, each item of clothing, each cup of coffee or tea, each meal can be fearfully and wonderfully made. Every symphony, every chorus, every play, every hand-crafted wood piece or clothing can be fearfully and wonderfully made. That is what makes buying locally different from shopping.

‘Made in the 501’

The spiritual connections between the Maker and makers

74 | 501 LIFE September 2022

I ’m married to a “maker.” One definition of a maker is a “person or thing that produces something” and this has become a common name for artists. On the one hand, we are familiar with 501 artists like Jessica Jones (murals) or Keilah Herman (pottery), but I believe this nomenclature is profoundly attractive in a spiritual sense. Why? Because the other definition of Maker is “God, the Creator.”

September 2022 | 75

Arkansas is the home of many outdoor venues. Some of our absolute best are found at our outdoor adventure parks. These parks provide some of the best mountain biking trails, hiking, floating, boating, horse riding, fishing, hunting, golfing, ATV riding, and even highadventure sports like hang gliding. There is no doubt why we are called “The Natural State.”

This is part three of three in our great Arkansas state parks tour. Outdoor adventure is the theme of this final installment. Here is a recap, from the last two stories. How do you fill the time of a man who must be busy, but still needs time to heal and recover from shoulder surgery? You start the “visit all of the Arkansas state parks while Jim recovers from shoulder surgery tour.”

A short drive from Hot Springs is Lake Catherine State Park. Not only are fishing and boating available, but a short hike around the lake will bring you to a beautiful waterfall. Lake Catherine is another one of our parks that was developed by the Civilian Conservation Corp, which built several state parks during the 1930s. The park’s buildings continue to maintain its rustic, historical style.

DeGray State Park is Arkansas’s only resort state park. The park has a 90-room lodge, campsites, 18-hole golf course, swimming, tennis, hiking, horseback, and a marina. The lake is 14,000 acres of water fed by the Caddo River. It has 208 miles of shorelines and averages a depth of 47 feet.

Last month I wrote about the history-focused parks, so this month, let us visit the outdoor adventure parks. One of the common elements found in these parks is water. Only one of the 16 parks that we classified as outdoor did not have a lake or river as a part of the park. There is something incredibly special about spending a day on the water or just spending time staring at a scenic body of water. Our state is blessed with some of the best lakes in the United States. The Ouachita Mountains Region has five state parks: Lake Ouachita, Lake Catherine, DeGray Lake, Daisy, and Millwood. Lake Ouachita is the largest of these lakes. It covers 40,000 acres and has hundreds of uninhabited islands within its shores. It is known for some of the cleanest water in the U.S. Lake Ouachita was formed by damming of the Ouachita River. The Ouachita is the 25th longest river in the county and feeds the other lakes that are a part of the state park system, including Lake Catherine.

Daisy State Park is a lesser-known state park. It is in the Ouachita Forest area of southwestern Arkansas. The park’s 7,000-acre lake is popular for fishing, boating and kayaking. Millwood State Park is in the most southwestern part of the state. The park’s lake is 29,000 acres and is known for largemouth bass, catfish and crappie fishing.

Two parks in South Arkansas that are on the shores of a lake and a river are White Oak Lake State Park and Moro Bay State Park. White Oak Lake is another lesserknown park. It is situated in the piney forested woods of southern Arkansas. It is popular for fishing and wildlife observation in the marshlands. Moro Bay State Park is on the lower Ouachita River. It is built on a ferryboat launching site and has a retired ferryboat on exhibit.

September 2022 | 77 Story and photos by Linda Henderson Replicas of Columbus' ship on Lake Dardenelle.

Lower Delta has four parks that provide lots of outdoor activities: Mississippi River State Park, Cane Creek State Park, Delta Heritage Trail State Park and Lake Chicot StateLakePark.Chicot State Park is surrounded by the longest and largest natural oxbow lake in North America. Bird watching is a favored activity for the park, which sits on one of the largest flyways for migratory waterfowl. The park has 30 miles of level driving tours along the Mississippi River Levee. The tour has opportunities for wildlife viewing, Civil War history, and views that were described by John Audubon in his journals from the early 1800s. Cane Creek State Park is located near Star City. We found the park’s staff to be exceptional. They were friendly and offered tips on enjoying the park and the surrounding area.

Delta Heritage Trail State Park is another unique park in our park system. It has 21 miles of biking/walking trails built on an old railroad dump. The trail will eventually be 85 miles long and will cross the White and Arkansas Rivers. Currently, the trail runs between Lexa and Elaine. The park’s Visitor Center has extensive railroad history and memorabilia.Itwasquite the adventure to visit all 52 Arkansas state parks. I encourage all Arkansas citizens to get out and enjoy them. Whether you choose to take the three-month “speed trip” like we did or take a more leisurely trip that requires a year or more, just get started. Visit the parks around you and then work your way through all 52.

September 2022 | 79

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In north central Arkansas is Lake Dardanelle State Park. It is surrounded by a 34,000-acre lake formed by the Arkansas River. Lake Dardanelle provides some of the best fishing and boating in Arkansas. It is known for its tournament fishing. Other recreational activities at the park include picnicking, swimming and camping. The visitor center has five large aquariums and an impressive interactive to-scale topographic model of the lake. The model illustrates how the Arkansas River, Piney Creek and the Illinois Bayou formed theOnelake.of our favorite outdoor parks was Bull Shoals White River Park. The park lies near the Arkansas-Missouri border. The park’s Visitor Center is very impressive. The 15,744-square-foot center has spectral views of the Bull Shoals Dam and the White River. The park has riverside camping, picnicking spots and swings for sunset gazing. We will return for a long weekend of camping and river activities.TheUpper Delta has five outdoor parks: Lake Charles State Park, Crowley’s Ridge State Park, Lake Frierson State Park, Lake Poinsett State Park and Village Creek State Park. These parks are built for enjoying nature. Fishing, boating, camping and golfing are available.

The park that provided us the most wildlife viewing opportunities was the Mississippi River State Park, and yes, Arkansas has a Mississippi River State Park. The day we visited, we saw deer, turkeys, a hawk, ducks, geese, butterflies and a fox. Along with all the wildlife viewing, the park offers history about the surveying of the Louisiana Purchase and boating.

Northwest Arkansas offers a unique outdoor park, Hobbs State Park. The park is a conservation area and is the largest state park. The park encompasses 12,054 acres of Ozark Forest. It is located on the southern end of Beaver Lake near Rogers. Hobbs is the only park that allows regulated hunting during hunting season. It is also popular for mountain biking and has 40 miles of trails dedicated to the sport.The


Bailey and her teammates at Arkansas State University were the 2013 Women’s Cross Country Conference Champions.

Faulkner County's Bailey Sisson Eller Accolades pursued her. At every level of her playing career, they appeared, concrete proof of her athletic achievements. Yet they did not communicate the entirety of her multi-sport prowess. Nor did box scores and statistics capture the intangible contributions she brought to every game she played. In 2010, recently retired veteran Siloam Springs Girls’ Basketball Coach Debbie Sharp argued that one word best describes the elusive but undeniable collection of qualities Bailey Sisson Eller exhibited in victory or defeat; “character” — a word that remains as meaningful today as ever.

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Such a contention is certain to elicit as much respect as “character” does. Jenna Reece (from left), Bailey, Baylor, Miley, Nathan and Cruz Eller. Becca G. Owens Photography.

It is easy to understand why she hated to end her basketball career. At 5’2”, she was usually the smallest player on the court (and more than occasionally the target of cute, clever comments about her size); the joy, success, and satisfaction that the sport brought her were irreplaceable. “Sad” was thus the word she chose to describe her feelings just hours before her final tip-off, but her commitment to Cross Country and Track at Arkansas State University (ASU) was unshakeable. Away from her studies, she limited herself to running.

An injury interrupted. As Bailey moved into what was envisioned to be another four sterling years, a stress fracture of her left leg halted her sports participation. She was not to run again until her second Jonesboro semester. Characteristically, however, she converted lemons into lemonade. She completed her baccalaureate in Communication Disorders on schedule, in 2014, while competing in three and a half years of intercollegiate Cross Country and four in Track and Field; subsequently, while enjoying her fourth season of Cross Country eligibility, she added an M.S. in Communication Disorders by late 2015. In consecutive years, Bailey earned two degrees and completed her two-sport eligibility. Not surprisingly, her Undergraduate Grade Point Average (GPA) was a near-perfect 3.9, her Graduate GPA a perfect 4.0. Nor did athletic distinction escape her. The team captaincy of the Women’s Cross Country Team of 2013 fell to her, and she was a key contributor to three teams snaring conference championships: Cross Country in 2013, the first-ever ASU team to claim that honor; Indoor Track the same year; and Outdoor Track in 2015. In a recent conversation, Dr. Jim Patchell, ASU’s Director of Track and Field, was lavish in his praise of Bailey, citing her admirable “priorities and integrity” as well as “her great conference running.”

Today Bailey is the wife of fellow ASU alum Nathan Eller, a Real Estate Broker for Haag Brown in Jonesboro, where the couple, who wed in 2013, reside with their four young children. Proud of her “faith in God,” Bailey contends that her athletic career was fueled by her desire to “work hard for God.”

Vilonia’s chemistry was, indeed, as superb during Bailey’s last two basketball seasons as her performance in the classroom was throughout her school years. A win-loss ratio of 55 to 4 merits no other adjective. In effect, her “character,” to use Coach Sharp’s label, sprang to the fore, and, when needed, Bailey’s inspiring words and calming demeanor were significant in returning composure, coherence and confidence to her teammates’ play.

Born on April 16, 1992, in a Little Rock hospital, Bailey was the third child and only daughter of Jana and Stan Sisson of Vilonia whose major priority was parenthood. With her father an Axiom employee and her mother a school nurse, she quickly revealed an interest in balls, books and running, and by Grade 6 she was committed to matters academic and athletic. By middle school, continuing to excel in the classroom, Bailey had garnered respect as a runner and in basketball, softball and volleyball. Clearly, she had prepared well for the challenges ahead.Inhigh school, she earned two varsity letters in volleyball and three in softball, for which she played on the 2007 State Championship squad before abandoning both sports. During all four of her high school years, she competed in basketball, cross country, and track and earned a mind-boggling total of 17 varsity letters, probably a school record. The honors and achievements accompanying the 17 letters were equally impressive. Membership on the 2007 State Titlewinning softball team was joined by membership on, and the captaincy of, the State’s Title-Winning Basketball Team two years later. Bailey then added the State Championship in the one-mile run in 2010. Again that year, she compiled the highest point total among female competitors at the Annual Conference Track Meet. She was an All-State selection in cross country four times, 2006-09, and once in track in 2009. In 2010, she participated in the Arkansas Girls’ Basketball AllStar Game shortly before being named to the 2009-10 state All-Tournament Team in basketball. An “All A” academic transcript, plus 4-year membership in the Beta Club and the school’s Chapter of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), accompanied her 5-sport honors to graduation in the spring of 2010. Her respect among her classmates was evident in her selection as the year’s Homecoming Queen, and in her often-applauded sports leadership, the essence of which is captured in words by Vilonia Head Girls’ Basketball Coach Alvin Riley: “Sisson’s composure helped the team when Vilonia needed to keep things from going from bad to worse in games …. She’s as good a kid as you’d ever want to be around. She does whatever she can do to help the team. I’ve never seen her get mad. She was the key to our team chemistry.”

Photo by Don Brazile

And there are places in the United States where they are popular as well such as Memphis, Tenn., and Branson, Mo.

people of Conway will be able to play with cats while sipping some cat-named concoctions with the opening of Gibson’s Cat Café in downtown Conway beginning September 24. Shelby Blacksmith and her husband, Drew Blacksmith, decided the community would benefit from a place to get a caffeine fix while interacting with up to 20 cats who will also be up for adoption. That is except for the Blackman’s own little tuxedo cat, Fonzie.

Gibson's Cat Café brings caffeine and cat adoption to Downtown Conway

The way the café, at 808 Court Street, will work is that people will come in and pay based on how much time they want to spend with the cats. They can pay $4 for 15 minutes, $6 for 30 minutes, and $8 for an hour. Monthly memberships will be offered, but prices for this are not set yet. Kids 3 and under get in free.

“He will be staying in the café full time and will be a kind of kitty concierge for the other cats,” she said. “He is named after the character on Happy Days.”

By Becky Bell

Gibson’s Cat Café menu items include the Cattuccino, which is a cappuccino, Meowcchiato for a macchiato and a Pawtee for a latte. Visitors can also just grab a coffee, which does not have a cat name but is free for the first three cups with each kitty pass.

The Blacksmith’s were able to draw inspiration from the Mochas and Meows store in Branson and the owners answered a lot of questions they had about starting their own cat café. Shelby is planning to do cat murals inside the café, along with a Rainbow Bridge mural in a general area where people can come and honor their deceased pets by putting their collar on the wall. Shelby said she asked the owners if it would be OK if she duplicated the Rainbow Bridge wall in Conway, and they said yes. The mural is available to anyone, paying customers or not, Shelby said.

Cats and Coffee sound like the most relaxing afternoonpurrfect.Andnow

Shelby Blacksmith rescued Gibson from the street during the snowstorm of 2021. She and husband, Drew, are opening Gibson’s Cat Café in Conway this month because they want to promote cat adoptions.

The idea of having a cat café started for Shelby, 26, when she traveled to Vietnam and Thailand on a mission trip. She heard about the cafés there, and although she did not get to visit due to a strict schedule, she fell in love with the idea. Shelby did research and found out these types of feline getaways have been wildly popular in Asia since the 1980s.

Hey All You Cool Cats and Coffee Lovers

Readers might wonder why the café is not named after Fonzie who will be on hand. The café is named after Shelby’s first cat, Gibson, who she found walking down the street during the huge snowstorm of 2021.

“It’s overwhelming. We have had close to 300 messages asking if we are hiring or taking volunteers,” she said. “People have been blowing up our Facebook and our Instagram. We have even had people saying they want to move back to Conway because of our café.”

The café will sell bakery items from Conway’s Blue Barn Bakery, including gluten free and vegan options.

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At aMeowcchiatotheitemsCafé,Gibson'smenuincludeCattuccino,andPawtee.

“I have always been an animal person I’ll say with cats and dogs equally, but when we rescued Gibson, he absolutely converted me into being a cat person, and they have a way of doing that,” she said. “He is just so loving, and if I’m having a bad day or I’m sad, he will curl up on me and start purring. He is very intuitive.”

Gibson arrives to survey his namesake café.

At the café, toys will be provided for play with the cats who live there–but it’s hopefully only a temporary home. Those who decide to make an adoption will receive a $90 gift basket with litter, food and toys from the nearby Neighborhood Pet Shoppe.TheBlacksmiths are excited to see what the reaction to the café is, but they have a good feeling about it so far.

Farming in Conway County has been a way of life for the Stobaugh family since 1951. The patriarch of the family, the late Audy Ray Stobaugh Sr., started farming with his wife, Edith, 96, in the Kenwood community in January of that year, purchasing 80 acres where he first raised a few cattle and grew cotton, wheat, and soybeans. The farm would later be owned by the Stobaughs’ four sons. That operation has grown over the years and is now known as the Stobaugh Brothers Farm. Today, brothers Barry Stobaugh, 69, and Robert Stobaugh, 60, and their nephew Bart Stobaugh, 44, farm 6,000 acres, where they raise soybeans, rice, and corn.

Robert (from left), Bart and Barry Stobaugh own and operate Stobaugh Brothers Farm in Kenwood. Robert and Barry are brothers and Bart is their nephew.

Photo by Mike Kemp

farmily ties

Conway County farm a top 8 finalist for Arkansas Farm Family of the Year

By Carol Rolf

The Stobaugh Brothers Farm was selected the 2022 Conway County Farm Family of the Year in May. And in July, the farm was named the Western District Farm Family of the Year and will be judged along with the other seven district farm families to determine the Arkansas Farm Family of the Year, which will be announced Dec. 8.

Bart said the Stobaugh family has been “fortunate” over the years.

The farm was operated from 1983 until 1992 by the Stobaughs’ four sons — Audy “Ray” Stobaugh Jr., Barry, Robert, and the late Bruce Stobaugh, who was killed in a farm-related accident in 1992. Bruce’s son Bart joined the farming operation as a partner after graduating from college in 2001, the same year Ray decided to retire.

“This year will mark 72 crops we have grown,” he said. “That’s a pretty good little milestone. We’ve helped feed a lot of Barrypeople.”andRobert still live in Kenwood, while Bart lives in Morrilton. They are all involved in community activities.Barryand his wife, Eva, have two daughters, Cassie Chapman and Lindsey Stobaugh. Cassie and her husband, Jeff, are the parents of Cade and Seth. Barry is active on the local Farm Bureau board and Riceland FoodsRobertboard.and his wife, Mary Ann, have two adult children, Bryan Stobaugh and Mallory Birch. Mallory is married to Chris Birch and they have a young daughter, Annie.

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“The farm’s legacy was started by their parents and grandparents, and the pride they take in carrying on the farming tradition is quite evident. They are a huge asset to our local community.”

Barry's oldest grandson, Cade Chapman, 23, works full-time on the farm and his youngest grandson, Seth Chapman, 16, helps out in the summer, as does Bart's nephew August Stobaugh, 15, who is a son of Bart’s brother, Kyle Stobaugh.

Robert said the farm was recognized with the same two honors in 2004.

“Here we are, 18 years later being recognized again,” he said. “It’s nice, especially considering how much consolidation is going on in agriculture … so many smaller farms being sold … consolidated into larger operations.”Barrynoted their parents first received the Conway County Farm Family of the Year award in 1964.

FORWARD THINKING “The Stobaughs are role models for all of agriculture, for their example of hard work and dedication to produce crops that feed America and beyond,” said Hank DeSalvo, vice president and branch manager of Farm Credit of Western Arkansas and chairman of the Conway County Farm Family of the Year Selection Committee.

“We hope to keep on farming,” said Robert, who noted they also raise about 500 acres of corn, which is sold to Tyson Foods for chicken feed. “We have the next generation learning the ropes.

“Our family has been involved in agriculture for a long time,” Barry said. “This honor was a surprise to us this year,” he said. “We go about our business and don’t think about any honors. When you farm, you do a lot of it by yourself. We meet every morning, make a plan and change that plan several times during the day. You’ve got to be flexible.”

Robert said the biggest crop acreage-wise is soybeans, planted on 4,100 acres, but the rice crop is the biggest “money-maker” per acre; they raise about 1,500 acres of rice.“We sell most of the rice to Riceland Foods in Stuttgart,” he said. “But we also grow specialty rice, such as jasmine and basmati, for local rice processor Ralston Farms.”

Robert has served on the Blackwell Fire Department since its inception in 1985, including 33 years as chief. He has served as chairman of the Conway County Fire Department board and as a member of the Farm Bureau board. On the national level, Robert served on the United Soybean board and currently serves on the National Biodiesel board. Bart and his wife, Ashley, have a 13-year-old daughter, Carter, and an 11-year-old son, Bentley. They are active volunteers in the Sacred Heart Church and School community. Bart serves as president of the church parish council, is chairman of the board for the Point Remove Reclamation Irrigation District for Conway and Pope counties, and serves on the Farm Bureau board.

“We are going to continue to do what we do,” he said. “We’ve got the next generation already working with us. We hope to continue this farming operation for a long time. It’s important to all of us.”

“Anytime you are recognized for what you do is a big deal,” Robert said about his family’s recent honors. “It’s good to know that someone thinks we’re hard at work. Farming is more than just a little part-time job.”

Photo by Mike Kemp


Recently, my team has delivered an unprecedented level of economic aid to small businesses impacted by the pandemic. With help from our partners through programs like Paycheck Protection, Restaurant Revitalization, Shuttered Venues, and COVID EIDL, we delivered more than $10 billion in assistance directly to small businesses and nonprofits in the state of Arkansas. Additionally through our traditional SBA loan programs, we’ve provided $100 million in fiscal year 2021 to small businesses, and we have seen tremendous growth to over $160 million through the third quarter in fiscal year 2022. Most recently, we were named as one of the top five states in the country for 7(a) lending growth since 2020. Most importantly to me, we’ve been true to the mission of SBA and put a significant focus on lending into our underserved and minority communities. Through doing this, we’ve elevated access to capital for the 240,000+ Arkansas small businesses, and we continue to find new ways to meet entrepreneurs where they’re at to help them achieve the dream of business ownership.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE YOUR FIELD: I would say there were a few instances that put me on this path. Growing up in rural Arkansas, we didn’t have a lot. That really helped shape my interest in financial literacy. For most of my high school years, I saw my parents struggle as smallbusiness owners and saw their industry die from technology developments. I thought those experiences would keep me from entrepreneurship, but eventually a few friends and I launched a small retail company shortly before the 2007 financial crisis. We utilized SBA resource partners to help review the business plan and worked almost three years to keep it open. I learned so much in the process and was so passionate about helping people that wanted to share my experiences. I ended up exiting the military in late 2009 and ultimately finding the SBA role in the Newark, N.J., office in 2011. The mission of the SBA is unique. It’s the only agency created solely to assist small businesses. This role allows me to blend my knowledge of government procurement, business finance, and social service all together to help real people achieve economic mobility through entrepreneurship.

FAMILY: Depends on the day! I am married to my wonderful partner of 12 years, Trevor, which is the stable part. Over the past few years as foster parents, we are blessed with getting to know, support and care for children who are experiencing challenging times in their lives.

WORK: District director for the U.S. Small Business Administration Arkansas District Office. I have been with SBA since January of 2011 and been with the federal government for 23 years.

District Director for the U.S. Small Business Administration Arkansas District Office

86 | 501 LIFE September 2022

EDUCATION: I have an MBA from Rutgers University and an undergraduate degree from John Brown University.

COMMUNITY ACTIVITIES: I have been a mentor with the Big Brothers program since 2006 and a Rotarian of Club 99 in Little Rock. I currently serve as a commissioner on the Little Rock Sister Cities Commission. OF THE




September 2022 | 87 Left to Right: Ronak Soni, MD, Don Steely, MD, Rimsha Hasan, MD, and Yalcin Hacioglu, MD of Conway Regional Cardiovascular Clinic A Growing Health System for a Growing Community Expanded Access Innovative Services New Medical OfficesMore Specialists We’re not just growing—we’re growing together. At Conway Regional Cardiovascular Clinic, our highly-skilled group of interventional cardiologists and emergency department physicians have one of the state's best door-to-balloon times for providing emergency heart care. To schedule an appointment with the Conway Regional Cardiovascular Clinic, call 501-358-6905 or visit to learn more. All Your Heart Needs, All in One Place

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