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ALT magazine

covering the ark-la-tex SEPTEMBER 2021 ALT-MAG.COM

Fit, Fabulous, and over 50!


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S e p t e m b e r 2 0 2 1 / Vo l u m e 1 5 / I s s u e 9

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FIT, FABULOUS, AND OVER FIFTY - CINDY FORD - DIANA GREGORY - KAREN LEWIS - LISA SHOALMIRE - MELINDA VAMMEN

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- DEVON & RAELEIGH HARGROVE - JOSEPH & CHANNA LINSEISEN - DJ & BRE MEISINGER

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READER'S CHOICE CATEGORIES

CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

COO / PUBLISHER Debbie Brower

GRAPHIC DESIGN Alyssa Bertrand PHOTOGRAPHY Debbie Brower, Michelle Horton FEATURED WRITER Anne Granado

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From the Publisher

Fit, Fabulous, and Over Fifty….

What a wonderful theme we have going this month! I was so excited to show women that being over 50 doesn’t mean you have to be out of shape! I can say that I am not necessarily in the shape of my life, but I try…I really do. Things just get in my way. I know that’s the way that most people feel, so I hope some of the tips these fabulous women have will give you encouragement to get up and be active. From yoga, to personal trainers, to walking, to assistance from a physician, it only takes a few minutes a few times each week to feel and look better. And who doesn’t want that? I go through cycles – I have been on diets. I have joined the gym. I have done just about everything anyone can do to lose weight. Sometimes it has worked wonders, and sometimes it hasn’t. I will say the most I ever lost and got in shape was around 10 years ago. I loved being so thin, but since I really didn’t exercise at all at that point, it was either continue dieting or gain it back. I haven’t gained it all back yet, but I gained. My choice of working out is walking on the elliptical. Now to find that time to go do that can be a problem. I stay very busy most of the time and make excuses. Reading all of these stories has encouraged me to get back into it! I hope it will encourage you all as well. May God bless you and yours!


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Fit, Fabulous, and over

No matter your age or ability, fitness can be a lifestyle for all. With hard work, dedication, and consistency, anyone can find an activity they love and get moving. The five women we are featuring this month embody the “Fit and Fabulous” title. They each have a fitness story, and they each have moments that opened their eyes to building and sustaining an active lifestyle. Now, they consistently pursue their fitness goals, and they have tips they want to share for maximizing time and effort. They know what it is like to fear getting started or dread canceling another gym membership, but they each have strategies and suggestions for finding a routine that actually works. Not only do these five women stay physically active, but they are also active in our Texarkana community. Melinda Vammen sits on the board for four community organizations; Cindy Ford volunteers at Walnut Hill Church of Christ, and she is a founding member of the local Hot Shotz shooting league; Diana Gregory volunteers with a local animal rescue; Karen Lewis serves on the board of a local nonprofit that works with children; and Lisa Shoalmire is on the board for Opportunities, Inc., and the Texarkana Area Community Foundation. All of these women have hopes and dreams for Texarkana and the town that it could be again, and they work actively to improve our community and enrich the lives of its citizens. As you read their stories, we hope you are inspired to reprioritize your fitness goals, try something new, get involved, serve others, and live your own “Fit and Fabulous” story.

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Cindy Ford Cindy Ford knows how hard it is to work, raise a family, and find time to exercise. Even though she could not work out as much when she was working full time, she tried to sneak it in when she could. Now, Cindy is retired from the nursing field and can make more time for her fitness goals. “I began school with the idea of becoming an elementary school teacher but quickly switched to the nursing program because anything to do with medicine and the human body fascinated me,” Cindy says. “I definitely see a correlation with the anatomy classes and wanting to be ‘fit’ and keep my body working as it should.” Cindy’s passion for fitness really kicked off in 2001 when she met and clicked with personal trainer Shelly Howard. Eventually, Cindy became inspired to get certified as a step aerobics instructor and to start teaching classes. “To the woman struggling to find her fitness niche, I would encourage her to find a fitness buddy or a personal trainer to work out with to get started. For me, I have to work out and eat healthily, or the inches don’t want to come off,” Cindy says. “Some women are fortunate and have a better metabolism than mine, so doing one or the other works for them.” It was also during this time that Cindy was introduced to lifting. “I strongly advise women to begin weight training as well as stretching if you are not doing so,” Cindy says. “It is so important to keep our cores strong as we age, and it really helps you burn calories as well!” For other women who are starting a fitness journey, Cindy suggests finding an activity they like to do and build it. She says one of the biggest keys is to keep moving, and a healthy attitude is sustainable if you find something you enjoy. For example, even though Cindy works out in the gym, she also loves to find time to walk or ride bikes in the evening with her husband, Larry. “My husband, Larry, is, without a doubt, my biggest supporter! He knows I feel better when I take time for myself and pursue what I enjoy,” Cindy says. “Larry stays fit and healthy as well, and he seems to know exactly when I need reassurance.”   For Cindy, shaking up her fitness routine by adding cardio, lifting heavier weights, or doing more reps helps her keep the novelty and stay energized. “If you don’t change your routine, your body just stops changing. You may hit a plateau first, and you’ll know that it’s time to change things up!” Cindy says. “I have many friends who do not feel comfortable in a gym, but it works best for me. There are so many options for working out at home, and if that works best for you, just do that and build your routine. Start slowly but be consistent with your exercise and your diet.” 012

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Like many others, Cindy’s slacked off of her fitness and nutrition routine during quarantine in 2020. “I was staying home cooking and baking a lot of meals and treats, and I realized in April 2021, the pounds gained and the inactivity of the past year had taken a toll,” Cindy says. “So, I rejoined Anytime Fitness and quickly realized how much I missed working out. Then, in June, I got in touch with my friend and former trainer, Shelly Howard, and she set me up with a nutrition and fitness plan.” Now, Cindy tracks her calories using an app and works out five to six days a week in the early mornings. At the gym, she spends anywhere from 60-90 minutes doing both cardio and lifting weights. “I always feel great when I leave the gym, and I’m ready to tackle my day,” Cindy says. “Although I am still not where I want to be, I am determined that I will be there in a few months. The hardest part of getting fit was walking back into the gym door for the first time after a long time away. Being older than I was when I first started working out comes with challenges, but I am careful and sometimes modify exercises/weights due to back and knee issues.” On the days when Cindy doesn’t feel like tracking her calories or going to the gym, she looks back at pictures from before she started working out again. “I also look at my calendar where I log the inches I’ve lost. Usually, once I walk in the gym and see some familiar faces or just turn on my playlist, I feel so much better and more motivated,” Cindy says. “There are days that I literally count every five minutes of doing cardio and have to push myself to make it five more minutes, but I know I will feel accomplished once I reach my goal for the day.”

that downtown Texarkana seems to be coming back to life, and I hope that continues.”    Cindy is active in the community through several groups at Walnut Church of Christ where she is a member, and she is also a charter member of the local Hot Shotz shooting league. She is currently studying for the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) certified personal trainer exam. “In the next five to ten years, I want to help others reach their fitness goals,” Cindy says. “I plan on taking other classes through NASM to become more educated and certified in various areas of fitness and exercise; specifically, nutrition and special exercise needs for seniors.”  Cindy hopes that the passion she has found for fitness will help others who are trying to meet their goals, and for her, the biggest tip for those who want to start but don’t think they can stick with it is to stay consistent. “I promise you, once you begin to move and eat healthily, you will want to continue the path. Everyone stumbles and falls occasionally, but you have to get back up and keep going!” Cindy says. “Remember this, it takes four weeks for you to see your body changing; it takes eight weeks for friends and family, and it takes twelve weeks for the rest of the world. So, just keep walking the path towards fitness.”

Now that she is retired, Cindy fills the days after her morning workout by spending time with family and friends and giving back to the community. Cindy and her husband, Larry, built a life in Texarkana and raised their two grown daughters, Misha and Sarah, here. “I love Texarkana because although we have seen so much growth in the last 30 years, it still has a small-town feel to me. I was born here and raised here from the time I was nine years old, so this really is ‘home’ to me,” Cindy says. “The only things I would change about Texarkana is that I would love to see a different grocery store to shop from (i.e., Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Brookshires), and I would love to see more venues for families to enjoy together. It’s wonderful

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Diana Gregory Diana Gregory is a retired orthopedic nurse who spent twenty-five years serving as both an office nurse and surgical assistant for her husband, Dr. John Gregory. As the years went by, Diana battled neck problems. She had seven surgeries on her neck and noticed that she was developing back, shoulder, and balance issues. The turning point for her was when a friend suggested that she try practicing yoga. “I hate exercise, and I hate to sweat. My friends all know my motto – ‘Exercise will kill you!’” Diana says. “That is why yoga is perfect for me. It doesn’t feel like exercise, and you have minimal sweat. Plus, yoga is so relaxing for the mind and soul.” Diana began attending Prodigy Yoga, a faith-based yoga studio owned by Jessica McCarty, and she was surprised by how much she enjoyed it. “Jessica is a very caring and patient person. She helps you adjust the poses for each specific problem,” Diana says. “You find that you can accomplish so much more than you thought you could, and you never feel like a failure because she gives one-on-one help.” This September, Diana will celebrate one year with Prodigy Yoga. “I love to share my journey because I believe in Prodigy Yoga so much. It is truly the only thing I have ever stuck with, and I have made some wonderful friends on this journey that I will have for a lifetime,” Diana says. “At Prodigy, you not only get a body workout, but you get a spiritual workout as well. I love telling everyone about the things in my life that mean a lot to me – sharing with friends in person or on social media.” Now, Diana’s goal is to be as flexible and mobile in five to ten years as she is now. She is looking forward to a lot of traveling when her husband retires, even though they love their Texarkana community. “I love the small-town feel of Texarkana, although there is so much more to Texarkana than most small towns,” Diana says. “There are some really amazing local restaurants and shops that I love to support. There are also friendly

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people that I have gotten to know and will be a part of my extended family for life.”

practice of yoga, and they see that it has made me a happier, more outgoing person,” Diana says.

Diana and John have devoted their lives to raising their family and giving back to the community through their careers and community involvement. One instance of this is the student nursing scholarship that Diana and John started for an orthopedic nursing associate degree at Texarkana College. In addition, Diana has spent time in Texarkana working with a local animal rescue. Her work with them has opened her eyes to one of the biggest needs in the community. “I would love to see spay and neuter laws be put in place to help with the stray population here. It’s so sad to see how many dogs are dumped all over the place, with no one to help them,” Diana says. “Rescues are overwhelmed and can only do so much. We need our cities to take control of the situation.”

On days when Diana doesn’t feel like getting up and going to yoga, she relies on her support group of friends to provide that extra motivation. “There are days you wake up and think, ‘I think I’ll skip today because my back hurts’ or whatever reason I come up with. But I have a wonderful friend support group who keeps me accountable,” Diana says. “The three of us push each other to get off our butts and just go! We often have lunch afterward, which is a motivator as well.”

Diana and John are proud of their two daughters, Jill Cole and Holly Gamble, and two beautiful grandchildren, Reeves Cole and Emma Gamble. Throughout her fitness journey, Diana has felt encouraged by all of her family. “They support my

Diana’s advice for other women who want to get started on their fitness journey is to consider what yoga could do for them. “If you have tried everything as I have, like going to the gym, home workouts, diets, whatever, and feel like a failure, give yoga a try. You will never fail, and you might find you love it as well,” Diana says. “Yoga is not just about the body; it’s also about the spiritual and mental well-being. They are all connected.”

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KAren Lewis The defining moment for Karen’s fitness journey began when she was taking care of her elderly parents. Karen’s mother was on hospice the last two years of her life, and many times, she would have to be lifted up to accomplish basic tasks because she did not have the strength to do it on her own. This made Karen think about her own health. At the time, she was 350 pounds, and she struggled to care for her mother without completely wearing out. “It was through caring for her that I realized my health needed to come off the back burner, or I’d be in the same boat as her, but no one would be able to lift me and help me,” Karen says. “It was actually a watershed moment that helped propel me into joining a group of other ladies at a local gym and starting my weight loss journey. I learned that I felt best when I trained and ate better. I had more energy and even slept better, and I was better able to care for my mom.” Karen has been married for 20 years to a “wonderful, supportive man” who encouraged her in every area of her life – from starting her own business to starting her whole weight loss journey. Karen’s husband is a certified fitness trainer through the International Sports Sciences Association, and he has been a tremendous resource for information and training help and tips. Together, they have three children, ages 24, 19, and 17, and two grandchildren. “They have all been so supportive of me and have cheered me on as the pounds have come off. I’ve lost 110 pounds, but I had a bit of a setback last year with COVID. I stopped working out and eating right and gained 35 pounds back, which I have now lost again this year,” Karen says. “I still have 45 pounds to go until I hit my goal weight, and my family is once again supporting me by eating whatever I cook, or at least not complaining about it! They have even learned to cook for themselves if they don’t like what I’m cooking, so that’s a win-win!” One of Karen’s biggest tips for women who want to improve their health is eating better and moving daily. Karen is a self-employed web designer and graphic artist at Simply Amusing Designs, and a lot of her job is sedentary. “I set a timer for every hour to remind myself to move – whether that is getting up to switch out laundry or swing a kettlebell, just moving throughout the day,” Karen says. “You can’t work out for an hour a day and be a couch potato for the rest of the time. You have to move often.” Karen highly recommends that women look into strength training to help them lose weight and feel stronger. “I swing kettlebells in my home because there is an amazing effect called the ‘What the Hell’ effect that happens. That means that you gain strength in many areas that you don’t even intend to, without realizing it,” Karen says. “A kettlebell is a low-cost and easy way to get a great full-body workout in a short amount of time.” In the beginning, the hardest part of getting fit for Karen was getting started. “It would be so easy if you could simply make up your mind that you’re going to get in shape and just commit to it, and it happened. It doesn’t work that way for most of us, though. I am the kind of person who has to think about the changes needed and really mull it over and decide if the cost is worth the benefit,” Karen says. “I asked myself, ‘Do I really want to lose this weight if it means planning meals and modifying my eating habits or paying for a gym or trainer?’ ‘Is it going to be worth it if I stick with it, and will the end result make me feel better about myself?’” In the end, one tip that helped Karen take the plunge was building accountability through paying a trainer. “If I know someone is waiting for me to show up, then I’m going to be there. Likewise, if I am paying someone to train me, I don’t want to waste my money by not showing up. If you can’t afford a trainer or don’t like the idea of ‘working out,’ then grab a friend and agree to meet a few times a week to walk or play tennis or rollerskate – whatever activity makes you feel good that doesn’t FEEL like you’re working out,” Karen says. “I think movement is key. Do what you enjoy, and pretty soon, you’ll have the energy to do more. That has really worked for me.” When she is not working, Karen enjoys serving on the board for a local nonprofit that

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works with children, providing them opportunities to gather, read, and have organized activities in a safe and familiar environment. “As an 18-year veteran homeschooling mom, literacy advocacy and children are still an important part of my life. Plus, I have grandchildren, and I want to be able to stay in touch with things that are fun and exciting for them, and this is a great way to give back,” Karen says. “We have been inactive since COVID hit last year, but we are hoping to open our doors again this year sometime.” Karen is also training to be a health coach to help others see the same success that she has experienced. “I want to share what I’ve learned with others and hopefully motivate them on their journey. I tend to share my story on my Facebook and TikTok accounts and have had so many people reach out to me to find out how I’m doing it,” Karen says. “I’m always happy to share tips and resources for achieving optimal health. It’s so much fun to see others have success and really makes me feel like I’m part of something bigger.” One of Karen’s passions that ties to her fitness journey is learning to be intentionally encouraging and kind to others seeking the answers to change their lives. “I want to tell women who have gained and lost the same 20 pounds over and over, ‘You are not broken. You are not doomed. You can lose weight, but there’s not a one-size-fits-all program, no matter what people tell you.’ Eating less is not the answer. Working out more is not the answer. Eating properly for your body type and daily movement is the answer – and if I can do it, anyone can,” Karen says. “Making small adjustments and maintaining them over time is the key to consistent weight loss.” Karen also believes that sharing our struggles and our stories while spreading kindness offers us the opportunity to connect with others and build a stronger sense of community and unity with friends, family, neighbors, and even strangers. “As a society, we are quick to judge based on skin color, financial means, or social status, but we rarely look at the individual anymore. I’d love for us to see other people as God does: beautiful creations made in His image, each of us having value and worth because of Him,” Karen says. “We hide behind computer and mobile screens and say whatever comes to mind about any number of things, without truly considering the impact it might have on the person we are saying it to. We all have hurts and struggles, and you never know what someone else is going through, so being kind is a good antidote to divide and disconnection. It’s a wonderful way to draw people in and love them as God loves us, even at their most unlovable.” When Karen wakes up and is not motivated to work out or eat healthily, she remembers the words of Stephen Covey, who said, “Your most important work is always ahead of you, never behind you.” For her, waking up to each new day and beginning it with the end in mind is key to success. “There are plenty of days I don’t feel like exercising, and plenty of days I don’t eat perfectly, but I don’t let those days define me, and they are fewer and farther between now than they used to be. If your heart and mind are not fully committed to a cause or a goal, you don’t feel driven or excited about getting it done and simply give up or let yourself fail. I do my best to keep my eye on the prize: I’m doing this because I want to have a long, healthy life, and I want to see all of my children married and meet my grandchildren,” Karen says. “Being fit and fabulous is not a number on the scale or a clothing size; rather, it is a feeling born from choices you make on a daily basis. I don’t look like a typical ‘fit’ person – I wear a size 16 and still weigh over 200 lbs. But fitness comes in all shapes and sizes, and I have to remind myself daily that the choices I make today will lead to a lean, fit, healthy body filled with energy and vitality one day.”

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Lisa Shoalmire Lisa Shoalmire thinks of fitness as a way for her to be strong enough to help other people. “I firmly believe God fashions us for His purpose, and I want to be fit enough to serve,” Lisa says. “Also, I try not to take for granted the abilities I have.” Lisa has a special needs twin sister, so growing up, it was normal for Lisa to be a playmate, advocate, and supporter. “Because of this, supporting her and organizations that serve clients like her is a priority for me, which is why I’m on the board for Opportunities, Inc. and Texarkana Area Community Foundation,” Lisa says. “Opportunities is a passion of mine, particularly because they serve clients with challenges and disabilities. Equipping children and adults who may be dealing with special challenges so that they can grow and succeed to the best of their abilities is something that inspires me.” Right now, Lisa is meeting her fitness goals through the help of a fitness app called Charge Running, which she started using in 2019. The app allows users to run with other runners from all over the world in live runs hosted by a certified running coach. “I may run by myself at Bringle or on the Galleria Oaks trail, but I’m actually plugged in to a live run with others. The app keeps up with mileage, and the running coach DJs the music. The coach also calls out your name, pace, and mileage during the runs. My favorite run so far was a moderate tempo with a Dolly Parton music theme,” Lisa says. “I also previously did kickboxing at a dedicated gym in town that is now closed. I loved that as well. Find something that fires you up, and you have a better chance of sticking with your fitness plan.” For Lisa, the challenge is staying consistent. “I will get on a kick with something I like, such as kickboxing, but then my enthusiasm dwindles,” Lisa says. “When that

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happens, I try to play mind games with myself, such as committing to getting so many miles in this week or so many minutes of intense exercise this week. I also listen to a lot of health-oriented podcasts when I am driving, and that is inspiring.” Lisa’s husband, John Ross, works out daily and encourages Lisa in her fitness goals. The two are the attorneys and senior partners at Ross & Shoalmire Elder Law Attorneys, P.L.L.C. “While I am not an every day workout type of person, John’s commitment inspires me to get moving if I get into a lazy slump,” Lisa says. “We have four adult children, and I also talk about running with my son. He and I discuss our most recent run times, and he is a big cheerleader.” Texarkana is home for Lisa and her family. Lisa and her husband, John, have enjoyed raising a family and building a business here. In the future, she would love to see Texarkana add more activities and events that showcase the talents of the area. “I would love to see community members step up and share their own passions and gifts through workshops and programs in areas such as art,

food, and music,” Lisa says. “I spend a lot of time in Hot Springs, Arkansas, a smaller community, but it seems to have more of that type of thing going on.” Just as Lisa’s experiences in life inspire her to stay fit, they also inspire her to give back. Not only does she volunteer her time through community organizations, but she also reaches out to her friends, family, and clients through handwritten notes to express appreciation or gratitude toward someone. It’s her way of doing one small thing to make the world a better place. “In my job as an elder law attorney, I often meet with stressed-out caregivers and family members. Many times after a meeting, I will just drop a card in the mail to that caregiver telling them how they are honoring their loved one with their service to them and how important their work is as a caregiver,” Lisa says. “The family may not need my professional services, but I know they could use encouragement. Being a caregiver is often lonely and isolating – I hope that an unexpected piece of mail offering encouragement makes someone’s day.”

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Melinda Vammen Melinda Vammen is the manager of Abby Gayle’s, a women’s boutique in Summerhill Square in Texarkana. But, before she goes to work every day, she either goes to the gym for cardio and weight training, or she walks and runs with her personal trainer and friend, Tresa Cox. The two started working out together seven and a half years ago. “The hardest part about getting fit for me was overcoming the intimidation of going to the gym and starting as a beginning runner, but I had lots of support from workout friends who encouraged me to keep pushing. We count on each other’s support, and I learned to love it,” Melinda says. “So getting up early for workouts has become a way of life.” Like many people, Melinda thought that running would be too difficult for her, but Tresa pushed her to try it. Now, Melinda has completed numerous 5k’s and 10k’s. Plus, she has completed seven half marathons. “When I started working out with Tresa, she pushed me to run, and I realized I could be a runner,” Melinda says. “This opened up a whole new world with new friends, and after I started running, biking followed.” Melinda is married to David Vammen, and they love to hike and bike together. The couple has two grown children. Daniel Vammen is a registered nurse at St. Michael’s Hospital, and Sarah Vammen Aucoin currently lives in Berlin and works for the Public Affairs Office, U.S. Army, Europe. “My husband, David, has encouraged me by going to races, and we hike or bike ride together almost every week,” Melinda says. “Sarah and I have also run a few races together. My favorite event with Sarah and her friends was the Marine Corps 10k in Washington, D.C.” Melinda’s advice to other people starting their fitness journey is to find something they like to do and get with 022

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a partner. “I love having workout partners because it helps us be accountable to each other,” Melinda says. “When I have a training schedule, people are counting on me to show up, and that motivates me.” Another tip Melinda shares is to find something you love to do. Melinda and David love to go to different neighborhoods and areas in our region for new scenery as they hike and bike. They have recently been exploring downtown Texarkana. “It is interesting seeing things on a bike instead of a car, and it gives us a new perspective, for sure,” Melinda says. “I would love to see downtown continue to grow and become the hub of the region again. I enjoy seeing the progress made each time we go there.” For Melinda and David, it was an easy decision to raise their children in Texarkana. “This is our hometown. Our parents lived here, so it was also great for our children to grow up near grandparents,” Melinda says. “I also love that Texarkana is full of friendly people who love to

volunteer their time to make Texarkana a better place for everyone.” Melinda is one of those citizens who volunteers. She is currently serving on the board for four organizations: Texarkana Regional Arts and Humanities Council (TRAHC), Harvest Regional Food Bank, Opportunities Foundation, and Partnership for the Pathways. She is also a sustaining member of the Junior League of Texarkana. “I love being involved with different organizations in our community, and I like to stay busy,” Melinda says. “I am happy to contribute in whatever way I can.” In the next five to ten years, Melinda has several goals. She wants to go hiking in all the national parks, and she would love to run another half marathon. “I love to travel in America, and I want to see all I can. I also hope to continue training and planning for future trips and events and volunteering in Texarkana,” Melinda. “To do all of this, staying fit keeps me in the game.”

TEXARKANA, ARKANSAS 903.244.7644 GARRISONGARDENS.COM A LT M a g a z i n e | S e p t e m b e r 2 0 2 1

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PETER J. CORCORAN III

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It’s only one day. Let’s make it the perfect one.

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3209 Kennedy Lane • Texarkana, TX 75503 • 903.716.8931 @gebspecialoccasions 025


Devon & Raeleigh Hargrove March 13. 2021

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The Love Story

Devon and I met in our freshman year of high school when we sat next to each other in Biology class. We dated that year, but we broke up and did not get back together until our first year of college. We dated longdistance for two years until we both moved back to our hometown. Flash forward a couple years and on a family vacation to DisneyWorld, in front of Cinderella’s castle during the fireworks show, he got down on one knee and proposed.

It was special because...

Our wedding day was special because of the wonderful aspects of having Garrison Gardens as our beautiful venue, and it was a day that we got to celebrate with our closest friends and family. Garrison Gardens played a large part in making our day special by providing the music, a coordinator, and a gorgeous venue. Our families also made our wedding day so special, from my aunt going above and beyond to make everything perfect to Devon’s family coming in from Virginia. The day was everything we could’ve dreamed because we got spend it with the people we love. A LT M a g a z i n e | S e p t e m b e r 2 0 2 1

Parents of the Bride: Ray and Shirley Agan Parents of the Groom: Justin and Kay Hargrove Matron/Maid of Honor: Katlin Hogue Bridesmaids: Madison Hargrove Best Man: Cullen Grubbs Groomsmen: Cameron Currey Pastor / Officiant: Mike Cline Flowers: Bride Hair & Make-Up: Bride Venue: Garrison Gardens Wedding Coordinator: Karen Guilbert Cake: Little Blonde Baker, Winnsboro, TX DJ: Chuck Guilbert Photographer: Breanne Bradshaw Photography Wedding Invitations: Minted Wedding Dress: David’s Bridal Wedding Jewelry: Family Heirloom Tuxedos: The Mayben Group/Jim’s Formal Wear 027


Joseph & Channa Linseisen April 22, 2021

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The Love Story

We met on Tinder of all places! Once we met in person we have been together ever since! We lived an hour away from each other and after a year of driving back and forth we bought a home close to his hometown. The day that he proposed he cooked us an amazing meal and after dinner, he asked me to step outside on our back porch while it was pouring down rain. He told me he couldn’t imagine life without me while he got down on one knee and asked me to be his wife.

Parents of the Bride: Kevin and Ronna Napier, Tammy and Wayne Davis Parents of the Groom: Curtis and Gina DeLoach Matron/Maid of Honor: Brianna Grice Best Man: Josh DeLoach Flower Girl: Adalynn Linseisen Ring Bearer: Gabe Moses Pastor / Officiant: Brad Watson Flowers: Dream Day Blooms Hair: Shelaphon Spann Make-Up: Lupe Ayala Venue: Garrison Gardens Wedding Coordinator: Karen Guilbert Cake: Amy’s Macarons Caterer: Garrison Gardens DJ: Chuck Guilbert Photographer: Breanne Bradshaw Wedding Invitations: Shutterfly Wedding Dress: Blush Fashion Wedding Jewelry: Front Jewelers Tuxedos: Designs by Lisa

It was special because...

We loved that our family was there to witness us saying "I Do" in a beautiful woodland setting! A LT M a g a z i n e | S e p t e m b e r 2 0 2 1

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Hands On Texarkana presents

13th Annual Tapas & Wine Puttin’ on the Ritz’ 1920’s Dinner by Jeff Loving and Great Live Music! Enojy a wonderful evening under the stars on the grounds of the beautiful Collins Home.

dressing up is fun but optional!

10.1 . 2021

6:00 PM - 9:00 PM Silent Auction Items and Volunteers Needed!

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903.798.3211 Call for tickets HandsOntxk@aol.com

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TexarkanaMuseums.org

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DJ & Bre Meisinger May 29, 2021

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The Love Story

DJ and Bre met at First Baptist Church where they attended the same Sunday school class. While there was an obvious banter between them, this was only the beginning of a strong friendship. After several months of spending a great deal of quality time together and having deep conversations, Bre felt like she knew that DJ was the man she would eventually marry. She spent the next year praying specific prayers for him; all the while, she was receiving affirmation that he was the one. Their friendship continued to grow, and DJ began to feel like they should try moving their friendship to the next level. One night while hanging out, he told Bre that she possessed every quality that he was looking for in a wife and asked her if she would be willing to see where their relationship could go. With the firm friendship foundation already in place, their dating relationship flourished. Seven months later, DJ pulled off the most special proposal, and six months after that, they were married. Looking back, they can see so much of God’s grace, faithfulness, and goodness that was shown to them. They found to be true something they were always taught, “God’s timing is indeed perfect!” Parents of Bride: Randy and Sondra Ainsworth Parents of Groom: Jane Meisinger Maid of Honor: Lauren Crow Bridesmaids: McCall Aslin, Jordan Barr Best Man: Justin Fitts Groomsmen: Evan Sidwell, Will Duenas Ushers: Blake Ainsworth, Eric Osburn Flower Girl: Riley Ainsworth Ring Bearer: Grayson Ainsworth Pastor/Officiant: Jeff Schreve Flowers: The Village Floral & Gifts Bridal Hair: Regan Cox Bridal Make-up: Aimee Pearson

DJ: Wes Spicher Venue: Four Fifteen Estates Wedding Coordinator: Stacey Black Cake: Bren Young Caterer: Sugar & Spice Catering Rentals: Dot’s Rentals Photographer: Kali Rushing Photography Videographer: Cross Bright Wedding Invites: Shutterfly Ceremony Music: Blake and Krystle Ainsworth Wedding Dress: Gracyn Elizabeth Bride Wedding Jewelry: Etsy Tuxedos: Gracyn Elizabeth Bride

It was special because...

For the unity portion of our ceremony, we braided 3 strands of rope as a representation of Ecclesiastes 4:12, “a cord of 3 strands is not easily broken.” When we finished, DJ took my hands and began praying aloud with me that our marriage would honor the Lord. It was such a special moment for me.

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September is a month of honoring all children affected by cancer! It’s the month of “Going Gold!” In 1997 a group of parents agreed that gold would set the standard for symbolizing how precious our children with cancer are and their amazing strength as childhood cancer heroes. Going Gold during this month shines a spotlight on the impact childhood cancer has had and how it affects more of our children every day. Unlike other awareness ribbons that symbolize one specific disease, the gold childhood cancer ribbon stands for dozens of diseases. A few facts: •Each day, 43 children are diagnosed with cancer in the United States, which means 15,590 children in the U.S. are diagnosed each year.  •Less than 4% of the federal budget for cancer research is dedicated to childhood cancer.  •Cancer is the leading cause of death by disease in American children, resulting in the death of approximately 1,800 kids each year.  The spotlight most recently has landed on COVID-19 and the pandemic with good reason but let’s not forget how devastating and difficult this time is for our children with cancer and their families. They are faced with extreme circumstances that place more stress than necessary on all as they are only allowed 1-2 people present during treatment and procedures. Protocols within the hospitals can be extremely 034

daunting, and some children have PTSD due to the limitations of family being allowed with them. Chloe’s Journey of Faith foundation is a small local non-profit organization that advocates for our local children affected by cancer. Our part is to continue to shine a light by sharing their stories and helping families in their time of need. We are always looking for ways to bring awareness to childhood cancer in September. This year, we are so thankful for the collaboration of The Tough Kookie Organization, 1894 art gallery, TRACH, and one very talented and amazing, newly founded local artist, Darlene Taylor!  Katina Levingston introduced her to the idea of painting panels for local families who have lost children and loved ones to cancer. Kathy Hudson and colleagues and a few artists of the 1894 Art gallery gathered together in Downtown Texarkana to help paint and prepare panels that will be displayed on the metal wave of the TRACH wall through September and October. Main Street Texarkana is currently in the process of building the “Downtown Live Event” on every second Friday of the month, where local businesses and art galleries open their doors late to bring more people to our downtown district. They plan to add to the entertainment district with fun activities for the entire family! They have also extended an open door for local families to come and paint panels in honor of their survivors and memory of loved ones from cancer when they are open and available to help. 

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Darlene Taylor joined the 1894 art gallery on August 13th to paint panels outdoors for some of our local families per their requests. Darlene accidentally got her start in painting when she painted her home last year, and several people approached her to do some work for them. She discovered her raw, hidden talent after a time of great loss herself. She lost her mother and her husband, the love of her life. She doesn’t talk much about her time of grief and depression. However, when I asked, “What is your favorite part of painting?” she cheerfully replied, “Having my time, not in a hurry to go anywhere, but to just paint.” She

mentioned that she went from having no family left to painting murals and meeting people who have now become her family. If you would like to help bring awareness to childhood cancer this month of September, we invite you to join us in sharing the facts through social media, sporting your gold gear, and donating to local and national organizations!!!  You can also donate to Chloe’s Journey of Faith at Cjof.org

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jcree@swbc.com | www.jasoncree.com 3101 Kennedy Lane, Suite 200 Texarkana, TX 75503 © 2021 SWBC. All rights reserved. Loans are subject to credit and property approval. Other restrictions and conditions may apply. Programs and guidelines are subject to change without notice. Rates are subject to change daily. Corporate office located at 9311 San Pedro Avenue, Suite 100, San Antonio, TX 78216. SWBC Mortgage Corporation, NMLS #9741 (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org). 1060-A4314 01/21

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2022

READER'S

CHOICE Categories Goods & Services

CHOIC S 2022 E

ARDS AW

READER

ALT magazine

Auto Service & Tires Auto Stereo & Accessories Bank Body Wax Body Wraps Botox/Fillers Cleaners Computer Repair/Service Credit Union Dance Studio Electronic Repair Service Emergency Room Facial Fitness Center/Gym Florist Garden Store/Landscaping Gift Shop Heating and Cooling Services Hip Clothing Home Builder Home Health/Care Home Improvement Investment Advisor Jeweler Liquor Store Locally Made Products Manufacturer Microdermabrasion Nail Salon New Local Business Pawn Shop Pet Groomer Retirement/Assisted Living Community Shoes & Boots Salon Small Engine Parts/Service Social Media Presence by Company/Organization

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Spa Tattoo Artist Urgent Care Veterinarian Clinic Women's Clothing

Community

Company to Work For Elected Official

People

Artist Cosmetic Surgeon Decorator/Designer Wedding Attire Dentist Wedding Cake Electrician Wedding Caterer Insurance Agent Wedding DJ Make-Up Artist Wedding Florist Massage Therapist Wedding Indoor Venue OB-GYN Wedding Outdoor Venue Optometrist Wedding Rentals Pediatrician Wedding Rehearsal/Dinner Venue Realtor Real Estate – Commercial Real Estate – Property Management BBQ Surgeon Desserts

Wedding

Wine & Dine Fries Hamburger Pizza Steak Wine List Wings Brunch Date Night Restaurant Gourmet Dinner Happy Hour Locally Owned Restaurant Lunch Spot Trivia Bar Night Outdoor Dining Caterer Chef

Above are the categories for ALT Magazine’s 2022 Reader’s Choice. With more than 70 categories to nominate your favorite businesses and people in the Ark-La-Tex, we are putting together the most comprehensive list in Texarkana. The top nominees will be listed in November for you to vote for your choice.

Nominate Before 9-30-21 www.alt-mag.com 037


FORGET

WHAT YOU KNOW ABOUT

church join us at christian warriors church. experience the difference.

Love God. Serve Others. Teach Truth. Sunday Services, 10 am | PASTOR MICAH HARP CHRISTIAN WARRIORS CHURCH, 2101 E 50th St, Texarkana, AR 71854 038

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Suzie TK Snippets By: Suzie Tyler

This is your life! How do you start a new career when you are over threequarters of a century old? Many adults in their eighties and nineties have gone back to get the degree they always wished they had gotten when they were younger. Nothing is impossible if you persevere. When I decided to write my first novel, I wanted to do it right and as accurately as possible! I don’t particularly like doing things halfway, so I took several writing and editing classes. I even became a certified editor. I learned new words like prologue, addendum, and preface. I didn’t realize the challenges that would come from my endeavor! Research has taken on a complete new meaning. Thank goodness for google and the internet. My love story began 45 years ago! Many people have passed away and those still living did not remember the past events I was inquiring about! Because several buildings had been torn down, I could not visit places I thought would help my remembrance. A big help was the Texarkana Historical Society who has a digital city map dating back to Noah’s Ark, I think. Seriously, I am not sure the year of its inception, but I gleaned a lot of data from 1958 that I needed to complete my story. There were times when I was stumped, but it is not my nature to quit, so I persisted! The miracles of how I uncovered history are for another blog. I want to cover what writing my life story did for me personally, but I do think I am now qualified to work for the FBI. I learned a lot about myself! Some good, some bad, but it opened my eyes to reveal many flaws in my thinking! I grew up in a church atmosphere that concentrated on outward appearance instead of having a relationship! I realize now how self-righteous I had become. With the love and patience of my little Baptist husband, God helped me learn about unconditional love, aka Agape Love, an Ancient Greek term for the highest form of love!  I encourage you to write down your personal story and reflect on how you can be a better person! I promise you will find out more about yourself than the story of your life!  Every waking moment is building memories. Make good ones!!

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STRINGER WEALTH MANAGEMENT RAYMOND JAMES FINANCIAL STRINGERWEALTHMANAGEMENT.NET

Are Your Important Documents Secure and Accessible? FAMILY AND LIFESTYLE

financial focus

Keep your financial life organized with a thoughtful combination of digital and physical storage solutions.

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Pop quiz: In an emergency, could your loves ones find your current will and power of attorney? If you had to evacuate your home, could you quickly get your hands on your passport, deeds and keepsakes? Are your documents in a watertight, fireproof safe, or scattered around unprotected? It’s not enough to have the right documents – it’s also crucial to have them updated, neatly stored and accessible. Read on for five tips that can help you keep important files safe and handy. EQUIP YOURSELF FOR DIGITAL SUCCESS If you’d like to have a secure and organized system for paper, a scanner and a shredder are a must. Think you might need that document, but you can’t fit another thing in your file cabinet? Scan and toss, or shred if it contains sensitive data like a Social Security number. Digital storage has many upsides. You don’t have to pay much attention to space restrictions as you would with physical files. Also, it’s easier to securely share and keep items, and you can search for files by dates or keywords. Some fancy scanners such as the ScanSnap automatically sort documents based on file type (photo versus receipt) and name files based on scanned content. If you don’t have the budget or room for another machine, a smartphone app is a handy alternative. One last essential tool: a service for storing and syncing your digital data in the cloud, so you don’t lose everything if your computer is stolen or damaged. Which one you choose will depend on what features are most important to you, but popular services include Dropbox, Google Drive, and iCloud. It’s also smart to take advantage of any proprietary storage features your financial advisor may offer, which allow you to securely store and share financial data with each other, as well as trusted family members, and helps them coordinate with other professionals (such as your accountant at tax time). THINK LIKE AN EXECUTOR The most crucial papers to organize are the ones those closest to you will need when you’re no longer around. This includes your will, bank statements, insurance policies and birth certificate, for starters. So put yourself in your executor’s shoes when storing estate paperwork – this kind of planning is about helping others. Online services that organize and store all your vital details in a single convenient place are the latest innovation on this front. Some, such as Everplans, will even walk you through making a plan for everything from funeral details to healthcare wishes, sort of like TurboTax for end-of-life planning. You could also use an off-the-shelf workbook such as “The LastingMatters Organizer” to document your wishes. As for notarized physical documents, storing them in a fireproof safe makes sense for most. Be sure your family knows where the safe itself is, how to get into it, and what they can expect to find inside. You can also keep an extra copy in a safe deposit box or with your estate attorney. KNOW WHAT TO KEEP Certain official records deserve physical safekeeping: passports, Social Security cards, birth certificates and adoption decrees, property and vehicle deeds, marriage certificates, divorce decrees, signed and notarized A LT M a g a z i n e | S e p t e m b e r 2 0 2 1


powers of attorney, a will and medical directive paperwork. While you can pay to get another copy of many of these, it’s better to have them and not need them than the opposite. DESIGN A BREADCRUMB TRAIL This tip is especially relevant for worst-case-scenario documents such as your medical directive. Experts recommend keeping a copy in your car’s glove box, as well as giving copies to your doctor and your preferred healthcare proxy. You can then list these as “in case of emergency” or ICE contacts on a card in your wallet and in your smartphone’s emergency call screen (for iPhone users, add this data in Apple Health; Android users can go to Settings > About phone > Emergency information). Don’t forget about digital access that your loved ones will one day need, which means everything from email and bank accounts to photo and music sites. Few of us think to create a paper trail to help locate these accounts and login IDs because it might invite unauthorized access. However, there is a secure way to guide your heirs. The first step is to make an inventory. Next, document the details in a safe place. You can use a secure spreadsheet template to get started at yourdigitalafterlife.com or you can use a service like LastPass, which has an emergency access feature that allows you to hand down passwords to heirs who can then securely maintain or close your accounts based on your wishes. If it’s your main household responsibility to pay the bills and keep tabs on financial accounts, we’re talking to you. You want to

leave a legacy – not a logistical headache. CREATE A COMMAND STATION Productivity pros say every home office needs a central collection spot for notes, bills, reminders, paperwork and actionable items. To make this a working system, you’ll have to regularly plow through it all, whether daily or weekly. This will help free your mind to focus on the given task at hand, knowing your household has a system for tackling all the incoming paper. PROGRESS, NOT PERFECTION If your home office is a wreck right now, start small. Pick one tip that speaks to your specific situation and take action. What feels like a small win today could make a major, lasting difference for your loved ones. If you’re still feeling overwhelmed, you can seek out a professional organizer or turn to your advisor. They know your financial situation and can help you focus on the record-keeping tasks that are important for your life. Sources: Real Simple; pcmag.com; “Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity;" LastPass; yourdigitalafterlife.com; Everplans; NPR’s Life Kit; keepitsafe.com

© 2020 Raymond James Financial Services, Inc., member FINRA/SIPC.Raymond James® is a registered trademark of Raymond James Financial, Inc.

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Donuts are ALWAYS the Answer! 0 41


Fish Tales with Mike Brower Not So Different

I kept up with the “ICAST” tackle show this year (as always). I was surprised that there were no real innovations for 2021. Everything showcased was just last year’s stuff with a slight change in the color or the case or packaging. I would have thought there would have been some real innovative stuff brought out this year. It seems like every four to five years they trot out new and better products to catch the wily black bass, or the elusive crappie. This should have been one of those years. The “Best of Show” winner was another swimbait by Berkley called “Gilly.” It does not seem to be anything dramatically different, but it still won. Plano won for best accessory, a lure box. Gee, we saw that one coming. Plano also won for best – hmmmm – net. I have to ask myself how many ways are there to design a net. Sadly there was nothing new and exciting, so I won’t be rushing out to buy a new net or a new and different tackle box, and neither should you. Good fishing.

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AMAZING LOCATIONS FOR EVERYONE!

(903) 796-5438 | 108 N Loop 59 | Atlanta, TX 75551 (870) 772-4328 | 2229 Trinity Blvd. | Texarkana, AR 71854 (870) 898-5700 | 1420 Constitution Ave. | Ashdown, AR 71822 (903) 832-5438 | 600 North Kings Hwy | Wake Village, TX 75501 (903) 628-0035 | 980 James Bowie Drive | New Boston, TX 75570 A LT M a g a z i n e | S e p t e m b e r 2 0 2 1


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4th • Texarkana Monster Truck Chaos Back by popular demand! 2Xtreme Racing presents Texarkana Monster Truck Chaos 2021! Enjoy a jam-packed lineup including four National TV monster trucks, Quad Racing, Kids Power Wheel Races, and tons of high-flying, ground-pounding action. Plus, ride on a Real Monster Truck! Gates Open @ 11:30AM, All-Inclusive (VIP) Pit Party from 11:30 to 12:30PM, General Admission Pit Party from 12:30PM to 1:30PM with purchase of a $5 pit party pass. Show Starts at 2:00PM and ends about 4:00PM. Join us at Timberline Speedway, CR 4171, Hwy 67W in Maud, Texas. 4th • ArklaTex Comic Con The 10th Annual Ark-La-Tex Comic Con will be held at the Texarkana Convention Center in Texarkana, Texas. The Con will be held on Saturday, September 4th and Sunday, September 5th. Special Guests! Gaming Tournaments! Door Prizes, Comic Books, Anime, Toys! Tickets are $15-25. 18th • Putt for a Purpose A fundraiser benefitting Angel Fund Foundation and its continued assistance of cancer patients in our community will be held at Texarkana Country Club. Putt For A Purpose is a drawdown event and dinner, featuring musical entertainment, silent auction and fun putt. A drawdown ticket or sponsorship must be purchased for entry into the event. 25th • 4th Annual Recipe Exchange Join Texarkana Museums Systems at the P. J. Ahern Home for our Fourth Annual Recipe Exchange. Bring your recipe, old or new, and trade it admission to this fun food event. We will have vintage cookbooks to browse and blank recipe cards for you to fill with new, inspiring creations from your fellow guests. TMS will provide sample dishes for guests to taste. If you like them, you can grab a copy of the recipes before you go. Admission is FREE with one recipe, handwritten, typed, or printed out, to add to the TMS Archives’ Foodways collection. 27th • CASA Edge of Texas Golf Tournament It’s time to tee up for CASA! More than a round of golf, participants and sponsors play an instrumental role in providing trained Court Appointed Special Advocate volunteers for children and youth who have been victims of abuse, neglect, and abandonment. This event is presented by Heritage Home Health, Hospice, & Ledwell and lunch will be provided by Texas Roadhouse. 27th • Steve Hofstetter @ 30 Burger One of YouTube’s most popular comics with over 150 million views and half a billion more on Facebook, Steve Hofstetter is also the host of Finding Babe Ruth on FS1. Hofstetter was the host and executive producer of Laughs (FOX) and he has been on CBS’ The Late Late Show, E! True Hollywood Story, Comics Unleashed, and more. He’s sold out shows in hundreds of cities and dozens of countries. Now is your chance to find out what the fuss is about during this no-holds-barred stand-up performance, featuring some of his unfiltered observations about life. 044

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Adopt, Don’t Shop!

Local Rescues

FOSTERS NEEDED!

CONTACT LOCAL RESCUES TO FIND OUT MORE INFORMATION! BOXER RESCUE OF TEXARKANA Facebook.com/ BoxerRescueOfTexarkana

KODI

Passion For Pooches

GUNNER

Boxer Rescue of Texarkana

MUTTLEY CREW GERMAN SHEPHERD RESCUE Facebook.com/ MuttleyCrewRescue PASSION FOR POOCHES (mostly small dogs) Facebook.com/passionforpooches TEXARKANA ANIMAL LEAGUE Facebook.com/ TexarkanaAnimalLeague TEXARKANA HUMANE SOCIETY TexarkanaHumaneSociety.org Facebook.com/ TexarkanaHumaneSocietyInc

YAEGER

Texarkana Animal League

GALAXY

Muttley Crew

ANIMAL CARE & ADOPTION CENTER

The Animal Care & Adoption Center of Texarkana, Arkansas is located at 203 Harrison, Texarkana, AR, 71854. For more information, call 870.773.6388, or visit: www. animalcareadoptioncenter.org or www.facebook.com/AnimalCare AdoptionTXK. Please note, all dogs adopted from this shelter MUST be spayed or neutered. Spays cost $89-$104, neuters are $76-$92 depending on the weight of the dog. We also have SPONSORED dogs and cats! This means someone has already paid for their vetting! Come see who’s waiting! We are always in need of caring, capable volunteers to assist in with duties at the center, adoption events, fund-raising activities and more. Open Monday-Friday 11AM 5PM; Saturday 11AM - 2PM.

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FEATURED LISTING Bill Spradlin Realtor 903-748-3186

Tracy Spradlin Broker 903-748-2477

Jan Williams Realtor 903-277-5771

Pam Hollingsworth Realtor 903-277-1222

John Trubia Realtor 817-701-8402 Now Servicing the Dallas Fort Worth Area!

Amber Howeth Administrative Assistant 903-223-0710

3002 STERLING DR, TEXARKANA, TX 75503 Grand entry, four bedroom, four full baths, two half baths, three living areas. Soaring ceiling heights! Formal living & formal dinning room, a view of the sweeping stair case, open floor plan with family room, gourmet kitchen, stainless appliances & breakfast area. Master suite has on suite executive office, built in book cases, bath offers jetted tub, tile shower, double sinks and large walk in closet. Upstairs 3 bedrooms a Jack-in Jill bath, and on suite bath in bedroom. Two enormous bonus rooms with half bath and beautiful entertainment bar area. Backyard is private with flagstone patio & fire pit. Side entry garage. A must to view! Move In Ready!

Brenda Elrod Property Manager 903-559-1511

Stephanie Barthel Property Manager 903-559-1511 A LT M a g a z i n e | S e p t e m b e r 2 0 2 1

1356 N. Kings Hwy. | Nash, TX 75569 | 903.223.0710 billsprad@aol.com | spradlintd@aol.com www.ImpactRealtyOnline.com 0 47


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ALT Magazine September 2021  

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