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September 2013 8 Russellville Downtown

The thumping, clacking Union Pacific railcars provide a fitting accent. The din of yesterday’s workhorse echoes at a comfortable volume through the corridors of downtown Russellville. It’s a nostalgic sound that works in concert with the buildings and the businesses. It’s the heartbeat of community here in the core of the city..

12 The Good. The Bad. The Embarrassing.



Quilts of Valor In the back room of a small fabric shop on Harding Street in Morrilton, seven women gather to discuss the progress of their quilts and their plans for the upcoming Veterans Day celebration.

18 ABOUT...Food




Aiming to Educate


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A typical early August evening for retired Arkansans would be sitting in their comfortable airconditioned homes. For others it might be picking through the remains of sunburned gardens, or sitting on a porch swing sipping sweet tea.

30 Hidden in the Tall Grass

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 | September 2013

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The Editor’s Notebook


the River Valley

Late Summer Traditions

A Publication of Silver Platter Productions, Inc Vol. VIII, Issue 7 – September 2013 Owner/Publisher: Nolan Edwards

I’ll join the rest of you in scratching my head and wondering just where the summer of 2013 went. And just how the heck did September creep up on us with no warning whatsoever? I’ll blame the relatively mild temperatures and rainy days. This summer’s weather was, in a word, pleasant compared to many in recent memory. Yep, let’s settle on that scapegoat. Summer blew by us because the weather was just too nice. We weren’t counting down days until the cool mornings and rain for our parched gardens because we didn’t have too. Fingers crossed that we get a summer like this next year. September is the gateway to a beautiful time of year here in the River Valley and autumn is a season full of tradition. High school and Arkansas Tech football get started this month. Some folks will be sighting rifles in preparation for the upcoming hunting seasons. Some of us go to our cedar chests and make sure that grandma’s quilts are handy for the first truly cool mornings. I enjoy several seasonal traditions, but one that stands out in my mind is one that I just recently started. In fact, last year was the first time I observed it. It has its roots in the record keeping of rural Arkansas hospitals. You see, my dad was born in one of those rural hospitals in September of 1948. We celebrated his birthday on September 24 without question for all the years that I was part of his life. Nobody bothered to check records. Who checks birth records? Unless of course we’re talking about presidents, but that’s a subject for another day. No, we all assumed that dad knew when his birthday was and that was that. Dad passed away in 1995. We still took time on September 24 to talk about and remember him, but as the years passed, my mom suspected that something wasn’t quite right. I don’t recall all of the details, but because of her research we discovered a birth certificate that placed Dad’s date of birth as September 21. We found other documents that confirmed this date. A few days might not seem like a big deal to you, but think about it for a moment. How intimately are you tied to your birth date? Wouldn’t it be just a little mind-boggling if you found out that your birthday -- something that you share with thousands of other people, but that makes YOU who YOU are as much as the color of your eyes or the sound of your voice -- was not when you thought? Dad passed away never knowing the truth. But this little twist has been molded into a good thing for my family and me. Dad’s birthday falls on the last full day of summer now…Well, it always did, but we just didn’t know it. So, in honor of his real birthday last year, I found an elevated spot with a clear view of the western sky. As the sun went down and the seasons changed I gave a toast to sunsets, to changing seasons, to fond memories and to my dad. Johnny Sain, Editor I plan to be on that mountaintop again on 479.857.6791 the 21st. It’s a tradition that I’ll look forward to for the rest of my Septembers.

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 STEVE NEWBY | photography CLIFF THOMAS | illustrator CHRIS ZIMMERMAN | layout/design KURT JONES | contributing photographer

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.





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about | september 2013 Calendar of Events Sept 6: 8th Annual Golf Tournament - Arkansas Tech Wonder Boys Basketball. 11:30 a.m. at the Russellville Country Club. Contact 968-0365

Sept 14: BBQ Tasting & People’s Choice Judging. 11 a.m.- 1p.m. in downtown Russellville. Contact 968-2452

Sept 7: Benefit Breakfast for JDRF Improving Lives Curing Type 1 Diabetes. 8 a.m-11a.m. Event sponsored by Knights of Columbus 990 SR 247 Russellville. Contact 964-0063

Sept 14: Live Music -- Summerfield Reunion. 8 p.m. downtown Russellville at the Depot Park  benefitting Habitat for Humanity of Pope County. Contact 280-3728

Sept 8: Exhibit Opening Reception for Tammy and Neal Harrington. 1 p.m.-3p.m. River Valley Arts Center. Contact 968-2452

Sept 17: Golden Suns Volleyball vs. ArkansasMontecello at 6 p.m. This event is held at Tucker Coliseum on the campus of Arkansas Tech University. Contact 968-0645.

Sept 9: Adult Pottery Class. 11 a.m.-2p.m. River Valley Arts Center. Contact 968-2452 Sept 11-14: Pope County Fair. Pope County Fairgrounds. Contact 970-9799 Sept 13: Downtown Russellville Brand Reveal. At 5:30 p.m. across from the historical Train Depot in downtown Russellville. Contact 968-2452 Sept 13: Tech Prep Rally (First Home Game). At 5:45 p.m. in historical downtown Russellville at Depot Park. Contact 968-2452

Sept 21: Great Arkansas Cleanup.Time: 7 a.m. at Lake Dardanelle State Park. Contact 968-2530 Sept 21: Raku Firing and Dinner Party. 6:30 p.m. at the River Valley Arts Center. Contact 968-2452 Sept 24: Forget Me Nots Alzheimer's Support Group. 6:30 p.m.-8 p.m.. Saint Mary's Regional Medical Center Cafe 2. Contact 498-2050 Sept 26: An Apple A Day Healthy Aging After 55, Senior Health Fair. 8a.m.-12 p.m 1611 West











































Oakland Street, Clarksville. Free Blood draws, skin screenings and health information applicable to those 55 and over. Contact 754-5490. Sept 28: Ozark Memories Day, grounds of Dover High School. Pancake breakfast 6:30-11 a.m., parade at 10 a.m. All-day activities, all day food. Admission is Free. Contact 331-3483. Sept 28-29: Frosted Pumpkin Market. Hidden Acres Farm 411 Sims Hollow Road, Russellville, AR 72802. Contact 293-3033

*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.

YOU WANT FAIR DEALS ~ WE’VE GOT FAIR DEALS 479-498-2277 3405 E. Main, Russellville September 2013 | ABOUT 7


he thumping, clacking Union Pacific railcars provide a fitting accent. The din of yesterday’s workhorse echoes at a comfortable volume through the corridors of downtown Russellville. It’s a nostalgic sound that works in concert with the buildings and the businesses. It’s the heartbeat of community here in the core of the city. The railroad is where the story begins for downtown Russellville. The Little Rock/Fort Smith Railroad was completed in 1873 and its route through Russellville tipped the balance of economic, and then political power in Pope County.The first depot was constructed in 1880 and shortly after that, in 1887 to be exact, the county seat moved from Dover to Russellville.  >>

Story by Johnny Sain Photos by Steven Newby and Johnny Sain

Revitalizing Downtown


Since Russellville’s downtown revitalization efforts began in 1992, the following accomplishments have paved the way for future downtown improvements. »» The election to keep the Pope County Courthouse in downtown. »» Rehabilitation of the J.L. Shinn Building and its adaptive reuse as location of Italian Gardens Café helped prove that there could be cool new uses for old buildings. »» Numerous grants, large and small, have provided financial incentives for millions of dollars of reinvestment in public and private properties. Examples include City Hall, Peters Family Living, C & D Drug Store, Arkansas Beauty College, The Frame Shop and many more. »» Development of Burris Memorial Plaza. »» Rehabilitation of Russellville’s historic railroad depot as public gathering place in the heart of the city. »» Improvements to public infrastructure along the way that aren’t always visible to the public eye. Russellville’s revitalization efforts celebrated 20 years of success with a Downtown Master Plan that will be used as a road map for continued efforts over the next 20 years. That plan was completed in the fall of 2012 and has served as a catalyst for the following: »» The first task from the Downtown Master Plan, the “quick victory project” began with the Bulb-outs on Main Street. »» 5 downtown buildings have sold for approximately half a million dollars. »» The El Paso Corridor complete street project (the all important connection between Arkansas Tech and downtown) is underway. »» The highly anticipated opening of Fat Daddy’s Bar-B-Que in late October is expected to further strengthen downtown’s role as a destination for social and cultural gatherings. »» New businesses like The Crossing, Lavish, Gallery 307, Funky Junky, Lemley House Art Guild, BN Bauman Photography have opened their doors downtown and Rendezvous has come back to life with a young and energetic new owner. »» A Tax Credit Lunch & Learn has gotten property owners excited about the benefit of the Federal and State Tax Credit Programs. »» Several new special events -- Collectibles On Commerce, Music Downtown @ Sundown, Tri-Peaks Community Market -- continue to grow and provide more reasons to slow down and hang around downtown. »» A re-issuance of the Slipcover Removal Grant has stirred some interest among property owners that may qualify for funding. »» Development of a new logo and branding campaign has been completed and is ready for the big reveal. The Downtown Master Plan will continue to offer guidelines for more short term and long term Downtown improvements such as: »» Enhancements to Depot Park to maximize use as a performance venue. »» Addressing the P-word! Enhancement of existing parking and looking to the future of a parking garage. »» Expanding incentives for building improvements, technical as well as financial. »» Encouraging housing and infill development on vacant lots. »» Ongoing improvements to public infrastructure. »» Capitalizing on downtown’s future as the central social district. A more detailed list of the short and long term tasks recommended in the Downtown Master Plan can be accessed at

Downtown Russellville sprang up, fed by the artery of commerce connecting Little Rock to what was still the western frontier. That first depot became a frequent stopover for weary travelers and from this hub a swirl of economic growth spun into the surrounding area. Business ideas and buildings sprouted from fertile minds and seemingly unlimited opportunity. Of course setbacks occurred. In 1906 a fire ravaged the downtown businesses, destroying more than 20 buildings and causing an estimated $250,000 in damages. But Russellville business bounced back stronger than ever. The 2008 recession was the most recent obstacle to growth in the downtown district, as it was to the nation as a whole, but the wheels of commerce are gaining momentum again. You can hear the thumping clacking sounds of a rousing economy. The sound echoes through the corridors of downtown Russellville. The sound and the spirit of downtown has survived through the decades and now sits ripe with potential. The years meld together when visiting with the downtown merchants. Old-fashioned service with a smile is still the foundation for good business. In some cases the ties to yesterday run through bloodlines. Yanci Walker, a pharmacist at C&D Drugstore, has a heritage tied to downtown business. “This is my family’s store,” said Yanci. “I’ve worked here since, gosh, back in Jr. High. I left for a little while but came back in 2009 and my uncle R.D. let me work for him.”

10 ABOUT | September 2013

C&D was named for Charles Oates and Dale Walker, entrepreneurs and pharmacists that bought the pharmacy in August 1958. Walker was Yanci’s grandfather. Interestingly, the building that now houses C&D has always been a pharmacy. It was constructed in 1877 and was the only building to survive the fire of 1906. It is also the oldest drugstore location in Arkansas. “When Mr. Oates retired he sold the store to R.D, my uncle, I think it was in 1990,” said Yanci. Yanci believes that downtown offers benefits for merchants and customers. “Downtown is the heart of the city. People look downtown for established long-term business and I think that they have that here; C&D Drugstore, Peter’s, Sweeden’s, the Jewelry stores. I think that’s what people want again, a downtown where you can park your car, take care of business and visit with friends.” The historic buildings and old-town atmosphere draws new businesses as well. Bethany Swindle owns Lavish. She has been in business here in downtown for a little more than a year. “I grew up in a Victorian house here in Russellville,” said Bethany. “Born and raised here and I just wanted to help in the revitalization of downtown. With Lavish being, I don’t know, kind of funky chic; most things I have here are repurposed or old. I just thought it was a good fit with downtown as opposed to a new construction type location.”

Indeed, Lavish is awash in nostalgic items right down to the décor. Glass doors from two old houses that were torn down when the Methodist church built additions are used as merchandise display. Yancy and Bethany represent the recent growth of young professionals that makeup an eclectic mix of downtown business owners. Commerce and culture aren’t often thought of as compatible, though history tells us that they are a couple. Downtown Russellville is no exception. A large portion of the recent downtown revitalization is centered around culture, specifically the arts. The Frame Shop and Gallery, Lemley House Art Guild, and Gallery 307 are examples of Downtown's growing art culture. The quarterly Downtown Art Walk held on the first Friday of March, June, September and December are an ongoing partnership between the River Valley Arts Center and Main Street Russellville. Food is also an attraction and downtown Russellville highlights area restaurants with their annual Taste of the Valley. Held on the last Thursday in April, the award-winning event offers food samples and music, with all proceeds used for the continued revitalization of the downtown district. This year’s Music Downtown @ Sundown is the latest community event that cements downtown Russellville as the cultural center of the River Valley. It came about by simply listening to what the people wanted explained Betsy McGuire, executive director of Main Street Russellville. “Over the years we have always asked the public what type of events they would like to see take place downtown,” said Betsy. “The overwhelming response has always been more music. So that’s what we did and the response from the community has been great.” This summer’s series of three concerts concluded with the final show in August, with a wink from Main Street Russellville about future concerts; though nothing is confirmed right now.

The community interest in Russellville's downtown is growing along with the business and cultural additions. Betsy says there are good reasons for this. “Communities everywhere have recognized the value of their downtowns and ours is no exception,” said Betsy. "It is the core from which our community has grown, it embodies our local history and reflects the unique personality that sets our community apart. It's still a place where the dream of owning a business can take root, and that dream can prosper." The train rumbles on; past downtown and though the city limits. Soon the lights of Russellville are a distant glow from the caboose window. But downtown Russellville’s future looks brighter than ever as the thumping, clacking wheels of revitalization push it forward. n




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September 2013 | ABOUT 11

about | family

The Good. The Bad. The Embarrasing. Story by Kechia Bentley Illustration by Cliff Thomas

This column is actually all about the embarrassing news, but I need to give you a little background and the good news/ bad news will lay the foundation. For those of you who have been regular readers of my column you will probably remember my efforts to lose weight and jog a 5K. And you will probably remember it all started with a challenge from my son Dillon; I jog a 5K and he never smokes a cigarette again in his life. Good news: I lost 48 pounds and felt great! Bad news: I never could jog an entire 5K. The farthest I could jog was 2.75 miles. Good news: Dillon stopped smoking anyway. Bad news: I have gained 28 of those pounds back. Never fear, I have now started attempt number 596 to lose weight. We’ll see how it goes. Never give up! Good news: I needed a whole new wardrobe after a 48 pound weight loss. Bad news: I donated the clothes that no longer fit. I could sure use some of those clothes back. Yes, some of you have just thought to yourself -- or if you are like me, talked to yourself -- now donating clothes does not sound like bad news. Needing those clothes back, yes, but not donating them. But the donation leads me to… The embarrassing news. As the pounds began to melt away I started placing clothes that no longer fit me into a plastic garbage bag. Before long, I had several garbage bags full of clothes. Every day I planned to donate those clothes to the Salvation Army Store. But months went by and it kept getting pushed to my to-do list for the next day. Soon I had five full bags of clothes cluttering my bedroom. Around the end of April I hear that my church, First Baptist, is collecting items for the African Mission Trip Rummage Sale. So, a couple of weeks later I think to myself, “I should just take all these bags of clothes to the church.” And I did. What a good little church member I am. On June 18, 2013 I found out what a good little church member I was. I am riding in a car with three of my closest friends (this story is so embarrassing that they do not want me using their names) and they are telling me about a gag gift they purchased for another one of our friends for 12 ABOUT | September 2013

her 50th birthday. They got this gag gift at the Church Rummage Sale. Yes, you should start to feel dread at this point. They begin by explaining how they were sorting through bags of clothes that had been donated. And low and behold someone had donated a hot pink, fullfigured little lingerie outfit. Yep, get sick to your stomach. Or at least feel sorry for me. I am sure my eyes were big as silver dollars. Surly, I didn’t donate that to the church. I halfway listen to the remaining details of how they thought it best not to sell pink, sexy lingerie at the church rummage sale, but to instead use this hot number as a gag gift. Really, what kind of woman would donate her full-figured sexy lingerie to the church rummage sale? You are probably not that kind of woman, but apparently, I am. By this point, all I am hearing is my own inner voice saying over and over again, louder and louder, “I cannot believe I donated that to the church!” Please, please remember I had intended to donate it all to the Salvation Army. Now, some of you are wondering how that’s better? Well, it is a nice, expensive, pretty piece of lingerie and I thought some other full-figure woman might appreciate the opportunity to own it. And more importantly it is not my church. They don’t know me there! My friends keep telling the story of the pink lingerie completely unaware of the conversation in my head. All of a sudden a new conversation begins in my mind, “Should I tell them it is mine? I mean, I could just keep my mouth shut and no one would know I was the crazy woman who thought it was OK to send her lingerie to the church rummage sale.”

If you had been in my brain at this moment you probably would not have made it out alive, it was spinning at warp speed. I mean, there really IS something not right about selling lingerie at the church! Yes, I know we could have a whole conversation about how God created sex, but let’s not do that right now. I am still trying to recover from this incident. Oh people, the story gets worse. One of my friends takes the nightie home to wrap it for the gag gift and her husband sees it. Now, this friend happens to be somewhat full-figured and her husband mistakenly thinks it is for him. He happens to be on the phone as she is holding up this “new” piece of lingerie and he keeps enthusiastically giving her the thumbs up sign. At first she doesn’t catch on that he is referencing the hot pink number, but when she does she thinks it is hysterical that this “church lingerie” is such a hit with her man. Ok, by now I am just dying. The voices in my head are getting louder. I finally blurt out, “I am pretty sure that is mine.” I begin to describe it to a tee and they confirm my description. Yep, no mistake, I have given my lingerie to the church. I know we are taught to give a tenth of all we own to the Lord, but I think I may have just taken it a bit too far. So let me conclude with what I think should be considered a public service announcement about the dangers of losing weight. Each and every one of you who can go to bed tonight knowing you have never donated lingerie to your church rummage sale should feel very proud of yourself. And then you should thank God that I walk on the planet to make all those good feelings about yourself possible. n




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Story and photos by Meredith Martin Moats

n the back room of a small fabric shop on Harding Street in Morrilton, seven women gather to discuss the progress of their quilts and their plans for the upcoming Veterans Day celebration. Fresh baked sugar cookies are passed around as women discuss color combinations and new patterns. Making their homes throughout Conway County, these women are members of the local branch of the national Quilts of Valor organization; a grassroots collective of quilters seeking to honor all combat veterans with a handmade, personalized quilt. Group leader and state coordinator Susie Kendrick pulls back the corner of a recently completed, vibrantly patterned, red, white and blue quilt to reveal the hand-embroidered label on the underside. “John A. Sanders,” it reads, “U.S. Army 1973-1993, Panama.” Underneath the name of the solider is the name of the local group, “CC Piecemakers, 2013.” Each quilt receives this personalized stamp and comes wrapped in a fabric bag for safekeeping. In the past year the Conway County Piecemakers have made and donated over seventy quilts to local men and women who have served in conflicts ranging from WWII to Afghanistan. 14 ABOUT | September 2013

Susie Kendrick had never quilted when she first heard about Quilts of Valor on television. But she knew she wanted to start a local chapter. So she sent off for the information and took it down to Catherine Pruitt, owner of Catherine’s Discount Fabrics, a local gathering place for textile artists. “I presented it to Catherine and her husband George. They jumped right on it,” Kendrick said. “He [George] is a Vietnam veteran,” she added. Together they ran a few spots in the local newspaper and Catherine spread the word in her shop, attracting experienced quilters and beginners alike. The group grew steadily as women came

together to share their textile skills and about 8:30 on a Saturday morning and by the quilts) with longarmers (women who 9 p.m., I had my first quilt,” she says. “Now machine quilt the fabrics). Together they serve their communities. work toward their goal of covering all Carolyn Chapman joined the group I’m on my ninth one.” early on and has been quilting for The national Quilts of Valor group began returning service men and women with a decades. Like many of the participants, in 2003 with Blue Star mother Catherine symbol of appreciation. she found out about the group through her involvement with Catherine’s store. “I show up anywhere there’s fabric,” she laughs. Clearly the comedian of the group, she keeps everyone laughing as she shares her love for this kind of work. “When the bug bites you’ve got it bad,” she says. Venice Champine came to the group as an experienced dressmaker and seamstress, but was new to quilting. Like many of the group members, her husband is a veteran and military service is something she understands in a deeply personal way. She first heard about the group when she and her husband went to the local VFW shortly after moving to town. There she met Cathy, “You don’t know what it means to me to receive this,” they’ll say. “ Yes I do,” owner of the shop. “Come, we’re she tells them, "because I know what it means to us to give it to you." having a meeting on Tuesday,” Cathy told her. “So I did.” Judy King’s son is an Iraq War veteran. Roberts of Delaware who wanted to There’s also a spiritual component to the She’d barely even touched her sewing ensure returning soldiers, like her own work. As they stitch the quilts the quilters machine before joining the group. But on son, felt appreciated and welcomed back. pray and concentrate on healing thoughts a rainy day she worked alongside one of Like many members of the group, military for all veterans, especially the name to the group’s most prolific quilters to learn service hit close to home and she wanted be embroidered on the quilt. Today there the basics of sewing. “Mary says get your to find a direct way to aid in healing. are local chapters of the Quilts of Valor sewing machine and we’re going to learn Seeking to build bridges, she began to organization across the United States, >> how to sew, “ explained King. “Started connect quilt toppers (women who piece including sixteen in Arkansas alone.

September 2013 | ABOUT 15

At the local level each group raises their own money for the materials by hosting fundraising events and gathering community-wide donations. In most cases the group meetings are for event planning and idea sharing. The quilting is done at home, a time of introspection and prayer. To gather additional names of veterans the group take suggestions from friends and family members, work closely with the VFW, and set up suggestion boxes at public events; like last year’s Veteran’s Day ceremony. So this past 4th of July they hosted an event at the city park and presented seventy local veterans with their quilts, including two women who had served during WWII. The entire community was invited to attend. “We were hoping for a turnout of about two hundred, says Judy King, “but wound up with over 400.” Congressman Tim Griffin spoke at the event and a group of local cloggers provided the entertainment. The quilters even awarded Griffin himself with quilt, something his staffers managed to keep a secret, much to his surprise. There were few dry eyes in the place, Cathy says, and the service men and women had the opportunity to meet the quilt makers and both the crafters and the veteran were able

16 ABOUT | September 2013

to put a face and a story to the unique piece of art. In sharp contrast to the medals soldiers are awarded for their service, the quilts are warm and meant to be used. Sewn with fabrics made of 100% cotton, they’re soft to the touch, intricately made, and inviting. The quilters take great pride in choosing high quality fabrics and experimenting with

various quilting designs, many of which are variations of quilt patterns from generations ago. Often referred to as “lap-sized” quilts, the national organization requests all of the quilts be a minimum of 55 X 65 inches and contain various combinations of red, white and blue. Beyond that, the artistry is totally up to the quilter themselves and each textile artists adds their personal touch.

In a small town like Morrilton the quilt makers usually know the local veterans and often choose to make quilts for people who are especially close. Such was the case with Lisa Reynolds who made her father’s quilt, a unique design she created incorporating patterns and images from her father’s patriotic ties. Even when the quilt makers don’t know the person, they find ways to make it personal. Judy King recently began a quilt for a veteran who worked with a canine partner to sniff out bombs. So she found a pattern that would speak to the human/animal bond. She called people in the veteran’s family to get the dog’s name, which will be embroidered on the quilt alongside the veteran’s. The quilt will be one of many presented this November in a community-wide Veterans Day Ceremony to be held at the high school. When asked what draws them to this kind

of service, all of the women discuss their sons, husbands, uncles or dear friends who have served in the armed forces. The service members, they say, are so appreciative of their work. Shop owner Catherine Pruitt notes that many of the service members

have a hard time articulating the depth of their feelings. “You don’t know what it means to me to receive this,” they’ll say. “ Yes I do,” she tells them, because I know what it means to us to give it to you. There’s just a special feeling.” n

September 2013 | ABOUT 17

about | food

Where's The Beef ?

Story by Lydia Zimmerman, Food Editor


hen I presented my recipe theme for this month’s column to my husband the smile on his face turned upside down. See, my husband is what you would classify as a Carnivore. I first heard the term from my children whom are/have been dinosaur enthusist for many years. This describes a dino that primarily eats meat. I am not saying that my husband is a dinosaur, he is actually a year younger than myself, it is just a fact that he prefers to eat meat and very few vegetables. I on the other hand eat meat but LOVE my vegetables, in dinosaur terms making me an Omnivore (my children actually do think I grew up during that time period.) I prefer my veggie burgers, but in those very few times we order takeout and I get a beef burger, I bring it home where the normal sized burger is increased by up to 2 inches in thickness from all the extra veggies. My husband sees this and says I am running a perfectly good burger, while I note that his only has meat, cheese and ketchup. Then there are people, that if they were dinosaurs, would be known as Herbivores. These people are vegetarians, meaning they opt to eat a totally meat free diet. I wonder if there were any dinosaurs that were Vegans? Or any that opted for a Gluten free diet? According to my husband this would surely have contributed to their demise. After all that said, my column this month has recipes that are either Vegetarian or Vegan. I did throw in a couple of Gluten free recipes for those whom prefer that diet. As always enjoy!

18 ABOUT | September 2013

BROCCOLI CHEESE CORNBREAD 1stick butter or margarine 2 boxes Jiffy Cornbread mix 4 eggs 8 oz. cottage cheese 1 med. onion, chopped 8 oz. grated cheddar cheese 10 oz. chopped broccoli fresh or frozen 1/2 tsp.salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place stick of unwrapped butter/margarine into a 9X13 baking pan/ cast iron skillet. Place pan into preheated oven and allow butter to melt. While waiting for butter to melt stir the last seven ingredients together in a large mixing bowl with a wooden spoon until moist. Remove pan from oven when butter melted and pour butter into the mixing bowl stirring again until butter mixed in. Then pour mixture from bowl into baking pan and place back into oven to bake for 45-60 minutes. This is sooo good you can eat it alone for a meal!  Recipe courtesy on Wilma Gray (my mom)

VEGAN SAGE BROCCOLI & SQUASH RISOTTO 1 T olive oil 1 c butternut squash, peeled and chopped 1 c broccoli, chopped 2 T green onion, chopped Salt and pepper to taste 1 c Arborio (Italian) rice, may use brown rice 1 1/4 c Silk Original Unsweetened almond milk 1/2 c light coconut milk 1 1/2 c water 1 T fresh rosemary 4-5 fresh sage leaves, chopped

In a deep sauté pan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add squash, broccoli and green onion, sautéing for 4-5 minutes (until softened). Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add rice and toss for one minute. In a separate bowl, whisk together almond milk, coconut milk, water, rosemary and sage. Add one cup of liquid mixture to rice and vegetables and bring to a boil.. Reduce heat to simmer and continue mixing liquid in 1/2 cup at a time as it absorbs; stir frequently. Once all liquid is added (total cook time: 20-25 minutes), serve warm over a bowl of greens or as a side.  Recipe courtesy of


Mommy and Me Recipes

1/3 c ketchup 1 T brown sugar 1 1/2 tsp. vegetable oil 1 1/2 tsp. cider vinegar 1 tsp. Dijon mustard 1/4 tsp. chili powder 1/4 tsp. low-sodium soy sauce 1/4 tsp. hot sauce 1 garlic clove, minced 8 oz. package tempeh (soy cakes) 1 red bell pepper, cut in half 1 yellow bell pepper, cut in half 1 red onion, cut into 1/2-in-thick slices Cooking spray 4 hamburger buns


1 10 or 12 in prepared pizza crust 8oz. cream cheese,softened 1 c sour cream 1 envelope Ranch dressing mix 2 c fresh chopped raw vegetables of choice (broccoli, carrots, cauliflower,etc.)

(Little Helper w/ Mommy’s help) Stir together cream cheese,sour cream and dressing mix in a medium bowl. Using a spatula, spread the mixture over the pizza crust. Top your pizza with your veggies of choice. You can use a variety of different colored veggies for a colorful presentation.

Prepare grill. Combine first 9 ingredients in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Cut tempeh in 1/2 lengthwise; cut slices in half. Brush tempeh slices, bell peppers, and onion with the ketchup mixture. Place on grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 4 minutes on each side or until the tempeh is thoroughly heated. Remove the tempeh, bell peppers, and onion from grill. Cut bell peppers into 1/2-in-wide strips; separate onions into rings. Place 1 tempeh slice on bottom half of each bun. Top each tempeh slice with 1/4 of bell peppers, 1/4 of onion, and top half of bun.  Recipe courtesy of Cooking Light magazine

EASY GLUTEN FREE BREAKFAST BARS 1 pkg small marshmallows ¼ c butter 6 c gluten-free cereal ½ tsp. gluten-free vanilla ¾ c peanut butter ¾ c chocolate Carnation Instant Breakfast

(Little Helper) Place marshmallows and butter into saucepan. (Mommy) Place saucepan on medium heat and stir frequently until contents melted. (Little Helper) Add instant breakfast and peanut butter to saucepan with Mommy’s help. (Mommy) Stir in cereal and vanilla. (Mommy) Press into 9” x 13” pan. (Little Helper) Sprinkle mini chocolate bits on top and press in. Let cool. Recipe courtesy of

PALEO BREAD (GLUTEN FREE) 2 c blanched almond flour 2 T coconut flour ¼ c golden flaxmeal ¼ tsp. sea salt ½ tsp. baking soda 5 eggs 1 T coconut oil 1 T honey 1 T apple cider vinegar

Place almond flour, coconut flour, flax, salt and baking soda in a food processor


Pulse ingredients together Pulse in eggs, oil, honey and vinegar Pour batter into a greased 7.5 x 3.5 magic line loaf pan Bake at 350° for 30 minutes Cool and serve Recipe courtesy of

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GLUTEN FREE CINNAMON-RAISIN MUFFINS Streusel: 1/4 c chopped walnuts 1/4 c packed light brown sugar 2 T brown rice flour 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon 1 1/2 T canola oil or butter

Muffins: Cooking spray 3/4 c brown rice flour 3/4 c potato starch 1/2 c tapioca flour 3/4 c granulated sugar 1 T baking powder 1 1/2 tsp. xanthan gum 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon 1/2 tsp. salt 3/4 c raisins 1/4 c chopped toasted walnuts 1/3 c canola oil 1 tsp. vanilla extract 2 lg eggs 1 c plain soy milk

Preheat oven to 400°. To prepare streusel, combine first 5 ingredients in a small bowl with a fork until mixture resembles small peas. To prepare muffins, place 18 paper muffin cup liners in muffin cups. Coat liners with cooking spray; set aside. Lightly spoon brown rice flour, potato starch, and tapioca flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine brown rice flour, potato starch, tapioca flour, granulated sugar, and next 4 ingredients in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Stir in raisins and walnuts; make a well in center of mixture. Combine oil, vanilla, and eggs in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk.

Stir in soy milk; add to rice flour mixture, stirring just until moist. Spoon batter evenly into prepared muffin cups. Sprinkle batter evenly with streusel topping. Bake at 400° for 20 minutes or until muffins are lightly browned and spring back when touched lightly in center. Cool in pans 5 minutes on a wire rack. Serve warm.  Recipe courtesy of

SPANISH POTATO AND SPINACH TORTILLA WITH RED PEPPER SAUCE 1/2 c bottled roasted red bell peppers (about 3 ounces), rinsed and drained 1 T dry-roasted almonds, coarsely chopped 2 T extra-virgin olive oil, divided 3/4 tsp. kosher salt, divided 1/8 tsp. ground red pepper 2 garlic cloves, crushed 8 oz. red potatoes (about 2 medium), cut into (1/8-inch-thick) slices 1 c water 2 T half-and-half 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper 6 large eggs 2 large egg whites 2 c baby spinach leaves

a whisk. Heat a 10-inch ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add potatoes to pan; sauté 4 minutes or until browned. Add spinach; sauté for 1 minute or until spinach wilts. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add egg mixture to pan; cover and cook for 4 minutes, gently shaking pan occasionally. Broil tortilla 4 minutes or until top is lightly browned and center is set. Cool slightly; serve with red pepper sauce.  Recipe courtesy of RED PEPPER SAUCE 12 oz. prepared roasted red peppers, drained 1/3 c vegetable (or chicken) broth 1 lg clove garlic, chopped 3 T chopped fresh chives, basil or parsley (plus extra for garnish) 1 T balsamic vinegar Place all sauce ingredients into blender and blend until smooth Sauce recipe courtesy of


1 container fresh mozzarella balls cut into fourths 1/4 c fresh basil leaves chopped or in Preheat broiler to high. ribbons Combine bell peppers, almonds, 1 tablespoon oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, red 1/4 purple onion chopped pepper, and garlic in a food processor; 1 container cherry tomatoes halved 1/4 c Extra Virgin Olive Oil pulse until smooth. Set aside. Combine the potatoes and 1 cup water Salt & Pepper to taste in a skillet over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and Mix all the ingredients together and serve simmer 4 minutes or until potatoes are at room temperature. No accuracy needed just tender. Drain. use more or less of anything to taste Combine half-and-half, remaining 1/2 preferred. teaspoon salt, black pepper, eggs, and egg  Recipe courtesy of whites in a medium bowl, stirring well with  Lynda Keeling (Dardanelle,AR)

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high heat. Form patties out of the bean mixture, 1 (15.5 oz.) can garbanzo beans, drained and fry them in hot oil for about 5 minutes per side. Serve as you would a burger. and mashed  Recipe courtesy of 8 fresh basil leaves, chopped 1/4 c oat bran GLUTEN-FREE,VEGAN KEY LIME 1/4 c quick cooking oats PIE CHEESECAKE BARS 1 c cooked brown rice The Crust Ingredients: 1 (14 oz.) pkg firm tofu 3/4 c oats (use gluten-free) 5 K barbeque sauce 1/3 c pecans 1/2 tsp. salt 3 T-1c maple syrup 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper 3/4 tsp. garlic powder The Filling Ingredients: 3/4 tsp. dried sage 2 1/2 c raw cashews, (optional) soak for 2 tsp. vegetable oil about 2 hrs-not necessary with a high powered blender In a large bowl, stir together the mashed garbanzo beans and basil. Mix in the oat 1/2 c raw packed spinach or you can use finely chopped Avacado bran, quick oats, and rice; the mixture 1/2 c key limes, peeled (about 8 key limes) should seem a little dry. In a separate bowl, mash the tofu with 1 tsp. vanilla extract your hands, trying to squeeze out as much 1/3 c maple syrup of the water as possible. Drain of the 1/4 c coconut oil, melted water, and repeat the process until there is the zest of 2 key limes, divided hardly any water worth pouring off. It is not necessary to remove all of the water. Pour Process the crust ingredients in a food the barbeque sauce over the tofu, and stir processor. The longer they process, the finer the crust, so it’s up to you. Use 3 T to coat. Stir the tofu into the garbanzo beans maple syrup, add more maple syrup if the and oats. Season with salt, pepper, garlic crust doesn’t stick together.Press your crust into an 8 x 8 pan. You can use a bottom of a powder, and sage; mix until well blended. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium- glass to smash the crust onto the bottom.

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Put all filling ingredients except the zest in a high powered blender in the order listed, and blend until smooth and creamy. If the filling is too thick, add a little water tablespoon by tablespoon to thin if desired. I’ve added close to a 1/2 cup of water before. Add 1/2 of the key lime zest, and briefly blend. Pour filling mixture on top of the crust. Smooth out the filling with a spatula. Garnish with the remaining key lime zest. Freeze to solidify, take out of the freezer about 15 minutes before serving, and enjoy! Keep refrigerated 3-4 days or in the freezer for up to a month.  Recipe Courtesy of


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September 2013 | ABOUT 21

about | community

Sister City Documentation Signed

The City of Russellville had the honor of hosting a delegation of visiting Chinese dignitaries. Officials from the city of Russellville and Shuangliu, China have been working together for the past several months to create a Sister city relationship. The relationship will provide training, education and cultural exchanges between the two cities that may establish opportunities for future economic development. The formal signing ceremony took place on Wednesday, August 21, 2013 in the council chambers on the second floor of Russellville City Hall.


Big Brothers Big Sisters of Russellville is looking for teams to participate in their upcoming fundraiser The Big Shootout in a Little Town. The event is a trap & skeet shoot benefitting Big Brothers Big Sisters that will be held on Saturday, September 21 at 8 a.m. The shoot will take place at Flag Lake Sportsman Association, 2300 Howel Road, Pottsville, Ark. Teams of 4: $300 trap or skeet only / $500 for both Individuals: $75 trap or skeet only / $150 for both. Sponsorships are available. For more information or to register your team contact, Christine Sain at 479-968-5525 or csain@


For some, “Happy Birthday� is a victory song. No one understands that statement more than a cancer survivor. Thanks to the 22 ABOUT | September 2013

American Cancer Society, more cancer patients are seeing more birthdays. The American Cancer Society, founded in 1913, is the second largest source of funds for cancer research in the United States, second only to the American Government. Since its foundation, the ACS has funded 46 Nobel Prize winning researchers. Since 1975, medicine has seen a 19% increase in the survival rate of cancer patients (from 49% to 68%), and as ACS celebrates their 100th birthday, 13.7 million cancer survivors are celebrating their own personal victories. Over a hundred thousand of these survivors live in Arkansas. This year, to help ACS celebrate their

100th birthday, the Russellville Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon cutting ceremony for the Relay For Life of Pope and Yell Counties. The Relay For Life is the largest and most well-known fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. Since its creation in 1985, the Relay has raised over $3 billion to be used in the fight against cancer. Each year, citizens from Pope and Yell counties hold a Relay to help raise the funds and finish the fight against cancer. To find out more about the fight against cancer and how to get involved, visit www., or www.relayforlife. org/pope to get involved with the local Relay. If interested in becoming part of the planning and sponsorship committee for the Relay For Life of Pope and Yell counties, contact committee chair Tracy Roberts at or (479) 858-1876.

coffee shop in historic downtown. Students pictured below from left to right: Alicia Apodaca, Oakland Heights Elementary, MacKenzie Epperson, Dwight Elementary, Rhett Neagles, Center Valley Elementary and Sami Oberhauser, London Elementary. Teachers are Lyndsey Drain, from left, Laura Binz and Sherry Sawyer. "The students performed after studying an intense unit on poetry," Binz said. Other studies included in the GT programing are nature/animal studies, western expansion, water quality studies and self selected projects. All paths lead to hands on learning opportunities grounded in research. "Good candidates for the advanced classes are students who are curious and motivated to find the answers to RUSSELLVILLE BOYS & GIRLS RSD GIFTED AND TALENTED questions," Binz added. CLUB EXPERIENCE THE ARTS SHARE POETRY Russellville Boys and Girls Club Gifted and Talented students enrolled Parents interested in nominating their members enjoyed art classes in the Russellville School District recently child for GT classes may contact the school coordinated by the artists of Lori’s Loft recited their original poetry at The Crossing district administration (479) 968-1306. n this summer. The campers wore tiedye shirts made with artist Miranda Skelton and proudly displayed pottery made with ATU professor Ty Brunson. Other classes included art made from recycled goods, with Amanda Shilling, drawing classes with Betty Snellings, watercolor classes with Jeannie Stone, fabric art with Bonnie Haines, paper quilting with Pat Jackson and animal drawing and painting with Brenda Morgan. A special field trip to view the art housed at the ATU library was facilitated by artist Sherry Tinerella. Lori’s Loft is an extension of Gallery 307 in historic downtown Russellville and owned by Dick and Rita Goodman. The summer camp is sponsored by the Russellville Kiwanis.



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A typical early August evening for retired Arkansans

would be sitting in their comfortable air-conditioned homes. For others it might be picking through the remains of sunburned gardens, or sitting on a porch swing sipping sweet tea. August evenings in the Arkansas River Valley this year haven’t been typical, the weather cool and, for some of the young at heart, energizing. George Holt – most call him Jeff – of Russellville spends his evenings like any gun enthusiast might. Holt is plinking targets.

Story and photos by Cindi Nobles

24 ABOUT | September 2013

Holt, a retired Entergy employee, is president of the River Valley Gun Club. The club assembles on Thursday evenings to “play for a while,” as Holt likes to say. At the base of a steeply inclined road on the outskirts of Dardanelle stands a stout, locked steel gate with intricate lettering that states ownership of the property by the River Valley Gun Club. The sign’s centerpiece is a realistic life-size rifle cut out of steel plate with a handgun in the center of it. Club member Don Romine created the sign. “Don Romine runs a cutting torch better than I can run an ink pen,” Holt said. “It’s a work of art.” At the peak of the drive, situated against a backdrop of lush hardwoods, sits a parking area and a football field-sized shooting range. Holt steps out of his vehicle and nods to a little dog running around the parking area. “That’s Buddy, the Model-A dog,” he said. Holt’s son steps out of his Model-A pickup truck and the dog runs circles around the younger Holt, oblivious to the echo of gunshots in the background. In front of the parking lot is a covered seating area the length of several church pews that looks out onto metal silhouettes. Chickens, pigs, turkeys and rams sit erect on the neatly landscaped grounds of the 100yard shooting range. Picturesque Jones Mountain rises beyond the range and Mount Nebo emerges to the northwest.

Men and women shooting targets put their firearms down upon approach. In front of the seating area sits a long countertop lined with pistols and rifles, all chambers open. “Line cold,” a man shouts as he walks across a red safety line to check targets. “Line cold,” Holt shouts back. “Safety is a big deal here. It’s got to be.” “See that red line on the ground?” he asks. “Nobody can go across until they know for certain there isn’t anyone about to shoot and all firearms are down. It’s a big deal to have the gun cylinders open, that way when someone is walking around this way they will know this gun is safe and it will not hurt me.”

"We are looking to provide gun safety and offer our concealed handgun classes to the community..." Some of the club’s members have been active National Rifle Association members since 1977. Currently, the club has more than 600 family names on its roster. “We aren’t looking for new members,” Holt said. “We’ve got plenty. We are looking to provide gun safety and offer our concealed handgun classes to the community. We’ve been at this a while. Some of us, like Jeff Ellis over there, have been around longer than most of us have.” Ellis, leaning back in his seat said, “Yeah, tell everyone I’m old.”

Arkansas River Valley Gun Club, Inc.

is a not-for-

profit NRA affiliated shooting club. Concealed handgun carry class cost $50 ($25 non-refundable deposit - $25 day of class). Class includes a complete ready to mail package meeting the requirements of Arkansas Act 419 of 1995, classroom and firing range instruction and fingerprints. The $50 class fee does not include the $144 fee to be paid to the State Police upon formal application. Students have six months from completion of the class to apply for a permit. Attending the class does not obligate you to apply for the permit of pay the $144.

For more information on concealed weapon classes contact Jeff Ellis at 479-229-2228

Holt, quick on the draw, counters, “He says he’s not old, but he probably wouldn’t detonate if you hit him. The club had a difficult time finding a home for many years. “We were chartered in 1977 by the NRA,” said Holt. “We originally were able to shoot on Mount Nebo Road at Doc Harbison’s property. Soon after, the Russellville Police Department let us play for a little while. Then, as new police chiefs were hired, we

were run off and as others were hired we got to come back.” Holt explained that someone found a bullet on a parking lot just down from the pistol range in Russellville. This prompted police to close down the range. “Nobody was allowed to shoot there anymore,” Holt said. “After a while, they remodeled the shooting range and turned it around and were able to begin using it again, but the gun club members couldn’t.” >>

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26 ABOUT | September 2013

Club members kept looking and were able to rent a shale pit in Centerville. Holt said the location was so inconvenient that membership tumbled to only a dozen people. But everything seemed to come together after a big announcement from the state in 1994. “Some of us were watching the news one night and saw where the concealed gun permit was coming up for a vote in the Arkansas Legislature,” Holt said. “While this was cooking I went and found an NRA training counselor that could train us to be NRA training instructors.” Approximately eight members became certified NRA pistol instructors within the club. “We got certified, got all ready to teach … and then the law failed,” Holt said. A year later the concealed gun permit law passed. “So in ‘95 people all over the state were scrambling around to become certified to teach the class that we already had instructors certified to teach,” he said. “We went down and took the state police test in order to teach the state test, and went at it hot and heavy.” Classes were full, and the club couldn’t hold enough of them to keep up with applicants. “We had class after class,” Holt recalled. “Everyone kept asking, ‘when are you going

to do another one,’ over and over. We had classes that would have 50 people in them over at the armory for a while. We just wore ourselves out.” Holt said one thing that differentiates the club’s courses from others is the access to a prosecuting attorney. “We’ve been very fortunate the prosecuting attorneys have been doing the legal parts of our class instead of a deputy or someone who has limited knowledge of the law,” he said. For many years the RVGC rotated from the Yell and Pope County sides of the river with the prosecuting attorneys until David Gibbons was elected in Pope County. “David Gibbons has been excellent. He’s not pro-gun or anti-gun. He just tells you what the law is. He just tells what you can or cannot do and what he would have you charged for and whether what you did was justified if you were to use your weapon,” Holt said. In the beginning, the club held classes at Don Casey’s property on Linker Mountain near Dover. The club took money made from the concealed weapon courses and put it in the bank, meanwhile searching for land to meet the needs for a shooting range. The shooting range now sits on property purchased in 2001. Holt explained that mostly volunteer work by members and friends made the shooting range what it is today. He

said the gun club hired Kirby Construction to build a road and the rest came about. “We were looking around us after we got the road built and there were two good ‘ol boys there and I mentioned we sure would like a couple of D-9 bull dozers and take the land and make it longer and flatter,” Holt said. “They looked at each other and said, ‘we know someone.’” Holt said they called a friend, James Alvey, who spent six days moving dirt to extend the pad 70 yards. “He charged us for the diesel fuel and hydraulic fuel that leaked,” Holt said. “That’s it, just trying to help out.” Now, almost 10 years after the concealed weapon legislation passed, Holt said the number of courses available to the public varies by demand and classes are now taught on club property. “A lot of it is political,” he said. “Depending on who takes office, we may do classes every month for a while. Normally, we do classes every 60 to 90 days.” Deep relationships have formed through the club. Leda and Sam Cullum spend Thursdays shooting at targets. Leda is one of nine women in the state who is an NRA certified “Chicks with Guns” instructor. “We like to have three or four classes a year,” she said. “The classes are women only. Sometimes women are a bit intimidated by male instructors, so this gives them an opportunity to come out with their girlfriends and learn about firearm safety.” Leda admits the shooting range is a special place for her and her husband, Sam. They met and later married there. “I had been in Iraq and felt I needed a place to just go shoot,” Leda said. “I wanted to do something. I trained to become an instructor, and this nice gentleman was so helpful and buzzing around. I was not shopping for a man. I had been single for 13 years.” After shooting one evening, Sam got in his pickup and Leda watched him pull away. Holt’s wife, Pat, noticed. “That Sam’s a nice man and he’s single,” Pat said to Leda. Soon the two were married in front of the sumac bushes at the shooting range. They say it was literally a shotgun wedding. “People brought shotguns,” Leda said. “Everyone shot their shotguns afterward and we had a full reception here. Pat made our cake. It couldn’t have been more perfect.” The couple has been married four years. As Holt and his wife Pat got ready to pack up for the evening, he points to Pat’s embroidered gun bag and toys in the back of her vehicle. “I say if you can’t beat ‘em shoot with them,” Pat said. n

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September 2013 | ABOUT 27

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(479) 967-9697 September 2013 | ABOUT 29

about | outdoors

Story and photo by Johnny Sain

It’s a weedy field full of the normal browns, blondes and greens of latesummer. Black-eyed susans and tickseed offer splashes of yellow throughout. The sun is cresting over cottonwoods and willows as the first rays illuminate what look like tiny puffs of white smoke across the field. The puffs shimmer in an unseasonably cool summer breeze. I’m puzzled at first. Even after looking over countless fields at sunrise in my four decades on Earth, I’m not sure about what I’m seeing. A second later it hits me. They’re webs! I’ve found a spider metropolis. Each web is highlighted with droplets from last night’s dew. Intricate designs by one of nature’s master artisans, and I barely notice them most of the time. They get attention only when they scream for it, like when one wraps around my face as I traipse through the woods, or in this case, as the focal point for fusion of water and light. The field is peppered with webs. So many that even a cursory count of those nearby, those that are close enough to see each strand, proves futile. You can shine a flashlight across your backyard on a warm night and watch the hundreds of little eyes shining back at you to get the same effect. It’s a glimpse into another world. It reminds me of the children’s book series, The Spiderwick Chronicles, when Simon and Jared first discover some fantastic creatures, carefully cryptic creatures, that are only noticed when looked for. We do the same thing here in the real world. Spiders don’t bother me. The thought of all those little arachnids out there, just out of sight as I walk through the fields and forests might creep some folks out, but not me. No, the idea that the population of spiders in this weedy field dwarfs the population

30 ABOUT | September 2013

Hidden in the Tall Grass

of people in the rural county of my birth humbles me. What else could it do? Here is a little world, full of Lilliputian dramas and ancient secrets that I could never know and my only concern with this world has been avoiding webs on my way to a deer stand. That’s pretty arrogant. It’s not that the spiders possess some profound truth or anything like that – though they very well might -- it’s just a reflection of my awareness. Or rather, my lack thereof. As the years of my life layer upon one another, I notice the gaping holes in my awareness more and more. But taking note of them is a good thing. The holes, like the spiders, are too numerous to count and have always been there. The only way to close them is to first become aware of them. This word, awareness, seems so trite. It means to perceive, to feel, to be conscious of what’s going on around us. We walk through life aware of the humdrum monotony of our daily lives. We pay the bills and answer the emails and we fill the tank when a dashboard light tells us to. We count down the time – time that’s neatly cut and packaged for our convenience – until the next appointment or planned event. Meanwhile, the life and beauty surrounding us in abundance goes on largely beyond our scope of perception. Innumerable sparks of wonder hidden in the tall grass and mist of our everyday lives. A rising sun is quickly burning through the light fog as I gaze on the field. I’m thankful I was here to see it, this little world hidden in plain sight. Dewy silk weaves a web in the gap of my awareness. The landscape is changing, and soon the morning mist will be nothing more than vapor on the breeze of a late summer day. n

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September 2013 | ABOUT 31

about | arkansas tech university

Renovated Chambers Cafeteria to debut at Arkansas Tech this fall

An $8.7 million renovation of Chambers Cafeteria at Arkansas Tech University has yielded a revamped dining space that will be ready for students when they arrive for the beginning of the fall 2013 semester. The renovation, which was designed by AMR Architects and executed by CDI Contractors, required five months to complete. When Chambers Cafeteria opens for the fall 2013 semester on freshmen move-in day -- Saturday, Aug. 24 -- it will be prepared to host up to 900 students at a time. Those students will receive their food and beverages at one of 11 preparation and serving stations located on the dining room floor. The new concept --- known as Pulse on Dining --- was created by Chartwells, food service provider at Arkansas Tech. According to the Chartwells web site, the Pulse on Dining concept “involves active participation and interactions from the students and staff which delivers a complete and satisfying experience during meal time.” Jerry Stills, food service director for Chartwells at Arkansas Tech, said the 11-station model at Arkansas Tech is the most diversified Pulse on Dining location that he is aware of. “Convenience will be the biggest difference in the renovated Chambers 32 ABOUT | September 2013

Cafeteria,” said Stills. “It will be more convenient for our guests, and it will make our operations more efficient. Everything that our staff will need to prepare the food and serve it will be right there.” The convenience factor will begin as soon as students step into the dining room. Three cashier stations --- two more than in the previous arrangement of Chambers Cafeteria --- will be available to swipe identification cards as students with meal plans arrive to eat. Awaiting students just beyond the cashiers’ position will be a variety of service stations that include a rotisserie, a hearthstone pizza oven, a Mongolian wok, a soup and salad bar, a grill serving hamburgers and hot dogs, a stand with fresh-made tortillas for quesadillas, burritos and wraps, a sandwich station with Panini press and toasting oven and a bakery with cobblers, brownies, cakes, pies and muffins. The re-designed Chambers Cafeteria includes traditional height tables and chairs, counter height tables and chairs and rows of booth-style soft seating. The space is accented by food-themed art, laminate wood flooring and flat panel televisions, which will be used in every capacity from menus to message boards to entertainment programming. Much of the exterior and interior of the renovated Chambers Cafeteria is designed to complement the look and feel of the adjacent Baswell Techionery, a student union that opened in 2011. “We worked with student panels to get their input before we started the design process,” said Kate East of AMR Architects. “Students told us their favorite parts of

Baswell Techionery were the views, the high ceiling and the bright colors. Our goals in Chambers Cafeteria were to brighten, lighten and lift the space. Our hope was to execute a look that is new and exciting, but also classic so that it will still be appealing 10 years from now.” The cafeteria will be open 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays and 7 a.m.-6 p.m. Fridays during the fall 2013 semester. On Saturdays and Sundays, Chambers Cafeteria will be open 11 a.m.-1 p.m. and 4:30-6:30 p.m. Chambers Cafeteria was dedicated on the Arkansas Tech campus in February 1966. It is named in honor of the Chambers family of Danville, which has been represented on the Arkansas Tech Board of Trustees for three generations — Judge John Ed Chambers (who served 1925-37, 1939-53 and 1955-63), John Ed Chambers II (who served 1965-67 and 1987-88) and John Ed Chambers III (who served 1994-99 and 2007-present).


Arkansas Tech University will move forward with plans to construct a new $16.5 million academic, student support and administrative facility on its main campus in Russellville following action by the Tech Board of Trustees on Thursday. Trustees gave their permission for the creation of full construction drawings and the submission of a bond feasibility study to the Arkansas Department of Higher Education Coordinating Board to issue revenue bonds not to exceed $5.5 million to provide part of the funding for the project.

The remaining dollars needed to build the facility will come from Arkansas Tech physical plant funds ($7.1 million), general improvement funds from the Arkansas Legislature ($3.4 million) and general improvement funds from the office of Gov. Mike Beebe ($1 million). “This project would not have been possible without the general improvement funds that were made available by Gov. Mike Beebe and through the legislative efforts of Sen. Michael Lamoureux,” said Arkansas Tech President Dr. Robert C. Brown. “We are indebted to both of those individuals.” The new academic, student support and administrative facility will be located on the parcel of land previously occupied by Bryan Hall, which was demolished earlier this summer. Once complete, the new 66,900-square foot facility will house the following operating areas: admissions on the first floor; financial aid, student accounts and the student identification card office on the second floor; registrar, Upward Bound and Student Support Services --- a pair of federally-funded programs that provide students with barriers to higher education resources to achieve their academic objectives --- on the third floor; and payroll, budget and human resources on the fourth floor. In addition, the Arkansas Tech Graduate College and eTech --- which oversees the institutional initiatives in online learning --- will have a presence on the first floor of the building. There will be classrooms and conference rooms on all four floors of the facility. David Moseley, senior vice president for administration and finance at Arkansas Tech, told trustees that construction could begin as soon as the spring 2014 semester and that it will take approximately two years to construct the facility.

In other business on Thursday, the Arkansas Trustees approved the following full-time administrative appointments: Tech Board of Trustees approved: • A refinancing of bonds issued in 2003 for the construction of University Commons Phase II, a move that will save an estimated $470,000 in debt service payments over the life of the bonds; • Parking regulations for the Russellville campus of Arkansas Tech for the 2013-14 academic year; • The student handbook for the 201314 academic year; • A transfer of $85,735 from the unappropriated educational and general fund balance for new trees and tree maintenance related to trees that will begin arriving on Sept. 1. In personnel-related matters, trustees approved the hiring of the following new, full-time faculty members on the main campus in Russellville for the 2013-14 academic year: • *Dr. Brendan Toner, visiting assistant professor of political science; and Dr. Christopher Trombly, assistant professor of educational leadership. Trustees approved the following new, fulltime faculty appointments at Arkansas Tech-Ozark Campus for the 2013-14 academic year: • Candace Harkreader, clinical coordinator and cardiovascular technology instructor; John Harris, instructor in criminal justice at the Arkansas Tech Career Center; Brenda Huntsinger, health information technology instructor; Wendi Pool, program chair in occupational therapy assistant; Charles Trusty, instructor in drafting, engineering and architecture at the Arkansas Tech Career Center; and Dr. Sarah White, science instructor.

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• Timothy Diffey, Jennifer Hardin and Phillip Harp, academic advisors in the Roy and Christine Sturgis Academic Advising Center, for the 2013-14 fiscal year; Melanie Diffey, career counselor for Norman Career Services, effective July 1, 2013; Jennifer Duncan, coordinator of Greek life, effective Aug. 16, 2013; Eli Fuentez, admissions officer, effective July 18, 2013; Robert Latus, assistant database administrator, for the 201314 fiscal year; Chris Moss, director of academic technology and computing/ information security officer, for the 2013-14 fiscal year; Douglas Samson, programmer/analyst, for the 2013-14 fiscal year; Will Taylor, instructor in the English Language Institute, effective Aug. 13, 2013; Dr. Monica Varner, director of assessment and institutional effectiveness and associate professor of sociology, effective Aug. 5, 2013; Katelin White, director of the Professional Development Institute and coordinator/advisor for the Bachelor of Professional Studies program, for the 2013-14 fiscal year; and Ora Wolfgram, chef at Lake Point Conference Center, effective Aug. 1, 2013. Trustees accepted the resignations of: • *Ryan Treadwell, multimedia coordinator, effective June 21, 2013; and Henry Wooten, information technology manager for the Tech Loyalty Fund, effective July 31, 2013. Trustees accepted the retirement of: • *Dr. Donald Carnahan, professor of mathematics and member of the Arkansas Tech faculty since 1985, effective Dec. 31, 2013. n

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September 2013 | ABOUT 33

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: editor@ (A phone number must be included for verification.)

~ September 2 ~

~ October 5 ~

Emilie Dayan & Andy Hill

Leah Epperson & Nicholas Horton

~ September 7 ~

~ October 12 ~

Molly Burns and Christopher Johns Betsy Young and Noel Snyder

Jilliann Jacimore & Jimmy Wilson

~ September 14 ~ Tami Cotton & Rob Kilgore

Kelsey Coulter & Keith Duke Lauren Tracy and Jack Mann

~ September 20 ~

~ November 2 ~

Allison Kimbrough and R.J. Wood

Holly Erickson and Brian Townsend

~ September 21 ~

~ November 9 ~

Samantha Dennis and Dustin Huggins Heather Glaser and Andrew Chaffin Brooke Sherrill and Brandon Graham

~ September 28 ~ Sarah Reasoner and Drake McGuire

~ October 19 ~

~ December 28 ~ Kelly Conley and Kevin Martin

~ May 17, 2014 ~ Megan Brunetti and David Lensing, Jr.

~ May 23, 2014 ~

Haley McGrew and Logan Hughes Meggan Schuemann and Kaleb Dickey

Paige Griffin and Caleb Bubbus

~ November 12 ~

Allie Pipkin and Jacob Sparks

Lauren Huckabay and Phillip Riedmueller

~ June 14, 2014 ~

~ December 14 ~

Amanda Gordon and Brandon Weaver

~ May 31, 2014 ~

Rebecca Bradley and Jon Shanklin

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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34 ABOUT | September 2013


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ABOUT | September 2013  

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