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Reflecting the Character of the Arkansas River Valley December 2013


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Russellville School District Providing the BEST for Every Child

Science, Technology, Engineering, & Mathematics (STEM) RSD is committed to making sure our students have the opportunity to excel in areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics before they reach college and the workplace. Students can participate in: • Science curriculum beginning in Kindergarten • Engineering and robotics courses beginning in junior high • The first biomedical program in Arkansas and the sixth such program in the nation. • 14 STEM courses

The Arts RSD believes fine arts programs play an important role in the overall success of a student. By participating in the fine arts programs at RSD, students are learning skills that will continue to assist them in the classroom, throughout college, and in their future careers. Students can participate in: • Theater productions • Choir and band concerts • Oakland Heights Elementary STEPS dance program • Student Talent Shows • Fine arts classes • AP Music Theory classes

College & Career Preparedness

Co-Curricular & Extracurricular Activities

RSD provides opportunities for students to excel in classes that prepare them for their future, whether that future includes a college degree or career technical training.

RSD believes that students should also have the opportunity to participate in a variety of cocurricular and extracurricular activities in addition to their academic courses.

Students can participate in: • 30 hours of concurrent college credit • A variety of Pre-AP and AP classes • Environmental and Spatial Technology (EAST) classes beginning in junior high • Gifted and Talented (GT) programs beginning at the elementary level

Students can participate in: • A variety of clubs and organizations, including Forensics, Outdoor Club, and Science National Honor Society • Choir and band • 12 athletic programs

RSD believes that students must be exposed to a wide variety of learning experiences, a firm grounding in the basics, and courses and educational opportunities that encourage them to be creative and adaptable. At RSD, this is accomplished with innovative science, technology, engineering, and mathematics programs, a commitment to the creative arts, preparation for college and career, and a well-rounded instructional program in all academic areas. 220 West 10th Street n Russellville, AR. 72801 n 479.968.1306 n

December 2013 8 A Step Back in Time

Open the door to Herbert Horn’s Clock and Watch Shop in downtown Danville and you are immediately enveloped by the sound of hundreds of ticking clocks. It’s a gentle and busy hum.

12 ABOUT...Family



Grandpa Earl


Dr. Finley Turner Retires




Oh Christmas Tree!

For many students at Crawford Elementary School in Russellville, the first person they see when arriving at school in the morning is not one of a fellow classmate or teacher. It is the kind, smiling face of Earl Steen, also known to many students as “Grandpa Earl.”

34 The Prince and the Sugarplum Fairy



As visions of sugarplums danced in her head, Ashley Miller Davis dreamed of a way to showcase all of the local dancers in the River Valley.


On a Personal Note

Don’t Miss Another Issue! Send $20 check or money order for a One-Year Subscription (10 Issues) to ABOUT Magazine P.O. Box 10176 Russellville, AR 72812 Or subscribe online at Call 479.857.6791 for more information 4 ABOUT | December 2013

805 East Parkway Dr. Russellville, AR 72801 479.967.7833 1134 S. Rogers Clarksville, AR 72830 479.754.1120

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The Editor’s Notebook


the River Valley

The Smell of Christmas Past

A Publication of Silver Platter Productions, Inc Vol. VIII, Issue 10 – December 2013 Owner/Publisher: Nolan Edwards

There is only one thing, one little thing that can take me back to Christmas past with a simple whiff. It doesn’t matter when I smell it, doesn’t matter where I smell it, when that scent hits the olfactory receptors my brain registers Christmas. It’s the spicy green smell of cedar that does this for me. This Pavlovian response can be traced back to the time when an artificial Christmas tree was something that other folks had. I had seen them, of course, but like telephones and airconditioning (we got a telephone when I was seven or eight and AC when I was 15) they were something I couldn’t understand the need for. Potential Christmas trees were everywhere. We had three of them growing in our front yard and could choose from a hundred or more on the land behind my grandparent’s house. Why the heck would anyone buy a fake tree? For the record, I’m all for the air-conditioning, but still mulling over the benefits of having a phone. We always had a real tree, and Mom and Dad had a real tree after I left home too. I don’t even remember any grumbling about the mess from falling cedar leaves, except from me when I was told to run the vacuum. A Christmas tree was always a live tree in our home. That tradition carried over to the first Christmas Christine and I spent as a married couple. We walked through the woods behind our house, searching for the perfect symbol of the holidays. And we found it; full and green …and tall. Very tall. Our eyes were bigger than our living room, because fitting that tree into the cramped single-wide trailer was a chore. I think I ended up trimming a good foot off the bottom and the tree still scraped the ceiling. It’s boughs took up a third of our living space. I distinctly remember peering through some branches to watch T.V. while sitting in the corner of the couch. Since then, we got tired of the hassle and purchased an artificial tree. It already had lights and it went up kind of like putting a piece of furniture together -- we still have the instructions and use them every time. But the older I get the more I see value in the simple chores of the past. I have access to land that is covered with cedar trees, many just the right size. A crispy winter afternoon hike through the woods with hatchet in hand and a few cleanings with the vacuum seem a small price to pay for a bit of nostalgia. I think I’ll go sharpen that hatchet right now. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all our friends in the River Valley and beyond!

DIANNE EDWARDS | founding editor NOLAN EDWARDS | publisher JOHNNY SAIN | managing editor BENITA DREW | advertising LYDIA ZIMMERMAN | advertising/columnist KECHIA BENTLEY | columnist CONNIE LAS SCHNEIDER | freelance MEREDITH MARTIN-MOATS | freelance STEVE NEWBY | photography CLIFF THOMAS | illustrator CHRIS ZIMMERMAN | layout/design

ABOUT… the River Valley is locally owned and published for distribution by direct mail and targeted delivery to those interested in the Arkansas River Valley. Material contained in this issue may not be copied or reproduced without written consent. Inquiries may be made by calling (479) 857-6791. Office: 220 East 4th Street Email: Postmaster: Please send address changes to: SPPI, P.O. Box 10176, Russellville AR 72812.

Johnny Sain, Editor 479.857.6791





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6 ABOUT | December 2013


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about | December 2013 Calendar of Events Dec. 1 – Exhibit Opening Reception for Young Arkansas Artists 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. River Valley Arts Center 1001 East B Street. Contact 968-2452 Dec. 2 – Newsong with Audio Adrenaline concert The Center for the Arts 2209 South Knoxville. Contact 498-6600 Dec. 5 – 2013 Russellville Christmas Parade 6:30 p.m. South Arkansas & 10th to West Main & El Paso. Contact 968-1272 Dec. 6 – Feast of Carols 7:00 p.m. The Center for the Arts 2209 South Knoxville. Contact 498-6600

Dec. 7 – Breakfast with Santa 8:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Knights of Columbus 990 SR 247. Contact 567-3920















Dec. 7 – Winter at the Lake “A celebration of our natural wonders” 9:00 AM Lake Dardanelle State Park 100 State Park Drive. Contact 967-5516





























Dec. 7 - Trout Day 2013 9 a.m. to noon Pleasant View Park. Contact 968-1272 Dec. 13 – The Nutcracker 2013 7 p.m. The Center for the Arts 2209 South Knoxville. Contact 498-6600

Dec. 6 – Art Walk 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Downtown Russellville. Contact 967-1437

Dec. 14 – The Nutcracker 2013 7 p.m. The Center for the Arts 2209 South Knoxville. Contact 498-6600

Dec. 7 – River Valley “Toy Run” Parade 11:15 a.m. 3005 West Parkway to 3011 East Parkway. Contact 857-2108

Dec. 15 – The Nutcracker 2013 2 p.m. The Center for the Arts 2209 South Knoxville. Contact 498-6600

Dec. 24 – Forget Me Not’s Alzheimer’s Support Group 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Saint Mary’s Regional Medical Center Cafe 2. Contact 498-2050 Feb 1, 2014 - "Savor the Symphony" at LakePoint Conference Center. The Russellville Symphony Guild fund-raiser event. Contact Judy Murphy for tickets at (479) 967-1177.

*Unless otherwise indicated, all area codes are 479. To have your event included in the ABOUT Calendar of Events, email: or fax to (866) 757-3282. Deadline is the 15th of the month preceding publication.

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DOWNTOWN: 104 North Denver | Russellville, AR 72801 | Phone: (479) 967-0420 | December 2013 | ABOUT 7

A STEP BACK IN TIME Story by Meredith Martin-Moats | Photos by Steve Newby

Open the door to Herbert Horn’s Clock and Watch Shop in downtown Danville and you are immediately enveloped by the sound of hundreds of ticking clocks. It’s a gentle and busy hum. “Everyone talks about the sound of the clocks here,” he laughs. “And I was never aware of it until I’d be off of work and call in on the telephone. What I heard on the other end really surprised me,” he smiles. It’s much like standing near a beehive, layers of ticking interrupted only by resonating bell tones as each clock chimes every quarter hour. The shop is tucked away next to a law office and an El Salvadorian restaurant. It’s narrow and cozy -- the floor blanketed with maroon carpet, the walls a simple off-white. In this town of about 2,000 people, Mr. Horn’s shop is one of few downtown businesses still in operation. “I opened this shop in 1972,” he explains, “right after I retired from the military.” It was Horn’s father who built this structure in the 1940s while working as a carpenter for local businessman, Perry Wiseman. Originally created for Shepherd’s Jewelers, the business operated a branch in the small downtown for decades. Everything from the dimensions, to the showcase windows, to the work desk made it a perfect fit for Horn’s needs. “I didn’t even have to change the signs when I moved in,” he laughs. Horn’s father was born near Paris; his mother was born near Waltreak. They later settled in Danville, arriving by covered wagon when Herbert was only eighteen month old. Some years later, his dad found carpentry work for a ship building company on the Texas coast. But by the time Herbert was eleven-years-old the family was back in Danville. “Population wise the town was smaller then,” explains Horn, recalling his boyhood in the community. “But we had a thriving little town. All the buildings were occupied—grocery stores and restaurants and dry goods stores. You name it, we had it up and down the street. It had that old country-like feel; everyone came to

8 ABOUT | December 2013

town and walked the sidewalks. It’s changed a lot,” he adds. Even as early as 1972, when Horn returned and took over the vacant building, the downtown was largely empty, he says. As a young man Horn worked at the former Past Time Theatre in Danville as the motion picture projectionist. Later, he worked at the Yell County Record maintaining their presses and linotype machines. “All my life I have enjoyed working with anything small,” he explains. Over the years he’s tinkered with typewriters, cameras, TVs, radios and household appliances of all varieties. “If I could take it apart, see how it came apart, I could get it together,” he says. After high school he joined the Air Force where he worked in communications and became a high-speed CW operator reading Morse code. Later he retrained into the photo interpretation program and was sent to Vietnam where he learned to read and assess aerial photographs. But he always knew he needed to learn a trade that would earn a living after his military days ended. “The only place I could go to work is with the intelligence system in D.C., and that wasn’t for me,” he explains. So he started taking correspondence courses in watch repair, completing one course after another and building his skill set. “I pulled a tour in Pakistan where the base commander asked me to bring all my tools and he turned over the base exchange watch repair concession to me,” Horn laughs, recalling the myriad of off-duty watch repair work he’s done around the world. “I just did this on my spare time all the way through the service.”

December 2013 | ABOUT 9

“So I got out and opened this place. And I’ve been here 42 years doing watch and clock repair both.” Watch and clock repair is meticulous work, requiring an immense amount of grit and an acute attention to details. “Patience is mostly what it is,” he explains. Horn walks behind his work desk to pull out a small sampling of pocket watch tools, including one about a ½ millimeter wide. “Now these are big tools to me,” he laughs. Using such tiny equipment requires magnifying headgear and a willingness to delve into the minutia, exploring what could be wrong with any one of the watches’ one hundred plus moving parts. “People come in and tell me what is wrong,” he explains. “Turns out ninety-percent of the time that is not what the trouble is,” he says, noting that for most people the inner working of their timepieces are a complete mystery. “They just hand you the watch or clock and say it’s not running,” he laughs. “Diagnosing this thing is kind of like an old doctor working on you. He’s got

Horn has worked on mechanical watches of all varieties and brands but says in the end they’re all similar. “Some people buy these thirty-thousand dollar Rolex and think there is nothing better than that,” he says. “But it’s just another watch to me. I don’t differentiate between the two. Rolex or Timex, what’s the difference? They’re just supposed to maintain time,” he says, smiling. As we continue our visit an older man comes in the door and the two talk about the weather while the man takes off his watch and lays it down on the counter,

“First one I put in it took me eight hours to do it. Now, on average, it takes fifteen minutes!” At the end of his twenty-year military career he signed on to something called “Project Transition,” completing a civilian-based internship. For the last six months of his time in the air force he worked at a clock shop in Austin, Texas learning the ins and outs of mechanical clock repair. Up until that point all his classes had been in watch repair, and he believed diversifying his skills was an asset. But the man in charge of the training assured Horn that he’d have to choose between the two. “You can’t go in the business and do clocks and watches,” the man advised. Laughing as he tells the story, Horn cuts his eyes around the shop.

10 ABOUT | December 2013

to look it over real good and decide what is bad and what is good.” “It was very difficult at first,” he explains, as he speaks of the days spent learning his craft. “For example, I was showing you those balance staffs,” he explains, talking about one of the watch’s many moving parts. “First one I put in it took me eight hours to do it. Now, on average, it takes fifteen minutes,” he laughs. “People wonder how I can do it; they’ll tell me their hands shake too much,” he says, holding out his own hands as an example. “I shake, too. It’s just a matter of training. You get to where you can control it,” he adds.

asking if Mr. Horn can adjust the calendar function to the correct date. Within seconds Horn addresses the problem and hands the watch back to the customer. “What do I owe you?” the man asks, adjusting the watch on his arm. “You don’t owe me anything,” Horn insists.” The man tries to pay him again, but Horn refuses while teasing, “Wait till it breaks and then I’ll get you.” Horn’s store is a rare breed these days. “This is a worn out field anymore. There’s very few of us that do it,” he says. “The ones that do it now are usually employed by the big watch companies to do their warranty repair and their servicing,” he explains. Still,

the shop keeps him busy and he offers his services at affordable prices. He’s open five days a week, and just since this morning he’s repaired four watches that were mailed in from Little Rock. He points to a stack of packages. “As you can see I have clocks lined up against the wall I haven’t gotten to yet. I get work from all over.” Horn’s shop is also home to small collection of antique clocks for sale, many of which he finds on Ebay and then repairs. The oldest one currently in stock is about 120 years old. A selection of modern pocket watches catch the light inside a display case and a row of antique pocket watches dating from 1905-1942 hide behind the counter. The newest of these is what he calls a “railroad watch.” It was given that name, he explains, because of the “number of jewels and the amount of factory finishing they did for accuracy.” But these days people mostly buy electronics, he says. And electronic watches aren’t meant to be repaired. “There’s nothing you can do for the electronics but to replace them,” he explains. “They’re nothing but a miniature computer sealed in a little capsule.” He walks behind the counter toward a cabinet. “I’ll show you why we old watch makers can’t repair electronic watches,” he says, opening up one of the many drawers filled with tiny parts. He pulls out a watch movement for a modern timepiece. “See that thing is all plastic, and it’s held together by these little metal strips. They’re put on there and the plastic is melted over it to keep it together,” he explains, tapping the watch with a tiny pair of tweezers. There’s no fixing a broken movement on an electronic watch. It just goes in the trash. “Still they’re dirt cheap,” he adds. “I can replace the whole movement for fifteen dollars.”

Horn says it’s sad to see all the old shops close. But while the shops may be dying out, and the supply companies going out of business, the craft remains alive in the hands of a few individuals. Horn belongs to the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors. Instead of opening up shops, members tend to operate out of their homes. (In the organization’s most recent newsletter he noticed a man from Russellville had recently joined). And even though Horn prefers the problem solving and the intricacy of mechanical watches, he finds plenty of work in the world of electronic watches. A few minutes later another customer comes in. She and Mr. Horn exchange hellos as she walks to the counter. She carries a small bag filled with 15 electronic watches. They’re her daughters, and the

batteries aren’t running. She asks if he can replace them. He lays them out on the table, a diverse collection of colors and shapes. He says he can have them all running in about an hour, and she makes a plan to return after lunch. We’re finishing up our visit when the noon hour strikes and the store full of clocks begin their mid-day chiming. Unlike digital devices, each mechanical clock has a life of its own, filling the room with ringing bells chiming in dizzying succession. Together they create a cacophonous sound that is disorienting as well as beautiful. Spending his days with them, Mr. Horn knows the sound each clock makes, and points to one of the older mantle clocks on the wall. “I think this is the prettiest one,” he says, reaching his hand in to set the clock back a few minutes so we can hear it chime again. n

December 2013 | ABOUT 11

about | family

Story by Kechia Bentley

Scrooge in Branson

Nobody likes to be a Scrooge at this time of year, but in the interest of public service, I must take on this onerous role. Is anybody, besides me, impressed that I used the word “onerous”? For those of you who have no idea what that word means, let me make you feel a little better by admitting I did double check its meaning right after I typed it. I was correct. It means burdensome, heavy, and difficult. Anyway, back to being Scrooge. My family and I have been going to Branson, more specifically Silver Dollar City, at Christmas time for the last 20 years. It is a surefire way to get into the Christmas Spirit. Usually our group would include about eight to ten adults and 100 children. Yes, I am exaggerating! It was only about 14 kids, but by the time we left Silver Dollar City it felt like we had been herding 100. I learned something early on during these annual trips: my three boys do not like shows that involve singing and dancing. Guess what their momma likes: shows that involve singing and dancing. When I would mention that we were going to sit through the featured show, my three boys would act like I had just signed them up to have their arms sawed off in front of a live audience. Yes, I would still attempt to force them to sit through the show, but I soon learned it was not worth the effort. And it sure didn’t help that the other children in our group actually liked the show and behaved themselves through every single song. Then one day, many years later, it happened. My husband and I went to Branson at Christmas time with no children in tow. It was a bittersweet trip, but I would finally attend a Christmas Show with no drama, or at least that was my plan. Now remember this is an adult’s only weekend with my husband. We are planning to stay somewhere nice, have nice dinners, 12 ABOUT | December 2013

and see a nice show. I discussed all these details with my sister, and she recommends we go see Dixie Stampede. Warning: I am now turning into Scrooge. For those of you like my sister who have seen the Dixie Stampede Christmas show and loved it let me apologize now. I am not questioning your taste in dinning or entertainment (well maybe a little) but asking for your understanding of my perspective. I also feel a pressing need to serve the public by pointing out a few details of this show that, if my sister had shared, would have prevented my trip through the twilight zone. My husband and I show up at the show dressed in proper “show attire.” And by that I mean he is in a dress shirt and slacks; I am in a dressy pants suit and heels. I should have figured something was wrong as I watched others walking in wearing overalls, ball caps, and t-shirts. I also should have clued in that this show was going to have a lot to do with horses as we walked by all the stalls full of beautiful, majestic horses. And you know, the use of the word Stampede in the show’s title was also a pretty fair warning. We enter the pre-show staging area and I begin to realize this is not the song-and-dance Christmas dinner show I was expecting. This is going to be a “cowboy show.” Now, don’t get me wrong; I like cowboys, cowboy boots and horses. But I must say this was not the cruise I had signed up for. I was looking for something a little more sophisticated for my first “real” show in Branson. We were finally instructed to enter the arena and take our seats. Oh, if it had only been a seat! It was a bench and they packed us in like a can of sardines. The elderly gentleman next to me was having more bodily contact with me than my husband had received in the last 24 hours. My husband

Illustration by Cliff Thomas

was also sitting next to a man, a very large man, with whom he was also having way too much bodily contact. Awkward did not begin to cover how we felt. Very soon several young men began running down the little isle directly in front of us, quickly ladling soup into a plastic cup from a bucket they carried on their arm. I began to look for silverware with which to eat my soup as I noticed the gentleman next to me begin to drink the soup right from the cup. Are you kidding me? No silverware? My sister had somehow failed to mention that you eat all your food with your fingers. Please remember I am dressed for a nice dinner. To say my circuits were blowing is an understatement. My sweet husband looks over at me and he must have noticed my dumbfounded state of shock because he gently and quietly asked me, “Are you going to be OK?” All I could do was nod in the affirmative as my brain tried to process the night I thought I was going to have with the events unfolding in front of me. As the next round of food was hastily plopped on my plate from several buckets I became speechless. And folks that never happens! This was definitely going to be a night I would never forget. And one I would never repeat. So here is my public service announcement: If you love to watch horses perform tricks, you like to scream and yell so your side can win the flag, and you like to drink your soup and eat all your food with your fingers this is your show. If that is not the show you are looking for then beware because you could walk out a Scrooge – all be it an in shock Scrooge – who immediately calls her sister and exclaims, “I had to eat with my fingers!” Merry Christmas! n





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December 2013 | ABOUT 13

Story by Tanner Ott Photos by Tanner Ott and Johnny Sain

For many students at Crawford Elementary School in Russellville, the first person they see when arriving at school in the morning is not one of a fellow classmate or teacher. It is the kind, smiling face of Earl Steen, also known to many students as “Grandpa Earl.” Opening car doors is one of Grandpa Earl’s many duties during his Tuesday visits to Crawford Elementary School, where he has volunteered for the last 17 years. But Earl, now 75, comes from an interesting background as his life’s journey led him to Russellville. Earl was born in a Civil War era log cabin in the community of Dongola, which is located west of Marshall along highway 74 in western Searcy County. He moved to Phoenix, Arizona as a young child. There, Earl spent his school years and joined the Navy after his high school graduation. His tenure in the Navy lasted 20 years, most of which he spent as an electronics technician. Earl made a number of voyages across the Pacific Ocean including four trips to Vietnam for six to seven months each time. After leaving the Navy in 1976, Earl moved to Russellville and began work at Arkansas Nuclear One. Earl retired from ANO in 1996, and it was not long before he began volunteering at schools in the River Valley. “I was contacted in 1996 by Crawford Vice-Principal Faye Westerman to come talk to a boy. I came and saw him several times, and it grew from that as they kept adding more people,” Earl said. “I told her that I didn’t know if I was patient enough to deal with kids, but she encouraged me to try.” Throughout the past 17 years, Grandpa Earl, Mr. Earl or Mr. Steen has helped at Atkins, Pottsville, Center Valley and Sequoyah in addition to Crawford Elementary. Earl began volunteering at Atkins because his grandchildren attended there, and after one moved to Pottsville, he began work there too. Earl’s title of Grandpa Earl came from a kindergarten teacher. “Once she called me that, all of the kids caught on, and they all call me that now,” Earl said. “It’s fun to hear kids come up to me, whether it is at school or anywhere else and call me Grandpa Earl.”

14 ABOUT | December 2013

Earl’s duties on an average day begin around 7:20 each morning as students begin to arrive. Earl said this part of the job is one of his favorites as he greets each child arriving by car with a friendly smile. “It feels good to see the kids smile when I open the car door for them. It makes them happy to be there, and a kid’s smile is one reward I enjoy the most,” Earl said. After the school day begins, Earl visits various classrooms and selects one or two students to work with. Earl assists the students with subjects such as reading, spelling and math. “There are times when a student needs help catching up on a certain subject, and I can step in and help him. It helps the teacher out to have me catch him up,” Earl said. Earl added that the students love the time they get to spend with him. “I really try to encourage the kids,” Earl said. “I can give them one-on-one attention and just talk to them. Kids love having that attention. Most teachers have 15 to 20 students in their class, and there is just not much chance for one-on-one time,” Earl said. “That is where volunteers like me can come in and give those students time and attention, which is something they really need.” Earl admitted that there can be challenges with some students, but it usually involves getting to know them and building trust. That issue is usually solved as Earl’s gentle appearance and caring smile ease the tensions of the child. As lunchtime approaches, Earl heads to the cafeteria to help students make their way through the lunch line. “I love getting to eat lunch with them,” Earl said. “They all want me to sit and eat with them. They think that’s great.” Earl spends the rest of the day roaming around classrooms and spending time with kids. He said that teachers appreciate the help he offers. “Lots of teachers and parents have thanked me for my time. They appreciate me being there,” Earl said.

Even though Earl loves having the kids recognize him for his service, sometime he makes an appearance as a different character. “One year I wore a Santa Claus suit while opening car doors. That got some surprised reactions from the kids,” Earl said. “Last year I dressed up as Santa for a Parent Teacher Organization meeting and more than 100 kids took pictures.” One of the greatest rewards from helping the kids is seeing and talking to them later on in life, Earl said. “There are kids who I helped that have graduated college now. I know one boy who has entered the Marines and several others who have been successful,” Earl said. “Even though I might not recognize them at first, they are excited to come up and talk to Grandpa Earl. Seeing them later and having them remember spending time with me is a really nice reward.” Earl added that he hopes to keep helping as long as he can physically do so. He admits to difficulty in hearing a student’s voice sometimes, but they usually communicate well. “I want to help as long as I can still go,” Earl said. “Those kids keep me going. I think that it is really important to stay active after retirement. There is a lot to do. Don’t just sit in a recliner; keep your legs and head at work,” Earl said. “It’s been a great life since retirement for me. Me and my wife stay busy, and our weeks go by fast. You don’t have to look for long for stuff to do because it will find you.” Earl stressed the importance of volunteers at schools. “More people need to volunteer at our schools. I think people need to get involved at school even if you don’t have kids there. My kids are grown up and gone, but I still enjoy helping out everyone there,” Earl said. “I think it’s especially important for parents with kids in school to come help. They do not interfere with teachers, and they appreciate the help. It gets them more acquainted with the school and lets them spend time with their kids,” Earl said.

Earl also added that schools need more men to volunteer. “Male influence is lacking with so many female teachers at our schools. Our kids need both of those influences, and having more men volunteer would help that balance,” Earl said. “Even coming to eat lunch with your kids or grandkids is a great way to help. There are so many different ways volunteers can help out,” Earl said. “I just want to tell people that they need to be aware of what is going on.” Another important aspect of volunteering Earl said is having the opportunity to invite the children to his church. Earl, who is a faithful member of First Free Will Baptist Church, said that there are several kids he works with that also attend his church. “I love seeing kids tell me that I go to their church. It’s not that they attend my church, but that I go to theirs,” Earl said. “Even though I know I cannot preach, I like to let them know that I am a Christian. I think that is really important. In the past I have went around and picked up seven or eight kids to bring to church on Wednesday nights. It is a great chance to introduce them to church and gives their parents peace of mind to know they are in good hands,” Earl said. Earl added that he is just one of several volunteers from First Free Will Baptist who help out at Crawford. “I am there only on Tuesdays, but we have someone who helps out with car doors every day of the week,” Earl said. “Our church is helpful in several different ways, and it makes a better connection with the church and school.” What began with helping one child in 1996 has grown into a passion for Earl. All of the memories and interactions he has had with the kids make the time he spent well worth it, Earl said. “The happy times I remember so well are special,” Earl said. “I have a lot of with the kids, and the teachers definitely appreciate that.” n

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Trout Day 2013

The CADDIS Fly Fishing Club, the Russellville Recreation and Parks Department, and the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGFC) are again collaborating to bring seasonal trout fishing to Russellville. The AGFC will stock Pleasant View Park pond with 1,200 Rainbow Trout, and TROUT DAY 2013  will be held on Saturday, December 7, 2013 from 9:00 a.m. to noon. This will be an opportunity for folks of all ages to “Catch a Limit of Trout in Russellville.” The AGFC Family and Community Fishing Program has brought urban trout fishing to more than 20 communities around the State and it has been tremendously successful. Hundreds of adult “catchable” trout will be stocked. “We hope that novice and seasoned fisher-persons will take advantage of this convenient opportunity to catch trout in Russellville”, said Dave Snellings, Project Leader for the CADDIS Fly Fishing Club.  Both bait fishing and fly fishing will be available and bait will be provided. Ben Batten, Program Coordinator for the AGFC’s Family and Community Fishing Program announced that a “Basic Trout Fishing Clinic” has been scheduled for  Tuesday, December 3, 2013 from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Hughes Center in conjunction with Trout Day 2013. The clinic is free and we will be giving a certificate for a free rod and reel to each of the first 50 kids who are 15 years or younger who attend the clinic. Each child must bring this certificate to Trout Day  on Saturday  in order to receive their brand new rod and reel combo. The Family and Community Fishing program is an effort by the AGFC to provide families and children the opportunity to catch trout and enjoy a fun and exciting day of fishing.  “This annual event in Russellville has continued to be one of the best events we do anywhere in the state. I really look forward to spending time with old friends and meeting new ones every year.  This year we are providing more fish than we have been able to in the past, so chances of catching trout should be very high,” Batten said.  “Please bring your own fishing gear and we will provide the bait.” A fishing license and trout permit (stamp) is required for persons 16 years of age or older and all trout regulations will be enforced. The limit of 5 Rainbow Trout will apply for this trout fishing event. Grant Ehren, President of the CADDIS Fly Fishing Club, said that “Members of our Club will be on hand to help those folks who would like to try fly fishing for trout.  Bring your fly rod if you have one.” Snellings added, “We hope the community really enjoys Trout Day and we are very fortunate to be able to co-sponsor it with Russellville Recreation and Parks Department and the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. For more information, call the Hughes Center at 479-968-1272. 16 ABOUT | December 2013


Dec. 5th – Community Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony & Russellville Christmas Parade Before the start of the Russellville Christmas Parade Santa will light the Community Christmas Tree during the ceremony that takes place at 6:00 pm on the green in front of Arvest Bank’s downtown branch. The Community Festival Chorale, a performance group of the Arkansas Center for Music Education under the direction of Shirley Faulkner, will perform carols by candlelight prior to the start of the parade. The parade officially begins at 6:30 p.m. as it leaves the old Gardner Junior High building and winds down Main Street. Historically, Russellville has one of the largest Christmas parades in the state with lighted floats and entries that feature groups from all across our community and ends with that jolly old elf, Santa!. Many downtown merchants will be open during the parade and offering hot chocolate and goodies. ------------------------------------------------Dec. 6th – Downtown Art Walk & Holiday Open House Stroll Russellville Downtown for a magical evening featuring local artists and crafts people featuring items suitable for your holiday gift giving at more than 15 locations. The Downtown Art Walks always feature local artists musicians and refreshments unique art, live music, and refreshments, but strolling carolers and visits with Santa at the Depot from 6:00 to 7:30 make a wonderful holiday memory. Many of the participating businesses will have in-store specials for your shopping convenience as well. ------------------------------------------------Dec. 7th –Festival of Trees Each year the Russellville Kiwanis Club invites area children’s groups to decorate live lighted Christmas trees at Depot Park. Refreshments and surprise visits from Santa entertain the children while the trees are judged by local dignitaries. The event takes place from 9 to 11 a.m. ------------------------------------------------Dec. 13th – Holiday Sip & Shop in Russellville Downtown A number of downtown merchants will be open extended hours from 5:00 to 8:00 pm with special discounts on great holiday

gifts. Participating business will provide an array of sipping opportunities to make your evening even more enjoyable! ------------------------------------------------Dec. 19th – Men’s Night Out This new retail event is geared toward those guys that postpone their Christmas shopping until the last minute! Many stores will be open from 5 to 8 p.m. with helpful “wish lists” that the ladies have filled out leading up to this event, providing for foolproof purchases that can be gift wrapped in-store and ready to go under the Christmas tree! Guys can shop from 5:00 to 8:00 pm to make those gift purchases for their special someone and even enjoy a grilled hamburger or hot dog at many locations! ------------------------------------------------Dec. 21-23 – Living Nativity Scene Pause to reflect on the true meaning of Christmas with family and friends at the Living Nativity from 7 to 9 p.m. on the green at Arvest Bank’s downtown branch. Each holiday season Russellville’s First Baptist Church presents this moving reenactment of the birth of Jesus.


Aubrey Holt, director of student life at Arkansas Tech University, received the 2013 Southern Association for College Student Affairs New Professional Award during a conference earlier this month in Norfolk, Va. An Arkansas Tech alumna with a Bachelor of Arts degree in broadcast journalism, Holt also holds a Master of Arts degree with an emphasis in student affairs and higher education from Western Kentucky University.

knowledge and work ethic have helped to establish our department with both the students and faculty at our institution.” According to its web site, the Southern Association for College Student Affairs (SACSA) is an independent, regional, and generalist association designed for the professional development of practitioners, educators, and students engaged in the student affairs profession. Nominees for the SACSA New Professional Award must have no more than five years of full-time experience in student affairs, demonstrated service to the profession, promise shown for becoming a leader in the field, outstanding character and potential role model stature for other new professionals.

ARKANSAS TECH POINSETTIA SALE SCHEDULED FOR DEC. 5-6 Holt has worked in the Arkansas Tech Office of Student Services since June 2011. In her current role as director of student life, she oversees leadership programs, civic engagement, student organizations, the GOLD Cabinet, co-curricular experience programs, Homecoming and spirit squads. “When talking about someone’s service to the profession, I feel that it is important to look at what a professional is doing on his or her own campus,” said Kevin Solomon, associate dean for campus life at Arkansas Tech. “Aubrey’s impact at our university was noticed within her first few months on the job, and shows no sign of slowing up. Her professionalism, care for students, willingness to be a change agent,

The Arkansas Tech University Department of Agriculture will host its annual poinsettia sale on Thursday, Dec. 5, and Friday, Dec. 6. The Arkansas Tech Greenhouses will be open from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. both days of the sale. The greenhouses are located on the north end of the Tech campus. Signs will direct shoppers to the greenhouses on the days of the sale. “Along with our usual reds and pinks, we also have several newer cultivars such as the speckled jingle bells and the winter rose,” said Dr. Jim Collins, professor of agriculture at Arkansas Tech. “This year we’ll once again have painted and glittered plants — turquoise, fuchsia, lilac and dark rose. This crop is totally grown by our upper level floriculture class.” >>

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Collins is in his 31st year overseeing the poinsettia sale. All proceeds will be re-invested in greenhouse plants and supplies for students in the Arkansas Tech Department of Agriculture. For more information, call (479) 968-0251.

There will be Christmas arts and crafts to make and take home, as well as light refreshments. The event will conclude at 4 p.m. All activities will take place at the park’s historic Mather Lodge. This Christmas Open House is free and open to the public. For more information, contact the park at petitjean@arkansas. com or by phone at (501) 727-5441. For information about lodge and cabin reservations, you may contact Mather Lodge at (501) 727-5431, or call 1-800264-2462.



The public is invited to come and see Petit Jean State Park’s Mather Lodge dressed in its Christmas finery on Saturday, December 7, 2013. The park’s Annual Christmas Open House will begin at 2 p.m. with the Petit Jean Community Choir performing festive holiday songs. Following the choir performance, a special appearance will be made by Santa Claus!

Holiday Events

DECEMBER 5 : Community Tree Lighting Ceremony on The Green at Arvest Bank ~ 6:00 Russellville Christmas Parade ~ 6:30 DECEMBER 6: Downtown Art Walk ~ 5:00-8:00 PM A magical evening including art and Music Visits with Santa at the Depot from 6 to 7:30 DECEMBER 7: Kiwanis Club Festival of Trees deocration at Depot Park ~ 9:00-11:00 AM

Institutional Advancement staff of the University of Arkansas Community College at Morrilton recently received three Medallion Awards from the National Council for Marketing and Public Relations. NCMPR is an affiliate of the American Association of Community Colleges, and the Medallion Awards recognize outstanding achievement in communications for community college professionals. Gold, silver, and bronze Medallions are awarded in 43 categories which are judged by an independent panel of advertising, marketing and public relations professionals in the corporate and educational sectors.

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DECEMBER 13: Holiday Sip & Shop, Russellville Downtown Merchants ~ 5:00-8:00 PM


DECEMBER 19: Men’s Night Out, Russellville Downtown Merchants ~ 5:00-8:00 PM DECEMBER 21-23: First Baptist Church Living Nativity On The Green at Arvest Bank ~ 7:00-9:00 PM


18 ABOUT | December 2013

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UACCM was awarded Medallions in the categories of Academic Catalog, Featured Writing, and Website at the district level. A gold Medallion for featured writing was awarded for an article written by Coordinator for Information and Public Relations Courtney Stell. The story was published in a number of area media outlets in the college’s six-county service area. The article titled “SEMCO employees trained at UACCM” spotlighted the college’s Community Education program and its capabilities to form industry partnerships and build specialized training programs specifically tailored to meet the needs of an employer. The 2012/2013 College Catalog, which was designed by Graphic/Web Designer Trevor Mize, received a silver Medallion. The Medallion for academic catalog is awarded based on layout, functionality, and appearance of the publication. A bronze Medallion achievement in website design was also awarded to UACCM. The website awards are selected based on content, structure and navigation, visual design, functionality, interactivity, and overall experience. Trevor Mize is also responsible for the design and maintenance of the college’s website.

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NCMPR District Four, of which UACCM is a member, is comprised of community colleges in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Colorado, New Mexico, and Wyoming. There are more than 110 member colleges in the District Four organization.


It is estimated that over 120 million Americans do not have an up-to-date estate plan to protect themselves and their

families in the event of sickness, accident or untimely death. Due to this startling statistic, the University of Arkansas Community College at Morrilton Community Outreach Department and the UACCM Foundation hosted a planned giving seminar on Oct. 22 at the UACCM Plaza. The free event was held in conjunction with National Estate Planning Awareness Week with approximately 30 people in attendance. The event included a vast array of hors d’oeuvres courtesy of the UACCM Foundation and wine provided by The Point Winery. Planned giving expert Dr. Fred Hueston with Gardner and Associates and Paul Dumas, attorney at law, provided useful information on topics including legal, financial planning, accounting, and estate planning. The UACCM Community Outreach Department and the UACCM Foundation would like to remind the public about a few important notes courtesy of Dr. Hueston. The new 3.8 percent Medicare tax on net investment income will apply. Net investment income includes income from passive activities, so there may be an opportunity to take another look

at your businesses and consider their classification, grouping elections, tax basis in these entities to help minimize this tax. Any amount in a non-Roth account can be rolled over to a Roth account in the same employer plan, whether or not the participant is 59½. The conversion is subject to regular income tax but not an early distribution penalty. An individual’s securities portfolio should be reviewed periodically and especially at year-end to see if it includes unrealized gains or losses that would be tax-beneficial if recognized. Using charitable gifting strategies other than the traditional cash and/or property donations can allow individuals to accomplish several goals simultaneously. Individuals who are charitably minded should consider the use of retirement plan assets, life insurance, charitable gift funds, and/or charitable trusts. The American Opportunity Tax Credit for college costs has been extended for five years through 2017. A credit of up to $2,500 may be claimed during the first four years of college. The credit phases out for adjusted gross income in excess of $80,000 for single taxpayers and $160,000 for married taxpayers filing a joint return. >>

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The American Tax Payer Relief Act of 2012 (ATRA) permits donors over age 70 ½ to transfer any amount up to $100,000 to the UACCM Foundation out of their annual IRA distribution, tax free. The legislation requires that the transfer be made by December 31, 2013. To find out more about planned giving or the UACCM Foundation, call Morgan Zimmerman at 501-977-2085 or visit


“Savor the Symphony” is the new name for the Russellville Symphony Guild’s fundraiser formerly known as “Talk of the Town Tables.” The event will be held on February 1, 2014, at the Lake Point Conference Center. “Savor the Symphony” will be hosted and organized by members of the Russellville Symphony Guild board headed by board president Aldona Standridge. Ann Squyres and Mary Barham will co-chair the event.

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The fundraiser will begin with a social hour at 6 p.m. featuring appetizers and assorted beverages. The silent auction will feature items and sign-up parties donated by supporters of the Symphony. Musically themed work from local artists will also be available for purchase. Artists may present their sculpture or pottery pieces as well. A steak dinner, prepared by Chef Bruce Trefery, will follow at 7:30 p.m. Mr. Drew Irvin, member of the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra Chamber Group, will perform as the strolling violinist. Funds generated from “Savor the Symphony” will be used to bring the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, featuring Maestro Philip Mann, to Russellville on March 29, 2014. The funds will also help to promote music education in our local schools, with the ASO Quartet performing for the students, and music scholarships awarded to qualifying students. For more information, please contact Board Member Judy Murphy at (479) 967-1177.

Crafton Tull, a full service architectural, engineering and surveying firm, celebrated its 50-year anniversary on Wednesday with open houses in each of its 6 offices across the region, including the Russellville Office. The firm was founded in 1963 in Rogers, Arkansas, and has had a presence in Russellville since 1999. Several clients stopped by on Wednesday to help celebrate the firm’s milestone. Gregg Long, Vice President stated “Reaching a milestone such as this is a testament of the solid staff that has been a part of the Crafton Tull family, as well as some great client relationships built over the past 50 years.” In April, the firm initiated a plan to complete 50 acts of kindness in celebration of each of the firm’s 50 years in business. For more information on the 50 individual acts, please go to: “When we chose to celebrate our 50 year milestone anniversary by giving back to the communities and people who supported us along the way, the energy and civic pride displayed by our employees was overwhelming,” said CEO Matt Crafton. “All of us at Crafton Tull feel fortunate to have the resources required to implement a campaign of this magnitude. It is an honor to be able to help improve the quality of life in the cities and towns n we call home.”

Dr. Finley Turner Retires After 33 years of Service to the River Valley Region Story compliments of Saint Mary's Regional Health System | Photos by Steve Newby

Dr. Finley Turner has given a lifetime of service to the hospital and our community, spending his entire career serving the people of the River Valley region as a family practitioner. In celebration of his 33-year practice, Saint Mary’s Regional Health System hosted a retirement reception on Thursday, November 14 at the hospital. According to CEO Donnie Frederic, Dr. Turner has been extremely committed to the success of Saint Mary’s. He is highly respected, woven into the fabric of that community, and dedicated to making sure the hospital provides the highest quality of care possible. It is due in great part to his dedication that the hospital is achieving recognition for quality and safety. Dr. Finley Turner graduated from Russellville High School and received his undergraduate degree from Arkansas Tech University in Russellville. He earned his medical degree from UAMS in 1977 and completed a Family Practice Residency at the UAMS AHEC program in Fort Smith. Dr. Turner started his medical practice in Russellville in 1980, first at Williams-Lowery Clinic from 1980-94 then at Millard-Henry Clinic for the next 19 years. In the fall of 2011 he chose to focus more on his role as Chief Medical Officer for Saint Mary’s Regional Health System. Capella Healthcare, Saint Mary’s parent company, recognized Dr. Turner earlier this year with the prestigious Physician Leadership Award. Turner has served on Saint Mary’s Physician Leadership Group since its inception and on Capella’s National Physician Leadership Group. He has been a tireless advocate for the hospital, his peers and the people of the River Valley, helping to expand quality care throughout the region Dr. Turner has served Saint Mary’s Regional Medical Center as a past chief of staff, medical director for the hospital’s inpatient rehabilitation unit, the quality assurance/ performance improvement advisor, served on Saint Mary’s medical executive

committee as well as the governing board. Most recently Turner served as the hospital’s chief medical officer. Beyond his leadership in the medical field, Turner has served on many boards including Friendship Community Services. He is very involved at First United Methodist Church where he teaches Sunday school and is a board member for the Wesley Foundation at Arkansas Tech University. He has also served as the Russellville High School team physician for 25-plus years. Turner is married to the former Raye Ramsey, a previous two-term Mayor of Russellville. They have two daughters, one son and several grandchildren. More than 600 patients, friends and coworkers waited in long lines during the reception to shake the hand or hug the neck of one of the most beloved physicians of our time. Friends from Fayetteville, Arkansas to Franklin, Tennessee came by car and plane to honor the man who has made a difference in the lives of so many. During the reception, Dr. Turner addressed the crowd. “First I want to say thank you to the people of Russellville and this area for being there and supporting me for the past 33 years. I want to thank Donnie [Frederic, CEO] and his staff. I want to thank my peers I’ve worked with all these years. I want to thank all my patients, nurses and other hospital staff. We are a family here and these are really, really outstanding people. They do a good job and I’ve been proud to be associated with this hospital, Millard Henry Clinic, Williams-Lowrey Clinic, and it’s been my pleasure, my sincere pleasure to have the opportunities to work here with everyone in this room and everyone in this community and I dearly love each and every one of you.” County Judge Jim Ed Gibson read a proclamation extolling Turner’s Leadership, professionalism, integrity, respect and caring, recognizing him for his many accomplishments and contributions to our community. n December 2013 | ABOUT 21

about | valley vittles

FAT DADDY'S BAR-B-QUE | 104 North Denver, Russellville | 7206 U.S. 64, Russellville

A Bite of Beale Street in the River Valley Story by Johnny Sain | Photos by Steve Newby

Memphis, Tennessee is over three hours east of downtown Russellville. Sitting on the banks of the mighty Mississippi River, Memphis is home to a several southern icons. Graceland, Beale Street and barbecue loom largest in Bluff City’s contributions to southern culture. Though you would be hard-pressed to find a corner of the globe that has not heard of the king of rock and roll and his mansion, I’m going to say that the barbecue has even broader appeal. Southern barbecue can trace its roots back to the culture of poor rural southerners. Pork was a mainstay because pigs were easy to raise, providing a lot of meat for minimal effort. Poor southerners never wasted anything, every morsel of pork was eaten; this was easier when everything was smothered in sauce. And on those sultry southern summer days, nobody wanted to be cooped up in a hot kitchen. Solution: Let’s cook this meat outside. Barbecue has some regional peculiarities. North Carolina is known for vinegar-based sauce, Kansas City barbecue features a dry rub, and Memphis barbecue is slathered in a sweet, spicy and tangy tomato-based sauce. Arkansas barbecue typically falls in line with the Memphis interpretation. Fat Daddy’s Barbecue sure does.

Featuring homegrown recipes for both a sweet and a spicy sauce, Fat Daddy’s brings the flavor and the atmosphere of traditional Memphis barbecue to the River Valley. For a unique and delicious twist on tradition, I suggest trying the pulled pork barbecue nachos topped with sour cream, tomato, a spicy cheese sauce and either the sweet or spicy barbecue sauce. It’s an adventurous take on barbecue and fantastic southern eating. n

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about | food

Visions of Sugarplums… and Cakes and Pies Story by Lydia Zimmerman, Food Editor


had the pleasure of helping with the Fall Festival’s pie and cake contest this year. It was my first year to help and it was also the first year for cake entries. The contest, sponsored by Kitchen Essentials and ABOUT the River Valley Magazine, had a celebrity panel of judges that included our magazines very own Nolan Edwards, State Representative Andrea Lee, local attorney Jeff Phillips and, the very first “Aunt Bea” award winner, Carney Callahan. With over 25 entries, the big debate was who would earn the coveted “Aunt Bea” award. This year it came down to an Apple

GLAZED APPLE CREAM PIE Aunt Bea Award, and First Place in Fruit Pie Division Mischelle Henderson

1 (15oz) pkg Refrigerated pie crusts 4 tart apples, peeled and cut in thin slices 1/2 c sugar 2 T flour 1/2 tsp cinnamon 6 T butter or margarine 3 T cornstarch 3 T milk 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract 2 T butter or margarine, cut in small pieces Filling: 3/4 c sugar 3/4 c milk 3/4 c whipping cream Glaze: 1 T butter or margarine, softened 1 T milk 1 c powdered sugar 1/4 tsp vanilla extract Heat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare pie crust according to the package directions for a 2 crust pie using a 10-in pie plate. In a medium bowl, combine apples, sugar, flour and cinnamon; set aside. In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, milk, whipping cream and butter or margarine. Cook over 24 ABOUT | December 2013

Pie that would be welcome at any southern table and the unique Banana Split Cupcake that was an alluring sight to anyone with a sweet tooth. After a 30-plus minute, gut-wrenching decision by our panel of judges the glazed-apple cream pie (shown above) was chosen not only for the “Aunt Bea” award winner, but also first in the fruit pie division. Congratulations to the winners, and as always, enjoy!

medium-low heat until hot and butter is melted, stirring occasionally. In a small bowl, combine cornstarch and 3 T milk; blend until smooth. Add to saucepan and cook until thickened, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat an stir in vanilla. Pour into prepared pie crust and spoon apple mixture evenly over filling. Sprinkle cubed butter or margarine evenly over apples. Top with second pie crust; seal edges and flute. Cut slits in top crust. Cover edges with foil, if desired. Bake at 400 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown and apples are tender. Cool for 30 minutes. I a small bowl, combine softened butter or margarine and milk until blended. Add powdered sugar and vanilla; stir until smooth. (If necessary, add additional powdered sugar or milk to make a thick glaze.) Spread over warm pie. Refrigerate 2 hours before serving. (May be warmed before serving.) Store in refrigerator. Serves 8-10. Never fail pie crust 2 c flour 1 c shortening salt in hand Mix these ingredients together. Then combine: 1/2 c cold water 1/4 c flour Shake together, add to above mixture. Knead together. This recipe will make 2 pie crusts.


2nd place Fruit Pie division (an Original Recipe) James Whitlock 1 (8 oz) cream cheese 1 1/2 c sugar 3 (8 oz) tubs cool whip 2 cans cherry pie filling 1 1/2 tsp almond flavoring vanilla wafers Mix cream cheese (softened) with sugar and almond flavoring. Fold in 1 tub cool whip. Spread on bottom of a cooked pie crust (see recipe below). Put cherry pie filling on mixture. Put cool whip on top. Dot top with 6-8 cherries. Crush vanilla wafers, sprinkle on top. Makes 29 in pies. Pie crust 3 c All purpose flour 1 c Butter flavored Crisco 2 tsp salt 5 T cold water 1 egg 1 tsp vinegar Mix all of the ingredients together, roll out and place in pie dish. Brush with butter, prick with a fork and bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. recipe makes 4 crusts.


1/2 c crunchy peanut butter 3rd place Fruit Pie division (modified crust) 1/4 c corn starch 2/3 c sugar Kaitlyn Eubanks 1/4 tsp vanilla 1/4 tsp salt 5 lbs Apples, preferably granny smith 2 c whipping cream 2 T All purpose flour 3 egg yolks, beaten (save whites for later use) 3/4 c sugar 2 tsp butter 1 lemon zest and juice 1/2 tsp cream of tartar 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon Mix powdered sugar and peanut butter, 1/2 tsp nutmeg pour on the bottom of baked pie crust. In a 1 pinch ground cloves saucepan cook and stir corn starch, sugar, 2 T unsalted butter whipping cream and salt until almost thick 1 large egg then pour 1 c of the mixture into egg yolks, Peel and slice apples: mix in all ingredients stir and return to saucepan. Cook until except egg. Pour apple mixture into prepared thick then remove from stove add butter pie crust, place top crust on top of apple and vanilla, stir. Let cool and pour on top of filling and cut vent holes in top of crust. Beat peanut butter mixture. Beat egg whites, add egg and brush on top crust, dust with sugar 1/2 tsp cream of tartar and beat until stiff peak. To top pie use some of peanut butter and bake at 375 until golden. and powdered sugar mixture sprinkled on top. Bake at 375 until meringue. Pie Crust 2 1/2 c flour T’S PINEAPPLE PIE WITH PECAN 2 sticks butter CRUST 1/2 tsp salt 2nd place Cream pie division 1/2 tsp sugar Theresa McPherson Place flour into a bowl and chop butter into it, mix salt and sugar into sifted flour. 1 (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk Mix butter until dough consistency- makes 1/2 c lemon juice 1 (20 oz) crushed pineapple, drained top and a bottom crust. 1 (8 oz) whipped topping (cool whip) Combine milk and lemon juice, stir well. Fold in pineapple and whipped topping. Pour into a baked pie crust. Chill, garnish and serve. Makes 1- 9 in pie which serves 6.


Pecan pie crust 1 1/2 stick room temperature butter 1 1/2 c flour 3/4 c chopped pecans

1 pie crust 1 c powdered sugar

Combine the above 3 ingredients and press into a 9 in pie pan. Bake until lightly brown and remove from oven and cool before filling.

1st place Cream pie division Cindy Phillips

CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER BACON PIE 3rd place Cream pie division Logan Pate

25 Chips Ahoy cookies 1 c peanut butter 5 T butter, melted 1 lb bacon, cooked 1 c evaporated milk 1 (12 oz) bag semi-sweet chocolate chips 1 3/4 c white sugar 1 1/2 T Vanilla Butter nut flavoring 1 (8 oz) cream cheese 1 c powdered sugar 2 1/2 c whipping cream Cook bacon in microwave for 3 min until crispy. Drain bacon on paper towels, then cut into small pieces. Melt 3 T of butter and mix in crushed cookies, then press it into a pie plate and bake at 350 for 8-12 minutes, then let it cool. In a 2 qt saucepan, heat milk and 3/4 c sugar and add chocolate chips. Stir over a medium heat until the contents are melted and thick. Then add 2 T of butter and let it all cool. Spread 1 c of the above chocolate sauce over the pie crust and sides and let it set. Place cream cheese and 1 c of sugar in mixture, mix until it is smooth. All 1 c of whipping cream and whip until it is fluffy. Add peanut butter, vanilla butter nut extract and whip it again. Sprinkle half of the contents of the chopped bacon over the chocolate covered crust and then pour in the creamy mixture. Then sprinkle half of the remaining chopped bacon over the peanut butter middle, spread half of the remaining chocolate sauce over the creamy middle and chill for 30 minutes. Whip 1 1/2 c heavy whipping cream and powdered sugar. Add a dash of bream of tartar. whip it until it is stiff but not too stiff. Spread over pie and pipe the edges, sprinkle with the rest of the bacon and pipe the rest of the chocolate sauce. >>

Tuesday-Saturday 10 ‘til 5 311 W. C Street, Russellville, AR Across from The Depot

479.967.1398 BRIAN IRWIN, OWNER December 2013 | ABOUT 25

SPICED SWEET POTATO PIE 1st place Specialty pie division Leah Newton

15 oz Sweet Potatoes 1 (14 oz) can Sweetened Condensed Milk 2 Eggs, yolks and whites separated 2 tsp Cinnamon 1/2 tsp Nutmeg, freshly grated 1/2 tsp Ginger 1/2 tsp Salt Crust: 1/2 (8 oz) pkg Cream cheese, softened 1 c Butter 3 c Flour a pinch of salt To prepare pie crust cream the butter and the cream cheese together. Add the salt and flour and mix well. Place your crust in your pie pan,poke holes in the bottom of

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26 ABOUT | December 2013

the crust with a fork and bake at 350 until just almost done, about 10 minutes. Bake your prepared pie crust until 1/2 way cooked. Then remove from oven. Bake sweet potatoes until soft. Mix sweet potatoes, sweetened condensed milk, egg yolks and spices. Whip egg whites, then fold into potato mixture. Pour into your pie crust and bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Grated peel of 1 orange (if you like it zesty) 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon 1/4 tsp ginger PUMPKIN PIE 1/4 tsp nutmeg 2nd place Specialty pie division 1/2 tsp salt Theresa McPherson 3/4 c sugar 1/2 tsp salt 1 tsp ground cinnamon 1/2 tsp ground ginger 1/4 tsp ground cloves 2 lg eggs 1 (15 oz) can LIBBY’S 100% Pure Pumpkin 1 (12 fl oz) can Carnation Evaporated Milk 1 (9 in) deep-dish pie crust, unbaked

Prepare your pie crust: 2 1/2 c flour 2 sticks butter 1/2 tsp salt 1 tsp sugar

Place your crust into the pie pan and bake until lightly brown. Beat all other ingredients together; eggs, sugar and butter first. In a separate bowl, beat milk, cream, pumpkin and spices Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Mix sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger and together. Add egg mixture to pumpkin cloves in a small bowl. Beat eggs in a large mixture, then slowly pour into the pie crust. bowl. Stir in pumpkin and sugar-spice Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. mixture. Gradually stir in evaporated milk. Pour into the pie shell and bake for 15 DING DONG CAKE minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees 1st place Layer/Sheet cake division and bake for an additional 40-50 minutes or Cassy Sotomayor until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 2 hours. 1 box Devil’s food Cake Serve immediately or refrigerate. 1 1/4 c water 1/2 c oil 3 eggs “UGLY BUT RICH” PUMPKIN PIE 1 sm box vanilla pudding 3rd place specialty pie division 10 oz cream cheese Kaitlyn Eubanks 1 stick butter 2 tsp vanilla 2 c fresh pumpkin puree 3 c powdered sugar 1/2 c packed brown sugar 1 sm tub cool whip 1/4 c white sugar 3 lg eggs, beaten For cake, follow preparation directions on 1c Heavy whipping cream the back of the cake mix box, add a small 1/4-1/2 c whole or 2% milk

box of vanilla pudding to the batter. Pour into NUTTER BUTTER PEANUT BUTTER CAKE 2 round cake pans and bake as directed. 3rd place Layer/Sheet cake division Bee Miller Prepare filling: Mix together cream cheese, butter, 2 1/3 c flour powdered sugar and vanilla. Then fold cool 1 T Baking powder whip into the mixture. 3/4 tsp salt After cooling, cut each cake layer in half 1 1/2 c sugar lengthwise. Frost each layer with the filling. 1 1/4 c water Place on cake tray. Then ice the outside of 1/2 c creamy peanut butter the cake with milk chocolate frosting. 1/3 c vegetable oil 3 eggs

KEY-LIME COCONUT SHEET CAKE 2nd place Layer/Sheet cake division Theresa McPherson

1 (15.25 oz) box yellow cake mix 1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk 1 (13.5 oz) can coconut milk, divided 10 T bottled key lime juice, divided 2 c heavy whipping cream 1/4 c confectioners’ sugar Lime zest and sweetened, flaked coconut (optional) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray the bottom only of a 13X9 baking dish with a nonstick baking spray with flour. Prepare and bake cake mix in prepared dish according to package directions, let cool for 5 minutes. In a medium bowl, stir together condensed milk, 1 c coconut milk and 6 T lime juice until blended. Using the handle of a wooden spoon, poke holes in warm cake, making sure handle does not touch bottom of pan. Pour coconut mixture over warm cake. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, about 4 hours. In a large chilled bowl, combine cream, confectioners’ sugar, remaining coconut milk, and remaining 4 T of lime juice. Beat at high speed with an electric mixer and chilled beaters just until thickened; spread over cake. Top with zest lime and coconut, if desired. Store and refrigerate for up to 2 days.

In a large mixing bowl beat flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, eater peanut butter, oil and eggs with an electric mixer on medium speed about 2 minutes. Pour into greased and poured 9- inch round pans. Bake the cake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees or until tooth pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Peanut Butter frosting 1 c butter, softened 2 c creamy peanut butter 6 T milk 4 c powdered sugar 1 pkg nutter butters Combine all of the above frosting ingredients together in a mixing bowl, blend on medium setting with an electric mixer for approx. 3-4 minutes or until light and fluffy. After cake is cool, place one cake on a plate or tray and frost the top. Place the other cake on top of that and the frost both the sides and top. Decorate as desired with piping rosettes and using Nutter Butters.

1 tub (8 oz) COOl WHIP Whipped Topping, thawed, divided 1 (6 oz) KEEBLER READY CRUST Graham Cracker Pie Crust 1 (16 oz) can whole berry cranberry sauce, divided 1/2 c toasted chopped walnuts, divided Pour milk into a large bowl. Add pudding mixes and lemon peel. Beat with wire whisk for 1 minute. Gently stir in 1/2 of the whipped topping. Spread 1/2 of the pudding mixture on bottom of crust. Spread 1/2 of the cranberry sauce over pudding mixture. Sprinkle with 1/2 of the walnuts. top with remaining pudding mixture. Refrigerate 4 hours until set. Garnish with remaining whipped topping and walnuts. Serve with remaining cranberry sauce. Makes 10 servings.  Continued on page 30

CRANBERRY WALNUT CHEESECAKE 1st place cheesecake division Theresa McPherson

1 1/4 c cold milk 2 pkg (4 serving) Jell-o Cheesecake Flavor instant pudding 1/2 tsp grated lemon peel

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Oh, Christmas Tree! Story by Connie Las Schneider | Photos by Johnny Sain

Artificial Christmas trees are the norm for holiday decorating today. Fake Christmas trees are symmetrically pleasing, easy to maintain, pose less of a threat for fires and are usually a one-time purchase. No muss, no fuss and no scent unless you buy it in a bottle. But before you take that artificial tree out of storage or get a new one, consider the benefits of decorating for the holidays with a “real” Christmas tree. There is something evocative about the smell of a real tree. One whiff and you can almost see family and friends gathered round the Christmas tree. Sure, it’s more work to maintain and a mess to take down, but it’s real and there will never be another one just like it. The National Christmas Tree Association (NCTA) lists several reasons why selecting a real tree rather than an artificial tree is the best choice. First, real Christmas trees benefit the environment. While these trees are growing they support life by absorbing carbon dioxide and other gases and emitting fresh oxygen. The

"...freshly cut Christmas trees smelling of stars and snow and pine resin - inhale deeply and fill your soul with wintry night..."  John Geddes, A Familiar Rain

farms that grow Christmas Trees also stabilize soil, protect water supplies, provide refuge for wildlife and create scenic green belts on soil that doesn’t support other crops. Real Christmas trees are also renewable and recyclable, says the NCTA. Christmas Trees are grown on farms just like any other agricultural crop. To ensure a constant supply, Christmas tree growers plant one to three new seedlings for every tree they harvest. On the other hand, artificial trees are a petroleum-based product manufactured primarily in Chinese factories. The average family uses an artificial tree for only six to nine years before throwing it away, where it will remain in a landfill for centuries after disposal. Real Christmas trees are biodegradable, which means they can be easily reused or recycled for mulch and other purposes and are often grown on soil that does not support other crops, so green spaces can be protected. In summary, an organic Christmas tree has the three R’s: it’s real, recyclable and renewable. But there’s another big benefit- the fun of taking your family to a Christmas tree farm to choose and cut (or have the farmer cut) your own, personal memory-making Christmas tree. TREE FARMS IN THE RIVER VALLEY While Christmas tree farms have dwindled at an alarming rate because of the popularity of artificial trees and the hard work and low profit margin for growers, there are still at least two Christmas tree farms in the River Valley. Hilltop Christmas Tree Farm, located two miles south of Dardanelle on Hwy 7, not only sells two species of choosencut trees, they offer free hayrides, hot cocoa, photos, candy canes

28 ABOUT | December 2013

Tree Season Whether you want to keep Christmas all year long by planting a living tree in your yard or wish to protect the environment, there are many good reasons to plant more trees and care for the ones you already have. According to the Arbor Day Foundation website, trees add value to your home, regulate the temperature of your neighborhood, and provide food for wildlife. Not only that, mature trees help combat climate change, aid flood containment and can save homeowners up to 20% in summer cooling bills. Winter may not seem like the best time to work outside, but according to the Arkansas Forestry Commission, (AFC), it’s actually the perfect time for planting and pruning trees and evergreens. Winter is best because that’s when the tree is dormant, explained Doug Akin, Assistant State Forester

of the Arkansas Forestry Commission. “Once trees are leafed out it’s not a good time to plant or prune. While potted or burlap balled trees and evergreens can be planted with proper precautions in the spring, it is not recommended,” he added. “Balled and bare-root trees should be planted between January 1 to April 1, when the temperature ranges from just above freezing to the mid-70’s with a relative humidity of 50% or more and wind speeds of less than 10mph,” Akins said. PRUNING “Tree and evergreen pruning should also be done in winter,” said Akin. “The standard for pruning is don’t top a tree and don’t cut flush with trunk or right against the trunk because there is a natural barrier to insects and diseases there. It is also important to cut and prune outside the tree branch collar; the bark ridge located on the top side of the branch. For example, you can really see the branch collars on Crepe Myrtles,” said Akin. For those who prefer to hire someone to do the work, Akin said to make sure the person is insured and bonded to limit liability and insure the job is done right. But the number one tip for do-it-yourself pruners is “safety first”stressed Akin. “Not only is tree pruning potentially dangerous for those who do it, but the tree itself can be killed if the job is not done right. Arkansas had a century old Champion tree (the largest species of its kind in the state) that died because it was incorrectly pruned and topped,” he said. The moral of this story is simple. Take good care of your trees and they will take care of you. For more information on tree care or to purchase trees for winter planting, go to or The AFC has also several pamphlets available at the Commission¡¯s Clarksville office. (479-754-2741). The Clarksville office receives pre-ordered bulk deliveries of trees and evergreens starting in early January. The Commission sells two species of pine, the Loblolly and shortleaf pine, in bundles of 25 trees and up. 30 different species of hardwood trees are also sold in bundles of 25 up.

and coloring books for the kids. They will also shake and bag the tree of your choice for no charge. Call (479) 2292201 (day) or (479) 264-3807 (evening) or email owners Terry and Johnnie Sue Christy at Pine Grove Christmas Tree Farms, three miles east of Charleston on Hwy 22, has wide variety of Christmas Tree species to choose from and also has free hayrides and hot chocolate on weekends , pig races and chickens and baby goats to feed and a giant haystack for kids to play on. For more info, call 479-965-2130 or go to SAVE A TREE, PLANT A TREE Some people opt to celebrate the holidays with a living tree- the kind that lives in a pot and is transplanted into the ground later. These trees are usually much smaller than the kind you buy at a lot or tree farm, but they have many values, too. The tree’s needles usually don’t shed and you can feel good about keeping Christmas alive all year. For information on other Christmas tree farms in AR, selecting the right tree and how to care for the tree once you get it home, go to the Arkansas Christmas Tree Growers Association (ACTGA) website at  Continued on page 31...

Capacity. Features. Dependabilty.

If only they folded your clothes too.

3521 West Main Street Russellville • 479-967-3744 December 2013 | ABOUT 29

...continued from page 27

PUMPKIN CHEESECAKE WITH SOUR CREAM TOPPING 2nd place cheesecake division Jacki Miller

1 1/2 c graham cracker crumbs 1/4 c sugar 1/3 c butter, melted Filling: 2 (8 oz) pkgs cream cheese, softened 1 c brown sugar 1 (15 oz) can solid pack pumpkin 2 T cornstarch 1 1/4 tsp cinnamon 1/2 tsp nutmeg 1 (5 oz) can evaporated milk 2 eggs Topping: 2 c (16 oz) sour cream 1/3 c sugar 1 tsp vanilla additional cinnamon to taste In bowl, combine crumbs and sugar, stir in butter. Press onto sides and bottom of 9-in springform pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 5-7 minutes or until set. Cool 10 minutes. In mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and brown sugar until smooth. Add pumpkin, cornstarch, cinnamon and nutmeg, mix

well. Gradually beat in milk and eggs just until blended. Pour into crust. Place pan on baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 55-60 minutes or until center is almost set. Combine the sour cream, sugar and vanilla, spread over filling. Bake 5 minutes longer. Cool on a wire rack for 10 min. Carefully run a knife around edge on pan to loosen; cool for 1 hour longer. Chill overnight. Remove sides of pan; let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before slicing. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Refrigerate leftovers. Yield 12-14 servings.

1 lg can crushed pineapple and juice (makes 24 cupcakes) Filling: 1 sm box instant banana pudding 1/2 amount of the milk the directions on the box says to use. 10 oz cream cheese 1 stick butter 2 tsp vanilla 3 c powdered sugar 2 bags milk chocolate chips 1/2 c grated paraffin wax Bake cupcakes then fill with banana pudding. Top with filling and strawberries. Put in freezer for 25 minutes, then dip in chocolate. Top with sprinkles and add a cherry on top.


2nd place Specialty Cake division Cassy Sotomayor


1st place Specialty Cake division Cassy Sotomayor 2 c all purpose flour 2 c sugar 2 tsp baking soda 2 eggs 1 1/4 c melter butter 1 c chopped pecans

Cake: 1 box Devil’s food cake 4 eggs 1 sm box instant vanilla pudding 2/3 c oil 1 c milk 2 tsp vanilla Topping: 1 stick butter 8 oz cream cheese 3 c powdered sugar 1 sm pkg bakers coconut 1 c chopped Almonds or pecans Topping: 2 (14.5 oz) bags Nestle milk chocolate chips 1/2 c Gulf Wax/paraffin Mix cake by hand. For topping mix butter and cream cheese. Then slowly mix in powdered sugar, coconut and Almonds/ Pecans- add topping to cupcakes. Place in freezer for 15 minutes. Melt chocolate and paraffin in double boiler- dip cupcakes.


3rd place Specialty Cake division Stephen Pate

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30 ABOUT | December 2013

1 1/2 c all purpose flour 1 c sugar pinch of salt Whisk together the above ingredients, then add: 1 egg 1 T vanilla 3/4 c vegetable oil 3 medium apples; peeled, cored and diced 1 c pecans (chopped) 1/4 pint apple butter Stir well. Place in a skillet that has extra oil in it so it won’t stick. Bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes. n

...continued from page 29 WHAT ABOUT THAT TREE IN YOUR LIVING ROOM? So, you’ve had a live tree in your living room since Black Friday. It was the center of attention for your kids and the apple of your wife’s eye. It stood like a tinsel covered beacon of peace and good will toward man, just as you thought it would the day the tree-lot attendant loaded it in the truck. But now it’s just a tree again. Good news! Christmas trees are even better recycled. No, I don’t mean finding a way to preserve it until next December. I’m talking about putting it back outside. Back where it belongs as habitat and eventually fertilizer for the ecosystem on your property or even in your favorite fishing hole. All critters; furred, finned, feathered and even scaled or slimy can use more habitat. There’s no such thing as too much habitat. If you have room on your property you can add the tree to an existing brush-pile. An even better idea is to put it next to rocky or grassy habitat. This creates an edge and edge habitat is what most organisms prefer. It’s kind of a best of both worlds thing. A dead tree next to a rock-pile creates ideal edge habitat for reptiles. Take a fence lizard for example. The lizard has all kinds of nooks and crannies in the rocks to hide in for protection. The rocks will warm faster than anything else in the morning sun so, the lizard can bask on them after waking up. The lizard has to cross a dangerous piece of open ground to feed. Lots of lizards get picked off by various predators here. But that was before you put a dead tree next to the rocks. The tree is a magnet for insects of all kinds. Voila! You’ve just created a buffet for the fence lizard. The lizard population grows and all of a sudden you don’t notice as many pesky insects in the yard. The ants that were swarming your hummingbird feeder last summer are vastly reduced in number. Welcome to practical wildlife management for the homeowner, and all it took was recycling a dead tree. Old Christmas trees work wonders in the water too. Lake Dardanelle is peppered with sunken Christmas trees placed by savvy anglers. They also work great in farm ponds. Many farm ponds are like goldfish bowels, barren of cover. Adding an old Christmas tree will make a visible hotspot that attracts fish. It will also increase the biodiversity in your pond which is good for the entire pond ecosystem. If you can’t use your old tree there are many sportsman, probably some you know, that will gladly take it off your hands. Or you can donate them to the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission for fish habitat. Here’s a link to the AGFC list of drop-off points http:// n

Come join our family for the Holidays Emeritus at Wildflower Choosing assisted living at an Emeritus Senior Living community will actually give your loved one greater independence. You will gain peace of mind knowing that they are nearby in a safe and comfortable senior living community. Call us today to learn more about the benefits of assisted living for your loved one. We will be glad to arrange a private tour experience for you.

Call Today for your Free Tour


240 S. Inglewood Ave., Russellville, AR • • Lic #027










4200 East Main • Russellville December 2013 | ABOUT 31

Musings on a Southern Snowfall Story and photo by Johnny Sain

Every summer I question my decision to live in the south. Cooler temps and short summers call like a siren’s song as I note – with more than a hint of envy -- the high temperature in Madison Wisconsin will be 74 degrees on July 17. Then, sometime during the following winter, we get 3 inches of snow here in Arkansas. As it dwindles away a day or so later, I mutter a prayer of thanks. Thanks for the glimpse of winter beauty. Thanks for the chance to build a snowman with my daughter. Thanks for making me one of the chosen, born south of the Mason-Dixon Line, where snow rarely hangs around for more than a few days. I know, I know, nothing rivals the heady feeling of preparing for coming snow before the roads get bad. The proverbial grocery store run in search of milk, bread, and eggs – staples of humanity that no doubt fed us through the ice age. The sudden addiction to Weather Channel radar. The relentless scanning of school and business closings. Part of our winter storm ritual involves stacking firewood on the porch so dear ol’dad can feed the fire without getting out of his house slippers. It’s a bucketful of fun due entirely to its novelty. But after a day or so the newness wears off. The flooring at the front door has sunk into a permanent puddle. Yeah, the roads are better, but our car is pasted with sand and muck. And, as

32 ABOUT | December 2013

an Arkansan, the thought of going three days in row without wearing flip-flops and shorts outside sounds like heresy. This winter wonderland thing is getting old. Those grumpy thoughts crawl through my mind as my socks soak up that icy puddle in front of the door. My mood sours even more from the frigid dampness. I change socks. Since I had already changed into a fresh pair of socks, I decide to go ahead and put the rubber boots on and step out into the frosty night. I’d meet the antagonist head on with a move of defiance. The cold is startling at this late hour. As I step off the porch into the snow, silence greets my ears. It’s an unearthly quiet, as if the snow has muffled every sound. I don’t even hear the northern breeze as it flows around naked oak branches. The arctic air feels fresh as peppermint as it picks up additional chill from the blanket of snow. Chilled air is best for viewing the moon and stars as well. Not many stars this night though because the moon is putting on quite a show with its frosty halo. Apparently, the stars know the competition is just too stiff. The spicy smell of hickory smoke mixes with the icy breeze. I stand there looking at the moon, smiling in the cold, with thoughts of the warm fire and steaming mugs of cocoa that wait for me inside. Maybe it would be ok if the snow hung around. Maybe just for one more day.

about | outdoors




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479-229-4841 December 2013 | ABOUT 33

about | the Arts

The Prince and the Sugarplum Fairy:

World-Renowned Dancers Featured in River Valley Production of the Nutcracker Story by Emory Molitor | Photos compliments of The Dance Foundation

As visions of sugarplums danced in her head, Ashley Miller Davis dreamed of a way to showcase all of the local dancers in the River Valley. Davis, owner and instructor of Just Dance studio in Russellville, began gathering key people in the performing arts community. Those people included Ken Futterer, Ardith Morris, and her then ballet instructor, Phyllis Campbell. She then called on interested community figures, Susie Nicholson and Julie McNeill, and in 2005 The DANCE Foundation was born. Davis decided that the River Valley needed The Nutcracker, and a board of directors was formed to produce the famous ballet with music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. Funds were raised, auditions were held for local dancers, and costumes were ordered. “It was fun and scary, with a lot of blood, sweat and tears,” recalled Davis.

Ashley Ellis

34 ABOUT | December 2013

The Nutcracker has become a tradition in the River Valley with productions every other year since 2005. However, this will be the inaugural year for The Nutcracker to perform in The Center for the Arts. “We are very excited that we can accommodate more patrons in this beautiful state-of-the art facility,” said Davis. Young dancers, all from local studios, have filled the majority of roles. Professionals from New York will play the leading roles of the Sugar Plum Fairy and The Prince. “We are beyond excited to announce that the roles of Sugar Plum Fairy and her Prince will be danced by Ashley Ellis and Cory Stearns. Cory danced this part for us in 2007 and has since been promoted to principal dancer at the world-renowned American Ballet Theatre (ABT) in New York,” said DANCE Foundation spokesperson Dennis Overman. “[Stearns] has also graced the pages and cover of Vogue Magazine. He is an internationally recognized and sought after ballet dancer.” Stearns will fly to Arkansas in December to perform in the DANCE Foundation’s Nutcracker after finishing an engagement with the Royal Ballet in London, England. “We are thrilled that he wanted to return, and this is a truly special gift for our community and our local dancers,” said Overman. Ashley Ellis (Sugar Plum Fairy) is a principal dancer with Boston Ballet. She began her career at ABT in New York. A native of California, Ellis won first prize at the Los Angeles Music Center Spotlight Award in 1999 and went on to become the recipient of the Coca Cola scholarship award in 2000 and 2001. She performed in Spain with Angel Corella’s touring group

Cory Stearns

and joined Corella Ballet in 2008 as a soloist before joining Boston Ballet in 2011. She was promoted to soloist in 2012 and principal dancer in 2013. There will be three full performances December 13, 14 and 15, with two abbreviated school matinees. More than 100 local participants were cast in April auditions ranging in age from four-years to adult. Davis enlisted DeAnn Petruschke for assistance with choreography since the 2009 production. Petruschke was the 2005 Sugar Plum Fairy. She retired from Ballet Gamonet in Miami, Fla., in 2009, and has returned to lead “Nutcracker Camp” in the summer, rehearsing with the local ballet dancers eight hours a day for 10 days. “The dancers have been practicing three hours a week since August, and the girls hope that she will be proud of their hard work!” said Davis. Davis emphasized the amount of effort from the community that has been put into the ballet. “We have local dancers from Just Dance, All That Dance, and Jane Freeman’s Studio of Dance in Dardanelle,” said Davis, “and they have been working together, rehearsing every Sunday afternoon since school started. The entire cast is amazing, and I’m very proud of them.” In addition to local dance instructors Jane Freeman, Brooke Ramsey and Paige Fisher, many other local adults make up the behind the scenes crew, including Avery Coonts,

2009 Cast of The Nutcracker Ballet

stage manager; Daniel Stahl, technical director; Ken Futterer, sound designer and LeAnne Colvin, production assistant. UALR dance student and Russellville native Brittany Goodlow is serving as Tuesday rehearsal mistress, as well as performing in the ballet. Local student dancers featured in this production include Star Austin as Clara, Alex Jones as Fritz, Jarrod Apple as the Rat King and Mallory Leavell dancing the role of the Snow Queen. Other featured dancers are Raigan Purtle (Spanish), Ashton Purtle (Dew Drop Fairy), Hannah Grace Knight (Arabian Princess), Grace Hendren and Cameron Davis (Reed Flutes), Elizabeth Newby and Hannah Merritt (Dancing Dolls) and Brittany Goodlow (Toy Soldier). Other cast members (Clara’s family and Party Guests) include Robert Ford, Erin Pieper, Scott Arnold, Loretta Page, Beth Sorrells, Valerie and Ernie Enchelmeyer, Brooke and Robert Ramsey, Kristen and David Nelson, Katelyn Danzy, Claire

Carothers, Destini Nguyen, Adrieanna Leiter, Kasse Appleton, Karis Enchelmeyer, Harper Phillips, Blake Tanner, Braden Tanner, Jaedon Enchelmeyer, Brandon Wood, Grant Wood and Carter Johnson. Dancing the younger roles (Mice, Soldiers, and Angels) are Marley Johnson, Olive Harrington, Karoline Putnam, Tori Taylor, Brooklyn Nicholson, Mary Kate Honghiran, Taylor Buckholtz, Macey Clayton, Emma Jernigan, Sydney Jones, Lauren Drake, Autumn Guizar, Libby Wills,s Cara Malin, Annabelle Watts, Karrington Bost, Emily Jones, Lauren Owens, Jade Lister, Alana Hilburn, Bayley Pitts, Avery Peel, Brinkley Lake, River Higgs, Breanne Nicholson, Emry Hunnicutt, Carsyn Skelton, Lily Abington, Susanna Manns, Saryn Thompson, Paxtin Lawlis, Chloe Sasser, Ava Ramsey and Hadlee Vines. Older dancers (Snowflakes, Chinese, Arabian Maidens, Russian, Pages and Flowers) include Emma Grace Gregory, Hannah Jane Colvin, Carson Davis, Isabelle

"In the eyes of children we find the joy of Christmas. In their hearts we find its meaning.”

Berryhill, Cadie Beth Young, James Davis, Madison Van Horn, Annabelle Walker, Katie Walker, Halle Woker, Lindsey Jetton, Anna Cate Wojtkowski, London Barnes, Olivia Barnes, Ruthie Jacimore, Lillian Ruston, Alex Tanner, Kaitlin Hunnicutt, Ingrid Christensen, Kenley Beard, Mia Ratliff, Dache Brown, Maggie Gregory, Avery Stahl, Gracie Campbell, Lydia Hale, Wesley Lamberson, Mackenzie Epperson, Ellie Richardson, Rachel Ivy, Clara Lee. Rounding out the cast are the acrobats (Bon Bons): Mia Smith, Brynn Bates, Cindy Zepeda, Elizabeth Griffin, Layla Turnipseed, Maddie Wojkowski, Olivia Molitor, Sydney Ratliff, Madelyn Davis and Ava Richardson. The Nutcracker ballet is based on the story “The Nutcracker and the King of Mice” written by E.T.A. Hoffman. It is the story of a young German girl, Clara, who dreams of a Nutcracker Prince and a fierce battle against a Mouse King.  Continued on page 37...


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December 2013 | ABOUT 35

about | engagements

Save the Date!

Calendar listings of engagement, wedding and anniversary announcements on the pages of each issue of ABOUT…the River Valley are available at no charge. They may be mailed to: ABOUT Magazine, P.O. Box 10176, Russellville AR 72812 or sent via email to: (A phone number must be included for verification.)

~ December 14 ~

~ April 12, 2014 ~

Rebecca Bradley and Jon Shanklin

Katie Goodwin and Ross Harvell

Sara McClure and Brandon Dodd

~ December 21 ~ Stephanie Pierce and Zach Taylor

~ December 28 ~ Andrea Barton and Tyler Briscoe

~ April 26, 2014 ~ Nicki Zimmerman and Jacob Unruh

~ May 3, 2014 ~ Stacy Baldwin and Jason Pollack

Kelly Conley and Kevin Martin

~ May 17, 2014 ~

Mary Lauren Hollis and Alex Wilson

Megan Brunetti and David Lensing, Jr.

Alex Yelenich & Wilson Huett

~ June 14, 2014 ~ Amanda Gordon and Brandon Weaver Kirsten Sordelet and Daniel Bell

~ May 23, 2014 ~

~ June 28, 2014 ~

Paige Griffin and Caleb Bubbus

Cendyl Carter and Jordan McGowan

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~ May 31, 2014 ~

~ August 30, 2014 ~

Jennifer Moore & Jay Winters

Allie Pipkin and Jacob Sparks

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~ February 1, 2014 ~ Sarah Wright and Britt Schluterman

Hannah Ulrich and Ryan Jones To have your engagement or wedding published in a future issue of ABOUT Magazine, send your information, photo* and a check for $57.50 to: ABOUT Magazine, PO Box 10176, Russellville AR 72812, or visit visit Word count is limited to 225 words. Deadline is the 15th of the month preceding publication. For additional information, call (479) 857-6791. *Digital files are accepted and will be published upon receipt of payment.


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...continued from page 35 In 1891, the legendary choreographer Marius Petipa commissioned Tchaikovsky to write music for the Nutcracker Ballet. In the 1930s and 40s The Nutcracker made its way to Western Europe performed by Ballet Russe. The first American full length Nutcracker was performed by the San Francisco Ballet and choreographed by W. Christensen. The DANCE Foundation’s production of The Nutcracker is not the first in Russellville. Long-time dance instructor Glen Irby directed and choreographed the ballet several times during his tenure in Russellville, with his last Nutcracker performed in 1988 when he moved to South Carolina. Irby was Ashley Miller Davis’ teacher, mentor and friend. Davis invited Irby to return to teaching at her studio, Just Dance, in 2005, assisting with Davis’ first Nutcracker. Irby continued to share his dance knowledge and experience in the final years of his life, teaching with Davis until his passing in 2010. The Nutcracker is not the only purpose of the DANCE Foundation. DANCE is an acronym: Developing Arts—Nurturing Cultural Excellence. “Our goal is to make dance accessible and to provide ways for our local dancers to grow and further develop their talents,” stated Davis. The

DANCE Foundation hosts several intensive workshops throughout each year to make sure students have opportunities to learn different styles of dance, such as tap, jazz and ballet, from professional dancers. Recently, former Russellville resident Erin West taught a tap dance intensive workshop open to anyone who signed up. West, a professional performing artist working and living in New York, taught and inspired young dancers. Showing proof that dreams can come true for a girl from Russellville. For a few years, on non-Nutcracker years, another show entitled The Christmas Story, a telling of the Biblical story of Christmas through dance and song, was performed. After a couple of off years with no Christmas production, the DANCE Foundation premiered its new show, ‘Tis the Season in 2012 in the new Center for the Arts on the Russellville High School campus. ‘Tis the Season, to be repeated in 2014, features tap, ballet, jazz and Radio City Rockettes-style dance routines intermingled with stunning vocal and instrumental musical numbers. Auditions will be held in April 2014. Of course these performances have a hefty price tag. Bringing in the professionals for The Nutcracker alone costs around $8,000. So the DANCE Foundation hosts several fundraisers throughout the year

to help keep the participants’ costs to a minimum. This year the Foundation entertained a large crowd at its Bluejeans and Ballet gala in October, featuring dancing by some of the Nutcracker cast. Other fundraisers included spaghetti dinners from Italian Gardens, Krispy Kreme donut sales, and the first annual Sugar Plum Color Run at Pleasant View Park this past November. Current DANCE Foundation Board members are Ken Futterer, LeAnne Colvin, Page Phillips, Laura Griffin, Robert Ford, Ardith Morris, Don Jacimore, Christy Leavell, Paige Fisher, Kerrie Carothers and Trish Gregory. In a recent fundraising letter, Dennis Overman said it best, “The season of dancing Sugar Plums, Waltzing Flowers and Marching Soldiers is upon us: The Nutcracker. This much-loved production has fast become a glittering holiday tradition, fascinating the young and delighting the young at heart.” The Nutcracker will be presented at 7 p.m. December 13 and 14 and at 2 p.m. December 15 at The Center for the Arts on the RHS campus. Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for children 12 and younger and are available at all Arvest Bank locations and at The Center Box Office during business hours. More information: (479) 968-6888. n

December 2013 | ABOUT 37

On a Personal Note Life is Now Guest Written by Rob McCormick

Don’t be ashamed of what you’ve been called, equipped and prepared to do. Be humble, but be effective.

38 ABOUT | December 2013

A good friend of mine asked me whether I thought he should release his art -- art that he has created and loves -- for public consumption. He has reservations. The reservations are mostly based on insecure feelings of self-worth and doubt. He is one of many friends over the years that have asked my opinion on things like this. My thoughts are as follows: Life proves itself, over and over again, to be incredibly short. The Bible refers to man’s time on earth as a vapor, a mist, a mere breath. This makes me put things in a different perspective and pose this question: What does death teach us? Its indiscriminate ways care nothing for age, beauty, talent, splendor or wealth. It takes the very old as well as the very young. It takes the very rich just as it takes the very poor. It takes the very healthy and it takes the very sick. It is unforgiving. It is final and it, death, is inevitably coming for us all. This brings me to a conclusion in the matter of art, as well as in the matter of Life. It will not be the shows I played poorly that cause regret. It will be the shows I did not play at all, because of fear, that I will regret. It will not be the songs I released for people to hear, enjoy, criticize, whatever, but the albums un-released. It will not be the chords missed, but the chords not played. It will be the kiss from my wife I did not take time to steal. It will be the harsh word in a long pointless argument that I will regret. It will be the moments I didn’t take to set my children on my lap and let them read to me, or the bedtime story I didn’t tell them when they asked and begged. The rhythms not tried, the melody unsung, the sunset not seen, the picture not taken, the poem not written, the truth not told, the love not shared is what I will so deeply regret when death, in all her inevitability, comes for me. So I say this, drink deeply from each moment of this life. All of them; the joy and amazement, the sorrow and pain. Drink until the cup is dry then

throw it on the ground and get up on the table and dance, because we are only here for a moment. Make your moment memorable and make it count. The great poet Khalil Gibran once jested, “Most people live their lives somewhere between prattling submission and mute rebellion.” Knowing full well, they are the same thing. I say be fierce in what you Love. Be passionate about Life. It is full of dispassionate people that need to be inspired. Rise against the mundane existence of eking by just to exist. So all the time you have in the world is right now. What will you do with your today? What is the thing that will change the world and others around you for the better that you have been putting off for so long? What is the thing a whispering enemy would tell you that you are not equipped well enough to do? Do you want to sing? Then start singing. Do you want to feed the poor? Start helping. Do you want to release a plethora of music to the world and you’re not sure if it’s good enough? Do the best you can and then let it go. Do you want to be a good parent? Then deny yourself time at the computer/ phone/x-box/bar/work and spend time with your kids while they still want to spend time with you. Do you want to be a doctor? Go to school and study hard. Do you want to be a writer? Start writing. Do you want to be a leader? Start serving. Don’t be ashamed of what you’ve been called, equipped and prepared to do. Be humble, but be effective. This is the sum of all things. Fear God, Revere Him, Love Him, Worship Him and keep His commands so He will know you truly are His. In this you will find His joy, unspeakable. You will find the Graciousness of a Father who adores you. And be wonderful, life is now.

Look for more interesting features and tidbits in "On a Personal Note" each month in future issues of ABOUT... the River Valley. You'll find short stories, interesting pieces and other great reads from people you know, or would like to know from around the River Valley.

Cristina M. Clark, M.D. OB/GYN

William Sosebee, M.D. OB/GYN

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Heath Stacey, M.D. Plastic Surgeon

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Profile for ABOUT the River Valley Magazine

ABOUT | December 2013  

ABOUT | December 2013