AY About You June 2024

Page 166

ARKANSAS’ LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE | JUNE 2024 | AYMAG.COM Men’s Health | Best Of Winners | AY’s Best Lawyers $5.00 U.S. LITTLE
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incredible staff! After getting back in the gym regularly, I still had some stubborn fat areas, so I did CoolSculpting at Dr. Yee’s office and love my results!”

Dr. Suzanne Yee is one of the Natural State’s most accomplished cosmetic surgeons. Dr. Yee graduated from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and was ranked 1st in her graduating class. She completed her surgery internship at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and her facial plastics and reconstructive surgery fellowship at the University of Texas at Houston. Dr. Yee has been serving the state of Arkansas through her medical skills and fashion sensibilities at her cosmetic and laser surgery center since 2003. Congratulations to Dr. Suzanne Yee for being named AY About You’s Best Cosmetic Surgeon!

Cosmetic Surgeon in Arkansas!
Congrats Dr. Yee!

Crisp Law Firm

Hugh Crisp has been a trial lawyer for 38 years, but he still feels like he’s never worked a day in his life. Being a trial lawyer fulfills both a passion and a lifelong dream for Crisp.

“Things worked out perfectly for me,” he says.

From the firm’s office in downtown Little Rock, Crisp’s work includes an emphasis on medical malpractice and catastrophic injuries. These are some of the most difficult cases imaginable, due to having to learn the medicine for each case and applying the law to the circumstances to each case.

Instances of medical malpractice are when a patient is harmed by the negligence acts or omissions by a medical care provider.

Wrongful death in a medical malpractice case is a death caused by the negligent acts or omissions of medical care providers. Recent studies show that one of the leading causes of death in the United States is medical errors, accounting for 251,000 deaths annually.

“At the Crisp Law Firm, we have a personal relationship with each individual we represent and are committed to devoting the time and resources necessary to achieve the very best results for our clients,” he says.

Such a deep-hearted commitment to the client brings about peace of mind, in addition to his many distinguishing honors that identify him as one of the best in the field of medical malpractice. Crisp is rated AV Preeminent by Martindale-Hubbell, the highest rating for an attorney practicing in the United States. He has been honored by numerous publications in Arkansas and around the South as one of the best lawyers in the field of medical malpracticve, as well as peer-reviewed associations such as being a Mid-South Super Lawyers honoree for many years, and Best Lawyers in America.

The accolades and accomplishments go on and on for Crisp, all of which are rewarding. But at the end of the day, it hasn’t moved the needle on the most important things in his mind — his clients, and helping them find justice.

221 W. 2nd Street Little Rock 501-376-6264 crisplawfirm.com
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6 ON THE COVER Some call Little Rock the Capital City. Some call it Da Rock. Some call it La Petite Roche. We call it “home.” Starting on page 26. Little Rock Bucket List page 26 WHAT’S INSIDE 10 Publisher’s Letter 12 Connect 14 Top Events 188 Murder Mystery 192 Arkansas Backstories HOME & GARDEN 18 Cool by the Pool FOOD 24 Recipe: Salad Days 26 The Winning Ticket 34 Recipe: Salad Days
26 Overview 30 Dreaming Big 32 Dance Hall Days 36 Central Arkansas Suds 40 City by Region MEN’S HEALTH 65 Not Just Fun and Games 66 From Dude to Dad 72 Man to Man 78 Arkansas Urology 65 Men’s Health Chart 84 Boys Don’t Crry HEALTH 174 A New Path to Health NONPROFIT 178 Home on the Range ABOUT YOU 93 AY ’s Best Of Winners 2024 152 Day in Court 162 Arkansas Bar Association Awards 182 AY ’s Best Lawyers 184 This Side of Seven: A Matter of Months



The Pulaski County Special School District is committed to providing a quality and equitable education to all. Our hard work is exemplified through the accomplishments of our students. Over 20 students, representing all four feeders in PCSSD, achieved a score of 30 or higher on the ACT this school year. Four students share their insight from this outstanding achievement.

Andrew Pittman, a senior at Maumelle High, shared how his high school career prepared him for the ACT. “Precalculus, AP Language, and AP Literature [were] essential. Taking the English AP exams helped me perform well under a short amount of time and pre-calculus not only taught me concepts, but helped me to apply those concepts to some of the harder problems on the ACT.”


Sylvan Hills High senior Grace Burleson shares how her score affected her plans after graduation. “Joining the 30+ Club has significantly affected my aftergraduation plans as it’s allowed me to obtain the Governor’s Distinguished Scholarship (GDS) along with opportunities to apply for more collegespecific scholarships. The GDS Scholarship is fundamental to my college budget and has allowed me to have a more affordable college outlook.”

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

Angel MartinezGuiterrez is a junior at Mills University Studies High and credits his teachers as the inspiration for his success. “My high school got me in touch with many organizations that have offered me ACT Prep Programs and provided me with resources. Multiple teachers gave me practice packets and graded them on their own time. Ultimately, I think my high school has been the driving force behind my success, motivating me to achieve at every turn.”

Wesley Littrell, a Joe T. Robinson High junior, offers advice for younger students preparing to take the ACT and boost their score. “Accommodations are important if you need them. You want to make sure that you are on an even playing field with everyone else. I might not have gotten into the 30+ club if I didn’t get extra time on account of my ADHD. Sleep is also important.”

schools across Pulaski County since July 1927. PCSSD is committed to creating a nationally recognized school district that assures that all students achieve at their maximum potential through collaborative, supportive and continuous efforts of all stakeholders.



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Joe David Rice, born in Paragould and reared in Jonesboro, probably knows Arkansas as well as anyone alive. The former owner of an outfitting business on the Buffalo National River and the state’s former tourism director, his Arkansas Backstories is published by the Butler Center.

Jason Pederson spent 20 years as KATV’s Seven On Your Side reporter. He is now deputy chief of community engagement for the Arkansas Department of Human Services. He and his wife, Mary Carol, have two biological children and one bonus son. They are longtime members of Fellowship Bible Church in Little Rock.

Amy Gramlich is a wife, mom, blogger and public school educator proudly planted in Arkansas. She loves to celebrate all occasions big and small with fun outfits, creative recipes and fresh home decor (which must always include plants). She enjoys all the details that go into planning the next trip or party.

Angelita Faller is the news director for the office of communications and marketing at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. A native of Newton, Illinois, Faller has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Eastern Illinois University and a master’s degree in digital storytelling from Ball State University in Indiana.

Kelli Reep is a writer and public relations practitioner in central Arkansas. When she is not looking for the best pie in the state, she is being ordered around by three cats. She likes to read, cook, sleep and help out when she can.

Lori Sparkman, owner of Lori Sparkman Photography, has traveled the globe to work extensively with beautiful brides and grooms, fierce fitness clients and growing families, as well as high-profile and corporate clients. She prides herself in capturing their personalities with a sophisticated and lighthearted style.

Jamie Lee is a native of southwest Louisiana now residing in Little Rock. She is a freelance photographer and writer who focuses on food and restaurants.

Jamie has been a photographer for 15 years, shooting seniors, families, portraits, branding and food. She also has more than 25 years of experience with marketing in the travel and tourism industry.

Chris Davis was born and raised in Sherwood but now resides in North Little Rock with his wife and 7-year-old son. When his son was born, his wife asked for a new camera to take pictures of their little one. From there, his love of photography grew, and he is proud to be one of the contributing photographers at AY magazine.

AY Magazine is published monthly, Volume XXXVII, Issue 2 AY Magazine (ISSN 2162-7754) by AY Media Group, 910 W. 2nd St., Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201. Periodicals postage paid at Little Rock, AR and additional mailing offices. Postmaster: Send address changes to AY Magazine, 910 W. 2nd St., Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201. Subscription Inquiries: Subscription rate is $24 for one year (12 issues). Single issues are available upon request for $5. For subscriptions, inquiries or address changes, call 501-244-9700. The contents of AY are copyrighted ©2024, and material contained herein may not be copied or reproduced in any manner without the written permission of the publisher. Articles in AY should not be considered specific advice, as individual circumstances vary. Products and services advertised in the magazine are not necessarily endorsed by AY

Please recycle this magazine.



Mike used to work long hours in a job that didn't encourage a healthy lifestyle, making it difficult for him to lose weight. In 2019, a sudden illness affected his heart, leaving him lacking the energy for even simple tasks.

By December 2021, he weighed 430 lbs. Seeking guidance and support, he turned to Baptist Health Bariatric Center- Little Rock.

Today, Mike has shed 230 pounds and feels fantastic! "The surgery truly saved my life."

Life has its challenges, but having a healthcare partner like Baptist Health by your side can make all the difference.



Welcome to our annual AY About You Men’s Issue, a celebration of the many men in our lives.

Men play a special, indispensable role in successful families, communities and societies at large. Confident, strong, compassionate fathers, brothers, uncles and paw-paws are irreplaceable in the life of children and help bind the generations of society together. Throughout my life, I have been blessed to have had consistent, honorable male figures who gave me the foundation of work ethic, self-esteem and discipline needed to become the best version of myself.

Our June issue celebrates all the guys out there with a magazine full of things to help a man live his best life. We share advice about parenting, relationships and health. Our popular “Gentleman’s Guide” returns to offer advice on things every man should know.

Also this month, we showcase our beloved Capital City — Little Rock — in our “Bucket List” series. There is so much to see and do in our hometown that it is easy to miss something right under your nose. Our writing staff fanned out across the city to highlight the best in food, entertainment, outdoors and quality of life that exists in our community.

Finally, the public has spoken! After months of nominations, voting and anticipation, we are proud to announce the winners of our “2024 Best Of Reader’s Poll.” Including some of the most coveted media awards anywhere, AY About You’s “Best Of” designates the crème de la crème across hundreds of categories. I want to extend my personal congratulations to all of this year’s winners.

Summer is here, the kids are out of school, and the weather is sending many people to the lakes or the beach to cool off. Wherever your travels take you, take us along! We would love to hear about your adventures.

/ heatherbaker_ar

10 publisher's letter

Since 2000, our team has been 100% focused on your oral health. We offer our patients the very best that dentistry has to offer through advanced technologies and procedures. We provide personalized dental care with compassion and skill in order to provide a great treatment experience.

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with stunning photos of the northern lights captured in Arkansas. These are just a few of the breathtaking images submitted to us that showcase the rare and vibrant aurora borealis illuminating the Arkansas skies!
MAY, 2024
May, our Facebook page was graced
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May 4 — July 28

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art — Bentonville

Join Crystal Bridges for a one-of-a-kind, immersive art experience created by four-time Grammy nominee and mental health pioneer, Jewel. Featuring 200-piece aerial drone shows choreographed and set to an original score by Jewel, the collaboration also includes a meditative art walk featuring works by contemporary artists, a painting and sculpture by Jewel, and specialty, chef-crafted dining options nourishing the mind, body and spirit.


June 1

The Momentary — Bentonville

John Legend, 12-time Grammy winner and an EGOT winner, will perform at the Momentary Green on June 1, bringing an intimate reimagining of his greatest hits. Rain or shine, the concert will go on.


June 1

Historic Bathhouse Row — Hot Springs

Historic Bathhouse Row will be the place to be June 1, where the annual World Championship Running of the Tubs will take place. Guests are invited to watch costume-coordinated teams push bathtubs on wheels as they compete to win the Steuart Pennington Cup. The event is free and family friendly. Guests should expect to get drenched.


June 14 and 15

Bridge St. LIVE! Entertainment District — Hot Springs

Foodies are welcome and encouraged to attend the Spa City Food Truck Festival, which will take place over the course of two days in the heart of Hot Springs’ entertainment district. The event brings a diverse selection of the finest food trucks the Natural State has to offer to satisfy every craving imaginable.


June 15

Mosaic Templars Cultural Center — Little Rock

Head on out to Mosaic Templars Cultural Center to celebrate Juneteenth at the 15th Annual Juneteenth in Da Rock street festival. The event will feature vendors, live music, a kid zone, a flag raising ceremony and the annual 5K walk/run.

14 agenda


Eureka Springs Blues Party Downtown Entertainment District, Eureka Springs 1


Maggie Rogers with The Japanese House Walmart AMP, Rogers


CARTI’s Tour de Rock CARTI Cancer Center, Little Rock


NLE Choppa George’s Majestic Lounge, Fayetteville

The Ultimate Prince Birthday Bash Concert The Rev Room, Little Rock 7-9

Arkansas Free Fishing Weekend Various state parks around Arkansas


Monte Montgomery Murphy Arts District, El Dorado


James Taylor & His All-Star Band Simmons Bank Arena, North Little Rock

June 16


Ozark Mountain Rumble Rally Eureka Springs Harley Davidson and Pig Trail Harley Davidson


Southern Bancorp Little Rock Community Day Little Rock Zoo


Little Rock Tap Festival Robinson Center, Little Rock


I Hate Hamlet The Pocket Community Theatre, Hot Springs


Tracy Byrd Magic Springs Theme & Water Park, Hot Springs 17

Diamond Empire Band — Free Showcase Nomads Trailside, Fayetteville


Bert Kreischer Walmart AMP, Rogers

22 Buddy Guy Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort, Hot Springs


Pixies & Modest Mouse Walmart AMP, Rogers


The Big Dam Horns The Rev Room, Little Rock


Music in Focus: The Lens of Art Meripol Exhibit Old State House Museum, Little Rock


Plein Air Festival Various locations, Eureka Springs


Blue Jeans & Bubbles Rusty Tractor Vineyards, Little Rock

16 Zebra The Hall, Little Rock


Pride & Prejudice The Arkansas Repertory Theatre, Little Rock


Arkansas Graveler Bike Ride Fayetteville to Jonesboro

8 Dierks Bentley Walmart AMP, Rogers


Father’s Day at the Zoo 2024 Little Rock Zoo


Styx & Foreigner Walmart AMP, Rogers 26

New Kids on The Block Walmart AMP, Rogers


Rocktown Naturals Arkansas State Fairgrounds, Little Rock

Tracy Lawrence Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort, Hot Springs events


aymag.com 15

A Physical Destination, a Spiritual Journey

Travel with Friends creates meaningful trips without the hassle

TTravel with Friends has become a beacon of light in the Little Rock travel industry and offers extraordinary group and individual tours, trips and cruises to some of the most enchanting destinations in the world. Specializing in the organization of faith-based journeys, Travel with Friends has taken travelers on transformative voyages to sacred lands across Greece, Italy, the Holy Land, Jordan and Egypt. The meticulously crafted tours offer participants a unique opportunity to deepen their spiritual connection while exploring sites of immense historical significance.

Travel with Friends has carved a niche for itself as a leading travel agency in the region thanks to its dedication to excellence, unparalleled customer service and profound commitment to serving others. In a world where connections are more important than ever, the company offers a space for individuals to come together, forge new friendships and create lasting memories. With each trip, the agency not only opens doors to new cultures and experiences but also opens hearts to the beauty of shared exploration and discovery.

Among the standout offerings from Travel with Friends are its European river cruises. Imagine gliding along the serene waters of the Danube or Rhine, passing picturesque landscapes and charming towns, all while enjoying the comfort and luxury of a floating hotel. These cruises provide a relaxing yet enriching way to experience the beauty, food and culture of Europe, making for unforgettable memories with friends old and new.

What sets Travel with Friends apart from other travel companies is a commitment to customer service that cannot be overstated. From the moment a traveler expresses interest in a tour to the time they return home, the team at Travel with Friends goes above and beyond to ensure a seamless and unforgettable experience. Each itinerary is meticulously planned to offer a perfect balance of exploration, relaxation and spiritual enrichment.

Moreover, the tour guides and staff at Travel with Friends are not just professionals — they are passionate individuals who take pride in sharing their knowledge and love for travel with others. Their dedication to excellence shines through in every aspect of the journey, ensuring that each traveler feels valued, cared for and inspired throughout their trip.

Travel with Friends is also deeply committed to serving others. Whether it’s supporting local communities at destinations or organizing charitable initiatives, the agency believes in giving back and making a positive impact wherever they go. Thst ethos of service and compassion resonates with travelers, fostering a sense of community and shared purpose among all participants.

As Travel with Friends celebrates 20 years of guiding travelers

on unforgettable journeys, it remains a trusted companion for those seeking to explore the world with like-minded individuals. The agency’s legacy of excellence, dedication to service and passion for meaningful travel keep it head and shoulders above the competition in an ever-evolving travel industry.

For those looking to embark on a journey of a lifetime, Travel with Friends stands as a testament to the power of travel to transform, inspire and unite. With a steadfast commitment to excellence and a heart full of compassion, Travel with Friends invites travelers to discover the world one unforgettable adventure at a time.

501-379-9226 | travelwithfriends.com travelwithfriends


Luxury Pool & Spa beats the heat for Arkansans seeking refuge from summer

By KD Reep // Photos provided

The prolonged Arkansas summers that stretch from Memorial Day well into the fall semester each year make access to a backyard swimming pool desirable. Jeremy and Shane Lawson, co-owners of Luxury Pool & Spa in Russellville and Conway, understand just how crucial a well-designed, strategically placed and quality constructed pool can be to Arkansas’ families and friends.

“We grew up in this business,” Jeremy said. “Our grandpa and father started building pools in 1976 in Arkansas, and our dad went out on his own in 1984 in Russellville, which is where Shane and I got our start.

“Since then, we’ve opened another location in Conway in 2005, and last year, we expanded and built a new showroom and warehouse in Conway, as well.”

There are many reasons to have a residential pool in Arkansas, foremost among them being the state’s blistering hot summers. Arkansas experiences the hottest and most humid of seasons and a shimmering swimming pool creates an accessible respite for families to cool off and enjoy the outdoors without having to join a neighborhood pool or travel to a lake, river or stream.

Entertainment is another core motivation for Arkansans to install their own pool. Whether for a cookout, girls’ night out, family reunion or neighborhood block party, a personal pool is a solid way of extending a home’s entertaining spaces into the outdoors.

“The demand for pools and spas has been pretty steady for our market,” Jeremy said. “COVID-19 really made an impact on pool installations because people were staying home and couldn’t go to public places to swim. They saw the value in having their own pool, and now that the pandemic has subsided, they are seeing the value of having a pool and spa as part of an overall outdoor living space.”

Family enjoyment and relaxation are two major drivers bringing clients through Luxury Pool & Spa’s doors. Families with children find a

pool enhances quality time spent together and offers a fun and convenient way for kids to stay active and entertained during the summer months. Households of all sizes and configurations will attest that there is nothing quite like lounging by the pool on a muggy day, soaking up the sun and enjoying moments of relaxation and tranquility. Swimming also offers a low-impact form of exercise, making the backyard pool an accessible way for people to work out regularly without leaving home.

“A beautifully designed pool can enhance the overall aesthetics of your property, creating a tranquil and luxurious atmosphere in your yard,” said Andrea Lawson, Jeremy’s wife and the company’s general manager. “A pool and spa are investments in your lifestyle. They can bring years of enjoyment and satisfaction to you and your family, making your home a more enjoyable place to live.”

As part of a third-generation enterprise, Jeremy and Shane have seen all manner of pools over the decades, starting in the days when a rectangle pool with a diving board and slide were considered standard. Today, there are many more options for clients to choose from, and the owners have seen and built most of them, including indoor-outdoor, infinity and saltwater pools with every imaginable bell and whistle.

Forget the amoeba-shaped and guitar-shaped pools of the ’50s and ’60s. Today’s pools also take into consideration naturalistic designs which work beautifully with Arkansas’ varied landscape.

“We see pool owners choosing designs mimicking natural bodies of water,” Jeremy said. “Today’s pools

incorporate features like rock formations, waterfalls, grottos and really lush landscaping to create a more natural and visually appealing environment. Smart pool technology allows for remote monitoring of the pool’s systems, things like temperature, lighting and chemical levels, which enhances the convenience for the owner.”

Another industry trend is a growing emphasis on sustainability in modern pools and spas. More energy-efficient pool equipment, such as variable-speed pumps and LED lighting, reduce both environmental impact and operating costs.

“I would say that 45 years ago if you came into our showroom and talked with my father about a pool, his questions would probably center around if you wanted a diving board or if you wanted a slide or maybe even a pool light,” Jeremy said. “It was mostly rectangle pools lined with vinyl in those days. Now there are so many options. You can make your home pool almost any shape you’d like.”

Luxury Pool & Spa constructs pools all over the state and with each one they assess the makeup of a home’s landscape to create a pool or spa to fit that individual location, including designs that suit smaller yards or are built to complement existing outdoor living spaces. Spa design shows similar creativity and can range from stand-alone models to those that spill over into the swimming pool itself.

“Vanishing-edge pools, or what we know as infinity pools, are another design that creates a striking visual effect where the water appears to merge with the horizon,” Jeremy said. “We have projects where we’ve created multiple infinity pools where one pool flows into another below it. It creates a beautiful effect.”

In addition to growing customer interest in features such as hydrotherapy jets, swim lanes for exercise and integrated hot tubs to promote relaxation, fitness and overall well-

Well-designed, well-maintained pools beautify properties and provide a fun and refreshing summer activity for families.

While plain rectangular pools used to be the norm, today’s pools come in various styles and with an array of extras.

being, more clients today are making pools part of a larger backyard oasis. Luxury Pool & Spa routinely works on projects involving other construction professionals building dining areas, kitchens, swim-up bars and audio-visual systems to create a showstopping outdoor entertaining area.

Andrea said even as the catalog of options continues to expand, the things that do not change set the family-owned company apart from the field.

“The real thing that sets Luxury Pool & Spa apart is our customer service,” Andrea said. “It is what we are known for all over the state of Arkansas. We’ve got customers that we have done business with for more than 45 years and a big part of that is because of how we strive to take care of them.”

Jeremy said being in business this long has also developed for him a network of industry professionals that build custom projects all over the nation who he calls and bounces ideas off.

“We always try to push the envelope,” he added. “We want to see what can be done and how.”

Being regularly pushed to do their best work has resulted in some stunning accomplishments. One of the most memorable recent jobs was an all-glass-tile pool with a perimeter overflow spa featuring an infinity edge cascading into a second pool, designed with an infinity edge on three sides.

“That pool happens to be in Conway, and it is one of our favorites,” Jeremy said. “We’ve also built some

aymag.com 21

Today’s pools incorporate features like rock formations, waterfalls, grottos and really lush landscaping to create a more natural and visually appealing environment.

pretty amazing pools in Hot Springs that are completely original designs.”

Extremely elaborate jobs can require the help of other professionals, including engineers and landscape architects, but for the construction itself, every pool is personally overseen by Shane.

“Shane is going to be there during construction,” Jeremy said. “When you design your pool and spa and when you need service, that’s where I come in.”

The Lawson brothers are not the only familiar faces that clients may recognize, and the company’s expert staff often runs in generations.

“A lot of our employees have been with us for a long time,” Jeremy said. “When you do business with us, someone in our organization is going to be familiar with your project from the time it was designed and installed to years from now when you need service.”

Building swimming pools in Arkansas is hard work, especially in regions of the state where it does not take much digging to hit solid rock. Despite the sometimestaxing conditions and technical challenges, or perhaps because of them, the Lawsons derive great satisfaction from their work, proudly bringing the customers’ most outlandish vision into reality.

“In the pool business, there are companies that are builders, there are service companies, and there are those that are maintenance professionals,” Jeremy said. “We do all of it, providing turnkey services so our customers don’t have to go anywhere else.

“I think what people really love about us is we’ve been in business for more than 45 years in an industry where companies tend to come and go. Our customers have been loyal to us over the years, and so we feel a real sense of loyalty to them in return.”

Infinity edges and designs that include spas are among the current pool trends.
aymag.com 23 5 Stanford Rd, Conway | (501) 327-1772 luxurypoolarkansas.com 510 S Arkansas Ave, Russellville | (479) 968-7772 BEST OVERALL SWIMMING POOL COMPANY IN ARKANSAS Every day made better® SERVING ARKANSAS FOR OVER 45 YEARS!

Salad Days

This fresh twist on a Mediterranean salad is a great way to enjoy the garden

Eat your vegetables!

Many Mediterranean dishes, salads included, are loaded with garden-fresh produce. Though plenty of variations exist, some typical ingredients of a Mediterranean salad include:

• tomatoes

• cucumbers

• red onions

• olives

• chickpeas

• capers

• fresh parsley, mint or basil

A perk of this veggie-laden salad is that it can be customized based on personal preference or what is in the kitchen. For example, Roma tomatoes are often the tomatoes of choice for salads due to their low water content, but most flavorful varieties of tomatoes will work. Try vine-ripened tomatoes, or opt for campari, grape or cherry tomatoes sliced in half.


If watery tomatoes are a concern, a good kitchen tip is to salt them generously after chopping. Then drain them in a strainer for 15 to 20 minutes until most of the liquid is gone.

As for the olives, again, most types of olives will work, including green, black, Kalamata or other specialty marinated varieties. Each type of olive offers its own flavor profile, so some cooks will opt to include more than one type in the salad. This recipe welcomes chopped olives or whole olives.

Likewise, this salad can be made with any type of cucumber. Smaller English cucumbers or Persian cucumbers offer fewer seeds and less water content. If using larger cucumbers, slice them down the middle and remove the seeds before slicing into smaller pieces. This will remove the centers that can water down a salad.

Bring on the boiled eggs

The addition of boiled eggs is optional, but adding eggs can provide extra interest and nutritional value.

Refrigerated boiled eggs have a shelf life of about a week. As long as the eggs are still good, they make for an ideal addition to this salad. Simply peel them and chop them into small pieces to top the salad. If preferred, the eggs can be sliced into pretty slices or served along the edge of the salad in halves or quarters.

Add protein

Chickpeas are the typical protein to add to a classic Mediterranean salad, but white beans also make a filling addition to this simple dish.

Feel free to add any grilled or sauteed meat, from shrimp to chicken to salmon. A bowl or rimmed dish with this beautiful salad on the bottom and grilled salmon or sauteed shrimp on top makes for a lovely dinner.

Dress it up

Again, this salad is all about making it one’s own, so do not be afraid to experiment. For instance, some classic versions of Mediterranean salads do not include lettuce, but other versions do, so consider adding your favorite leafy greens — arugula, iceberg, mixed greens, etc. — as a bed underneath this Mediterranean veggie blend.

For a heartier meal, consider adding a bed of brown or white rice underneath the other ingredients. Finally, any Mediterranean bowl comes together with the addition of hummus, which lends texture and unique flavor possibilities to the dish.


This recipe makes two large salads or four small side salads.

• 1 large cucumber (or 2 small ones), chopped into half moons

• 2 large tomatoes, chopped and drained

• 1 bell pepper (red or orange), chopped

• 1/2 cup olives (Kalamata, green or black) whole, halved or chopped and drained

• 1/2 red onion, chopped

• 1 teaspoon salt

• 1 teaspoon black pepper

• 1 teaspoon dried basil

• 1 teaspoon dried oregano

• 4 boiled eggs, chopped

• 1 avocado, sliced or chopped

• Optional: fresh herbs such as parsley or mint


1. In a large bowl, add chopped cucumber, tomatoes, bell pepper, olives and red onion. Gently toss.

2. Generously season with salt, pepper, dried basil and dried oregano.

3. Divide salad mixture among serving bowls.

4. Top each salad with the chopped egg and chopped avocado.

5. Add dressing (see below).

6. Dust each salad with fresh, chopped herbs.

As with most any salad, the dressing adds the final zing. Try one of the following dressings to dress up the Mediterranean salad, making sure to add the dressing just before serving:

Lemon olive oil dressing

• Juice of 2 lemons

• 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil

• 1 tablespoon honey

• 1 teaspoon minced garlic (or 1 teaspoon of garlic powder)

• 1 teaspoon dried oregano

In a mixing glass, whisk the lemon juice, the olive oil and the honey. Mix in 1 teaspoon of minced garlic and 1 teaspoon of oregano.

Red wine vinegar dressing

• Juice of 2 lemons

• 2 to 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

• 2 teaspoons maple syrup

• 1 teaspoon dried parsley

In a mixing glass, whisk the lemon juice, red wine vinegar and maple syrup. Add the parsley.

26 little rock

A Cadence all its OWN

Little Rock melds multiple flavors into civic jambalaya

Arecent visitor from Colorado was taken aback by the view on the approach to Little Rock.

“I had forgotten how many trees there are here,” he said. “It’s beautiful.”

That is from a Denver man who wakes up every morning to a view of the great Front Range rising from the high plains like the Misty Mountains beckoning a party of gold seekers.

Little Rock is indeed a beautiful city. It boasts a relentless green canopy that extends from the fertile plains of the Delta’s last hurrah at the Arkansas River on the east into those hardscrabble Ouachita foothills and the heart of the city to the west.

Playing on its natural advantages, Little

Rock has become a true outdoor recreation hub — and an acclaimed one. Its trails and bridges attract bikers, hikers and runners from across the region. Little Rock also remains the state’s political and cultural center — notwithstanding that encroaching shadow from the northwest — and like all of Arkansas, the city seems to defy categorization.

Arkansas-native-turned-Oklahoma-blogger Jimmy Peacock once wrote that Arkansas is the South of the Midwest and the Midwest of the South. Perhaps no truer thing was ever written about the state, of which Little Rock is the beating heart — Southern but not quite Rhett Butler, Southwestern but not quite full cowboy.

Little Rock is a bit of a square peg, a city that veteran Arkansas scribe Rex Nelson of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette once described to Arkansas Money & Politics as “a place in between.”

Truly, Little Rock is a unique animal. Where else will diners choose restaurants based on the quality of the cheese dip, after all? (Where else will transplants learn that “queso” is not a word south of the Bobby Hopper Tunnel or north of Lake Chicot?)

Like good jambalaya, Little Rock delivers multiple flavors. It is Southern, and many would argue the South Proper ends at Little Rock. Others would argue that Little Rock is the little brother to Memphis. In Little Rock, one can still here “yes, ma’am” or “yes, sir” and occasionally see seersucker suits and white bucks on downtown streets at lunchtime during the summer.

Like good Texas brisket, one can taste a little Southwest in the city’s veins, as well. The city’s proximity to Dallas and Arkansas’ long-held cultural attachment to it through the Razorbacks, the Cotton Bowl and the old Southwest Conference made for a strong connection. (That is not to mention the city’s long-held allegiance to the Dallas Cowboys, which have been owned since the 1990s by native son Jerry Jones, who grew up north of the river but made his pre-Cowboys money and raised his family in Little Rock.)

Northwest Arkansas’ transformation over the past three decades has helped blur regional lines of cultural demarcation through waves of Fortune 500 transplants, many from the Midwest. With Little Rock just half a day’s drive from Kansas, the city was always bound to feel an occasional and slight Midwestern cultural breeze.

Though the city continues to shoulder the burden of reputations both earned and exaggerated where crimes and schools are concerned — reputations inherent to most urban centers — Little Rock has maintained steady growth over the decades. The city has recorded growth in every U.S. Census count. Little Rock is not growing at the startling rates of Fayetteville or Bentonville, but it is growing.

West Little Rock now abuts Pinnacle Mountain State Park, and in the southwest, the only things distinguishing ongoing development from Saline County are the signs on Interstate 30. Consensus is building, however, among city leaders both private and public that for Little Rock to keep growing, it needs to attract more residents downtown.

Beginning with Bill Clinton’s presidential campaign in the early 1990s and the subsequent influx of national media, downtown Little Rock along the river began to foster a nascent cosmopolitan vibe. The River Market Entertainment

From the teeming downtown streets to Pinnacle Mountain State Park in nearby Roland, Little Rock is awash with activity.

Selected photos courtesy of Little Rock CVB.

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District was on its way to offering more restaurants, bars, hotels, shops, museums and, of course, a presidential library and museum.

Gabe Holmstrom, executive director of the Downtown Little Rock Partnership, said he believes the recently released Downtown Little Rock Master Plan, the first-ever comprehensive plan for downtown, is the catalyst needed for the area — and, by extension, Little Rock — to take the next big step.

“The goal is to create a strategic vision for growth and development to guide a better future for downtown and everyone who lives here or visits,” he said. “The master plan will serve as a road map for future decision making by the city of Little Rock, along with other interested entities, the development community, neighborhoods and individuals.”

“Little Rock brings it all together. It’s in the perfect location, right in the center of a truly unique state.”
— Rex Nelson

“Downtown Little Rock has an amazing geographic setting along the Arkansas River and is the center of culture for all of Arkansas,” he said. “These are huge strengths that cannot be replicated. Downtown residential density is up to four times less than what it should be. A key goal in this master plan is to double downtown’s residential population by 2035.”

Trendy new businesses and downtown murals have boosted the area’s aesthetics, but Holmstrom said the city needs to rethink how it uses space downtown.

“There are large amounts of available, underutilized land, mostly surface parking lots, which are prime sites for new infill development,” he said. “The civic infrastructure in downtown, including City Hall, the Downtown Partnership, other agencies and private development, needs to coalesce around the Downtown Master Plan.”

Holmstom said demand is not the problem for residential development downtown — residential occupancy is at 97 percent.

“There is clearly a desire to live in the area,” he said. “We just don’t have the inventory. Our downtown residential population is far lower than peer downtowns and needs to increase to support the types of amenities we’d all like to enjoy in the heart of our city.”

Holmstrom said more than 20 percent of downtown land is government owned (city, state or federal), and 10 percent of that is underutilized as surface parking lots.

“We just need the right incentives to spur the development of infill residential units,” he said.

From Pinnacle Mountain in the west to the Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site downtown, Little Rock has the stuff to draw visitors and satiate the cultural appetites of tourists and residents alike. For Holmstrom, Little Rock punches above its weight class for a city its size.

“Little Rock is a city with a warm heart and a welcoming spirit, making it a fantastic place to visit,” he said. “From our incredible new Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts to wonderful natural resources like the Arkansas River and challenging hiking trails, and a thriving restaurant and nightlife scene, downtown Little Rock truly has something for everyone.”

Notable cultural attractions include the Central High School National Historic Site, top, and the Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts.

Changing the downtown dynamic will have ripple effects across all Little Rock and even the region, he added.

“This vision includes enhanced connectivity between neighborhoods and the surrounding community, a safe and vibrant public realm, and improved public open spaces, all with the goal of increasing quality of life for residents, workers and visitors.”

The master plan lays out 44 categories across a wide range of topics, but Holmstrom said change should start with a renewed emphasis on the riverfront and growing downtown’s resident population.

Harry Ashmore, the Pulitzer Prize-winning former executive editor of the pre-merger Arkansas Gazette, came to know his adopted city and state well. His perspective may therefore ring especially true. In Arkansas: A Bicentennial History, the South Carolina native recognized the state’s grapple with its own self-awareness, a condition he observed daily from his office in downtown Little Rock and one which may help partially explain the city’s distinct cadence.

“Deep in the Arkansas consciousness is a tragic sense that across nearly three centuries of existence as colony, territory and state, its people have been misunderstood and put upon,” he wrote. “When explaining their special ways to strangers, Arkansans sound to the practiced ear as though they are resigned to dealing with fools but are too polite to say so.”

Nelson, a great chronicler of Arkansas culture, said he believes the city’s multifacted personality is a strength to be exploited.

“It’s mostly Southern but also a tad Midwestern and a tad Southwestern,” Nelson said of the city. “Just to the west, you can go to Perryville and be in the Mountain South. Just to the east, you can go to Scott and be in the Delta. Little Rock brings it all together. It’s in the perfect location, right in the center of a truly unique state.”



Did you know that the Little Rock metro area is leading Arkansas in job growth? According to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Little Rock has witnessed the biggest year-over-year job gain in the state!

Why Little Rock?

Thriving Job Market: With 357,886 people already employed and a remarkable 2.5% increase in job numbers from last year, Little Rock is a hotspot for career opportunities! Additionally, 2023 data reflects more people working in Pulaski County and the Little Rock MSA than ever before with positive trends for 2024 and beyond.

Strategic Location: Situated centrally within Arkansas, Little Rock provides easy access to major cities and transportation hubs, making it an ideal location for both business and leisure.

Diverse Lifestyle: From bustling urban life to serene natural surroundings, Little Rock o ers a diverse range of experiences to suit every taste and interest.

Visit littlerockchamber.com to learn more.

Since 2020, the Chamber has completed projects creating: $427,730,421 $1.8 billion 10,752 $427,730,421 Million in New Payroll to the Region in Capital Investment to Central Arkansas $1.8 billion 10,752

New Jobs


Downtown Little Rock Master Plan aims high

Downtown Little Rock is set to adopt a bold new vision for the city, one that revolves around better transit, a denser downtown population and connectivity via expanded greenspaces. Those are the headliner points put forth by the long-awaited draft Downtown Little Rock Master Plan unveiled last month.

The plan, spearheaded by the Downtown Little Rock Partnership and prepared by global architecture, planning and design firm Sasaki, is the culmination of work that began last fall. Laying out an ambitious agenda for enhancements to the city core, the plan awaits approval by the Little Rock Board of Directors at writing.

As stated in the plan’s executive summary, Little Rock is at a crossroads, having revitalized steadily since the economic downtown of 2008 but at a much slower pace than peer communities. That has caused the city’s core to stagnate even as buildings are built or refurbished, new restaurants open, and downtown continues to be a center for events, conventions and entertainment.

Fortunately, according to the plan authors, the city is brimful with opportunities to correct the situation thanks to natural amenities and the possibility for bold new public space development.

“Downtown Little Rock has an amazing geographic set-

ting along the Arkansas River and is the center of culture for all of Arkansas. These are huge strengths that cannot be replicated,” the plan states. “There are large amounts of available underutilized land, mostly surface parking lots, which are prime sites for new infill development.”

Four focus areas were identified as primary targets for reimagined usage. On the riverfront extending roughly from the Clinton Presidential Center to Robinson Center, underutilized public and private properties and ground would be redeveloped into mixed use. New trails would also be constructed, along with more and better access for water recreation on the Arkansas River.

The plan also calls for extensive greenspace and the redevelopment of underutilized public and private properties and parking lots into mixed-income housing in blocks surrounding the State Capitol. Other features in that zone would include a Marshall Street bridge with enhanced pedestrian and bike facilities and connection to the Arkansas River via Rose Creek greenway and Southwest Trail.

The plan gives particular attention to the Ninth Street corridor and seeks to enhance and celebrate the area’s heritage as Little Rock’s historic Black Main Street. Extensive new greenways, including a deck park over Interstate 30, would bring together assets on both sides of the highway and reconnect the

little rock

storied street. West Seventh and Chester streets would be reimagined as the heart of the neighborhood.

Arguably the most ambitious element of the four, 30 Crossing Park, is the Downtown Little Rock Partnership’s strongest lobby yet for utilizing land freed up by highway reconfiguration as a sweeping new central park. Featuring a variety of natural and sports amenities, as well as a huge gathering lawn for public events, 30 Crossing Park would bring foundational changes to the look, function and connectedness of downtown.

According to the plan, the proposals are not just development for development’s sake but feed into the plan’s central goal of increasing downtown density. Within its 2.5-square-mile footprint, Little Rock’s downtown has about 4,400 permanent residents, roughly one-tenth of the number of people who work downtown. A key goal in the plan is to double downtown’s residential population by 2035, and the statistics suggest that with the right housing and amenities, a supply of potential downtown dwellers already exists.

The downtown master plan joins other ambitious public and private projects currently at work or under study for the city’s core, including expansion to Arkansas Children’s Hospital and the Clinton Presidential Center; renovation of the Central Arkansas Library System’s main branch; reimagining River Market Pavilions; and new trail connections joining the Southwest and Southeast trails.

By DWAIN HEBDA // Graphics provided by SASAKI

DANCE Hall dayS

Little Rock music scene benefits from a wealth of performance venues

One of the things that defines quality of life is access to the arts, be it theater, galleries, dance or live music. The last element is of particular importance given how ubiquitous music is in our daily lives. With all due respect to the other art forms, music is, perhaps, the most magical and is accessible to all age groups, income levels and points of view.

Like many places in the South, the Natural State played a significant role in the evolution of American music. Blues, gospel, country, and early rock ‘n’ roll all share an important taproot in the hardscrabble Arkansas soil. An important chapter of the Black experience unfolded throughout the upper and lower reaches of the Delta. A list of native blues luminaries such as Albert King of Osceola, Sonny Boy Williamson of Helena and Louis Jordan of Brinkley barely scratches the surface of the greats who defined the art form.

Country, rock and its various hybrids were also profoundly enriched by Arkansas musicians, from Johnny Cash, Conway Twitty and Glen Campbell to Levon Helm of the Band and the current native charttopper Justin Moore. Throw in the gospel stylings of Sister Rosetta Tharpe, rockabilly icon Ronnie Hawkins, R&B crooner Al Green, and

rock bands Black Oak Arkansas and Evanescence, and the roster still leaves out more than it shows off.

As a gateway to the South, Arkansas has welcomed a veritable who’s who of the music business to stages large and small, and Little Rock became the center of the scene both figuratively and, geographically speaking, literally. Concerts featuring national touring acts across all musical genres played here thanks in part to outstanding musical venues within the city or directly across the river. The crowning culmination of that heritage, the Riverfest summer music festival, was a major cultural capstone that became a casualty of changing times within the music business itself.

Riverfest and events like it may be something slipping quickly into the past, but Little Rock remains a vibrant music destination for the really big, the almost famous and the garage bangers just starting their adventures. Here are four favorite venues to see what is now and what is next — apologies to the dozens of others that are left out.

little rock

Save the cards and letters — of course, Willy D’s is not a concert venue as defined as a concert hall that features a new band every night. What Willy’s does do, however, it does incredibly well, which is probably why the River Market bar has been going strong for decades.

Multiple piano players blend all-request music, comedy and crowd participation into an evening’s entertainment that is far from just sitting back and listening. The quality of the performers is exceptional and offers up a range of musical repertoire that makes one think the pianists cannot be stumped on a request.

Loosen vocal cords with a beer or hand-crafted cocktail from the bar’s legendary bartenders whose skill behind the rail rivals those at the piano. Then sit back and wait for the thrill of hearing the first strains of a favorite song pour out of the speakers, followed by singing along with abandon while the whole crowd follows suit.

Located just steps from downtown hotels and dining attractions, Willy D’s provides the perfect accompaniment for a special night, an ordinary weeknight out or just the chance to channel one’s inner rock star. Tip generously.

322 President Clinton Ave. 501.244.9550 willydspianobar.com willydslr willydslr
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Willy D's Rock & Roll Piano Bar

Stickyz Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicken Shack

When downtown’s River Market district came into being, it rescued a good chunk of the city’s core from rotting inside-out and sliding into the Arkansas River. The vision back then was to replace the derelict warehouses with multiple food, entertainment and shopping options. Over time, that is exactly what the district has welcomed thanks in part to the venerable Stickyz Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicken Shack.

Back in the day, businesses chose who they were and stayed there. Music venues did not have great menus, and restaurants often kept live music at bay to attract a broader clientele. Stickyz was among the very first to bring both under the same roof, and its formula for success has been copied ever since.

Stickyz’ menu is built around the yardbird in baskets, sandwiches and wraps complemented by cold beer and solid cocktails. It sounds simple, and perhaps it is, but so is the melody of “Folsom Prison Blues,” and people still love it. The menagerie-themed decor is eclectic without feeling contrived, and ownership definitely knows what it is doing on the music side, from booking diverse talent to keeping a first-rate sound system.

Stickyz is not as barebones as White Water or the veritable Vino’s Brew Pub on the other side of the downtown district, but for those who like their music with a few more creature comforts, Stickyz fills the bill.

107 River Market Ave. 501.372.7707 stickyz.com stickyzchickenshack stickyzlr 34

Michigan rocker Bob Seger once sang, “Rock and Roll Never Forgets,” and that may be so, but there comes a time in every person’s life when a night of music does not mean stage-diving with teenagers or standing shoulder to shoulder with the college crowd. For those whose raging days are behind them, there are still options for taking in a concert that does not include a mosh pit. Ron Robinson Theater is one of them.

Boasting 315 seats and a state-of-the-art sound and lighting system, Ron Robinson Theater is a multi-purpose event venue that hosts programs for all ages, including films, live performances, plays, readings, lectures, speakers and children’s activities. The venue is equipped with the latest in audio and visual technology to provide a concert hall experience in a comfortable, intimate space.

Part of the Central Arkansas Library System, the auditorium hosts a number of events each month, from literary and poetry readings to live theater, movies and, of course, music. This summer, enjoy the Sounds in the Stacks series, which features local musicians from different musical backgrounds, as well as an Eagles tribute concert and world music percussion performance.

The White Water Tavern

The best venues do not overshadow the bands that play there yet undeniably enhance the overall experience by their ambiance. Maybe it is the echoes of all who came before, or maybe it is the inside stories of the place that serves as a primer of cool. Whatever it is, the White Water Tavern has it in spades as arguably the city’s best-known and best-loved music venue.

Look up the word “authentic” in the dictionary, and the White Water could be pictured (or maybe under “resilient,” having burned three times and come snarling back for more). The place is everything people say it is and not an inch more: a great place for loud music and cool drinks to fend off the oppressive Arkansas heat — and that is just inside.

The venue draws a number of different acts across the music spectrum and has so endeared itself to some longtime road veterans — outlaw country pioneer Billy Joe Shaver and Little Rock’s Ben Nichols of Lucero to name a couple — every performance is a hometown concert.

The venue’s long history, less-than-plush surroundings and rabidly loyal regulars can make a night at White Water an intimidating proposition for the first-timer. In fact, survival for newbies is simple: Mind your business, check all pretention at the door, and keep your drink basic. Friend, you stand on hallowed ground.

Ron Robinson Theater
2500 W. Seventh St. 501.375.8400 whitewatertavern.com thewhitewatertavern whitewatertavern 100
River Market Ave. 501.320.5715

Central Arkansas SUDS

Little Rock lit the fuse for the state’s craft beer explosion

Calling all hopheads: central Arkansas, the cradle of craft beer in the Natural State, is still the go-to when seeking a taste of history. Although the area pales in number compared to its neighbors to the northwest, Little Rock’s foundational breweries are among the most prolific, creative and influential of all.

Little Rock has enjoyed a longstanding love affair with locally produced beer thanks to some pioneering entrepreneurs. As noted beer historian and author Brian Sorensen wrote for AY About You in 2023, German immigrants to the state had set up small breweries and beer gardens in the 1800s. By 1900, Little Rock Brewing & Ice Co. was the biggest brewery in Arkansas, financed in part by the Busch and Lemp families of St. Louis. The venture thrived until temperance advocates took it down via the Newberry Act of 1915 — Arkansas’s early version of Prohibition.

The in-state beer industry stayed absent until the 1980s, when, here and there, enterprising brewers struck back, offering alternatives to the bland national brands that had held sway for decades. As Sorensen noted, William Lyon opened Arkansas Brewing Co. in Little Rock in 1984. The venture survived only 24 months but was an important milestone, nonetheless. It introduced the public to pale ales and India pale ales long before such terms became widely familiar.

Over a little more than a decade, several Arkansas ventures put the craft beer wagon’s wheels permanently in motion. In Little Rock, the movement was led by Vino’s Brew Pub in 1993 and the defunct River Rock Brewery in 1997. The industry turned a major corner in 2000, when Diamond Bear Brewery, now in North Little Rock, opened in Little Rock as the first large-scale commercial operation in a century. Diamond Bear built the mold that has been ably carried on by Little Rock’s Lost Forty Brewing.

More than the sum of its parts, Little Rock’s craft beer scene spawned runners that have taken root in communities large and small throughout the state. As Sorensen noted, there are more than 50 Arkansas breweries in operation today that provide plenty of locally-produced options on tap and on store shelves.

The following is a primer for Little Rock’s beer tour, complete with recommended brews to sample.

Na zdrowie!

little rock

Vino’s Brew Pub

Whether for the pizza or the beer, patrons of the seminal Vino’s Brew Pub are the type of people who seek things from their source. Founded in 1990 by a trio of investment bankers, Vino’s ramshackle digs have provided a quintessential Little Rock experience to generations.

According to the Encyclopedia of Arkansas, partners Henry Lee, Alan Vennes and Bill Parodi purchased the 1909 Muswick Building at 923 W. Seventh St., the former home of an art gallery and a punk rock venue, with the goal of reinventing the pizza-and-beer scene. They did so and then some, serving up New York-style pies, becoming the first to offer Guinness and Bass Ale on tap, and then, in 1993, becoming a pioneer in brewing its own beer.

The initial setup used a modified steam kettle procured from the Cummins Unit and fermented the brew in open 50-gallon trash cans. In six months, the system was upgraded, and in 1994, the Encyclopedia of Arkansas states, owners leased an adjacent building for dedicated brewery space.

Lee, who bought out his partners in 1995, was also an Arkansas beer advocate and successfully got legislation passed that allowed brewpubs to sell beverages to go. The legislation included an exception to the otherwiseprohibited sale on Sunday, a loophole the industry has profited from ever since. Lee did not have to go far for support in his campaign because Vino’s proximity to the state capitol earned him a large and loyal clientele among state legislators/patrons.

Along with the food and brews, Vino’s also gained lasting fame as a music venue, something that continues to this day. Whether seeking a quiet evening during the week or more raucous environs on the weekend, Vino’s is something anyone interested in Little Rock culture must experience at least once.

What to try: Purists will want to try the foundational Firehouse Pale Ale, Lazy Boy Stout and Pinnacle IPA. The beer menu changes often, so opt for a flight, and sample what is in season. Soak it up with the highly rated Margherita pizza.

Lost Forty Brewing

The state’s largest brewery, Lost Forty Brewing had the makings of a star from its very first drop. Part of the Yellow Rocket Concepts family of restaurants, the fine folks behind Big Orange and Local Lime, among others, the East Village brewery went from new venture to juggernaut practically overnight.

Founded in 2014 by John Beachboard, Scott McGehee, Albert Braunfisch and Russ McDonough, Lost Forty has always thought global while brewing and marketing local. The venture opened in a 19,000-square-foot facility, gargantuan by brew pub standards, tricked out with

a 30-barrel brew house, three 30-barrel fermenters and one 60-barrel fermenter that allow up to 3,000 gallons of beer to be brewed per year at full capacity. A bottling and canning line was added shortly thereafter.

By the end of the year, the company was ready for largescale brewing, and plans were announced for an in-house tap room and restaurant. The space, billed as “Munich beer hall food meets the Delta” by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, opened the day after Christmas and has never looked back.

According to the Encyclopedia of Arkansas, Lost Forty ranked as the largest Arkansas brewery inside of two years despite its strategy to sell product only within the state. Committed to showcasing the best Arkansas has to offer, the brewery has been awarded multiple times over for the quality of its creations and its operational excellence.

As if all that were not enough, the operation has also spawned a spinoff, Camp Taco, located just up the street from the brewery. Housed in the former home of East Sixth Brewing, Camp Taco offers Lost Forty brewers smaller-ca-

Lost Forty Brewing, clockwise from top, Stone’s Throw Brewing and Vino’s Brew Pub serve one-of-a-kind craft beers brewed in Little Rock.

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pacity tanks for experimentation with new concepts. These creations are then introduced via Camp Taco’s rotating beer menu, and well-performing recipes find their way into larger commercial batch production.

What to try: Lost Forty cut its teeth with Rockhound IPA and the blockbuster Love Honey, and they remain two of the most popular beers on the menu. More recent permanent adds worth trying include Easy Tiger Mexican Lager and Rooster Illusion imperial IPA. Seasonal favorites also abound, including the noteworthy Dig the Ride IPA for summer, the Hunter Oktoberfest for fall and Ice Day Arkansas Winter IPA.

Stone’s Throw Brewing

Before craft beer got huge — some would say corporate — the industry lived in small neighborhood enclaves that spoke volumes about where they were from and what they were about. For years, Stone’s Throw Brewing has proudly carried that banner as a true neighborhood brewpub built on quality quaffs and even nicer people.

The company was founded by four friends into home brewing — Ian Beard, Theron Cash, Shawn Tobin and the late Brad McLaurin — who collectively threw in on the idea of a brewery. The venture was a communal one from the start, and 264 individual backers chimed in on a Kickstarter campaign to bring the brewery to life in a tiny space across from MacArthur Park.

The success of the venture would lead it to a larger satellite taproom in Little Rock’s Stifft’s Station neighborhood. That location echoed the neighborhood vibe of the original by offering popular trivia and game nights and reliable food truck fare in the parking lot. The satellite location closed last year, in part due to labor scarcity and largely to allow the company to focus on growing its presence statewide as it transitioned from self-distribution to a recent deal with Central and Moon Distributors.

These days, Stone’s Throw Brewing can be enjoyed in the comfort of one’s own home thanks to availability of five foundational varieties, but nothing beats the full-on taproom experience at the original brewery.

What to try: Stone’s Throw’s canned product provides several good gateway beers that encapsulate the brewery’s story. The well-loved Riverdale Pale Ale, Dirty Seven IPA, Amadeus Vienna Lager and Shamus Stout have been in the lineup for what seems like forever For an itty bitty space, however, Stone’s Throw puts out an impressive variety of seasonal beer and cider at any given time, so a visit to the brewery is sure to yield something new and exciting to try.

The newcomers

Two new breweries — one just opened and one coming soon — speak to the continuing evolution of the craft beer industry in the capital city.

Moody Brews, the long-awaited venture by itinerant brewer Josiah Moody, cracked open its door in March in the Pettaway neighborhood downtown. Moody is no stranger to Arkansas’ craft beer industry, having lent his artisan touch to operations across the state, and beer snobs have eagerly anticipated the launch of his own operation.

Early reporting found four beers noteworthy: Aria’s Bier, a tart saison; the solid Pettaway Pils; the elegant Earl Grey ESP, an extra special bitter; and well-crafted Half Seas Over double IPA.

In February, Arkansas Money & Politics reported that a new brewery was in the works at 900 E. Ninth St. in East Village. The new space, Southern Tail Brewing, is being designed with dog enthusiasts in mind and is set to open in the second half of the year.

Owners Brent and Tracy Cryder are experienced brewers and fermenters who have competed for brewer of the year with Central Arkansas Fermenters in years past. Tracy Cryder shared details about the upcoming project with AMP

“We love Arkansas, and we love dogs — and when the opportunity to combine that with our passion for brewing arose, it was the perfect recipe,” she said.

Local beer fans have a lot to look forward to when it comes to the new varieties soon to start flowing from the Southern Tail taps, Cryder said.

“Together, Brent’s scientific approach and my creative approach help to make some impeccable classics and challenge the status quo,” she said. “Some folks say we have a more culinary approach to beer; however you characterize it, we’re obsessed with quality and can’t wait to bring that to Ninth Street.”

The new Moody Brews and Southern Tail Brewing, which is set to open this year, bring additional options to the craft beer scene.

39 322 President Clinton Ave | 501-244-9550 | willydspianobar.com DUELING PIANOS EVERY TUESDAY, THURSDAY, FRIDAY & SATURDAY
Tuesdays & DJs Friday & Saturday
Deep: Karaoke


The heartbeat of Little Rock, downtown is made up of businesses, offices, local restaurants, great experiences and fun for all ages to enjoy. Home to historic districts such as the Governor’s Mansion Historic District and the MacArthur Park Historic District, downtown also contains the lively River Market District, the promising East Village neighborhood, the vibrant Main Street Creative Corridor, and the activitypacked SoMa and Pettaway neighborhoods. With many staple events place the area, there is a lot to expect — and a lot to enjoy — in that part of the capital city.


Cache Restaurant

425 President Clinton Ave.

Tasteful treasure: For fine dining, Cache Restaurant offers its best for guests, whether they are searching for an upscale corporate event or a private romantic dinner. Located in the River Market District, Cache offers a vibrant atmosphere for both lunch and dinner. Created based on the combined vision of Rush Harding and his son Chef Payne Harding, Cache aims to create an extraordinary dining experience.

IN THE MOOD FOR PASTA? Try the lobster alfredo.

Sonny Williams’ Steak Room

500 President Clinton Ave., No. 1

Medium rare, well done: As one of the River Market’s mainstays, Sonny Williams’ Steak Room is known for its fine, never skinny, steaks cut from aged angus beef. The restaurant also offers guests a Wine Spectator award-winning wine list. Whether one is searching for a New York strip, a porterhouse or a bone-in cowboy ribeye, Sonny Williams has a great selection to choose from with incredible finishes prepared to one’s liking.

PRO TIP: Start the meal off with the jumbo lump crabcakes with Nantua sauce

Little Rock Farmers Market, above, is a must-see attraction, and Brewski’s Pub & Grub, opposite, top, Cache Restaurant, bottom left, and Mockingbird Bar & Tacos provide tastes of downtown.

(Photos provided)


Brewski’s Pub & Grub

315 Main St., Suite 100

Lager than life: Open seven days a week, Brewski’s Pub & Grub is a mainstay on Main Street. Offering a wide variety on the menu, Brewski’s is also the place to go to enjoy recurring events and weekly specials such as Taco Tuesday, trivia nights, poker nights, karaoke and Sunday brunch. Watch the game, enjoy a beer or dance the night away in the basement at this location.

NEED A DRINK? Order a Brew Me Down.

Community Bakery

1200 Main St.

On a sweet note: Established in 1947, Community Bakery has daily cafe offerings, as well as specially made and custom sweet treats. Located in the SoMa neighborhood, Community Bakery is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. In addition to its daily menu items, the bakery also offers custom treats for any holiday or accomplishment worth celebrating. From specially designed wedding and birthday cakes to seasonal cookies, daily donuts and coffee, there is something for most everyone to enjoy at the bakery.

SOMETHING SWEET: Try a mousse scoop.

Mockingbird Bar & Tacos

1220 S. Main St.

Two birds, one stone: Nothing hits the spot like a good taco and a thirst-quenching drink, both of which are offered at Mockingbird Bar & Tacos. As one of the many restaurants located in SoMa, the establishment’s menu includes other items such as a selection of burgers, a chicken sandwich, salads, wings and more. For fans of brunch, Mockingbird Bar & Tacos is a great option to gather with friends on a Sunday morning.

NOT SURE WHERE TO START? Order a shareable platter for the table, and try a variety of tacos, dips, wings and quesadillas.

Rock Town Distillery

1201 Main Street

On the rocks: Rock Town Distillery, Arkansas’ first legal distillery since Prohibition, is directly across the street from Community Bakery, where the distillery thrives in the SoMa neighborhood. Known for its delicious craft cocktails suitable for any taste, Rock Town also creates several non-alcoholic concoctions. With distillery tours, involvement in local events, seasonal drinks and informative classes, there is no shortage of fun to be had at Rock Town Distillery.

KEEP THE BITTERS: Those who like bourbon, you will love the More Than a Woman, featuring Rock Town Low Rye Bourbon, cognac, Licor 43 and Angostura bitters.

Tamalicalli: The Tamale, Taco & Cerveza Stand

308 Main St.

New kids on the block: Tamalicalli: The Tamale, Taco & Cerveza Stand, officially opened its brick-and-mortar in 2022 and remains one of downtown Little Rock’s newest and greatest treasures. Open seven days a week, the spot is ideal for late-night dining, and it keeps its doors open until 1 a.m. on both Friday and Saturday. With a large selection of tamales, tacos, drinks and more to choose from, this eatery has seemingly endless options to satisfy the tastebuds.

DESSERT, ANYONE?: Those looking for a sweet ending to the meal, try a Nutella or strawberry-and-cream-cheese tamale.

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Mosaic Templars Cultural Center

501 W. Ninth St.

A rich history: As a nationally accredited world-class museum under the Department of Arkansas Heritage, Mosaic Templars Cultural Center educates visitors and celebrates Arkansas’ African American history. Home to several permanent and traveling exhibits, the center also houses the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame. Admission to the museum is free, and the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center offers several programs and events throughout the year.


of Discovery

500 President Clinton Ave.

Discover more: The Museum of Discovery serves as Little Rock’s premier science and technology center and offers unique interactive exhibits to visitors of all ages. Offering experiences unlike any other museum in the area, the Museum of Discovery is home to the PPG STEAM Studio, which allows guests to explore science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics materials and tools, and the science lab, which serves as the ideal area to experiment with concepts found in three content-focused zones: forces and energy, light and sound, and electricity and magnetism.

Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts

501 E. Ninth Street

The finer things in life: The Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts is a hub for all forms of art and helps create unforgettable experiences for guests of all ages and interests. Hosting several events each month, AMFA also offers guided tours throughout the week. The campus includes unique dining opportunities at Park Grill, regular performances, concerts, the Children’s Theatre in the Performing Arts Center, and a variety of classes and camps for adults and children at Windgate Art School. Visitors can also work, read and engage with the community in the Cultural Living Room, which overlooks the scenic MacArthur Park.

The Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, top to bottom, Clinton Presidential Center and Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts provide places to play and learn.


Main Library,

Central Arkansas Library System

401 President Clinton Ave.

Main attraction: The Main Library is part of the Central Arkansas Library System and works to complete its mission of providing resources and services to help residents reach their full potential. Designed to inspire discovery, learning and cultural expression, the library affords Pulaski and Perry County residents a free library card for use throughout the CALS system. The Main Library also hosts a variety of events, from a writing series and Second Friday Art Night installations to speakers and Lawyers in the Library, which provides education about legal practices and services to those in need.

William J. Clinton Presidential Library & Museum

1200 President Clinton Ave.

Presidential learning: As the presidential library of Bill Clinton, the nation’s 42nd president, the William J. Clinton Presidential Library & Museum is part of the Presidential Library System of the National Archives and Records Administration. With an impressive collection of more than 100,000 objects and works of art, the collection includes gifts and mementos from many notable people and organizations. Visitors can learn about Clinton through pieces highlighting his campaign, inauguration, special policy work and life at the White House.

Arkansas Children’s Hospital 1 Children’s Way

Child health care: Downtown is home to Arkansas Children’s Hospital, which serves pediatric patients from infants to 21-year-olds with safety, teamwork, compassion and excellence in mind. Children are at the center of everything ACH does, and Arkansas Children’s is the state’s only hospital system with the sole mission of caring for children. Home to a level I trauma center, ACH is an award-winning and nationally recognized hospital that ranks among the Best Children’s Hospitals in several specialties by U.S. News & World Report.

Little Rock Farmers Market

400 President Clinton Ave.

Farm to fork: The Little Rock Farmers Market has been a staple in the community since 1974 and has called the River Market’s two outdoor, open-air pavilions home since 1996. Open from May to August annually, the market

includes locally grown produce and goods from a variety of vendors. Parking is free for patrons, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits are accepted by many produce vendors, and the market is a participant in the Double Up Food Bucks program. Overlooking Riverfront Park and offering a scenic view of the Arkansas River, the Farmers Market is open from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday during the season.

Vogel Schwartz Sculpture Garden

400 President Clinton Ave.

Serene sights: Vogel Schwartz Sculpture Garden lines the paths in Riverfront Park directly on the bank of the Arkansas River. Utilizing landscape architecture, the garden features various outdoor areas where more than 90 sculptures are on display. Works of art by local and national artists make the garden an ideal place to explore the handmade and natural beauty in Little Rock.

The farmers market and the Vogel Schwartz Sculpture Garden are just two reasons to visit the River Market Entertainment District.

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Little Rock Marathon

Downtown Little Rock

Running for recreation: The Little Rock Marathon is known as Arkansas’ race for every pace and offers the options of running in the marathon, half-marathon, 10K, 5K or kids’ mile. As the largest racing event in Arkansas, the Little Rock Marathon hosts thousands of people annually. Since 2003, the nonprofit has raised more than $1 million for the Little Rock Parks & Recreation Department, which takes care of more than 60 parks in the city.

Main Street Food Truck Festival

600 Main St.

Main course: The Main Street Food Truck Festival takes place annually in September and offers a large variety of food trucks that represent all types of cuisine. This event is heaven on earth for the foodie community and offers family-friendly fun for all who attend. Brought to the public by the Downtown Little Rock Partnership, the food truck festival was created in 2011 as a way to reintroduce people to the downtown area and breathe life back into Main Street. One of the most highly anticipated events in the city, the Main Street Food Truck Festival attracts tens of thousands of attendees from all over the region each year.

Six Bridges Book Festival

401 President Clinton Ave.

Booked and busy: Six Bridges Book Festival is a project by the Central Arkansas Library System supported in part by the Arkansas Humanities Council and made possible by the Arkansas State Library and the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Occurring each fall, the book festival is named in honor of the six bridges connecting Little Rock and North Little Rock. In the spirit of celebrating reading, literacy, stories and wordsmithing, the festival hosts nationally known authors, panels on a variety of topics, cooking demonstrations, workshops and more.

Juneteenth in Da Rock Street Festival

501 W. Ninth St.

Freedom for all: The Mosaic Templars Cultural Center celebrates Juneteenth National Independence Day each year by hosting Juneteenth in Da Rock Street Festival. Located on historic West Ninth Street, the event serves as an educational and festive experience honoring African American freedom. Complete with street vendors, live music performances by local and national artists, food, a 5K and more, this event is family friendly and enjoyed by all ages.

From the Little Rock Marathon to Juneteenth in Da Rock, downtown is home to some of the city’s liveliest events.


Offering an illustrious mix of living solutions, downtown Little Rock is a practical and vibrant place to live. The area is home to many districts and neighborhoods, so there is truly a space suitable for any homebuyer. Prices in SoMa and the historic neighborhoods start around $200,000 and high-rises range from $250,000 to $1 million. From petite

Finding Little Rock’s little-known treasures

Arkansas’ capital city must have been easy to survey when it was being platted in the 1820s. Back then, all there was of Little Rock remained on the Delta’s western flank, making for nice easy grids laid out with straight lines on flat ground.

The city’s future lay west, however, and as any visitor could attest on first visit, the Ouachita foothills that stretch into town provide a quick lesson on local relief. Even a cursory glance at a satellite map of Little Rock is all it takes to appreciate the challenge of platting the city west of midtown.

Driving “out west” indeed can be a frustrating — if scenic — exercise in moving about, depending on destination and time of day. Still, even as the city has grown it only takes about 15 to 20 minutes to get anywhere from anywhere in the city.

For those looking to get lost, though, the city’s dramatic local relief and thick green canopy help provide some great nooks and crannies hiding unique outdoor spots, all within the city limits and located close to highly populated areas, making them accessible but mostly unnoticed by the masses.

Hidden gems, it could be argued, lay behind almost every corner in Little Rock, and we bring you three of them in this focus section. Two of the spots are unique hideaways that offer some of the city’s best views, and the other, located in a less-trodden corner of downtown, houses some of the state’s most important educational history.

condos overlooking the Arkansas River to extravagant Victorian, Queen Anne and Italianate homes, there is a lot for a potential buyer to choose from, most of which are within walking distance of a local coffee shop or dog park. Walkability, access to parks, river trails, museums, restaurants, cultural experiences and quick commutes across central Arkansas are all great reasons to live downtown.

“Downtown Little Rock is a vibrant urban area that offers everyday access to cultural, recreational and culinary experiences that your average neighborhood does not. There is always a parade, farmers market or new restaurant opening right at your doorstep,” said Margaret Bell Hughes, Realtor at the Property Group. “The residents here love to get out and enjoy all this city has to offer, and that’s a lot.”


Downtown: Arkansas Baptist College

Though its profile has been raised in recent decades, Little Rock’s Arkansas Baptist College remains somewhat hidden right out in the open. It is among the oldest private HBCUs west of the Mississippi River, the only one affiliated with the Baptist church and one of two HBCUs in the state.

The small college was founded in 1884, and its Old Main building, constructed in 1893 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is one of the oldest surviving academic buildings in the state.

The college embarked on a decade of revitalization in the early 2000s during which it transitioned to four-year status, launched a football program and breathed life back into an area of town long neglected.

What: Arkansas Baptist College

Founded: 1884

Enrollment: Roughly 450 (2023)

Location: 1600 Martin Luther King Drive, Little Rock

Directions: Traveling east on Interstate 630, take the Marshall Street/MLK exit. Take a right on MLK, and proceed eight blocks. The campus is centered around the corner of MLK Drive and 16th Street.

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Downtown may be a recipient of praise (and tourist dollars) for its renowned restaurants and attractions, but there is much to love just west in the heart of the city. The area is home to the historic Heights and Hillcrest neighborhoods once considered to be at the western edge of the city, which offer cute bungalows, offbeat establishments and beautiful parks. Closer to the Arkansas River, Riverdale provides some great dining options and Murray Park. Also nearby are thriving commercial ventures in midtown, the hustle and bustle surrounding the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, and attractions such as the Little Rock Zoo and War Memorial Stadium .


Big Orange

207 N. University Ave., Suite 100

Burger bunch: An early player in the Arkansas farm-to-table movement, Big Orange opened in 2011 and now has locations in midtown and west Little Rock, plus an outpost in Rogers. The establishments are known for their friendly servers, hip decor, and flavorful burgers, salads and shakes. When it comes to burgers, the veggie patties rival the beef and turkey options, and a side of sweet potato fries with mango-curry ketchup puts the meal over the top. The rich, delectable shakes include some boozy offerings, and speaking of alcohol, both locations provide full bars staffed by skilled bartenders.

SEND OFF: The restaurants serve one-of-a-kind shakes in celebration of special events.

Leo’s Greek Castle

2925 Kavanaugh Blvd.

Hillcrest craving: One of Hillcrest’s favorite hangouts, Leo’s Greek Castle is where those in the know go for burgers and gyros, along with some of the cheapest beer in town. Situated in a small, gruff-looking building on Kavanaugh Boulevard, Leo’s boasts a sprawling outdoor seating section that quickly fills up during the lunch rush. In addition to its acclaimed burgers and Mediterranean offerings, the restaurant delivers a solid breakfast menu served late on the weekends. While it may not be one of the most well-known eateries in Little Rock, Leo’s is a local treasure foodies ought not miss.

SAVE ON SUDS: The 75 cent PBR has definitely endeared Leo’s to the locals.

Wright’s BBQ

1311 Rebsamen Park Road

The Wright stuff: A relative newcomer to a highly competitive barbecue scene, Wright’s BBQ has made fast fans among Little Rock diners. The northwest Arkansas transplant started off as a food truck and opened a brickand-mortar restaurant in Johnson in 2017. Smoked meats run the gamut from brisket, pork, chicken and ribs to sausage, turkey and burnt ends, and the sides are more than an afterthought. From smoked beans to collard greens, the favorites are there, and they are set to impress. Those craving something a little different can sample Big John, a bowl of brisket, Fritos and smoked beans.

NATIONAL KUDOS: Savor the fact that Wright’s was named best barbecue in the country by Yelp


Hill Station

2712 Kavanaugh Blvd.

Open-air fare: Al fresco fanatics need look no further than Hill Station, an outdoor establishment that provides an excellent vantage point to soak up Hillcrest’s lively, charming atmosphere. Despite its casual appearance, the fare is far from plain. A sister restaurant to Hillcrest Artisan Meats, Hill Station serves a mean charcuterie board, and other carnivore-friendly menu items include steak frites, brisket tacos and a variety of sandwiches. In addition to an impressive selection of beer and wine, the establishment pours cocktails on par with any in the state. A soda fountain highlighted by 10 flavors of Tillamook ice cream invites guests to stay for dessert.

SUPER SUB: The Italian grinder comes highly recommended.

Taqueria el Palenque

9501 N. Rodney Parham Road

Cantina tastes: Nestled in a nondescript shopping center on Rodney Parham Road, Taqueria el Palenque is a blink-and-you-miss-it hole in the wall regarded as one of the city’s best Mexican joints. Authentic is an understatement when it comes to the tacos, tortas and house specialties, and the restaurant holds it down in terms of beans, rice and other staples. Also notable are the colorful murals and decorated benches inside the pint-sized establishment. Visitors can also check out La Perla, a neighboring convenience store that offers a variety of Latin American snacks, groceries and other items.

DIP FIX: It is unlikely that cheese dip fans will be disappointed.

SŌ Restaurant-Bar

3610 Kavanaugh Blvd.

Luxe experience: Fine dining is as much about the experience as it is about the food, and SŌ Restaurant-Bar is a staunch purveyor of such experiences. The contemporary dishes are influenced by French and Italian cuisine but carry an undeniable Southern touch, especially on the dessert side. Mouth-watering specials include veal osso bucco, black truffle lobster risotto and elk chop, all served in stunning style with alluring sides. The bar is perhaps one of the finest in town, and diners can sample the best of both worlds through coursed wine and bourbon dinners. If it sounds swanky — valet parking swanky — that is because it is.

DELICIOUS SIPS: The bar offers too many delicious cocktails to name, but a favorite is the espresso martini.

Notable area eateries include Wright’s BBQ, opposite, Leo’s Greek Castle, above, Big Orange, far left, and SŌ RestaurantBar, left.

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Park Plaza

6000 W. Markham St.

Mall for all: Arkansas’ first indoor mall, Park Plaza has helped locals make memories of visiting Santa and hanging out as teens since 1960. Like malls across the country, Park Plaza is now tasked with staying relevant in the 21st century, and its new ownership group, Florida-based Secord Horizon, hopes to reimagine Park Plaza as a retail-centric hub with additional entertainment, as well as new shopping and dining options. Anchored by stalwart Arkansas-based department store Dillard’s on either end, the mall is home to many favorite brands. Park Plaza also hosts events and has partnered with CHI St. Vincent for a monthly health and wellness series.

Hillary Rodham Clinton

Children’s Library & Learning Center

4800 W. 10th St.

The more you know: No longer mere bastions of tomes, libraries have changed, and Hillary Rodham Clinton Children’s Library & Learning Center is a great example of that progress. Yes, the library offers a collection of 21,000 books, DVDs and CDs, along with a computer lab, but it is also

home to unexpected resources, such as a teaching kitchen, a greenhouse and teaching garden, and a theater that allows children to experience all aspects of the craft. There is also an outdoor amphitheater and trails that showcase Arkansas flora. With a playground outside the entrance, the “read” sign out front might as well spell “fun.”

Little Rock Zoo

1 Zoo Drive

The wild side: Lions and tigers and bears — and more — await guests at the Little Rock Zoo. While most folks can find their favorite critters there, the zoo also provides educational programs and fun, memory-making events. GloWild, the zoo’s most popular event, presents a surreal landscape of glowing animal-shaped lanterns during the holidays. Events such as Wild Wines and Zoo Brew provide fun opportunities for adults to support the mission of the Arkansas Zoological Foundation, which champions the zoo and its conservation efforts. This year, guests can celebrate the Year of the Dragon at the Dragon Kingdom Exhibition, which runs through September.

The Little Rock Zoo, clockwise from left, Children’s Library and Allsopp Park provide places to play, and the Firecracker Fast 5K, opposite, happens July 4.


University of Arkansas at Little Rock 2801 S. University Ave.

Cool school: A four-year public university, the University of Arkansas at Little Rock is a resource not just for students, but for the community. Those looking for a place to host meetings, functions and other gatherings can check out the recently renovated Bailey Alumni and Friends Center, and some of the most thought-provoking art exhibits in the city can be found at the Windgate Center of Art and Design, which also hosts workshops and artWAYS, a summer residential arts program for high school students. Not to be missed is Trojans basketball played at the state-of-the-art Jack Stephens Center, and the Trojans stand out in several other sports, as well.

University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences

4301 W. Markham St.

State of the art: One of the main draws for the city and state is the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Arkansas’ only health sciences university and largest public employer. Its campus in the heart of Little Rock provides some of the most cuttingedge treatments available at the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, the Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging and other renowned facilities. The statewide health system also has a campus in northwest Arkansas. The university is active in research to provide patients with better treatments in years to come. It is currently working to secure designation as a National Cancer Institute.

John L. McClellan Memorial Veterans’ Hospital

4300 W. Seventh St.

Serving vets: With its unique, blue-painted geometric windows and its visibility from Interstate 630, the John L. McClellan Memorial Veterans’ Hospital is one of the most easily identifiable buildings in Little Rock. The building is named for Sen. John L. McClellan, who helped secure approval for the veterans hospital, formerly located on Roosevelt Road, in 1945. The hospital offers services to assist veterans with their health care needs and enhance their mental and physical well-being. The hospital also offers work-readiness programs for veterans, assistance for veterans who are homeless and support for veterans who have substance use disorders.

Allsopp Park

3700 Cedar Hill Road

Trees and trails: The call of the wild draws visitors to Allsopp Park, a 75-acre wooded area in the center of the city, which purchased the land for the park in 1927. In addition to a playground, tennis courts, a baseball and softball field, and a pavilion, visitors can explore a vast network of trails, a unique rock garden and the remnants of a swinging footbridge. The north section of the park is less developed but still beautiful. In addition to the main area off Cantrell Road, the trails have various access points, including at the Promenade on Kavanaugh and the Allsopp Park North Gateway.


Chili Fights in the Heights hatclublr.com

Food fight: One of the Hat Club of Little Rock’s most popular fundraisers, Chili Fights in the Heights will return for its 12th year Nov. 9. The event, which benefits the Arkansas Foodbank, draws cooking teams of all stripes to the Heights neighborhood for a good oldfashioned chili cookoff. Named one of Arkansas Money & Politics’ best charity events of 2023, the family-friendly contest allows visitors to sample some of the best chilis around and includes a kids zone, live entertainment, food trucks and beverage sales. Plus, the occasion provides an excellent opportunity for newcomers to experience one of Little Rock’s most unique neighborhoods.

Hillcrest HarvestFest


Fall fun: A tradition nearly 30 years in the making, Hillcrest HarvestFest could be considered one of Little Rock’s favorite festivals. The all-day event transforms several blocks of Kavanaugh Boulevard into a fall-happy landscape of vendors populated by crowds of people and dogs. In addition to live music, great food, and locally made beers and wines, the event includes a dog show, a costume contest and a pie contest. HarvestFest provides an excellent opportunity to get to know local merchants and eateries. Staffed almost entirely by volunteers, the event also raises money for worthy causes in the surrounding community.

Firecracker Fast 5K


Red, white and blue: Before people fire up their grills and fireworks light up the sky in celebration of Independence Day, there is the Firecracker Fast 5K, a tradition nearly 50 years in the making. The event, which begins at 7:30 a.m. July 4, takes runners through some of Little Rock’s most scenic neighborhoods. The course goes along Kavanaugh Boulevard and past the Little Rock Zoo before ending at War Memorial Stadium. In addition to overall and age-division awards, the first 50 male and female finishers receive firecracker trophies, and children 12 and younger who complete the race receive medals.


Within easy reach of most parts of Little Rock, the areas west of downtown offer picturesque neighborhoods near hospitals, schools and more. Those looking for historic charm might find themselves drawn to the Heights and Hillcrest, which are populated with craftsman bungalows but also include more palatial dwellings. Further west, the Breckenridge and Leawood neighborhoods provide family homes with ample yard space situated along tree-lined streets. With CHI St. Vincent Infirmary and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences nearby, along with plenty of restaurants, schools and grocery stores, residents do not have to go far to find what they need. Another bonus are abundant area parks, which provide lovely spaces to enjoy family time or find a natural retreat in the heart of the city.

Those interested in homes in these or other areas of parts of the city can call Kari Clay, Realtor with Mid South Realty in Little Rock, at 501-240-3117.


Midtown: Knoop Park

There is no scientific evidence to suggest that Little Rock’s Knoop Park is anything more than a beautiful greenspace wrapped around the eastern flank of the 140-year-old Ozark Point Water Treatment Plant, that steampunk masterpiece of art deco in midtown.

Any father who has taken his young children to Knoop, however, might testify to the park’s status as a portal to adventure.

Geologically, Ozark Point sits on the easternmost point of the Ouachita range, technically marking the spot where the Delta begins

its climb into the U.S. Interior Highlands. The park itself offers a paved walking trail and an unobstructed overlook that delivers what could be considered the best look at downtown Little Rock available anywhere. Think Hawksbill Crag, city edition.

What: Knoop Park, Ozark Point Water Treatment Plant

Owner/managing agency: City of Little Rock, Central Arkansas Water Open: Dusk to dawn

Where: 20 Ozark Point, Little Rock

Directions: Knoop can be accessed two ways — from its official entrance at the end of Ozark Point, the street, and from the entrance to Ozark Point, the complex. For the former, travel east on Kavanaugh Boulevard and take a left on Fairfax Terrace. Keep to the left, and at the top of the hill, take a right on Ozark Street. After a couple of blocks, Ozark Street becomes Ozark Point at a cul-de-sac. The park entrance is at the top of the cul-de-sac. For the former, drive east on Kavanaugh and take a left on North Martin Street. Drive up the hill, and the entrance to the Ozark Point plant is on the right. From there, the park entrance is to the left.


Folks around these parts still talk about a dude who rode into town way back in ’77. An hombre who made insanely tasty pizza with a mother lode of toppin’s piled high on a homemade crust.

That feller’s name was Shotgun Dan. People came from miles around to try the delicious pizza, and before long Shotgun Dan’s became legendary.

Nearly five decades later, folks are still visitin’ Shotgun Dan’s Pizza, bringin’ their families and enjoyin’ our unique pizza, salads and sandwiches. We’d be happy to host your brood too, pardner. no skimpin’ no skimpin’

aymag.com 51 ShotgunDans.com Little Rock 501-224-9519 • North Little Rock 501-945-0606 Sherwood 501-835-0606
WE ADD MORE Scan the QR code or go to ualr.edu/scholarships for more information UA Little Rock continues leading in affordability with the Trojan Guarantee. This scholarship guarantees a zero-tuition bachelor’s degree from UA Little Rock. Eligibility is as easy as maintaining Pell eligibility and earning the Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarship. The Trojan Guarantee covers any remaining tuition and fees after financial aid is applied. It’s another way you can Expect More for yourself and for your future. Take it Outside at HILL STATION 2712 Kavanaugh Blvd || Little Rock 501-747-2230 || hillstationhillcrest.com

West Little Rock

Known for its shopping hubs, reliable restaurants and broadening greenspaces, west Little Rock is among the city’s mosttraveled areas for rank-and-file Little Rock residents to live, work, play and enjoy.


Mt. Fuji Japanese Restaurant

10301 N. Rodney Parham Road

A Little Rock classic: Dating back to 1978, Mt. Fuji is the city’s first sushi restaurant. Since introducing the delicacy to the community, the restaurant has grown into a favorite of generations of Little Rock diners. Now, soon to open in a reimagined space in the Breckenridge Shopping Center, the restaurant is looking to the future while still providing the quality, and culinary artistry that has been its trademark. First-timer recommendations include the excellent katsudon or one of the many sushi creations as recommended by the staff. Reservations are highly recommended at this landmark establishment.

LOOKING FOR SOMETHING DIFFERENT? The freshwater eel sushi comes highly recommended.


Petit & Keet

1620 Market Street

Easy elegance: One of those rare places that celebrates a culinary history while pushing the boundaries of food and service ever forward, Petit & Keep got its start when two friends and legendary restauranteurs — Jim Keet and Louis Petit — hatched the idea for a restaurant over a shared bottled of wine. The result is the stunningly chic Petit & Keet, which opened in 2016 offering elevated yet satisfying fare and impeccable service. A meal at the multiple-awardwinning Petit & Keet offers a unique, creative and surprisingly affordable culinary experience punctuated by delicious cocktails and, of course, an excellent wine list. Reservations are highly encouraged.

A CUT ABOVE: The steak at Petit & Keep is sublime. The cuts change seasonally, but the quality and skill of preparation is unmatched.


14502 Cantrell Road

A touch of class: A casually elegant enclave along west Cantrell Road, Capers provides a welcome respite from ordinary fare. Friendly and refined, the versatile eatery is elevated enough for a business lunch or special event yet approachable enough for a weekly date night. Known as much for its excellent wine list as its acclaimed menu, Capers has been recognized with the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence year in and year out for more than a decade. While there, take time to peruse the on-premises gourmet market providing a variety of delicious fresh market products and private recipe specialties, including sauces, dressings, dips, soups and casseroles.

BRUNCH LIST: Often overlooked but known to locals is Capers’ truly exceptional brunch. Try the green eggs and ham.

Corky’s Ribs & BBQ

12005 Westhaven Drive

Just like family: Anchoring a bustling spot in the heart of one of west Little Rock’s busiest shopping districts, Corky’s Ribs & BBQ is a local favorite that is always jumping. Former Razorback and NBA great Joe Kleine and company provide a comfortable, unpretentious atmosphere perfect for lunch or dinner to suit any occasion. As one would expect, smoked meats are the headliner from the succulent ribs to the savory pulled pork to chicken and turkey favorites, which are all available on a platter or in a variety of fresh sandwiches. Try the excellent onion rings, a real menu sleeper.

DANGEROUSLY ADDICTIVE: Beware the complementary hot rolls. It is hard to eat just one.

Shotgun Dan’s Pizza

10923 W. Markham St.

More than pizza: Everything one needs to know about longtime favorite Shotgun Dan’s Pizza, which is, for the money, one of the best pizza values in Little Rock, can be said with the heft of one of its signature pies. As the slogan “No Skimpin’” proclaims, there is no whoa in the toppings gracing favorites like the Big Dan, Red Rooster or build-your-own varieties. The restaurant is also a great lunch spot with a variety of tasty sandwiches, but pizza is the name of the game there, especially for those looking to feed a crowd. Pro tip — start with an order of Gold Nuggets — soft, buttery breadsticks smothered in melted cheese.

BOTTOMS UP: Old school pizzerias rule! Pair a pie with an ice-cold beer for a satisfying evening.

Local delicacies can be found at Petit & Keet, opposite, Capers, above, and Corky’s Ribs & BBQ.

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Sauce(d) Bar and Oven

11121 N. Rodney Parham Road No. 9A

That’s amoré!: A familyfriendly restaurant located in the West Village shopping center, Sauce(d) Bar and Oven has grown into a solid neighborhood favorite since opening in 2018. Local ingredients fortify the creative menu, which offers the freshest meats and produce available. Artisan Neapolitan-style pizza is the star and available in more than a dozen configurations, but it is far from the only delicious option on the menu. Sauce(d) also offers excellent pasta dishes that feature house-made sauces and the restaurant’s signature homemade meatballs. Great sandwiches and creative apps (try the acclaimed wings, fried ravioli or house made pimento cheese) round out the fare.

SWEET SEND OFF: Save room for a dessert of gelato, chef’s choice cheesecake or chocolate lava cake.

The Butcher Shop 10825 Hermitage Road

Steak perfection: A great steakhouse is worth its weight in gold, and by that measurement, longstanding local favorite The Butcher Shop is the mother lode. Since 1982, The Butcher Shop has built its reputation on serving the finest steaks cut from the highest quality grain-fed beef direct from the Midwest and cooked over hickory charcoal. Each steak is aged four weeks before being skillfully hand-carved in-house to produce the best steak anywhere in central Arkansas at a price that is more than reasonable for the level of quality. Great cocktails, delicious desserts and welcoming service round out an exceptional experience, be it for a couple or a group.

PRIME CUT: Prime rib is not technically a steak, but close enough. The Butcher Shop version is delicious.


Big Rock Fun Park 11411 Baseline Road

Families looking for some wholesome, oldfashioned together time should make a beeline for Big Rock Fun Park. The park offers a variety of entertainment options that eliminate screens and bring families together. Featuring two challenging minigolf courses, each one with various hazards, Big Rock gets the competitive juices flowing. For more thrills, fire up a go-kart and chase the checkered flag. Other attractions include batting cages, a wheelchair-accessible maze, an aerial adventure, an arcade and bumper boats for a lazy float. Great for birthday parties or just because, Big Rock Fun Park offers people of all ages something to enjoy together.

Pleasant Ridge Town Center 11525 Cantrell Road

Grab some friends for some retail therapy at one of west Little Rock’s best shopping experiences. Browse upscale furniture for the home at Bassett Home Furnishings, peruse the latest fashions at Belk, Kristin Todd and Beyond Cotton, put some spring in a run at Fleet Feet, or find a new favorite mountain bike at Spokes Giant Little Rock. Then, treat the palate to a delightful meal at one of the local restaurants which includes Bar Louie, Sky Modern Japanese, Mr. Hui’s Chinese or Little Greek. Do not forget to pick up a few gourmet provisions from the Fresh Market for dinner with the family.


Topgolf 5 Topgolf Way

One of Little Rock’s newest and hottest attractions, Topgolf offers individuals the chance to sharpen swings while giving groups a fun day of activity and refreshments. For the uninitiated, Topgolf provides golfers of all abilities and experiences — or none at all — a way to enjoy smacking a few drives without the pressure of disapproving onlookers or the hassle of chasing wayward shots all over the local course. Participants tee off microchipped golf balls that provide instant feedback for distance and points for accuracy. Best of all, there is also no waiting for the drink cart because food and beverages are never far away.

Breckenridge Village

10301 N. Rodney Parham Road

One of the first retail venues of its kind in the city, Breckenridge Village is nearing the end of a comprehensive overhaul initiated a couple of years ago by new ownership. The construction efforts were delayed by damage from last year’s tornadoes, but progress has been steady since then, and locals are looking forward to the center’s new vision as a reimagined dining and entertainment destination. Confirmed at writing are the second location for local institution the Root Cafe; nationally acclaimed pizzeria Deluca’s, based in Hot Springs; pioneering Japanese restaurant Mt. Fuji; and the self-explanatory Waldo’s Chicken and Beer.

Opposite: Other eateries include Shotgun Dan’s Pizza, clockwise from top, the Butcher Shop and Sauce(d).

From top: Local sites include Top Golf, from top, Breckenridge Village, and the Big Dam Bridge 100 occurs annually.

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The Big Dam Bridge 100 thebigdambridge100.com

One of the state’s most famous road cycling events, September’s Big Dam Bridge 100 began in 2006 with the opening of the namesake bridge. Built over Murray Lock and Dam, the BDB connects about 20 miles of scenic riverside trails in Little Rock and North Little Rock and is the longest pedestrian bridge in North America designed for that purpose. Begun by a group of enthusiastic local cyclists, the BDB 100 has grown into a multi-faceted international event. Proceeds support the Big Dam Bridge Foundation in promoting the use, support and preservation of the BDB for the advancement of health, fitness, cultural and recreational activities.


WestLittle Rock is known for having some of the city’s most desirable ZIP codes, and the upscale homes, well-tended streets and neighborhood amenities attest to that fact. The Foxcroft area off Cantrell Road might appeal to sporty types for its convenience to Murray Park and the Little Rock Racquet Club. Situated near Interstate 430, the Pleasant Valley area boasts Pleasant Valley Country Club and provides spacious homes in a well-established neighborhood near In-

Simmons Bank Championship simmonsbankchampionship.com

In 2024, west Little Rock will welcome a new professional golf event to central Arkansas — the Simmons Bank Championship. Announced in 2023, the event will bring the PGA Tour Champions to Pleasant Valley Country Club from October 21 to 27. The Simmons Bank Championship will serve as the second round of PGA Tour Champions’ annual Charles Schwab Cup Playoffs, for which the top 54 players in the Charles Schwab Cup standings compete to earn their spots among the top 36 and gain entry into the final event of the season. The new event will offer a challenging competition on the course for players and showcase the city’s famed Southern hospitality.

terstate 430. Also near I-430 is the Reservoir area, where prospective residents can find livable homes ideal for growing families near Reservoir Park. Robinwood provides yet another family-friendly option in the area.

Those interested in homes in these or other areas of parts of the city can call Kari Clay, Realtor with Mid South Realty in Little Rock, at 501-240-3117.

aymag.com 57 (501) 224-3900 | 11621 Rainwood Rd #4 Little Rock, AR 72212 I know that buying or selling a home is one of the biggest, if not, THE BIGGEST INVESTMENT of your life! My pledge to you is to always provide you with the utmost professionalism and real estate knowledge of our real estate market.
Trustworthy | Loyal | Honest | Professional @sellingtherock Who you work with, MATTERS.
Dennis Adkins, Owner


Call it the “best of the west” — the westernmost region of Little Rock, from the bustling Chenal neighborhoods all the way down to the wooded streets of Otter Creek, has some of Little Rock’s premier living, shopping and recreation options. It is worth exploring in every sense of the word, whether one is hiking the trails at Pinnacle Mountain State Park, partaking in retail therapy at the Promenade at Chenal or sampling the menu at places like City Silo, Izzy’s and the newly opened Buttered Biscuit. More than just a place to visit, however, this fastgrowing area of town has some of the most soughtafter housing in Little Rock thanks to its beautifully planned neighborhoods, ample green space and access to country clubs and other amenities.


YaYa’s Euro Bistro 17711 Chenal Parkway

Not your Southern grandma’s cookin’: With its convenient location at the Promenade, YaYa’s Euro Bistro is the ideal spot for a mid-shopping tapas break, happy hour hangout or date night dinner. The restaurant’s founder took inspiration from his well-traveled Greek grandmother, making the menu a refreshing European tour for our stateside taste buds. YaYa’s has a collection of staples and “bistro specials” such as YaYa’s roasted chicken, but the small plates are what really make the place sing. Seafood lovers can enjoy shrimp a la plancha, citrusy lump crab cakes and fried calamari with gazpacho aioli. Round out the table with options like chicken piadini with hummus or classic bruschetta with wood-fired goat cheese.

TO DRINK: YaYa’s lemon drop martini

Chicken Salad Chick 17400 Chenal Parkway

Certified chick magnet: This Southern picnic icon need not be the exclusive domain of church potlucks and baby showers, especially when Chicken Salad Chick serves creative spins that even the mayonnaise-averse can appreciate. As the popular chain’s only Little Rock location, the Chicken Salad Chick on Chenal is a go-to for a quick and easy, light lunch. Try any combination of scoops, including the classic Olivia’s Old South and savory Lauryn’s Lemon Basil, or be more adventurous with the Kickin’ Kay Lynne. Far from a one-trick pony, the pimento cheese and egg salad also make great sandwich options.

ON THE SIDE: What else? More salad, of the broccoli, grape or pasta variety.


U.S. Pizza Co., Chenal 12 Rahling Circle

Patriotic pies: There is a lot to love about U.S. Pizza Co, an Arkansas native pizzeria chain. The scratch-made thin crust pizzas have delighted diners since 1972, the “WORLD FAMOUS” creamy Italian dressing seems to go with everything on the menu. The atmosphere at the Chenal location only makes things better and has excellent patio dining fit for a gameday or brunch date. Real fans know that a trip to U.S. Pizza is far from complete without one of the restaurany’s heaping salad supremes. A bevy of specialty pizzas such as Judy’s Favorite, plus inventive brunch options like the certified hangover cure Sleepy Dragon, make U.S. Pizza an easy choice.

NOT INTO ‘ZA? That is OK— the sandwiches are made to order in the stone hearth oven too.

The Toasted Yolk 17406 Chenal Parkway

#brunchlife: The Toasted Yolk entered the Arkansas market with its Chenal location, and the Natural State has been happy to embrace this vibrant breakfast, lunch and brunch spot ever since. From the bar to the patio, picturesque breakfast favorites abound, making for a social media worthy Sunday brunch. Sweet starters like the churro style donuts go well with savory plates such as the Southern fried Arnold (a take on eggs Benedict), and there is a scramble, sandwich or stack of pancakes for every palate in between.

ADVENTUROUS APP: Fried banana peppers

Arthur’s Prime Steakhouse and Oceans at Arthur’s 16100 Chenal Parkway

Fit for a king: Little Rock restaurant icon Jerry Barakat has not one, but two heavy-hitters on this list, because it is nigh impossible to pick between the premier steakhouse of the South and the seafood restaurant putting a landlocked state on the map. Arthur’s Prime is known for its selection of hard-to-find favorites such as dry-aged prime cuts, Australian wagyu and certified Japanese Kobe. On the surf side, Oceans has options at every stop on the raw to cooked spectrum, from sushi rolls and bowls to char-grilled oysters to fish and chips.

WINE AND DINE: Arthur’s has a Wine Spectator-approved collection; in between the private vaults in the cellar is a space for upscale entertaining.

Red Moon Tavern

6015 Chenonceau Blvd.

Patio perfection: The interior speaks to Red Moon’s “tavern” billing, but as soon as weather permits, the red-umbrellaed tables and outdoor seating areas makes the patio the place to be. Handcrafted cocktails pair well with a mouthwatering rotation of small plates, while indulgent sides, hearty mains and specialty pizzas round out the menu. Start with the shrimp and grits, or go straight for the seafood gumbo. The blackened chicken, served with grilled corn salad and crawfish mac and cheese, is another noteworthy choice, but diners would be remiss not to inquire about the season’s latest pizza offering and give it a try.

FINISH WITH: Pecan cobbler

Pinnacle Mountain State Park, opposite, top, YaYa’s Euro Bistro, opposite, bottom, Arthur’s Prime Steakhoust, left, and Red Moon Tavern delight the senses in Chenal.



BoBrook Farms

13810 Combee Lane (Roland)

Country bumpkin: Family owned and -operated since 1994, BoBrook Farms is a picturesque country setting just past Little Rock’s crown jewel, Pinnacle Mountain. The 300-acre farm, hosts thousands of visitors each year and grows crops such as blueberries, blackberries, muscadines and pumpkins. BoBrook is also home to River Bottom Winery, where visitors can enjoy tastings, live music, and a rotation of seasonal and holiday events. In the fall, the pumpkin patch becomes one of the most soughtafter spots in central Arkansas when families trek out to enjoy hayrides, piglet races, a sunflower field in full bloom and visits with a few resident farm animals.

Beyond Wellness

23816 Chenal Parkway

Made to thrive: Rejuvenation is the name of the game at Beyond Wellness, Little Rock’s total health destination. With interest in functional medicine growing by the day, the facility offers everything from IV therapy and microneedling to weight management and the increasingly popular pellet hormone therapy. Refined touches and cutting-edge treatment rooms create an atmosphere that feels sophisticated without being stuffy. Beyond Wellness gives central Arkansans access to a level of care traditionally reserved for the likes of coastal health hubs like Los Angeles close to home.

The Promenade at Chenal

17711 Chenal Parkway

All shop, no drop: The Promenade at Chenal opened in 2008 and was designed to be the retail, restaurant and entertainment anchor for one of the fastest-growing areas of the city. Over a decade in, the Promenade has become the heartbeat of that side of town and boasts the state’s only Apple Store and Urban Outfitters. Retail tenants are not the only reason to shop Chenal, however. Restaurants such as A.W. Lin’s, Local Lime and Sullivan’s Steakhouse, plus an AMC theater, make it easy to turn a visit to the Promenade into a whole-day affair.


Mountain State Park

9600 Arkansas 300 (Roland)

‘Peak-ing’ interest: One of the last stops before the landscape opens up into the Ouachita Mountains — and the second-highest natural point in Pulaski County — reaching the 1,011-foot summit of Pinnacle Mountain is basically a rite of passage for residents and visitors alike. There are plenty of friendly faces on the more popular West Summit Trail, while the East Summit Trail offers a challenging route to the top for more experienced hikers and fitness enthusiasts. The state park has plenty to offer down below, as well, with access to the Big and Little Maumelle Rivers, the Arkansas Arboretum and more than 14 miles of mountain biking trails. The newly built visitor’s center is an architectural marvel of its own, and the exhibits inside make for a great introduction to one of the Natural State’s favorite attractions.

Wildwood Park for the Arts

20919 Denny Road

All the (natural) world’s a stage: Tucked away off the unassuming County Road 40 is a beloved community gathering space. Wildwood Park for the Arts was made for celebrating arts and culture of all kinds, from the performing and visual to the musical and horticultural. The park is home to a host of botanical gardens, trails, Swan Lake and the Butler Arboretum, which contains the largest collection of native woodland azaleas in the region. Wildwood welcomes visitors for plays, festivals, concerts and showcases throughout the year. As a nonprofit, the park’s programming and maintenance falls mainly upon the strength of its volunteers, donors and other staunch community supporters, making the space a true labor of love.


Two Rivers Park

6900 Two Rivers Park Road

Between the waters: Down and east from Pinnacle Mountain sits a 1,000-acre tract of picturesque peninsula between the Arkansas and Little Maumelle rivers. Two Rivers Park, like much of the abundant green space to be found around Little Rock, offers outdoor activities to suit any mood, including paved and primitive trails for biking, hiking or running, a canoe launch, and plenty of space to fish, paddle or go wildlife watching. County residents can also rent garden tracts at the Pulaski County Garden Center. In 2023, Two Rivers Park became the home of the state’s largest inclusive playground, an accessible space for children of all abilities to enjoy.

Rock Town River Outfitters Boat House

4420 River Mountain Road

(Little) Rock the boat: Rock Town River Outfitters enjoys the distinction of being the capital city’s first Arkansas River outfitter and first mountain bike rental service, and its guided excursions provide a unique look at the city and its history. While best known for its downtown bike shop in the River Market and sunset tours at the Rock City Yacht Club, Rock Town River Outfitters will offer even more ways to experience the river later this year. Single and tandem kayak, fishing kayak and standup paddleboard rentals will be available from the River Mountain Park location along the Little Maumelle River.


Moss Mountain Farm guided lunch tours

23700 Ross Hollow Road (Roland)

Lunch and learn: As the manicured country home of one of the nation’s most talented and renowned garden designers — the Natural State’s own P. Allen Smith — Moss Mountain Farm brings in scores of home and garden enthusiasts on the regular. The experience includes a guided tour through Smith’s three-story Greek Revival-style home, Allen’s Terrace Garden, the Hidden Rose Garden, Hydrangea Allée and the vegetable garden, followed by a seasonal farm-to-table lunch and visits with farm animals. Reserve a spot ahead of time, and explore the place where traditional aesthetics, organic gardening and practical design meet.

Pinnacle Mountain State Park

9600 Arkansas 300 (Roland)

Put it in park: From educational hikes and plant workshops to kayak floats and fishing derbies, the folks at Pinnacle Mountain State Park make it easy to jump in and enjoy the best of the Natural State. Annual events of note include the Great Backyard Bird Count, a nationwide community science event each February, and National Astronomy Day with the Central Arkansas Astronomical Society, which is typically in April or May. The park also offers Casting 101 to kick off the state’s Free Fishing Weekend, as well as a beginner’s kayaking class to help get newbies started on their outdoor adventures. There is no wrong place to start — check the Arkansas State Parks website for the latest calendar additions.

Natural Steps Sports Complex

11101 Arkansas 300 (Roland)

Kick back and enjoy: The fields at the Natural Steps Sports Complex can often be found buzzing with activity owing to a healthy rotation of youth soccer matches, lacrosse games and ultimate frisbee outings. Thanks to a slightly darker sky view than Pinnacle and a clear horizon to the south and west, Natural Steps also makes a great location for the Central Arkansas Astronomical Society’s star parties.

Christmas Tree Lighting at the Promenade

17711 Chenal Parkway

A star in the west: The capital city is always aglow for the winter season, and the annual Christmas tree lighting at the Promenade is one of those cannotmiss happenings that helps ring in the holidays. As one of Little Rock’s marquee tree lightings, there is no shortage of caroling, treats, hot chocolate and all-around Christmas cheer to facilitate a festive musical and light display. While the tree itself takes center stage at the shopping center, every storefront at the Promenade gets decked out in its best and brightest holiday decor come winter time.

The Promenade at Chenal, opposite, from top, mountain bike trails and Wildwood Park for the Arts, along with kayak tours, top, and BoBrook Farms provide plenty to do.

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With more than 50 years in the industry, Dennis Adkins, owner of Adkins & Associates Real Estate, has had a front row seat to the development of the capital city’s westernmost reaches. Two of Chenal’s newest subdivisions include Corlay and Caurel, and homes sold in the areas last year came in anywhere from 2,500-3,500 square feet with price tags predominantly in the $600,000 to $800,000 range. The homes tend to feature all of the topdollar new construction one would expect for $200 per square foot — high


Chenal: William Kirsch Preserve

The best places are almost always hard to find, and like Knoop Park in midtown, the Nature Conservancy’s William Kirsch Preserve exists virtually untouched or even thought about by almost all the thousands of drivers who pass to its south each day on Cantrell Road.

Located at the very back of the Ranch residential development and along 1.7 miles of the Little Maumelle River, the Kirsch Preserve offers a beautiful open meadow environment with 3.5 miles of hard-packed dirt and gravel trails through field and forest. There are fishing piers, picnic areas, canoe and kayak put-ins, and even two canoes available to borrow.

Plus, the 234 acres of mostly open, golden meadow afford one of the best views of Pinnacle Mountain.

What: William Kirsch Preserve in Ranch North Woods

Owner/managing agency: The Nature Conservancy

Open: Dusk to dawn

ceilings, gorgeous kitchens, capacious rooms, and garage and closet space to spare. The quality of the builds themselves, paired with neighborhood amenities and the views around Pinnacle Mountain, have made this an in-demand area for those able to spend dream home money. Some residents include people moving out of older parts of west Little Rock, but Adkins added, “you’re also seeing a lot of people transferring in for jobs here, people with families. They’re coming in and want the new neighborhood and to be in Chenal. So you’re seeing both of those.”

Where: 8803 Ranch Blvd., Little Rock

Directions: Headed west on Cantrell Road/Arkansas 10, take a right on Ranch Boulevard and keep going until the street empties into a gravel parking lot. The preserve entrance is on the left.

aymag.com 63 NURSING & REHABILITATION CENTER at GOOD SHEPHERD Jennifer Siems, Administrator 3001 Aldersgate Road, Little Rock AR 72205 • Phone 501-217-9774 • Fax 501-217-9781 www.goodshepherdnr.com At Good Shepherd Nursing and Rehabilitation we are committed to providing the highest quality of patient care. Our qualified staff is here giving support for the tasks of day-to-day living, allowing for the enjoyment of more pleasant and carefree activities.

heTMakings of a Man

What makes a man?

We at AY About You suggest that it is not the size of his muscles or the depth of his wallet, but the strength of his heart and the love he has for his community. The Man Issue delves into the principles of masculinity. The pages that follow contain stories of growing into fatherhood, overcoming struggles with addiction and revolutionary care designed to enhance men’s health. Plus, experts share tips about skills that can help men flourish, from dressing well to shoring up their financial futures.

Not Just FUN and GAMES

Gaming addiction the target of a popular new social media star

On May 1, Dr. Alok Kanojia opened his popular Twitch channel HealthyGamer_GG with a refreshing bit of insight. Introducing the podcast’s slate of programming for Mental Health Awareness Month, “Dr. K,” as he is known, dryly quipped: “We have a month-long event, which is designed to trick y’all into doing things that are good for you.”

The statement was more profound than snarky, given the vast audience Kanojia has accumulated through his national campaign to normalize conversations about mental health, especially among men.

“Psychiatry isn’t enough,” Kanojia said during a recent NPR interview. “We need to stop thinking about just medicine. If we said you had a physical problem, imagine we had no gyms, no nutritionists. It just doesn’t make sense.”

Self-help education through mass media is nothing new; psychologist Dr. Joyce Brothers brought various mental health concepts to audiences through television, books and newspaper columns spanning decades. In recent years, others have followed her successful blueprint on radio, TV and, later, social media. A few of them include “Dr. Phil” McGraw, “Dr. Drew” Pinsky and “Dr. Laura” Schlessinger.

None of the above, however, have arrived on the national media scene quite like Kanojia. A Harvard-trained practicing psychiatrist based in Houston, he co-founded his company, Healthy Gamer, after tackling his own addiction to video games during his undergraduate years, at which time he found there were few outside resources to help.

“The more overwhelmed I’d feel, the more I’d play video games,” he told NPR, “and the more I’d play video games, the more overwhelmed I’d feel. It turned into a vicious cycle.”

In fact, Kanojia’s podcast on Twitch feels more like a gathering of Diablo II fanatics than a mental health forum (not therapy, as Kanojia explicitly states at the beginning of each program). He fields question after question from those logged into his channel, in addition to leading group discussions and guiding viewers through meditation techniques. The format is open to men and women, but Kanojia is intentional about singling out topics for men, who are typically more resistant to discussing their mental health struggles.

If the channel’s numbers are any indication, Kanojia’s approach works, at least in generating the seeds of a dialogue about various issues. According to TwitchTracker, the channel boasts 663,000 followers since 2020 and has almost 7.5 million total views.

If taking the discussion of mental mental health to the gaming community feels oddly specific, consider a recent Pew Research study released in May that found 85 percent of U.S. teens report playing video games, more than 40 percent of them playing them daily, and four out

of 10 identifying as gamers. While that alone does not indicate widespread addiction, other findings show the potential hazards of too much gaming.

In the survey, 80 percent of respondents said online bullying was a problem, 41 percent reported lack of sleep due to gameplay, and more than 70 percent saw video games as a primary social interaction. Males dominate the demographic category, and about three times as many boys reported playing video games daily than girls.

In March, Kanojia released a book, How to Raise a Healthy Gamer, as a resource for parents who may be concerned their child is so consumed with video games they act as a crutch, forming a developmental cocoon that stunts adolescents’ social and interpersonal growth.

“The problem with gaming is that it tricks the brain into being a substitute for life,” Kanojia said in a video promoting the book. “Once we start to get our psychological needs met through the game, that’s when we become addicted.”

How to Raise a Healthy Gamer combines the latest in neuroscience research along with a decade of clinical practice to provide a step-bystep plan for keeping video games in their place as a fun diversion, not a replacement for other life activities. Kanojia, who ultimately reclaimed control after taking the drastic step of escaping to an ashram, or hermitage, in India to reorder his life around meditation and spiritual practices, said the book is designed to help parents address such issues far earlier.

“The challenge with video games is that when we play one game, we don’t just have pleasure in that game. Our brain wants more, and so kids are playing a second game, a third game, a fourth game, and they really don’t want to put it away,” he said in an article for WBUR. “Once you understand how the mind works, why it is going into a video game, you can create alternatives to satisfy the mind in a healthier way.

“I still play games, but I don’t play them addictively because my life is full. That’s what we really advocate — to create a life that is worth living.”

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Dr. Alok Kanojia

From Dude to DAD

Tips and resources for new fathers

66 men
All the statistics prove that if you have a strong role model dad, that you’re going to have better educational outcomes for the children financially speaking, socially and emotionally speaking and academically speaking.
— Ron Deal author and founder, Smart Stepfamilies

According to the U.S. Census Bureau. 17.8 million American children, nearly 1 in 4, live without a biological, step or adoptive father at home. Research shows that such households often produce children who are more likely to live in poverty, go to prison, abuse drugs and alcohol, become pregnant as a teen, and more.

While the rate of teen pregnancy has dropped dramatically since peaking in 1991, falling from 61.8 percent to 13.5 percent in 2022, many young men still find themselves severely unqualified to take on the challenge of fatherhood. That is especially true among those who have unexpectedly started the journey.

Fortunately, there are a number of resources and professionals around the state who hope to change some of those stats. Among them is Chuck Monan, minister at Pinnacle Church of Christ in Little Rock.

“I feel about fatherhood the way Jacqueline Kennedy expressed her responsibility as a mother,” Monan said. “She was famously quoted as saying, ‘If you bungle raising your children, I don’t think whatever else you do well matters very much.’”

Monan said that in his ministry, equipping men to be good and godly people is one of his highest callings.

“If I haven’t succeeded as a minister in encouraging men and modeling for them a way that they can live and be faithful to God and to their families, then I haven’t been successful in my profession,” he said.

Monan says one of the greatest resources for first-time parents and young couples is to have support systems built into their families. That might not be a luxury every man has, he added, which is where a church can step in.

Pinnacle, for example, offers life groups, which divide the large church body into smaller groups for fellowship in a more casual setting at regular intervals, often over a meal. Monan said that kind of environment has produced unlikely outcomes as young couples get to know and spend time with elders. The wisdom of older couples or members gets poured into the lives of the young people.

“A lot of people today don’t [have that support system]. Many have been uprooted from the places in which they grew up,” Monan said. “We have witnessed at church where older families kind of adopt younger families, take them under their wing, share wisdom with them and set a good example for them. They kind of become surrogate grandparents for their kids.”

One of the biggest challenges facing fathers today, said Monan, who took time from a trip overseas to talk on the phone with AY About You is passing down the faith to the next generation. He said as he toured the grand historic cathedrals and churches of Europe, he noted that while they made for stunning tourist attractions, most are empty of congregants. He said he fears the same trend could be coming to the U.S.

Monan said while he recognizes Christianity itself does not guarantee healthy fatherhood and many non-Christians can possess the same attributes, instilling values into one’s children does not happen by happenstance. Instead, he said, fathers have to be “very intentional in creating those kinds of qualities.”

“As a father, I wanted to make sure that my two sons grew up to be men of faith, to be men of character, and they’ve done that,” he said. “My father was striving to do that with his boys.”

For people who are not sold on the idea of religion as a parenting solution, there are other options, including Fatherhood FIRE, which stands for family-focused, interconnected, resilient and essential, a program offered through the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Northwest Regional Campus in Fayetteville.

“This is like social work meets health care,” said Peter Cooper, senior project manager for family wellness at UAMS Northwest. “The inspiration is to serve families and help lift families out of poverty.”

Funded by a grant by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families, the program started with a focus on Marshallese people who were relocated to Arkansas as part of the government’s response to the fallout of nuclear bomb tests on the Marshall Islands. During the aftermath of the testing,

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Chuck Monan

the Marshallese experienced multiple challenges, including lack of resources, distrust of the government, lower rates of education, lower employment rates, and other key indicators of poverty and struggle.

Initially, the program also focused on Latino fathers but is now open to all parents. To qualify for the program, which serves northwest Arkansas, one must be at least 18 years old, a parent or parent figure, and live in Benton, Carroll, Madison or Washington counties.

UAMS Northwest Regional Campus was awarded the grant four years ago and has since graduated more than 400 students. To graduate, parents must complete 24 hours of courses in 12 weeks with one class per week. The program uses a “two-generation approach” by which parents can learn from the mistakes made in their lives to do better for their children.

“It started out as a fatherhood grant, and it cultivated into a parenting grant so as to include moms, dads and couples,” Cooper said.

Cooper described his department’s overall service to families a “dual process” because his team looks to help with health care needs and case management. The team connects families with resources in the community, including employment opportunities, insurance providers, food banks and resume building services, to name a few. The department also provides help setting family goals, fosters a support network of men and fathers locally and offers translation services. The service is tailored to the client.

With more than 20 years of experience working with children and families in the area of mental health, Cooper said the FIRE project is “very close to his heart.” Speaking on the skills needed to excel in fatherhood, Cooper said a lot of them are about maturing and finding one’s place and identity.

“I just encourage dads, for those who have lost contact or interest or whatever that disconnect might be, to try and reengage and provide that full support for their kids,” he said.

The sometimes difficult process of growing into the role of a skilled and capable father can

be significantly complicated in blended-family situations. Ron Deal, author and founder and president of Smart Stepfamilies, has written several books on remarriage and stepfamily dynamics.

A nationally recognized expert in the field of stepfamilies, Deal has been featured on ABC’s Nightline and Fox News, as well as by Focus on the Family and other media outlets, and he has spoken at churches and events around the country and abroad. He posits that the work of fatherhood is often harder for stepdads, who he calls “heroes by choice.”

“Don’t be too harsh on yourselves when you do disagree; that is common in biological families and stepfamilies alike,” he wrote in The Smart Stepdad: Steps to Help You Succeed, “but do take seriously your efforts to find unity. Stepfamily success depends on it.”

Deal writes that it can be more difficult to connect with stepchildren because they do not have the connection they might have to their biological dad. He likened the process of becoming a stepfather to starting a job one had not trained for that calls for managing resentful and resistant new coworkers.

Deal launched his specialized ministry at a time when stepfamilies are becoming more common than at any time in the nation’s history. The Pew Research Center published a 2014 report that 40 percent of all U.S. marriages over the prior year were remarriages, and 20 percent were a remarriage for one partner, while 20 percent were a remarriage for both partners. Despite that, Deal noticed that among the many books and materials on parenting and marriage, there was a need for more specific guidance for stepdads and stepmoms. His series of books aims to fill that gap.

“All the statistics prove that if you have a strong role model dad, that you’re going to have better educational outcomes for the children financially speaking, socially and emotionally speaking and academically speaking.”

Working on the premise that a higher power brings together stepfamilies just like it does first-time couples, Deal points it all back to God.

“God positioned you as a role model, friend, teacher and mentor,” he wrote in The Smart Stepdad. “The specifics of how intimate your role will become cannot be predicted, but you have a responsibility to make the most of the opportunities you are given.”

Deal suggests that being a stepfather can be just as important as being a child’s biological father, even if there are more barriers to overcome. For example, most stepfathers are not able to be present during the initial stages of a child’s development, which, Cooper said, are the stages where a male presence can be the most important.

“It’s absolutely critical that dads are involved pre- and postnatally,” Cooper said, “and I use the word ‘critical’ because it is quite literally critical that they are present with the mother for the birth of the child. Whether or not they’re cohabitating, it’s integral to the child’s development that a healthy father is involved to role model, to socialize, to interact, to cultivate that healthy attachment, that the child has a good social upbringing, does well in school.”

To quote a well-known father figure, Uncle Ben Parker of Marvel Comics’ Spider-Man franchise, “With great power comes great responsibility,” and there is, perhaps, no greater power or responsibility a man can know than being a father. With fatherhood comes the chance to make or break an entire human life, and there is no telling what ripple effects will follow.

“I know everybody’s responsible for themselves as adults,” Monan said, “but I think it’s a great, great advantage that fathers have to be good influences on their children.”

Peter Cooper Ron Deal


or many men, the view from the middle age plateau is familiar: There are a few extra pounds around the waistline. There is a general cloud of fatigue hovering like fog. There is a lack of beast-mode intensity at the gym. The bedroom get-up-andgo has often got-up-and-went.

A growing number of commercials talk about low testosterone as the culprit. When applied testosterone therapy is an excellent means for restoring a man’s vitality, but where many treatment centers go wrong is pushing testosterone alone as a cure-all for every man under every circumstance. At Beyond Wellness, testosterone therapy is just one option in a wide arsenal of complementary treatments tailored to each individual patient.

Healthy testosterone levels are important to a man’s overall health, and the hormone does decrease as one ages. In some cases, testosterone treatments do an excellent job of helping men feel and function better. However, experts preach caution against the media hype and say men should take a more scientific approach to optimizing health and wellness.

“Testosterone is a great therapy for

patients who need it, but it’s not the only treatment out there, nor is it the right treatment in every situation,” said Ashley Huneycutt, CEO of Beyond Wellness, which has clinics in Hot Springs Village and Little Rock.

“We believe that testosterone is one of many solutions to men’s health issues,” added Christa Jackson, APRN, who oversees treatments at Beyond Wellness. “Like anything else, it has to be administered to the right person at the right time under the right conditions for optimum benefit.”

Unlike other clinics that use testosterone-only approaches, Beyond Wellness takes a more holistic view. In most cases, testosterone needs to be combined with other treatments to maximize the hormone’s benefit.

“Many of my patients are getting their levels checked, and they’re being told they’re normal,” Jackson said. “Well as a society, testosterone levels are on the decline; even for a man in his 20s, it doesn’t look like it did two or three decades ago, so ‘normal’ is really not the same as a healthy testosterone level.”

Huneycutt said such readings must be interpreted correctly by trained medical personnel who take certain variables into account to arrive at a correct diagnosis.

“Men can have an unpleasant experience with testosterone treatments when other health and medical conditions aren’t taken into account,” she said. “We are very thorough and look at many other factors to ensure patients get the most from

Healthy testosterone levels are important to a man’s overall health, and the hormone does decrease as one ages.

their hormone optimization treatments.”

Huneycutt said she is not against testosterone therapy but emphasized that it is not a cure-all for every patient. She advised men to visit a clinic where the personnel is skilled enough to recognize when a different hormone may offer a better solution or recommend lifestyle changes, diet and exercise.

Jackson agreed, saying Beyond Wellness’ success in treating its growing male clientele stems from creating custom therapy programs specific to each individual patient’s needs.

“It’s so important to ask questions and not just treat people one after the other like cattle,” she said. “Where are they in life? What are they wanting out of this? What are their goals? Taking that information and really taking that whole picture into play is what sets us apart.”

Ashley Huneycutt Christa Jackson, APRN


From that first job as a teenager to the beginning stages of a career, one of the hallmarks of the transition to adulthood is getting a handle on just what to do with new or increased income. Even if one has already made the leap from “dude” to “dad” and is well on their way up the corporate ladder, it never hurts to reassess every so often and make sure the fundamentals are in place.

“It takes discipline as a young person to think about not living in the moment and instead put money away for a specific goal,” said Bobby Brown, president of Brown Comstock Private Wealth Advisors in Hot Springs. “Learning to pay yourself first is a lesson that will serve you well later in life.”

The power of compounding interest cannot be overstated, meaning that the sooner one can start saving up for big life moments such as retirement, the better off one will be when they arrive. To stay encouraged to make sacrifices today — for example, putting money into a Roth IRA — Brown encouraged visualization. Keeping the “why” saving front of mind will help the saver keep on track and consistent with their investments.

Speaking of — what should the up-and-coming gentleman know about the rollercoaster that is the wide world of investing? The most important consideration, Brown said, boils down to risk versus reward.

“Sure, everyone wants to invest wisely and make good returns, but what is an acceptable amount of return for the risk that they are taking on?” he said. “Can they afford that risk if it doesn’t work out? They may want to invest a very small amount and want it to double overnight, but if the potential risk is that the investment goes to zero, they need to understand that.”

Very few investors really understand the complex nature of investing, Brown said. That makes it essential to tap the experts for guidance. A professional financial advisor can walk a person through creating plans that are tailored to your specific lifestyle and goals, which includes an acceptable amount of risk. That leaves plenty of space to grow wealth without causing a catastrophe every time the market does not perform well.

While interest can be exciting when it is adding value to assets, it can also work against individuals who have large amounts of debt piling up. An ounce of prevention goes a long way here, as summed up

“Learning to pay yourself first is a lesson that will serve you well later in life.”

by Brown’s concise words: “Very simply — do not take on any debt,” he said.

“I do believe that investing in a quality education is very important. Otherwise, doing without until you can afford to pay for something in cash will save you a ton of money in interest expense and let you build wealth that will put you way ahead of other people your age,” he added.

Barring some very fortunate circumstances, financial success is not something that can be achieved quickly or individually. A personal financial advisor is there to help map out the future and point out potential pitfalls. Building up discipline early, while relying on the sage advice of professionals and others who have been around the block a time or two, can prepare one to pass on a financial legacy to their own children when the time comes.

“We want to protect not only our clients, but their heirs and their children’s children. By staying with the plan, we have seen many of our clients put their kids through college, afford a dream home or even a second vacation home,” Brown said. “After having been in this business for over 30 years, one of the biggest rewards for me personally has been to see our clients reach a comfortable retirement with the plans that we put in place all those years ago.”

Disclosure: Any opinions are those of Bobby Brown and not necessarily those of Raymond James. This material is being provided for information purposes only and is not a complete summary or statement of all available data necessary for making an investment decision and does not constitute a recommendation. There is no guarantee that these statements, opinions or forecasts provided herein will prove to be correct. Investing involves risk and you may incur a profit or loss regardless of strategy selected. Future investment performance cannot be guaranteed, investment yields will fluctuate with market conditions. Every investor’s situation is unique and you should consider your investment goals, risk tolerance and time horizon before making any investment. Contributions to a retirement account may be tax-deductible depending on the taxpayer’s income, tax-filing status, and other factors. Withdrawal of pre-tax contributions and/or earnings will be subject to ordinary income tax and, if taken prior to age 59 1/2, may be subject to a 10% federal tax penalty. Raymond James and its advisors do not offer tax or legal advice. You should discuss any tax or legal matters with the appropriate professional. Prior to making an investment decision, please consult with your financial advisor about your individual situation. Securities offered through Raymond James Financial Services, Inc., member FINRA / SIPC. Investment advisory services offered through Raymond James Financial Services Advisors, Inc. Brown Comstock Private Wealth Advisors is not a registered broker/dealer and is independent of Raymond James Financial Services.

Bobby Brown


Perhaps nothing speaks to a man’s refinement like knowing his way around bourbon. A truly Amer ican spirit, bourbon is a sweeter counterpart to other whiskies. It must be made in the United States us ing no less than 51 percent corn in its recipe, in addition to specific aging and alcohol conditions. Whether in a cocktail, on the rocks or by itself, there is no wrong way to enjoy bourbon, and the experts at Colonial Wines & Spirits have offered a few tips and a time less recipe to get one started.


Starting with 80-proof bourbons that are readily available makes the hunt more fun and less frustrating. Brands such as Old Forester, Wild Turkey and Knob Creek offer a good range of flavors and can be easily found. Looking for a bourbon that sports higher proof or has a high rye or wheat content is a great way to expand the palate.


One of the best quality clues is a bourbon that is made by a distillery with its brand on the label. Some new bourbons make celebrity brands or have other gimmicks that indicate they are not making the liquid that is in the bottle, which is known as “sourced” bourbon. Stick with a brand that distills, ages and bottles its own juice, and you will not have trouble with quality.


Classic Manhattan

2 ounces whiskey (Jim Beam rye recommended)

3/4 ounce vermouth

2 dashes bitters

Cherry for garnish

Price does not mean quality. Some great bourbons can be bought for less than $30, and some subpar bourbons sell for hundreds of dollars.



BIn a mixing glass with ice, stir together whiskey, vermouth and bitters with a mixing spoon until well chilled. Strain into a chilled martini or coup glass, garnish with cherry, and serve.

e it networking in business, managing one’s personal life or moving in social circles, what a man wears says a lot about them to prospective employers, potential clients and future mates. While there is nothing wrong with being comfortable, there is also something to be said for good taste, an eye for detail and pride in one’s appearance.

Mr. Wicks in Little Rock’s elegant Heights neighborhood keeps the tradition of the well-dressed man alive. The store’s knowledgeable staff and comfortable environment has welcomed generations of men who ap preciate the look and feel of fine clothing at work and leisure.

Owner Mark Evans shared some timeless advice that can be applied to any generation or price point:

• Every man’s closet needs a charcoal, navy or black suit. A navy sport jacket that pairs well with khaki slacks or a nice pair of jeans makes a man’s wardrobe complete. Be sure to have a pair of black slip-on dress shoes, but do not forget to have a pair of nice tennis shoes that work with most everything on this list.

• How many times have you seen a guy who is wearing pants that are three inches too long and a suit jacket with sleeves down to his knuckles? Do not let fit ruin your look — go see a tailor. A few simple tweaks, and clothing disaster looks like a custom fit.

• Transitioning a wardrobe from season to season is not too difficult here in Arkansas; the key is to wear layers. Add a quarter-zip pullover that can easily slip off, and wear a great color T-shirt underneath. Off the clock, wearing a fashionable sweatshirt with shorts is always a good outfit as seasons change.

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strength from above Man to


In an increasingly impersonal world, it is easy for individuals to become isolated and distant, even in a crowded room. Largely gone are the days of gathering on a neighbor’s porch, taking a walk with a trusted elder, or spending time in community to gain insights, emulate role models and soak in the accumulated lived wisdom of those who came before. Such connections are in particularly short supply among men as they try to navigate the often-conflicting roles of father, provider, husband and upstanding member of society. With the rise of single-parent households, more boys than ever before are growing up without a consistent positive male role model in the home. Societal pressures and media images add their own brand of stress and pressure on teens and young adult men as they flounder to ascertain who and what they are expected to be.

For this year’s Men’s Issue, AY About You reached out to a cross section of Arkansas men to get their best advice for their brethren, the coming generation, and their own sons and grandsons. Their real-world advice tells of the importance of becoming a strong man in a misguided society, what real manhood looks like and what life has taught them about how to achieve it. The individuals included here are not perfect, nor do they pretend to be. They are merely wiser for their life experiences and willing to share what they have learned with those who seek to hear it. May their advice inspire other men to rededicate themselves, break generational cycles, overcome obstacles and become the best versions of themselves.

“Fatherlessness and the breakdown of the family is driving the cycle of poverty, crime and incarceration in our society, and the only way to break that cycle is for more men to start taking responsibility and be the leaders our families need us to be. The most important thing you can do as a father is to spend quality one-on-one time with each of your kids and model for them what it means to follow Christ.

Former U.S. Sen. and Gov. Sam Brownback of Kansas had a big impact on my life, helping start my career in politics and leading me to Christ. If I could share something I’ve learned in life since then, it is a man of good character is defined by humility, not pride. He exhibits strength by caring more about others than himself and leaves a legacy by following Christ instead of the crowd.

As a father myself, one thing above all else that I want my children to remember is there are no half measures. I’ve tried to model for my children how to give one’s life completely to God. As C.S. Lewis said, ‘Look for Christ, and you will find him and, with him, everything else.’”


First gentleman of Arkansas

Husband to Sarah

Father to Scarlett, Huck and George

72 men

embrace adversity

“How you respond to adversity will define you as a man. Never shy away from the battle; address each challenge with vigor and make steps each day towards a conclusion of which you can be proud.

Most of us will make mistakes. I know I have, but I wanted my sons to see me acknowledge my error, to seek forgiveness from those that I may have been hurt, to do everything within my power to make things right. A man is not defined by failure. He is defined by how he responds to failure.

I was fortunate to grow up in a strong church in Clarendon, Arkansas, with parents who were flawed but who cared more about others than they cared about themselves and who loved me without condition.

My dad was a coach in that rural Delta community for 35 years. Clarendon was a tough river town that was poor. I witnessed my father make a difference in the lives of young people who did not have a whole lot to believe in. He demanded effort, and he demanded a march towards perfection each day, even though we all know that perfection is an unreachable goal. The victory is in the effort, the redemption, the tenacious will to battle on in spite of our failings and shortcomings.

I have failed in my personal relationships. I have failed in my attempts to lead my business. I have often not been the type of father my children deserved, but I will battle, and I will try to earn the respect of those who doubt me because of my poor choices. To the next generation I say do not be defined by failure, but instead let how you respond to failure be your beacon to those that matter.”


Director of Investments and Strategic Opportunities, Bank OZK Husband to Linda Father to Shaylea, Rush “Buddy” IV and Payne Grandfather to Elowen, Ruby, Rush V, Wilder and Mila

I am second

“As fathers, we are often focused on the outcome. Most of the time, unforeseen circumstances arise that cause fear, anxiety, worry, depression and hopelessness. Our children need to see us live out what we believe. They learn more from our example than anything else. We may think that they are too young to understand, but they will be able to see it if we live out a lifestyle based on truth rather than feelings.

As a father, I try to be a storyteller; I tell stories of bad circumstances and how God has used those events in my life for good. I tell about my mistakes and how I’ve learned from them. My goal is to trust my values and my beliefs. I’m not in the center, and the world doesn’t revolve around me.

I believe good men view problems as an opportunity to model an appropriate mindset for everyone around them. Knowing that God is the waymaker and that he can use problems for good, our values need to be rock solid, providing a foundation that can be relied upon.

When men try to consume all the stress of the future, it is an overwhelming task, and we’ve already lost. I try and focus on giving my all for the next moment and submit to truth in making the next best choice. Even if I fail, I try to praise the Lord for his faithfulness and forgiveness and use that gratitude and love to move forward with energy.

My best advice to other men is know that even your failures can result in a good outcome if you trust the truth. I often tell myself, ‘Let’s just get a little better every day and keep our mind right by focusing on our foundation of truth, receiving that grace with gratitude. Knowing that, we can’t lose.’”

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RUSH Husband to Jessica Father to JP, Evan, Ethan, David, Moses and Abraham


Director of Programming, Cumulus Media

Radio station Power 92, KOKY and Praise FM

Husband to Freddie

we are all we have

“My father was my role model, a faithful man who was not perfect. He taught me we all fall down — it’s what you do when you get up that matters. He taught me that I was going to make mistakes in life but to never give up and always trust in God. What I tell young men and boys today is you’re not the first and you will not be the last to go through struggles in life. The main thing is to understand that struggles don’t last forever. You have to keep your head up on the positives and never ever quit.

I also tell them when you believe in God, you have a roadmap to go by. It’s called the Bible. Read it. God can answer any question that you have, and sometimes you have to go on faith, not by sight. God tells us that he will provide for us, and sometimes he tells us to do things we can’t see, and that’s when we have to move on faith.

Men, always remember one of the most important things you can do is spend quality time with your family. One of the biggest mistakes a man can make is in setting his priorities. It’s actually really simple: God is first, family is second and then everything else. Life goes by so fast you don’t want to miss the special things, and that’s quality time with family.

Father to Audra, David, Joseph, Necy, Sean, Rica, Monica and Andrew

I would always tell my sons, there’s some things in life that we can’t change. You will always be my son. I will always be your father. No matter what happens to me or what happens to you, nothing can change that. As I have said on the air many times, ‘Family — we’re all we’ve got.’”

no greater love

“Fathers, you have to ask yourselves what it is you want for your sons. You have to be present to show him how a man is to act. It is not automatic. You have to show him what true love is. A selfish love seeks only possessions, a vindictive love seeks harm against another, and an insecure love is afraid of what others think. True love shows care and compassion for others, always ready to sacrifice for the good of the other, seeking nothing for itself.

All of this must be taught in the boy’s first community — the family. Always, as a father, you must not be afraid to say ‘I love you.’ Action, showing love, is needed, but making it vocal is also important.

The world does not have a moral guide anymore. No more does our society stress respect for life, fairness, trust and authority — all needed for the growth of a community. There is no secret to breaking through the background formed by society, though I wish there were. Everyone is different, and to cut through all this noise is a difficult task for the young.

To work against the lack of moral environment of the culture and to fight the idea of entitlement, you cannot be your son’s friend. He has enough friends. You are the parent. You are in charge. His brain is not developed enough to make good decisions, and so it is your duty to make them for him. You will have to monitor his companions, social media and other activities. He will not agree with your decisions, but do not bother to explain them. He would not understand, and it saves you the frustration of the ‘why’ questions.

Never let him make you question your decisions as a parent, and do not lose faith in yourself as a parent. Never be afraid to use ‘Because I said so’ and ‘No.’ Often, ‘no’ can be a complete sentence.”


Rector, Catholic High School for Boys

Chaplain, Mount St. Mary Academy

Father figure to thousands


“In my opinion, what makes a ‘good man’ is a man who is willing and ready to step up to the plate when it’s time to take care of his family, unselfishly putting aside his own wants and needs to provide for others.

Being a godly man is not only important to our households, but essential and required. God made man to be the protector, the provider, and the role model to our wives and our babies. We serve in our communities to help others when possible, even if it is just lending an ear to listen. I’d like to think I’ve helped other men who are down on their luck make better choices.

I’d also tell men out there that while we are looked at to be strong and to handle anything, we also have times that we are tired, and we fail. In my experience, it takes having a good woman at your side for everything, good times (birthdays, holidays, job promotion), bad times (deaths, not enough money for bills, loss of job) and scary times (storms, car breakdowns, sick kids). It is especially important during times when a man’s faith is tested by the past, his old friends and his old habits. Find one who loves you unconditionally, being your biggest supporter through it all, and you’ll find you can handle anything in life.

I honestly do not know where I would be without God and my wife by my side.”


Apprentice electrician from Clinton Husband to Ronnie Father to Haddie, Beau and Cash Clean and sober since 2020

know real wealth

“Men are depicted in many negative ways in our society, and the value of men has been watered down. When I talk to high school boys, I teach them about five pillars that make up a ‘real man.’ They are to be protectors, providers, leaders, responsible and pursuers of the Lord.

Something I would tell dads is wanting to be your kid’s best friend is not the priority. Kids are not to be an equal to their parent. When they are given that authority, it puts them in a position of taking on adult conversations and relationships. Kids should be allowed to be kids. We adults are to be the ones who love them and discipline them. Boundaries are important. Your children look to you to know where the boundaries and expectations are, and they need you to be consistent and confident in your role to show them.

We are privileged as men to provide for our families. Providing for them, however, doesn’t mean just financial provision; it means providing an atmosphere for our wives to flourish and where our kids can thrive and realize there is more to life than material success. Kids will remember how involved their dads were when they showed up for activities, the conversations they’ve had and every time they were truly engaged at home.

To all husbands and fathers, remember: Being physically present doesn’t necessarily mean you’re in tune with the heartbeat of your family. Do you know what your wife’s day looked like today and how she feels? Do you know what your kids’ hopes and dreams are and what pressures they are facing? It’s so important that we set aside time for our families. Turn off the phones, TVs, computers — all the distractions. Listen, talk, share, play and laugh with your family. They can’t be an afterthought.”


Associate Pastor, New Life Church Greater Little Rock, Ambassador for Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Upshaw Ministries

Husband to Leslie

Father to Casey, Courtney, RP, Jhordan, Cally, Alexia and Faith

Grandfather to Kingston, James, Roman and Felix

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walk the line


be someone to emulate

“If neighborhoods and communities are to thrive, families need men — and women — of honor, value and ethics. I have had very strong male role models, two of whom are deceased and one who is still leading me, even at my age.

My stepfather, Leo, came into my life when I was only 2 years old. He was a steadfast, hard-working man who honestly wanted to give us a better life. I learned a lot just by watching how he carried himself. Archie Davis came into my life at age 10. He was the pastor of the church I attended. It wasn’t until I was older that I realized how he took me under his wing. He was my role model. Currently, James Gentry is my role model and my confidante.

To a young man who is struggling, I’d say search hard and long, if need be, to find a positive role model, confidante, and someone who will put your best interest and wellbeing first and foremost. You do not have to be a product of your environment if it is negative. Find someone who can teach you how to be the young man who can navigate life’s circumstances.

Fathers are in a prime position to be role models, but unfortunately, too many fathers are absent from their children’s lives. Absent fathers must do better; it is critical to the development of youth as they grow physically, mentally and emotionally for both boys and girls. Boys will try to act tough and pretend that it doesn’t matter, but absent fathers speak volumes when they are not in the lives of their children.

Life is a gift. Do not allow minor setbacks to become permanent. Wake up every morning with the mindset of overcoming, determined to remain a man of integrity at all times.”

Youth Center Manager, Jacksonville Parks and Recreation/Martin Street Youth Center

Husband to Antionette

Father to DeAndre and Amika

Guardian to Aniyah

above all, hard work

“My philosophy on life centers on working hard and trying to do your best all of the time. I am a person who likes to work and finds great satisfaction in a job well done. I have tried to pass this on to my sons because there’s no substitute for hard work. There are a lot of ways for a man to be involved and productive; you sometimes just have to look a little bit.

An insight I developed as a father that I would pass on is at some point, you must walk that line between leading, setting boundaries and giving the advice they need while sometimes being the cheerleader they want. I want my kids to love me, but I demand their respect. As we established the latter, we have excelled in the former, and it is a two-way street, especially as they have become adults. When I told them no — and I didn’t say it unless I felt it was the right thing on something that mattered — I was consistent in sticking to it.

This can be complicated in families of divorce. I have seen contentious splits, and I find that when parents are trying to win in one way or another, it is usually the kids who are losing. Fortunately for me, my ex-wife and I have worked well together as a team in raising two outstanding young men. I think that is critical.

Finally, I would tell any man to be thankful for what you have earned and accomplished, but always keep it in perspective. I try to adhere to a piece of advice I got early in my TV career from my former boss, Bob Steel: ‘Stay humble, and you won’t stumble.’ I spent most of my childhood trying to make my parents proud of me, and I will spend all my adulthood working to make my kids proud of me.”


walk the walk

“The strong role models in my life at 6 years old were my dad, Thessalonia Harris, together with my mother, Juanita Harris, my uncle, Curtis “Bear” Johnson, and dad’s grandmother, Henrietta Harris. I needed their strong common-sense discipline.

My dad was not educated. He stressed and applied common sense to everything in life. Values and ethics were a must in our house. When I did something wrong, they each had their own ways of handing out consequences. My mother would use psych behavior on me. She wouldn’t whip me — she would tell me, ‘I will get to you later.’ Waiting to get whipped had a mental effect on me, knowing I had disappointed her. My dad did not talk when I did something wrong; he whipped my ass. These early life lessons helped me understand cheating, lying, manipulation and stealing were not tolerated, and it’s a lesson I have never forgotten.

None of us are perfect, and I use my life, full of experiences from my addiction, to guide others. An addict needs to see and feel life as a person of sobriety to gain freedom from their devil. I always tell them, look at me. I was in your position once. Follow my footprints. You have to surrender to yourself, finding who you really are.

I have no children of my own. I was fortunate to raise my two nephews from their birth. My brother-in-law, their father, was a soldier in Vietnam. He wasn’t able to raise them; he took his own life. To any man whose father hasn’t been in their life, I’d I tell them to build self-discipline inside themselves.

To any father out there who is struggling to connect with his kids, don’t try to patch up a relationship. Build a new foundation one layer at a time. Go to events together. Share a meal together. Attend church. Most importantly, tell each other you love each other.”

Uncle and father figure to Rodney Harris and Steven Warren

forge a legacy

“My advice to any married man is being a good husband does not happen overnight. My wife and I have learned to take each other for who we are and accept we’re not perfect.

Any man seeking to become his best should also remember actions speak louder than words. My father owned a menswear business that took enormous work ethic. He worked six days a week at the store and, on Sundays, devoted some time to paperwork at home. He still managed to spend time with his family and was always there for after-school events. He was completely dedicated to providing us a great childhood filled with wonderful, very funny memories.

Ryan Vaughan, meteorologist at KAIT in Jonesboro, has influenced me as a father since I first met him back in 2008. He has mastered the balance of work and family time. His devotion to his family is extremely strong, he’s heavily involved in his community, and he is one of the best meteorologists I know. That’s what I want my kids to see in me.

It comes down to this, guys: When the time comes, how do you want to be remembered? When we’re on our deathbed, those gathered won’t be talking about career and work accomplishments. They will remember you for the impact you made on their lives and this world. Make sure they are positive.

I have a letter my maternal grandfather wrote, passed down through the family. It contains wisdom that any man today can appreciate. He wrote, “For the last 30 years, I have lived by two philosophies which helped me tremendously to enjoy life. I wish my children, grandchildren and their children would live by the same philosophies because I want them to be happy. No. 1, a man is as big as the things that annoy him. No. 2, take people the way they are, not the way you want them to be.”

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An Ounce of Prevention


Rob Byford is one of the lucky ones, not only as a successful serial entrepreneur but as a man who has steered clear of prostate problems. His step-grandfather, however, was not so fortunate and died of prostate cancer when Byford was in high school.

“He was a farmer, and he got diagnosed with prostate cancer and he passed away nine months later,” Byford said. “He’s a prime example of someone who had the means and the resources to drive to Memphis to get a checkup, but he just didn’t, you know? Outta sight, outta mind.”

Years later, Byford’s grandfather’s death provides a warning for Byford to tend to his own health, and his community-mindedness has led him to sound the same alarm for other men. Byford, who sits on the board for the Arkansas Urology Foundation, is also chairman of the second annual AUSome fundraiser slated for fall. Money raised by the event will support the foundation, which funds various initiatives throughout the year to promote men’s health statewide.

Byford said the opportunity to work on behalf of his fellow men in Arkansas is gratifying, knowing the work of the foundation in specific and Arkansas Urology in general saves lives.

“I think it’s important that as men we quit sweeping things under the rug and act like it’s not there,” he said. “We owe it to ourselves, our communities and our children to take things seriously, face them head-on and take care of ourselves.”

Prostate cancer is a true good-news, bad-news health topic. The second most prevalent cancer and the second leading cause of cancer deaths in men behind skin cancer and lung cancer, respectively, prostate cancer remains one of the most survivable when caught early. In fact, the death rate due to the disease dropped by half from 1993 to 2013, the American Society of Clinical Oncology states, and continued to drop about half a percent annually between 2016 and 2020. That suggests death rates have slowed to only those men being diagnosed in the advanced stages of the disease, the rest being caught early and successfully treated. The American Cancer Society estimates there are about 3.3 million prostate cancer survivors currently in the U.S.

The reduced death rate is proof positive that public awareness and education efforts that have been in place for decades appear to have finally turned a corner and are paying off. After a period of steep decline from 2007 to 2014 due to shifting screening guidelines, incidence rates have climbed about 3 percent annually thanks to stepped-up prostate-specific antigen testing. That is a good sign because the combination of higher incidence and lower mortality is further evidence that more men are getting screened

when they should, diagnosed when the disease is at its most vulnerable and giving treatment options a fighting chance to work.

In Arkansas, the news surrounding prostate cancer is better than it has been in decades. The Natural State tied with Florida for the fourth-lowest age-adjusted prostate cancer rate with 81.5 cases per 100,000 men, according to the latest available annual statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For the fiveyear period between 2016 and 2020, Arkansas’ prostate cancer incidence was slightly higher than the national average at 111.3 cases per 100,000 individuals compared to 111 cases nationally, the National Cancer Institute states. During that time window, the state’s cases remained stable while incidence rose across the U.S.

The CI reported 26 Arkansas counties saw decreases in the incidence of prostate cancer, six saw increases, and the rest remained stable over the five-year window. Two counties did not report due to privacy issues related to the low number of cases. Scott County had the lowest incidence of prostate cancer during that time at 40 cases per 100,000 individuals, followed

78 men’s health

by Miller (56), Sevier (62), Johnson (66) and Hempstead counties (72). Clark County registered the highest number of cases, 171 per 100,000 men, followed by Desha (163), Jefferson (153), Lee (152) and Chicot counties (150).

The positive trendlines for prostate cancer in Arkansas can in part be traced to public education and access initiatives of the kind undertaken by the Arkansas Urology Foundation. The nonprofit organization has proven adept at raising the funds to carry out its mission, having taken in more than $1 million over the four years of its existence. Chris Shenep, foundation director, said the funds go toward helping educate men about the benefits of early detection, as well as making screenings available free of charge.

“The AU Foundation connects Arkansans of all ages to comprehensive health care and wellness through education, collaboration and advocacy, inspiring and empowering all men and women to live longer, healthier and happier lives,” he said. “We raise funds and heighten awareness for the programs and services we provide across Arkansas. Priorities of the AU Foundation include free prostate cancer screenings at events such as Kickoff to Men’s Health in the fall, free first-time men’s health screenings, and learning opportunities for fellow urologists and referring physicians.”

On the other side of education and prevention lies Arkansas Urology’s clinical practice, one of the most acclaimed cancer centers of its kind in the region if not the country. Dr. Jeff Marotte, AU physician president, who has practiced urology in Conway since 2005, said the Little Rock-based health care organization and its network of clinics enjoy access to some of the most cutting-edge diagnostic and treatment options available.

“Our prostate cancer treatment includes, specifically, PMSA PET scans,” he said. “These scans are specifically for detecting not only advanced prostate cancer, but prostate cancer that can be caught in its earlier stage. We are finding that we can diagnose cancers a lot earlier now and implement therapy sooner, rather than when they’re at high risk for spreading.

“As with anything in medicine, the sooner you get the therapy, when there’s less burden of disease, typically the better the outcome. We’ve invested a lot in our PMSA program and our prostate cancer program, and we’ve had a lot of success to show for it.”

Marotte also lauded AU’s research division as another unique feature of the practice. The Arkansas Prostate Cancer Center initiated a few years ago conducts clinical trials in various areas of urology.

“We have built a great team with physicians, with research coordinators, with a nurse practitioner,” he said. “We have studied new immunotherapies that show great promise for improving the cancer cure rates for bladder cancer, and we do a lot of genetic studying for prostate cancer.”

Dr. Jonathan Henderson, AU physician, is directly involved in clinical trials. He said the center usually has between 12 and 15 trials actively recruiting and another 20 collecting data at any given time.

“At Arkansas Urology, our research department has obtained international recognition,” he said. “We conduct clinical trials to develop and bring to patients the latest

medications and medical technologies. Because of the results we have accomplished, companies and researchers across the globe seek us out whenever new urologic techniques are being identified.”

To date, the center has participated in about 600 trials. Some of the research the organization is currently involved in includes gene therapy and immunotherapy to treat bladder cancer at various stages — the latter therapy could replace chemotherapy — and two studies of immunotherapy in treating prostate cancer. In addition, the center is studying new techniques for destroying kidney stones, new devices to address enlarged prostate symptoms in a minimally invasive way and new drug delivery methods that place small devices in a bladder to release medicine directly where it is needed.

“The trials we have participated in have brought many therapies to market and played a role in both quality of life, as well as length of life and level of health to not just Arkansans, but the citizens of the world,” Henderson said. “It is a true passion and calling, this clinical research. We are driven because we see the lives we touch but moreover because we see the ripple effect. One Arkansas Urology patient participating in a trial will touch thousands of more lives over the years to come. We are committed to provide ongoing, world-renowned clinical trials in every aspect of urologic health now and in the future.”

For all of the progress that has been and is being made, there are still stiff challenges when it comes to normalizing men’s overall regard for their health and wellness. As part of an educational campaign for men’s health, The Cleveland Clinic surveyed more than 500 American males ages 18 to 70 about their use of health care resources. It found only 3 out of 5 men get annual physicals, more than 40 percent of men only go to the doctor when they think they have a serious medical condition, and more than half of men said their health was not something they talk about. That despite the fact that 1 in 8 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in his lifetime, most commonly starting in a man’s 50s.

Given these facts, Marotte said in the fight against prostate cancer, some of the most significant hurdles to get over are societal.

“One of the biggest goals we have at Arkansas Urology is improving access to care, and part of that is educating patients and getting the word out to men about being more engaged and proactive with their health,” he said. “There are a lot of patients who just don’t see doctors, whether it’s because of living in a rural area that has really poor access or it’s distance or education or socioeconomic status or cultural differences. Men traditionally don’t like coming to see doctors, and as a result, I still see men coming in, whether they’re 50 years old or 90 years old, who are only coming in here because their wives made them come.

“In that sense, the goal is the same as it ever was; to have men come in sooner and address the problem sooner because that’s when we have higher cure rates, higher success rates. That’s what we’re really trying to work on right now.”


• National Men’s Health Month: June

• Second annual AUSome event Nov. 21, Rusty Tractor Vineyards, Little Rock

Learn more

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at arkansasurology.com
Dr. Jeff Marotte Dr. Jonathan Henderson


Join countless other men celebrating Men’s Health Month and schedule a screening for you or a man in your life. As the state’s leader in men’s health and urology, Arkansas Urology proudly offers FREE health screenings* at its Men’s Health Clinic. Visit www.arkansasurology.com to learn more.

*To qualify for the free screening, men must not be a current Arkansas Urology patient, not have been referred by another physician, not have a current diagnosis of low T and/or not have been seen at AU for at least 3 years.






Since 1983, The BridgeWay has provided behavioral healthcare services to our surrounding communities. Our programs are designed to give each patient individualized care to help manage their symptoms, resolve problems, recognize life stressors and effectively cope with their condition. Our programs can include:

Meeting the needs of our community


Meeting the needs of our community

women by prov iding a ca r ing, suppor t ive, st r uctu red env iron ment to help add ress past exper iences a nd

Meeting the needs of our community women by prov iding a ca r ing, suppor t ive, st r uctu red env iron ment to help add ress past exper iences a nd

women by prov iding a ca r ing, suppor t ive, st r uctu red env iron ment to help add ress past exper iences a nd

Our programs can include:

• Medical and psychological evaluation

• Individualized treatment plan

• 24-hour nursing care

• Medication management and education (as needed)

• Structured daily clinical program

• Group and family therapy

• Scheduled visitation

We offer a va r iet y of featu res specia lly designed w it h women in m ind Treat ment ca n include a r t, music, a romat herapy, jou r na ling a nd yoga The indiv idua lized t reat ment pla n ca n include assessment, stabilizat ion, focused t reat ment inter vent ions (t rauma-infor med ca re a nd solut ion-focused t herapy) a nd help w it h establishing lin ks to outside com mun it y resou rces so

We offer a va r iet y of featu res specia lly designed w it h women in m ind Treat ment ca n include a r t, music, a romat herapy, jou r na ling a nd yoga The indiv idua lized t reat ment pla n ca n include assessment, stabilizat ion, focused t reat ment inter vent ions (t rauma-infor med ca re a nd solut ion-focused t herapy) a nd help w it h establishing lin ks to outside com mun it y resou rces so

• Recreational therapy

• Coping and life-skill training

We offer a va r iet y of featu res specia lly designed w it h women in m ind Treat ment ca n include a r t, music, a romat herapy, jou r na ling a nd yoga The indiv idua lized t reat ment pla n ca n include assessment, stabilizat ion, focused t reat ment inter vent ions (t rauma-infor med ca re a nd solut ion-focused t herapy) a nd help w it h establishing lin ks to outside com mun it y resou rces so

• Discharge planning

We can help treat:

We can help treat:

• Acute menta l hea lt h issues, including mood a nd a n x iet y disorders

We can help treat:

• Acute menta l hea lt h issues, including mood a nd a n x iet y disorders

• Acute menta l hea lt h issues, including mood a nd a n x iet y disorders

• Trauma (sexua l, physica l a nd emot iona l abuse)

• Trauma (sexua l, physica l a nd emot iona l abuse)

Learn more at thebridgeway.com.

• Low self-esteem a nd body image

• Trauma (sexua l, physica l a nd emot iona l abuse)

• Relat ionship issues

• Low self-esteem a nd body image

• Low self-esteem a nd body image

• Relat ionship issues

• Relat ionship issues

• Postpa r tum depression


• Postpa r tum depression

• Borderline persona lit y disorder


• Self-ha r m

• Postpa r tum depression


• Borderline persona lit y disorder

• Borderline persona lit y disorder

• Self-ha r m

• Self-ha r m

W e c an b e th e answ er you have b ee n look ing fo r. If you o r som eone you k no w n eeds help , we ar e her e Call 800-245-0011 tod ay o r v is it thebridgeway.com.

W e c an b e th e answ er you have b ee n look ing fo r If you o r som eone you k no w n eeds help , we ar e her e. Call 800-245-0011 tod ay o r v is it thebridgeway.com

W e c an b e th e answ er you have b ee n look ing fo r. If you o r som eone you k no w n eeds help , we ar e her e Call 800-245-0011 tod ay o r v is it thebridgeway.com.

80 Physicians are on the medical staff of The BridgeWay, but, with limited exceptions, are independent practitioners who are not employees or agents of The BridgeWay. The facility shall not be liable for actions or treatments provided by physicians. For language assistance, disability accommodations and the nondiscrimination notice, visit our website.231468-1588 6/23
21 Bridgeway Road • North Little Rock, AR 72113 800-245-0011 or 800-274-3439 • thebridgeway.com We are here for you. Learn more at thebridgeway.com.
• Individualized treatment plan • 24-hour nursing care • Medication management and education (as needed) • Structured daily clinical program • Group and family therapy • Scheduled visitation • Recreational therapy
Coping and life-skill training
Discharge planning Physicians are on the medical staff of The BridgeWay, but, with limited exceptions, are independent practitioners who are not employees or agents of The BridgeWay. The facility shall not be liable for actions or treatments provided by physicians. For language assistance, disability accommodations and the nondiscrimination notice, visit our website.231468-1588 6/23 21 Bridgeway Road • North Little Rock, AR 72113 800-245-0011 or 800-274-3439 • thebridgeway.com
and psychological evaluation
We are
life stressors
services to our surrounding communities. Our programs are designed to give each
individualized care to help manage their symptoms, resolve problems, recognize
and effectively cope with their condition.
thebridgeway com
thebridgeway com
(501) 219-8900 | arkansasurology.com
Thank you to the thousands of readers who nominated Conway Regional as AY’s Best in multiple categories: Best Hospital Best Place to Have a Baby Best Overall Company Best Place to Work Our team is also proud to be voted AY’s Best: In-Home Care – Conway Regional Home Health Radiology - Conway Regional Imaging Center AY’s Best Rehab Hospital On-site Physician • Certified Rehab RNs Physical Therapy • Occupational Therapy Speech Therapy • Average Stay 10-14 Days 501-932-3558

Men’s Health

• Men have a life expectancy 4.4 years shorter than women on average.

• The last 9 to 11 years of the average man’s life are spent in poor health, which is mostly preventable through small lifestyle changes.

• The top three reasons for reduced lifespan in men are cardiovascular disease, suicide and motor vehicle accidents.

• 70% of developmental and learning difficulties affect boys.

• Men are more likely to die from heart disease than women and at earlier ages.

• Men have an increased risk of dying from diabetes.

• Men make up 56% of the workforce, yet 94% of all workforce fatalities are men.

• 80% of spinal cord injuries occur in young men.

• Men are at significantly higher risk of dying from liver disease.

• Globally, alcohol kills almost six times as many men as women.

• Only 30% of a man’s overall health is determined by genetics. The rest is directly caused or impacted by lifestyle and behaviors.

• Inactive men are 60% more likely to suffer from depression than those who are active.


Adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep; men who achieve that level of sleep are about 60% less likely to die of a heart attack than those who sleep five hours or less.

Insufficient sleep is associated with a number of chronic diseases, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity and depression.


Adults need at least 2.5 hours of moderateintensity aerobic activity every week. Men who climb 50 stairs or walk 5 city blocks may lower their risk of heart attack by 25%.

Spread jogging or gym activity out during the week, breaking it into smaller amounts of time, rather than doing it all in one day.


Getting enough water every day is important for health.

Water helps keep body temperature normal, lubricates and cushions joints, protects the spinal cord and other sensitive tissues, and gets rid of wastes through urination, perspiration, and bowel movements. Water also helps control calories.



See a doctor or nurse practitioner for regular checkups.

Certain diseases and conditions may not have symptoms, so checkups help identify issues early or before they become a problem. Pay attention to signs and symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath, excessive thirst and problems with urination.


The best way to manage stress during hard times is through self-care.

Avoid drugs and alcohol. Stay connected and seek help. Stay active.


It is never too late to quit smoking.

Quitting smoking has immediate and long-term benefits. It improves health and lowers the risk of heart disease, cancer, lung disease and other smoking-related illnesses.


Getting enough nutrition is crucial. Getting five to seven servings of fruit and vegetables is as simple as a glass of orange juice, one potato, one big carrot half an avocado and a pear.

Focus on nutrients rather than calories. Fruits and vegetables have many vitamins and minerals that may help protect against chronic diseases.


Participate in FUN activities every day.

Hiking, biking, sports, relaxing, listening to music, and seeing friends and family can help men look forward to each and every day.


Americans’ drinking skyrocketed during the COVID-19 pandemic and has yet to subside for many.

Men who consume 4 to 10 drinks per week have a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Drinking more than 10 drinks per week almost doubles the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.


• In 2020, more than 7 million men experienced major depressive disorder.

• Men were almost four times as likely to die by suicide than women in 2020.

• Men make up 25% of individuals suffering from anorexia and from bulimia.

• Fewer than 4 in 10 adult men in the U.S. seek treatment for mental health issues compared to more than half of women.

• About 3 million men suffer from a panic disorder or some type of phobia.

• Roughly 20% of men will develop a substance abuse problem in their lifetimes.

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SOURCES: Cooper University Health Care, Sonic HealthPlus.com, Canadian Men’s Health Foundation, National Alliance on Mental Illness


Mental health communities offer more understanding and compassion for men who are struggling with issues

In American culture, there are many idioms by which men are defined and conditioned, most of them extolling the virtues of the rugged individualist, the steely he-man who feels no pain and suffers no weaknesses. U.S. culture is packed with examples of this ideotype in action, from cowboys to crime fighters to superheroes in TV and film, not to mention the tough-guy attributes that come from the world of sports. As with any stereotype, reality hardly squares with such crafted images, and that is particularly true when it comes to mental health. Statistics show men are just as predisposed to common mental health issues as women and, in some cases, much more so. Yet many still suffer in silence due to fear of being stigmatized over failing to tough things out and be the bullet-proof, self-reliant breadwinner and all-around superhero many men are socialized to regard as ideal.

Consider: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics show men represent 80 percent of suicides annually in the U.S. and are more than 3.5 times more likely to die by suicide than women. Mental Health America reported that more than 6 million men experience symptoms of depression annually and state that the number is likely egregiously underreported. Men lead their female counterparts in rates

84 men’s heath
The Renewal Ranch in Houston, Arkansas, is one place men can go for help overcoming addiction.

of substance use disorder, as well as various addictions, including gambling, pornography and video games.

Many men never seek help for their problems, and those who do often wait until they hit rock bottom. Paul Holderfield Jr., pastor of Friendly Chapel Church of the Nazarene in North Little Rock, said he has seen the scenario time and again. Holderfield’s church runs a small recovery program for members and their loved ones, but his experience with addiction goes back much further to his own upbringing.

Coming from a long line of “drunkards,” he said, his father finally “broke the chains” when he kicked his drinking habits. Holderfield and his siblings never touched the stuff.

“It changed the course of my family,” he said.

Holderfield’s church program largely serves church members and their loved ones at no cost. The last class had 10 men and 10 women, and the next class, which starts in August, will last four months. Holderfield said the biggest part of the program are Sunday morning services, and he considers faith the ultimate weapon in the battle against substance abuse.

He said the ministry is currently “maxed out” due to a combination of high demand and the high cost of other treatment programs, which has led other nonprofits to enter the field in a big way. The average cost for a person to go through a recovery program in the state is $53,000 for an average of 28 days, said James Loy, executive director of Renewal Ranch in Houston, Arkansas. Renewal Ranch’s recovery curriculum lasts one year and is free to patients.

The ranch started in 2011 with a class of eight men and has grown to over 70 men and their families. By the end of the year, Loy hopes to be able to facilitate having 100 men at once. The ranch employs 30 fulltime staff members, 11 of whom are graduates of the program.

“I would describe our program as an intense discipleship program,” he said, adding that participants undergo 600 hours of biblical teaching and 300 hours of community service.

The process has its wins; more than 400 men have graduated from the ranch to date, and many have moved on to become pastors, college graduates, policemen and business owners. The group created an endowment two years ago to provide scholarships for alumni who decide to go on to pursue a degree.

Places like Renewal Ranch teach critical skills for staving off temptations. Those skills include personal accountability, building a community of support, asking for help, knowing limits and situational awareness. Loy said the general success rate of addiction recovery is 4 to 5 percent, while his program tracks at about 60 percent of graduates staying clean and sober a year out.

“What we’re looking for is a little brokenness, a little honesty, transparency and definitely a willingness to change the direction of their lives,” he said. “Addiction is the height of selfish, self-centered behavior. … Addiction leads you to a place where I do what I want when I want and how I want. They’re coming from a very undisciplined life, and we’re trying to get them to lead a disciplined life.”

He said one primary differentiator is not having a program cost, which allows patients to focus solely on recovery without worrying about paying for it. That is important because financial stressors can often set back progress. None of that pressure makes it into the ranch, where all participants’ needs are met, from food and materials to teachers and more.

Most of the curriculum at Renewal Ranch focuses on substance abuse, but there are other snares for men to fall into, especially during the age of the internet. The Society for the Advancement of Sexual Health estimates between 3 to 5 percent of all Americans can be classified as being addicted to sex, and a Kinsey Institute survey reported 9 percent of porn viewers said they tried unsuccessfully to stop consumption.

“[Porn] is rampant all throughout society,” said Blake Polston, executive director of M18 Recovery in Little Rock.

M18 works alongside New Life Church in Little Rock and is divided into two parts, M18 Men and M18 Women, which is run by Polston’s wife, Ashley. In addition to addiction, Polston’s program also teaches about lust and pornography, connecting those having difficulty with these vices to Polston’s counterparts at NLC.

“As a pastor, my best source is the Bible,” said Jerry Biuso, pastor at New Life Church, who quoted the fifth chapter of the book of Matthew:

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ but I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell, and if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.”

M18 is 4 1/2 years old and has grown from four beds to 34 over time. The free program has the capacity for 12 men in phase 1, 12 men in phase 2, six women in phase 1 and six women in phase 2. Phase 1 lasts four months, and completers are given the option of entering phase 2, which is the organization’s aftercare phase and can last indefinitely.

Polston said in addition to men being more likely

The ranch not only helps men overcome addictions, but it also provides aftercare that can help them stay sober in the long run.

aymag.com 85
Paul Holderfield Jr. and his wife, Cathy
“What we see at Renewal Ranch is addiction doesn’t discriminate. Whether you’re rich, poor, Black, white, Hispanic — whatever ethnic or socio-economic background that you come from, what addiction touches, it destroys.”
— James Loy, executive director of Renewal Ranch

an in-patient recovery facility in the heart of Little Rock. They desired something that was not on an island and gave patients the opportunity to do right or wrong every single day, he added.

One important thing successful programs have in common is the understanding that addiction can reach anyone anywhere. Loy said having an open door means welcoming individuals from all neighborhoods and all points on the socioeconomic scale with the same love and compassion.

to engage in addictive behaviors than women, there are also general differences in each gender’s approach to getting help. With drugs and alcohol, for example, men heading towards rock bottom will often wind up homeless, while women are more likely to enter into toxic, enabling relationships with men just to avoid living on the streets. Those behavior trends apply even if there are children involved; men will often leave their kids in the care of others, while women usually opt to stay with their kids, even if it means not seeking treatment.

After recovery, the disparities continue because men can find basic jobs and roommates while they work to land on their feet. Women who have gotten clean face greater challenges, such as landing a decent job and finding suitable housing for themselves and their children.

M18 takes a page from John 3:16 Ministries near Batesville, a treatment program from which Polston graduated. Before leading his ministry, Polston was arrested for drug manufacturing when he lived in a trailer on his family’s land in northeast Arkansas. Spending 38 days in county jail, he said he thanked the drug task force agent for arresting him, giving his life to Jesus that day in handcuffs.

Bryan Tuggle, founder and director of John 3:16, helped Polston get out of jail and into the program. The two shared more than a profession: Tuggle was Polston’s stepfather years prior, when Tuggle was suffering from his own bout with addiction. Polston got clean and went on to spend 2 1/2 years at the facility.

Polston met his wife at a youth detention facility in Poplar Bluff, Missouri, where they were both ministering to incarcerated teens. The couple were later hired as the recovery pastors at New Life Church in Conway, where, Polston said, they eventually felt led to start

“What we see at Renewal Ranch is addiction doesn’t discriminate,” Loy said. “Whether you’re rich, poor, Black, white, Hispanic — whatever ethnic or socio-economic background that you come from, what addiction touches, it destroys.”

Loy said he knows what those in the program are going through, having waged his own battle with alcohol and drugs. After losing his father at age 8 and watching his mother die of cancer while he was in high school, he turned to drinking after his senior year of football. Drinking turned to marijuana, which turned to cocaine, meth and pills.

“Ten years later, I’m addicted to a multitude of substances, and I’m in bondage,” he said. “The journey of how I got there was a slow progression of going deeper and deeper into the depths of addiction.”

Loy said some of the common pitfalls he sees today involve gateway drugs, such as people using marijuana before experimenting with harder drugs. Another slippery slope, he said, is when men are prescribed pain pills for a sports- or work-related injury, which can quickly lead to dependency and expand into opioid abuse, including the use of heroin and fentanyl.

“We’re seeing a lot of that currently,” Loy said. “It’s not what’s in the gun cabinet; it’s what’s in the pill cabinet at home. They have access to that, and it’s really damaging.”

Experts have found the same to be true with any addiction.

“Pornography is the most prominent form of unwanted sexual behavior, infiltrating every aspect of the places we live, work and worship,” wrote author Jay Stringer in his book Unwanted: How Sexual Brokenness Reveals Our Way to Healing.

Stringer wrote that porn, a $97 billion industry that comprises 35 percent of all online downloads, doubles a couple’s likelihood of divorce. As with substance abuse, Loy said the dangers of “small concessions” often lead down the path to dependency.

“What’s going in the eye gates, and what are you listening to?” he said. “If you put junk in, you’re going to get junk out.”

Proper support is a big component for men dealing with any addiction — or even avoiding such behaviors altogether — as the oft-used “iron sharpens iron” motto preaches. By that same token, the wrong circle can also bring a man back down. After finding recovery, many men are emboldened to return to their old friends and help them see the light. That is extremely dangerous because it can be hard to know if temptation still has a hold, Polston said, adding that he knows the lesson all too well.

A friend of his had been sober for three years after graduating from Renewal Ranch. He was planning an intervention for another man, which Polston advised he should not do alone. Later that night, Polston received a call from his friend’s wife, who told him Polston’s friend had died. He was offered drugs and shot up in a Walgreens parking lot, where he overdosed with his children in the backseat, Polston said.

“He had no idea the magnitude or the gravity that that substance still had on his life,” said Polston. “He had no clue.”

For help, call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration national helpline at 800-662-4357 or the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988. If someone has an overdose, don’t run; call 911.

aymag.com 87 FRIENDLY CHAPEL Church of the Nazarene 116 S Pine St, North Little Rock info@friendlychapel.org // (501) 371-0912 BRO. PAUL HOLDERFIELD, JR. - SENIOR PASTOR Hand in Hand LOVING & SERVING JOIN US LIVE EVERY SUNDAY - 11AM & WEDNESDAY - 6:30PM

A NEW PATH to health

Beyond Wellness part of a medical revolution

DWAIN HEBDA // Photos provided
men’s health

When Ashley Huneycutt talks health and wellness, people listen. As CEO and co-founder of Beyond Wellness, hers has been a long journey of awakening to the interplay between functional medicine and cutting-edge breakthrough therapies.

“My sisters and I have always been interested in alternative, more holistic approaches to wellness, and over the years, we have searched that out,” she said. “Because we’ve always had a passion for this personally, we knew how hard it was to find resources in Arkansas. There just wasn’t a lot out there. It became a dream of ours to put a business together with it.”

Convinced of the powerful efficacy of alternative viewpoints on health and well-being, Beyond Wellness opened its first clinic in Hot Springs Village in 2022 and followed that up with its Little Rock clinic last year. Described by its founders as “a total health destination that elevates the traditional wellness experience” and offers an alternative to individuals seeking “a custom and holistic lifestyle,” the company and its groundbreaking patient-centered approach attracted Christa Jackson, APRN, a recognized authority on that style of health and wellness. The addition only added fuel to the venture’s immediate success in the market.

“Christa is well known in her field as a guru in her approach to hormone optimization; in fact, we were former patients of hers,” Huneycutt said. “She joined our team, along with additional providers, and it’s just grown from there.”

Christa Jackson, APRN, said Beyond Wellnesss, which has locations in Hot Springs Village and Little Rock, focuses on clients’ holistic wellness.

Jackson said she was first attracted to the field after experiencing the benefits herself.

“I’ve been on the flip side as a patient in the traditional medicine model,” she said. “I hate to say it failed, but it didn’t work for me. I was given medications for symptoms, and those medications created new symptoms and just years and years of one med after the other after the other with very few positives to trade off of the negatives.

“When I became a nurse practitioner, I just kind of tapped into that eagerness to figure out how to fix my own health, and in doing so, I learned there’s so much more that we can do to equip our body to work like it’s supposed to. Learning to listen to the symptoms our body’s giving us and getting to the source of why we’re having those problems takes us from treating something with Band-Aids to treating the root cause of what’s going on.”

Beyond Wellness’ founding could not have been better timed; statistics show tides in the health care marketplace are increasingly washing consumers onto different shores when it comes to approaching health, wellness and medicine.

According to a report published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information at the National Library of Medicine, the emergence of epidemics and pandemics in recent years, despite advances in modern medicine, have steadily eroded consumers’ confidence in traditional, institutionalized health care. The World Health Organization reported patients globally are increasingly dissatisfied with modern medicine’s inability to prevent or control non-communicable and chronic conditions, are widely dissatisfied with the side effects many pharmaceutical treatments carry, and are frustrated by the costs that such conditions continue to mount. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated 75 percent of U.S. aggregate health care spending is directed toward chronic disease.

As the holistic wellness movement has gained steam, different specialties have begun to emerge, introducing consumers to an entirely new health care vernacular. Terms include functional medicine, which the Cleveland Clinic defines as “a patientcentered approach to chronic disease management that seeks to determine the root cause of conditions, including triggers such as poor nutrition, stress, toxins, allergens, genetics and patients’ microbiome, or the bacteria living in and on the body.”

aymag.com 89

Another specialty in the emerging field of health care is longevity, the science of not only living longer, but reaching old age in better condition and thus enjoying a higher quality of life. In a study published by Frontiers, a research publisher and open science platform, researchers referred to the field of longevity as a revolution in health care.

“The concept of successful aging is associated with being able to live an independent and autonomous life,” the study states. “Public health in this paradigm should look at health promoting interventions that prevent functional loss both in physical and mental terms, thus promoting quality of life.”

““[Unfortunately,] few studies have addressed the potential of self-care behaviors among older adults to prolong independence in later life,” it adds.

Many of the elements of the new breed of health and wellness therapies are not new; in fact, some borrow heavily from ancient civilizations. Others pieces are decidedly cutting edge, such as hormone therapies and advanced diagnostic techniques that seek to uncover root causes of disease instead of treating superficial symptoms. Still other elements are of the common sense variety, including well-worn tropes of good nutrition, regular exercise and better sleep as essential building blocks of overall health.

Jackson said the advantage of Beyond Wellness’ approach is the ability to combine various elements in ways that suit individual patients to meet individual needs and goals.

“We are a society where everywhere you look, the traditional medical training model is a pill for an ill,” she said. “This patient has high blood pressure, they get a blood pressure pill. This patient has high cholesterol, they get a cholesterol pill. That’s what’s been indoctrinated into the medical mindset. The art of medicine has gotten lost in that.

“When we take that person, yes, we utilize labs and diagnostic tools, but we also compare that to how does this person feel? We see patients all day long who are told they are in the normal range, who on paper are healthy, but they tell you they’re miserable. They’re tired. They’re weak. What we do is unique. We’re asking, ‘What does this person need? What is their specific body trying to communicate to us?’ It’s going back to the true art of medicine and identifying those symptoms and working with the patient to meet what their physical needs actually are.”

enhance traditional medical education with the arts, humanities and whole-health principles. The Bentonville-based school will be a leading institution for that brand of medicine and train the next generation of practitioners to approach patients with new and fresh perspectives.

“I believe we have a huge opportunity to be a catalyst for change with northwest Arkansas at the epicenter of a grassroots whole health movement,” Walton said in a published statement. “The School of Medicine will help students rise to the health challenges of the 21st century. It’s a reimagination of American medical education that will incorporate whole health principles — combining conventional medicine with integrative techniques — to help people live healthier and happier lives.”

We use an all-encompassing wellness approach. It’s an inside-out model.
— Ashley Huneycutt CEO, Beyond Wellness

That approach to health, medicine and wellness has traditionally inspired eyerolls from the established medical community as hippy-trippy junk science, at least until recently. Now, even some institutionalized health care systems are lining up functional medicine, alternative therapies and longevity as legitimate, even preferred schools of treatment.

Cleveland Clinic reported it was the first academic medical center in the country to establish a dedicated functional medicine program, which it did in 2014. The Mayo Clinic Integrative Medicine and Health Department offers alternative approaches to reduce fatigue, nausea, pain and anxiety related to cancer, chronic fatigue, chronic pain, fibromyalgia, diabetes and other conditions. Meanwhile, the Institute for Functional Medicine based in Washington has promoted the adoption of functional medicine practices for the past 30 years.

Closer to home, the Alice L. Walton School of Medicine will, upon accreditation, be a four-year medical-degree-granting program set to

Such wholesale change may be a few years off, but judging from Beyond Wellness’ rapid growth, there is a ravenous appetite for such services among the public today. The company has quickly grown to 12 employees who offer a wide range of services to patients.

“I give out lots of handouts, do lots of education,” Jackson said. “A big part of what I do is empower my patients to be almost like their own provider in a way. We want to teach them to understand what their body’s saying and how to navigate the symptoms that arise. We give them a roadmap of things to start implementing painted out as clearly as possible, right down to breathing techniques, exercises, nutrition, dietary recommendations.

“I think that that’s a big thing, you know? The more invested they are in their health, the better outcomes they’re going to experience. If we can get them to be compliant with these things, they’re going to have amazing results. We’re giving them the roadmap, the secret sauce, the recipe for health, and it then becomes their responsibility to follow through and take action.”

The company’s definition of wellness is comprehensive, as evidenced by a menu of offered cosmetic services. Huneycutt said no one element of a person’s being exists in a vacuum, and the clinic approaches patients accordingly.

“We use an all-encompassing wellness approach. It’s an inside-out model,” Huneycutt said. “A lot of places, it’s an a la carte practice, espe-

Jordan Davidson, APRN, from left, Christa Jackson, APRN, Huneycutt and Matt Huneycutt

cially in aesthetics. I want to treat my acne, so here’s an acne cleanser. I want to treat my psoriasis or whatever — here’s something for that. A lot of times, it’s not just an easy, ‘let’s fix this one thing.’ Whatever’s happening on the outside is typically a reflection of what’s happening inside the body, as well. We are very unique in that sense. I don’t know of a place that truly corrects from the inside all the way out, head to toe, inside to outside.”

One of the most telling aspects of the appeal of Beyond Wellness’ approach is how many men the clinics are attracting. Specifically, the clinics offer men bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, a personalized treatment designed to balance hormonal levels in the body targeting the natural decline in hormone production as men age. It also offers what it bills as a WOW Shot, a forefront approach to enhancing men’s sexual wellness that focuses primarily on improving erectile functionality.

Huneycutt said about a quarter of the company’s patients are men. Although men are sometimes reluctant to address health care issues generally, Huneycutt said the efficacy of treatments has spurred the growth in male patients — with a little initial help from their partners.

“When these men come in, some of them have heard about us or saw an ad, but most of the time, it is a significant other who twisted their arm,” she said. “At first, when they come in, you can tell they’re like, ‘I’m a skeptic. I’m not sure about this,’ so that first visit, we do a lot of listening, a lot of educating. The next visit, they walk in almost a different person, eager and hungry to learn more and get started on things. They’re just blown away with how good they feel.”

Jackson said the clinics’ conscientious approach to sensitive male health issues such as erectile dysfunction is another reason for Beyond Wellness’ popularity among male patients.

“Some of the things they’re coming to us for, like erectile dysfunction, have a negative stigma that comes with that and the embarrassment in talking about it where they’ve never addressed it until now,” Jackson said. “A lot of men don’t realize that it’s an actual health problem associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease and dementia. If they’re not getting treatment out of fear of embarrassment, they’re doing themselves such a disservice.

“The message that I think needs to be heard on that is it’s so much more than just the intimacy piece. Sure, that’s huge. Who doesn’t want a great libido, but there’s a lot more at stake than just that.”

Huneycutt said whether the issue is something specific like ED or a lack of general understanding of the way hormone levels change as men age, the drive to get to the root cause of health and not just settle for treating the symptom is critical to devising a customized effective treatment.

“There’s a lot of attention to testosterone right now. Testosterone therapy can be a great solution for the right person under the right circumstances, but it’s not the only thing to look at,” she said. “DHEA is another hormone that we deal in, a hormone that’s similar to testosterone. If you fix someone’s testosterone level but you don’t fix their DHEA level, you can have suboptimal response to the therapy. Another

While some health and wellness techniques draw from ancient practies, others are cutting edge.

thing many men think is they can get testosterone therapy whenever they want it, but it’s not always the best choice in a given situation.

“We strive to ask those questions and find out as much as we can about the patient’s background and history and goals going forward. I think men respond to that, and that’s why we’ve grown, and that’s what we will continue to push into the marketplace. There’s such a huge need out there, and we think this approach delivers the best possible outcomes.”

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AY’s Best OB/GYN Clinic

Conway Regional Renaissance Women’s Center

AY’s Best Cardiology Clinic

Ronak Soni, MD, Don Steely, MD, Rimsha Hasan, MD, and Yalcin Hacioglu, MD

Voting is one of the most important ways the people of Arkansas make their voices heard. It is a monthslong process spent sorting through nominees, watching concerted campaigns try to rack up support and biting nails as the votes are tallied. For each category, the work all culminates in one certified, tried-and-true, the-numbers-have-it winner.

The process can be as exhausting as it is exhilarating, which makes the taste of victory that much sweeter for those taking a coveted position in the winner’s circle. No matter who ends up on top, however, the real champions are the countless voters themselves, who put time, effort and energy into supporting their favorite candidates.

No, this is not about a certain day coming up in November. The time has come once again to put a bow on one of the state’s most prestigious annual awards, AY About You’s “Best of 2024.”

As one of the largest and most comprehensive reader’s polls in Arkansas, AY’s “Best of 2024” represents the cream of the crop across nearly 200 categories. From dog grooming to dermatology, wine bars to window tinting and architects to Asian-fusion cuisine — each of the honorees is a Natural State fan favorite, as evidenced by countless nominations and thousands upon thousands of votes.

Since January, business owners around the state have mobilized loyal customers and made their case to new patrons, all with the goal of landing not just in the top five or even the top three, but going all the way to the AY About You’s “Best Of” hall of fame. It is an honor to be among the finalists in our May issue, of course, but most know where the real prize is found, and it ain’t second place.

We would be remiss not to take a moment and thank you, discerning readers, for making your preferences loud and clear. None of these winners would be what they are without you showing up and voting with your wallets, as well as your ballots. By telling us where you love to shop, who you call to fix a flat tire and where you get your hair done, you are not only heaping praise on your faves, but making sure that visitors and newly minted Arkansas residents have the locals’ recommendations all in one convenient place. Talk about Southern hospitality!

With only a little further ado, the following pages contain the undisputed best of what Arkansas has to offer in living, dining, work, play and everything in between. Since AY About You is all about highlighting what makes the great state of Arkansas just that, you will most likely see these champs in future issues and special sections yet to come. In the meantime, here they are for a victory lap.

Congratulations to AY’s “Best of 2024.”

We would like to express a special thank you to this year’s sponsors:

Thank you for voting us Best Cosmetic Dentist! DR. DJ DAILEY, DDS DR. KIRSTAN HYSER, DDS At Smile Dailey Dental, we believe in the transformative power of a smile. Our mission is to improve your quality of life, helping you be a happier, healthier you. A place where memory care is the best care. Thank you for voting us Best of the Best memory care center in Little Rock for 2024! At Parkway, we don’t do anything partway. 501-202-1600 | ParkwayVillageAR.com We invite you to join us at o RECOVERY 10 YEAR ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION THANK YOU FOR VOTING US AS BEST NON-PROFIT! RALLY FOR THE CHURCH AT ROCK CREEK AUGUST 23, 2024 scan the QR Code for sponsorship information and to see who will be in the house FOR a private concert!
aymag.com 95 B a p t i s t H e a l t h D r . P i n e B l u f f H o t S p r i n g s R o d n e y P a r h a m D r . ( 5 0 1 ) 5 0 3 - 4 1 0 0 M c F a r l a n d E y e . c o m T h a n k Y o u f o r 7 Y e a r s R u n n i n g ! B e s t O p h t h a l m o l o g y C l i n i c & B e s t E y e w e a r E


Paige Kelly, R.N., BSN — Wright Plastic Surgery


Little Rock Allergy & Asthma Clinic


Fox Ridge Luxury Senior Living


Pinnacle Hearing


Conway Regional Cardiovascular Clinic


Pain Care Associates


Smile Dailey General and Cosmetic Dentistry


Suzanne Yee, M.D. — Cosmetic & Laser Surgery Center


Arkansas Family Dental


Heathman Family and Cosmetic Dentistry


Pinnacle Dermatology


Arkansas Surgical Hospital


Maegan Whitehead, LE — Wright Plastic Surgery & Med Spa


Bryan Austin, DDS — Austin Family Dentistry


Little Rock Family Practice Clinic


James Head, M.D. — Conway Regional Health System




Salon Jádore


Bryan Head, M.D. — Conway Regional Health System


Hunter Little — Conway Regional Health & Fitness Center


Pamela Volner, APRN, FNP-C — Painted Rock Health and Wellness


Hospice Home Care

501-817-3923 16115 St. Vincent Way | Suite 300 | Little Rock CLINIC LOCATIONS: Clinton | Little Rock | Russellville | Sheridan PinnacleDermAR.com Fax: 501.817.3930 | Text: 501.550.9095 medical | surgical | cosmetic Andrea Mabry, M.D. | Kayla Mohr, M.D. | Marla Wirges, M.D. | Alissa Huberty, PA-C | Chelsea Newey, PA-C We are dedicated to providing the highest quality patient care by offering the best in medical, surgical and cometic dermatological services. We help our patients reach the pinnacle of skin health. for voting us Best Dermatology Clinic in Arkansas Thank you!

Expert care where you are.

For decades, Arkansans have turned to Arkansas Hospice when they hear the devastating news that a loved one’s time is limited. As the state’s largest nonprofit provider of hospice services, our mission is to surround these patients, caregivers and families with the best care possible.

Now, our Family of Care is growing to help more Arkansans navigate their healthcare journey. Building on our legacy of comfort and compassion, we’re expanding our expert care to help you and your family live better lives, where you are.

Call or visit us online to learn more about how our Family of Care can care for yours.

Arkansas Hospice

The state’s largest nonprofit provider of care.

Arkansas Palliative Care

Support and comfort beyond treatment.

Arkansas Advanced Care

In-home primary care for seniors. Excellence in non-medical in-home care.

First Choice Senior Care

Family of Care Get help now. ArkansasHospice.org — (877 ) 713-2348
98 True beauty is more than skin deep. CONGRATULATIONS VOTED AY’S BEST OF 2024 Pamela Volner, APRN, FNP-C Lucinda Posvar, RN, PMU Artist NURSE PRACTITIONER • MED SPA / NON-SURGICAL • PERMANENT COSMETICS • HORMONE THERAPY 9421 W. Markham St., Little Rock (501) 658-8557 Brace Yourself for a NEW SMILE www.arkansasbraces.com BRACES AND INVISALIGN Thanks for voting us BEST Gastroenterogloy Clinic GastroArkansas was the first multi-physician group specializing in the practice of gastroenterology in the state of Arkansas. Our team has been providing high-quality care for over fifty years. Thank you for voting us “Best Gastroenterogloy Clinic” in Arkansas! GastroArkansas GASTROARKANSAS.COM

AY’s Best Neurologist

Keith Schluterman, MD

AY’s Best Pain Center

AY’s Best Neurosurgeon

Regan Gallaher, MD

Conway Regional Advanced Pain Management Center

Heath McCarver, MD, and Mikio Ranahan, MD

100 MORE THAN PERSONAL TRAINING Heal Faster. Get Fitter. Perform better. 5604 R St., Little Rock 501.916.2541 jpfitness.com JP Fitness + Recovery jpfitnessandrecovery Voted Best PERSONAL TRAINER Jean-Paul Francoeur The Care You Deserve (870) 243-0424 | renewmentalhealthandwellness.com 1150 E Matthews Ave, Suite 101A THANK YOU for voting us best Mental Health Facility and Nurse Practitioner! Danielle Lynch Renew Mental Health and Wellness is a medical management clinic aimed to help our community fight mental illnesses. Our clinic consists of a team that is trained to form individualized treatment plans for every patient and their specific needs. THANK YOU FOR VOTING US BEST CBD STORE IN ARKANSAS! HEALING HEMP OF ARKNASAS 8210 Cantrell Rd• Little Rock • 501.313.5243 healinghempofarkansas.com




At Arkansas Surgical Hospital, we truly deliver care that moves you. We take pride in having a team of top-notch surgeons and a talented, thoughtful staff who collaborate to free you from pain and discomfort with a shared goal of elevating your quality of life.

It’s why we’ve received five-star ratings from CMS and are among the top 5% in the nation for patient experience. All while performing more joint replacements than any other hospital in the state.

Thanks to the readers of AY for voting us Best of the Best! care that moves you Congratulations

Dr. William Hefley | BEST ORTHOPEDIST Dr. Jesse Burks | BEST PODIATRIST
Thanks for voting us


Conway Regional Health System


Superior Senior Care


Greenbrier Nursing & Rehabilitation


Rooted in Wellness


Sei Bella Med Spa


Baptist Health — Parkway Village


Renew Mental Health and Wellness


Keith Schluterman, M.D. — Conway Regional Health System


Regan Gallaher, M.D. — Conway Regional Neuroscience Center


Paige Kelly, RN, BSN — Wright Plastic Surgery & Med Spa


Danielle Lynch — Renew Mental Health and Wellness


Good Shepherd Community


Conway Regional Renaissance Women’s Center


Rhonda Gentry, M.D. — Baptist Health


Christian Hester, M.D. — Baptist Health, Little Rock Eye Clinic


McFarland Eye Care


Russell “Rusty” Simmons, O.D. — Simmons Eye Care


Vondran Orthodontics


Dr. Carmella Knoernschild Orthodontic Clinic


Conway Regional Health System/ Conway Orthopedics & Sports Medicine Center


William F. Hefley, Jr., M.D. FAAOS — Bowen Hefley Orthopedics


Conway Regional Advanced Pain Management Center

500 S University Ave., # 615 • Little Rock • (501) 664-4044 • littlerockpediatricclinic.com HEALTH
104 Thank you for voting us AY’s Best Prosthetics Clinic! newhopepando.com | 424 N. University Ave. | 501-661-9048 A NEW HOPE for a BRIGHTER FUTURE 501.834.7243 shopsagenlr shopsage Big things are happening at Sage Boutique that would not be possible without each of you! Speaking of BIG things, we want to take this opportunity to announce our new Multi-Vendor Marketplace opening soon in the Apple Valley Shopping Center on Highway 107 in Sherwood! Be sure to follow our social media for updates! We love and appreciate each and every one of you more than you will ever know! With love, To all our amazing customers, THANK YOU! We are SO EXCITED that you voted us #1 Boutique in Arkansas! 23816 CHENAL
DR. CARMELLA MONTEZ KNOERNSCHILD SAVE $500 on New Invisalign Treatment ALL AGES! Must Present This Offer Cannot Be Combined With Other Offers Expires August 30, 2024 clearlydrk.com 2015 W. Parkway Drive, Russellville 479.968.2138
Amazing! Very helpful honest and friendly. Atmosphere is always pleasant and welcoming. I highly recommend this business for the best results and kindness.
DrKOrthodontist dr.krussellville Thank you Arkansas for voting us Best Orthodontic Clinic
106 CONGRATULATIONS to Eva Barlogie, PA, for being named “Best Physician Assistant 2024” archildrens.org BECAUSE OUR CHILDREN DESERVE THE VERY BEST Thank you for all you do to help make children better today and healthier tomorrow. 10310 West Markham, Suite 202, Little Rock | 501-228-6237 | www.seibellamedspa.net We want to thank all of our patients who voted for us for BEST MEDICAL SPA/ NONSURGICAL COSMETIC CLINIC! Without you, there wouldn’t be a Sei Bella Med Spa! We look forward to seeing you soon!
AY’S BEST ORTHOPEDIC GROUP Make an appointment with any of our award-winning surgeons by calling 501-329-1510. ConwayOrtho.com 550 Club Ln Conway, AR 72034



Mikio Ranahan, M.D. — Conway Regional Advanced Pain Management


Little Rock Pediatric Clinic


Leap Kids Dental


Painted Rock Health and Wellness


Peak Physical Therapy


Eva Barlogie, P.A. — Arkansas Children’s


Conway Regional Health System


Eric Wright, M.D. — Wright Plastic Surgery


Jesse Burks, DPM — Arkansas Surgical Hospital


New Hope Prosthetics & Orthotics


Conway Regional Imaging Center


Conway Regional Rehabilitation Hospital


Hot Springs Village




Arkansas Heart Hospital


Conway Orthopedics & Sports Medicine Center


Logan Lynch, M.D. — St. Bernards Healthcare


James Head, M.D. — Conway Regional Health System


Lewis Porter, M.D. — Saline Memorial Hospital


7th Street Tattoos & Piercing


Maureen Skinner, LPEI — Catalyst Counseling


Arkansas Urology

(501) 219-8900 | ArkansasUrology.com Celebrating 28 Years... The Leader in ALL things Urology. Wow…Thank YOU for voting Arkansas Urology #1 for the 5th Year in a Row. We are honored to be named the BEST UROLOGY CLINIC once again. EXPERIENCE. INNOVATION. PATIENT CARE. Voted Best Steak in Arkansas! 1023 WEST MARKHAM DOWNTOWN LITTLE ROCK 501-376-1195 • doeseatplaceLR.com FULL BAR, PRIVATE PARTY ROOM & Two Patios MON-FRI 11-2 AND 5-9 • SAT 5-9 Locally owned & operated for 35 years! 2023 For Goodness Steaks!

Little Rock Montessori School

aymag.com 111 cleancarfast.com CAR WASH • INTERIOR CLEANING • OIL CHANGES Thank you for voting us the BEST CAR WASH in the state! Family-Owned | Order for Delivery at LegacyLR.com 16900 Chenal Parkway | Suite 130 | Little Rock (across from Costco) 501-821-3700 Thank you for voting us Best liquor store in the state! 3704 N. Rodney Parham & 12015 Hinson Road, Little Rock 501.225.2428 // lrmontessori.org
“The goal of early childhood education should be to activate the child’s own natural desire to learn.”
Little Rock Montessori School has been educating children for over 50 years. We are a private, nonprofit school offering education for ages 22 months through third grade. THANK YOU FOR VOTING US AY’S BEST! Now Enrolling for 2024-2025 School Year!
112 14710 Cantrell Rd, Little Rock 501-412-4244 chefs@thecroissanterielr.com Thank you for voting Best Bakery • Best Breakfast • Best Brunch Best Chef - Jill McDonald
Crafting Memories, One Dish at a Time. cachelittlerock.com 501.850.0265 425 President Clinton Ave cacherestaurantlr Thank you for voting Cache BEST FINE DINING in Arkansas!



Clara Jane & Jax Children’s Boutique



Mr. Wicks


Three Fold Noodles + Dumpling Co.


The Croissanterie


McClard’s Bar-B-Q


The Croissanterie


The Croissanterie


Big Orange


DownHome Catering


Eat My Catfish


Heights Taco & Tamale Co.


Jill McDonald — The Croissanterie


Sauced Bar & Oven


Petit Jean Coffeehouse & Mercantile


Willow & Grace


Crissy’s Pub Style


Bruno’s Little Italy

MEXICAN Baja Grill


Deluca’s Pizza



ZAZA Fine Salad + Wood-Oven Pizza Co.

arvest.com Member FDICEqual Housing Lender Th for voting us Best Mortgage Lender! MEMBERS MAKE THE MAGIC Visit LittleRockZoo.com to Become a Member of the year dragon LIT TLE ROCK
116 www.argentacontemporarytheatre.org for voting us thank you best live theater Follow us on social media @argentacontemporarytheatre 4112 Central Avenue | Hot Springs Householdsolutions.us Visit Our Showroom Quality is our priority Thank You Arkansas For Voting Us Best Home Contractor and Cabinetry! Commercial & Residential Construction Showroom with luxury finishes Custom Cabinetry | Swimming Pools | Boat Docks 11121 North Rodney Parham Road, Suite 9A Little Rock | 501.353.1534 saucedlr.com saucedlr Thank you for voting Sauced for AY’s BEST COCKTAILS 2024!
aymag.com 117 26096 Interstate 30, Bryant | 501.481.8117 | countertopworldar.com Thank you for voting us BEST COUNTERTOPS in Arkansas! 501.650.6507 lorisparkman.com lorisparkmanphotography lorisparkmanphotography for all the love and support. You guys are the best. Thank you 505 Albert Pike Hot Springs 501-623-9665 Thank you for voting McClards BBQ as AY’s Best! McClards...Where you don’t just see history... You Can Taste It!


RŌBER :: Cocktails + Culinary


Doe’s Eat Place


Rock N Roll Sushi


Ciao Baci



Red Door Gallery


Spokes Giant Little Rock


Oaklawn Hot Springs


The Humidor


Simmons Bank Arena


Rusty Tractor Vineyards


Little Rock Zoo


The World’s Shortest

St. Patrick’s Day Parade



Revival :: restaurant + beer garden


Oaklawn Hot Springs


Argenta Contemporary Theatre


Bad Habit


Garvan Woodland Gardens


Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art


Big Cedar Lodge


Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa


GloWild at the Little Rock Zoo


Rock Town Distillery

THANK YOU AY MAGAZINE ON VOTING HEIGHTS TACO & TAMALE FOR BEST Cheese Dip! THE HOME OF aRK-MEX Lost Forty Taproom & Restaurant open 7 days a week. Arkansas’s Award Winning Brewery • Made & Sold Only in Arkansas! MADE HERE. MADE WELL. CELEBRATING 10 YEARS IN ARKANSAS! • LOST40BREWING.COM • @LOST40BEER READY-TO-DRINK ARkansas MARGarita! SUN’S OUT MARGS OUT! Thank you AY Magazine for voting Big Orange for Best Burger! Spring has sprung and so have our NEW Seasonal Cocktails! Our list features refreshing remixes of all your warm-weather flavor favorites. See y’all on the patio! ZAZA has been a neighborhood favorite committed to fresh, handcrafted food, excellent customer service, and supporting the local community. ZAZA CELEBRATES 16 YEARS IN LITTLE ROCK & AY MAGAZINE MOST VOTED BEST SALAD! ZazaPizzaAndSalad.com



Oaklawn Hotel 2024 2024 Astral Spa HOTEL
voting Oaklawn!
you for
122 Synergetic Social partners with businesses large and small, across a variety of industries and services From real estate brokerages to wedding venues, Synergetic Social can provide what companies need to succeed in the digital realm Our passion lies in witnessing businesses achieve their utmost potential while forging new and meaningful relationships along the way ” Medlock said “We make your digital marketing our full-time job " hayden medlock founder, owner Synergetic Social exists to empower businesses with the essential tools needed to leverage the incredible power of social media. hayden@synergeticsocial com @synergeticsocial Synergetic Social www synergeticsocial com let’s be social! LOCAL MEN’S CLOTHING THANK YOU FOR VOTING US AY’S BEST Mr. Wicks Gentleman’s Shop 5924 R St, Little Rock mrwicks.com

Back Porch Realty is a dream that turned into my why. I’ve always envisioned a real estate firm that is built on trust integrity and honesty. I want every client to feel like they are a part of a family and know that I truly care about their needs.

I believe that by focusing on building strong relationships with my clients, I will not only be successful, I will also be able to retain them long term and continue to serve them for years to come.

My dream is to have an agency that goes above and beyond for our clients, always putting their needs first. I am passionate about creating a positive impact in my community while staying true to my values and beliefs and I know that if I continue with this goal as my foundation, I can continue to make that dream a reality.

aymag.com 123 501-882-9626
W. Dewitt, Beebe, AR
| 310
Kassi Bell 2023 For all your Screenprint, Embroidery and Promotional needs! Triviamarketing.com 501-376-9999 1100 W. Markham St. | Downtown Little Rock


Bell & Co.


First Security Bank


Smedley Cabinets


Countertop World, LLC


Arkansas Federal Credit Union


Sandy Sutton and Justin White


Chenal Valley - Little Rock


Browning Electric


Made in the Shade


Congo Fireplace & Patio


Robby Chism Upholstery and Furniture Repair


LeafGuard of Arkansas


Debi Davis Interior Design




Schrader Homes


Household Solutions

HOME GLASS Pella Windows


Triple-S Alarm


Charlotte Potts, State Farm


Sandy Sutton’s Design Center


Cassandra Rector — Edward Jones


The Kitchen Store & More


Dave’s Turf Management


Arvest Bank


Kassi Bell, Back Porch Realty


The Charlotte John Company


Hartness Construction Co.


Seal Solar


Luxury Pool & Spa


Commerce Title

124 Accounting • Auditing • Business Advisory Services • Business Tax Planning • Payroll Services •Nonprofit Governance Training • Tax Preparation • Cashflow and Budget Analysis www.dhacpa.com 501-312-9491 310 Natural Resources Drive Little Rock, AR 72205 CONGRATULATIONS DENMAN HAMILTON & ASSOCIATES for being named one of the BEST ACCOUNTING FIRMS in Arkansas!
126 2700 South Booker St. | Little Rock | 501.663.9464 Pest Management Services for Home & Business. TheBugManInc THANK YOU for voting us Arkansas’ BEST PEST CONTROL Need a Writer? Use YA words! • Press Releases • Newsletters • Speeches for again voting us Best Columnist/Reporter NOW LET’S GET TO WORK! Thank you, AY Readers! • Blog Posts • Internal Magazines • External Media Contact us today for a no obligation quote for your project! Ya!Mule Wordsmiths dwain@ya-mule.com | 501.813.9559 darlene@ya-mule.com | 501.912.4258 Learn more at www.ya-mule.com

At Conway Regional, we provide all women and their newborns with the dignity and respect they deserve. Our Women's Center cares for mothers and newborns from admission to discharge, offering reassurance and support as you welcome your baby.

Parents can rely on Conway Regional to care for their babies with the highest quality of care. With the advancement of telemedicine, neonatal physicians can assess your baby alongside our neonatal nurses right here in Conway.

Conway Regional is proud to be the community’s provider of high-quality, compassionate care for more than 100 years.

Voted AY’s Best Place to Have a Baby FIVE YEARS IN A ROW!



Arkansas State University-Beebe


Ouachita Baptist University



Stone Ward


Dwain Hebda of Ya!Mule Wordsmiths


Turnbow & Winning Local


Little Rock Montessori School


Conway Public Schools


University of Central Arkansas


Access Academy


SixtyOne Celsius


Justin Moore


Synergetic Social


Fox 16 - Kevin Kelly


Todd Yakoubian



Hot Springs Chamber of Commerce


Visit Bentonville


Conway Regional Health FoundationArkansas Duck Derby


Butch Rice - Stallion Transportation Group


Calvary Baptist Church


Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa

128 To schedule a closing, please contact us directly at 501-588-3980. FULL RANGE REAL ESTATE SERVICES • TITLE SEARCHES • TITLE INSURANCE • YEARS OF EXPERIENCE THANK YOU for voting us the BEST TITLE COMPANY in Arkansas! Commerce Title wants to thank our loyal clients and associates for 15 great years and we look forward to serving for many years to come. D&D Sun Control 4221 North Richards Road North Little Rock, AR 72117-2655 501-945-7474 WE’VE GOT YOU COVERED Thank you for voting D & D Sun Control AY’s BEST Window Tinting! AUTO COMMERCIAL RESIDENTIAL PAINT PROTECTION
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aymag.com 129
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We’re not done leaving our mark.

Like fingerprints, every project is unique. But we’ve had the honor to leave our mark on all the pieces we’ve touched over the past 40 years. Thank you to the clients who entrusted us with their brands, and thank you to the readers of AY Magazine for once again naming us Best Ad Agency. Four decades down, and we’re just getting started.

aymag.com 133



Bram Keahey — Taggart Architects


Wilson Auctioneers


David’s Burgers


Dat Pooch


Hounds Lounge Pet Resort and Spa


Hangers Cleaners


Red Dog Investment Group


Roller Funeral Home


Middleton Heat & Air


Molly Maid of Greater Little Rock


Cecil’s Fine Jewelry


Taylor King Law


Renewal Ranch


Tipton & Hurst


The Bug Man


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Wilson’s Home Improvement


Roseberry Farms Pumpkin Patch, Wedding Venue and Event Rental


Small World Big Fun


Lake Hamilton & Hot Springs Animal Hospitals


Dave Creek Media


Rock City Digital

134 Thank you for voting us the BEST DOG GROOMER in Arkansas! datpooch.com New customers point camera here! “Love Dat Pooch taking care of Charlie Brown!” — Heather Baker Dat Pooch is a full service dog grooming salon on wheels. We take your dog from scruffy to FLUFFY right outside your front door...and in just a fraction of the time of a normal trip to the groomer. Serving Central Arkansas 5507 Ranch Drive, Suite 2 || Little Rock, AR 72223 || 501-228-6989 silks-a-bloom.com WEDDINGS & SPECIAL EVENTS | SEASONAL DESIGN SERVICES Cameron & Elizabeth Photography

Congratulations to Conway Regional leadership who were voted AY’s Best in their respective category! At Conway Regional, we are one team with one promise: to be bold, to be exceptional, and to answer the call.

AY’s Best Fitness Center

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136 Mon-Fri 8-6, Sat 8-4 19650 I-30, Benton 501.316.4328• congofp.com THANK YOU! Family Owned and Operated Since 1920
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Sage Boutique


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Yours Truly Consignment


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Tipton & Hurst


White Furniture Co.


The Good Earth Garden Center



Lost Forty Brewing


Petit & Keet



Conway Regional Health & Fitness Center


Pleasant Valley Country Club


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The Promenade At Chenal



Legacy Wine and Spirits

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Hot Springs Animal Hospital 1533 Malvern Ave. Hot Springs 71901 hotspringsvet.com 501-623-2411 Lake Hamilton Animal Hospital 1525 Airport Rd. Hot Springs, 71913 lakehamiltonanimalhospital.com 501-767-8503 Check us out on Social Media Best Veterinarian in the State! Where Every Pet Is Family Thank you for your support in voting Lake Hamilton & Hot Springs Animal Hospitals
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Best Philanthropy Company

We are humbled and blessed to receive this prestigious award. It is such an honor to serve and collaborate with various charitable organizations in Arkansas. Thank you to our employees who volunteered their time to make this possible.

aymag.com 145



Ryan Flynn — Network Services Group


Matt Troup — Conway Regional Health System


Bill Pack — Conway Regional Health System


Conway Regional Health System


Stallion Transportation Group


Conway Regional Health System



BMW of Little Rock


Capitol Glass Co.


Lacey’s Narrows Marina and Boating Center


Shawn McAnulty — Smith Ford


Splash Car Wash & 10-Minute Oil Change


Russell Chevrolet


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Moix RV Supercenter


Vaughan Tire Co.


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Butch Rice Person of the Year

First and foremost, I want to thank God for guiding me through every step of this journey. I am incredibly grateful to my dedicated employees, whose hard work and commitment have been the cornerstone of our success. Their relentless pursuit of excellence has made all our achievements possible. Lastly, my heartfelt thanks go to my family, whose unwavering support and love have been my foundation. Especially my wife, Robin, as this achievement is as much hers as it is mine. Her dedication to our family and our shared vision has been the driving force behind our accomplishments. This recognition is a testament to the collective effort and faith of everyone involved.

aymag.com 149 2024 ARKANSAS’ LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE JUNE 2024 AYMAG.COM Men’s Health | Best Of Winners | AY’s Best Lawyers $5.00 U.S. LITTLE ROCK Discover arts, culture, food and hospitality like no other SUBSCRIBE TO AY ABOUT YOU MAGAZINE 12 ISSUES ONLY $24 A YEAR! AYMAG.COM Click the “more” tab and then the “subscribe” tab. aymag.com




Lawyers come from all manner of backgrounds and experience, and they serve a number of important functions, from parsing state-specific legal hoops to making sure every “I” is dotted and “T” crossed on that contract waiting to be signed. Whether they are practicing corporate or criminal law, guiding families through tricky divorce proceedings, defending injured clients, or holding the powerful to account, lawyers of all stripes play a crucial part in keeping the gears of society turning smoothly.

There is a reason the word for “lawyer” in many languages sounds a lot like the English word “advocate.” The Latin root, advocare, means literally “to call for” or “to call to one’s aid.” Those who have poured over mountains of dense paperwork or tried unsuccessfully to smooth talk their way out of a speeding ticket knows just how hard it can be to take legal matters into their own hands. Those up against a corporation or other groups with a wealth of time and resources at their disposal, it pays, often literally, to call in the experts.

In criminal defense or personal injury litigation, the right representation can make the difference between a jail sentence and/or thousands of dollars’ worth of settlement money and getting off scot-free. No matter the area, the ins and outs of law are extremely complex, and having someone to navigate a maze of documents and procedures is worth its weight in prevented headaches.

According to the American Bar Association’s annual survey, there were a little more than 1.3 million lawyers actively practicing across the United States last year. That number has grown steadily over the past decade, increasing by 6.6 percent from 2012 to 2022. The field is also diversifying, slowly but surely. The percentage of female lawyers grew from 33 percent to 38 percent, while lawyers of color increased from 12 percent to 19 percent.

Arkansas’ share of that pool has stayed consistent at around 6,800, shaking out to about 2.3 lawyers per 1,000 residents. That is lower than the national average of four per 1,000 residents, making the role of Arkansas lawyers even more crucial as they defend clients in underserved and rural areas.

The legal profession is also especially sensitive to social, political and technological advances. In addition to staying sharp in the areas they know best, lawyers have to keep up with major changes that can alter their field of practice or create entirely new ones. Legal software company Clio recently singled out cybersecurity, cannabis, labor, elder law, energy, intellectual property, health and student loan law as the fastest-growing areas of law for the years ahead.

In its 2022 legal trends report, Clio also noted the demand for legal services reached record highs last year. Since early 2021, the rate of new casework has averaged 10 percent higher than the 2019 baseline, and in March 2022, new casework spiked to 24 percent. Paired with the fact that the Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the legal profession to grow faster than the average for any other occupation at an anticipated 10 percent jump by 2031, it is clear the need for counsel of all kinds is not going anywhere anytime soon.

While the utility of legal liaisons cannot be overstated, there are a notable few who stand suit-and-briefcase above the rest. With that in mind, AY About You is proud to highlight the Arkansas Bar Association’s award-winning lawyers ahead of the association’s annual meeting and 126th anniversary celebration June 12 to 14, as well as readers’ picks for the best lawyers in the state.

425 West Capitol Avenue, Suite 3800 | Little Rock | 501.376.3800 | gill-law.com Thank You for Voting us Among the Best Lawyers in Arkansas Chad Cumming Mergers & Acquisitions Adam Reid Taxation Jenny Holt Teeter Labor and Employment Law Drake Mann Privacy and Data Security Matt Finch Construction Law Danielle Whitehouse Owens Corporate Law Heartsill Ragon III Commercial Real Estate Christopher Travis Commercial Real Estate
Potts Labor and Employment Law
Echols Family Law
H. Fitzgibbon, Jr. Trademark Law Kelly McNulty Business Litigation Appeals/Appellate

Day in


Attorneys work to efficiently represent clients


Few industries were as impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic’s global disruption as the legal profession.

A day in court took on new meaning as the justice system figured out how to maneuver around the restrictions that resulted from the pandemic. Four years out, lawyers are still dealing with COVID-19 fallout while negotiating other changes in the industry.

David Parker, a former prosecutor and criminal defense attorney with Dodds, Kidd, Ryan and Rowan in Little Rock, said COVID-19 remains a factor in many of his cases, particularly criminal defense cases.

“In the early days of COVID, most non-emergency hearings were delayed, but we are now in the time of reckoning, and the courts are playing catch-up,” he said. “Similarly, COVID has been a factor in individual relationships, resulting in both more marriages and more divorces. COVID was the petri dish that sped up and amplified relationships. Good relationships grew stronger, but many also couldn’t withstand the change.”

For litigator Matthew Finch, shareholder, director and president of Gill Ragon Owen in Little Rock, the biggest challenge has been efficiency. The pandemic created huge backlogs of cases that still bog down many jurisdictions. Getting clients their “day in court” in an efficient manner has proven easier said than done, he said.

“Complex commercial litigation has always been a slow and expensive process, but post-COVID, it has been an even more difficult environment,” he said. “It is essential that we take all steps necessary to make sure that we keep cases moving forward towards trial at all times. As attorneys, we cannot control the court’s schedule, but we can do our part to avoid delays within our control.”

Finch and his 26-member firm work with individuals, nonprofits, small businesses, large corporations and government entities. While each client base has its own set of unique issues, Finch said representing individuals and small businesses can be the most challenging.

“This is primarily due to the fact that our larger clients are normally more accustomed to and financially prepared for addressing their respective legal needs,” he said. “Especially if it is litigation, having a legal issue can often be hyper-stressful and financially traumatic for a person or small business. We work extremely hard to make sure that we are sensitive to those issues and make sure our representation addresses the universe of client goals and not just the legal issue before us.”

“It is critical to hire the right lawyer who has the knowledge and experience to identify when an officer’s lack of training misidentifies intoxicated drivers.”
— David Parker

the facts,” he said. “Officers know the key words they need to mention in their reports, but videos often prove that the facts weren’t exactly how he or she described them in the report.”

After serving as a deputy prosecutor and special judge in White County district and circuit courts, Parker worked as revenue legal counsel for the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration. He represented the department in all DWI driver’s license appeal cases in the state, lobbied legislators, and even helped draft Arkansas DWI legislation, licensing and criminal statutes.

Parker said Arkansas’ current DWI/DUI laws are fine but need properly trained law enforcement officers to enforce them.

“They serve their intended purpose of scaring most drivers into not taking that risk — and making politicians look tough on drunk drivers,” he said. “However, while many agencies receive excellent DWI training, many others are not appropriately training officers consistent with the seriousness of the offense. The result is that undertrained officers are making DWI arrests without properly knowing how to identify intoxication.”

Parker said it is frustrating to watch footage from an officer’s body camera while he calls other officers working that shift to ask if anyone knows how to do field sobriety tests.

“When no one does, he arrests the driver, ‘just to be safe,’” Parker said. “This is why it is critical to hire the right lawyer who has the knowledge and experience to identify when an officer’s lack of training misidentifies intoxicated drivers.”

The legalization of medical marijuana has not had an effect on DWI/ DUI laws, Parker said — intoxicated is intoxicated regardless of the source material.

“The pandemic created huge backlogs of cases that still bog down many jurisdictions. Getting clients their “day in court” in an efficient manner has proven easier said than done.”
— Matthew Finch

Parker’s practice has seen an increased usage of body and vehicle cameras for law enforcement agencies that is becoming standard procedure, he said.

“These videos are becoming critical in allowing judges and juries to make their own opinions as to the facts instead of relying strictly on the arresting officer telling them

“While the odor of marijuana may no longer be automatic probable cause that a crime is being committed, the arrest has always been based on intoxication,” he said. “If the officer can prove that a driver is intoxicated, either by field sobriety tests, blood alcohol concentration or other testing methods, a prescription for marijuana is not a defense. This is also why you can get a DWI while operating a motor vehicle on other prescription medicines if they impair your ability to drive.”

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Driving while intoxicated is the only crime in which neither prosecutors nor judges can dismiss a case when they know a defendant is not guilty. Parker called that a blemish on state law.

“A prosecutor can dismiss a murder charge if they find out the person is innocent, yet the law specifically prohibits a prosecutor from dismissing a DWI if they know a person is innocent,” he said.

“The only options are for the driver to plead guilty or have a trial.

“Don’t get me started on our boating-whileintoxicated laws. A BWI used to result in a fine and not being able to drive a boat for 90 days. Now you can continue driving a boat, but your driver’s license will be suspended, and you may lose your job. The danger and risks associated with boating and driving while intoxicated are vastly different but in Arkansas, a BWI and a DWI are the same crime.”

Parker did not hesitate when asked which cases can be the trickiest to defend.

“While other areas of law certainly have different challenges and difficulties, no case has more interconnecting elements than a DWI charge or the long-term damage that can follow,” he said.

“A DWI conviction affects so many areas of life for so many years that no case should be taken lightly. Hiring an attorney that has the specific experience and knowledge on DWIs is critical to defending your case.”

Finch said his firm has seen higher interest rates and pending inflation apply pressure on clients to stay efficient in their operations.

“We are often in a position to help address those issues through our transactional and employment practices groups,” he said. “Real estate transactions are still happening, but our clients on both the banking and business side are proceeding with appropriate caution to make sure deals work under the current economic conditions.”

For Finch, Gill Ragon Owen provides the most value for small business clients in the areas of corporate formation and governance, contract review, employment issues and managing extraordinary events.

“Clients know their business, but major events like raising capital, mergers and acquisition, or succession planning may be new or rare and require guidance from counsel for whom such events are their day-to-day business,” he said.

“Our role is to make sure that the structural details are in good order so they can focus on being successful in their respective industries.”

Finch said he has also seen a moderate uptick in bankruptcies — nothing dramatic, but an uptick, nonetheless. He added that for established businesses especially, bankruptcy may not represent the best resolution, and it may be worth the effort to find another solution.

“Having the opportunity to represent banks and other creditors has given us the perspective that generally, bankruptcy is not the best option for established businesses that are going through

a rough stretch,” he said. “If they encounter financial difficulty, the best path is to reach out to their financial partners as soon as possible. Generally speaking, they will likely be able to find a mutually beneficial path forward that doesn’t require an extreme and negative conclusion. The worst thing any individual or business can do when facing financial difficulty is ‘put their head in the sand’ and hope it goes away. That will more than likely result in negative consequences or even bankruptcy.”

Practicing criminal law, of course, offers a whole different set of challenges and goals than something like commercial litigation. Parker said in criminal cases, lawyers on both sides of the

“Clients know their business, but major events like raising capital, mergers and acquisition, or succession planning may be new or rare and require guidance from counsel for whom such events are their day-to-day business,” he said. “Our role is to make sure that the structural details are in good order so they can focus on being successful in their respective industries.”
— Matthew Finch

aisle have specific obligations to meet. Given his experience as a prosecutor and defense attorney, he holds a singular perspective.

“Criminal law is unique to other areas of practice,” he said. “Lawyers want to win every case, but in criminal law, the state’s goal is not — or shouldn’t be — to win every case but to be sure it is done right. If an individual is not guilty of a crime, it is not a loss for the state to dismiss that charge; it is their duty.

“Conversely, the defense lawyer’s job is to efficiently help the prosecutor, judge or jury realize when reasonable doubt exists and an individual should not be found guilty. Understanding what it takes to effectively prosecute a criminal trial is fundamental to a defense lawyer in identifying weaknesses in the state’s case.”

aymag.com 155 BART CALHOUN Litigation VINCE WARD Taxation RUFUS WOLFF Corporate Law DUSTIN MCDANIEL Business, Litigation MC DANIEL WOLFF Our firm combines decades of professional experience to provide outstanding service in all aspects of our client’s legal needs. We are honored to have these four partners recognized for their commitment to excellence. Congratulations to our McDaniel Wolff, PLLC partners for being named AY’s Best Lawyers in Arkansas! www.McDanielWolff.com | 501.954.8000 1202 Main St., Suite 210 | Little Rock 501.371.9131 | johnwesleyhall.com Don’t take a chance with your freedom. With over 50 years experience in criminal matters, Little Rock criminal defense attorney John Wesley Hall brings creativity and vast experience to his trial or appellate cases with proven results. CriminalDefense:Blue-Collar,White-Collar CriminalDefense:GeneralPractice I DON’T CARE WHETHER YOU DID IT. THE QUESTION IS: CAN THEY PROVE IT? is simply doing what others are not willing to do. Going The Extra Mile THANK YOU FOR VOTING ME ONE OF AY’S BEST LAWYERS OF 2024! Pamela Epperson 11300 N RODNEY PARHAM RD., SUITE 110 LITTLE ROCK EPPERSONPANASIUKLAW.COM 501.404.7400 EPPERSONPANASIUKLAW@GMAIL.COM


Whether they are needed to help someone with a legal situation, set up a business or find resolutions to family issues, lawyers play a substantial role in keeping our society moving forward. According to the American Bar Association’s annual National Lawyer Population Survey, the number of attorneys in the country increased by 15.2 percent over the last decade. There are more than 1.33 million attorneys actively practicing law in the United States, and more than 6,000 practicing in Arkansas. With so many to choose from, it can be difficult for a potential client to know they are getting the best representation possible. With that in mind, AY About You is highlighting the Arkansas Bar Association’s award-winning lawyers ahead of its 126th Annual Meeting June 12-14, as well as our readers’ choices for the best lawyers in the state.


For 126 years, the Arkansas Bar Association (ArkBar) has supported lawyers who are making a difference in the world. Mother Theresa said “None of us, including me, ever do great things. But we can all do small things, with great love, and together we can do something wonderful.” There is great power in lawyers working together to make a difference. We are stronger together. Together, we are not just a professional association, but a supportive community devoted to each other’s success. ArkBar members work together to give back to their communities and state to help advance the practice of law; advocate for the legal profession; foster professionalism, civility, and integrity; and protect the rule of law.

The Arkansas Bar Association, along with AY Magazine, is proud to recognize our state’s outstanding attorneys. We are grateful for the opportunity to raise awareness and respect for the legal profession and for all it does to protect our communities. As association president, I am honored to recognize members for their efforts by presenting the awards listed below during our Annual Meeting June 1214 in Hot Springs.

Presidential Awards of Excellence:

Glen Hoggard

Harry A. Light

Gordon S. Rather, Jr.

William A. Waddell, Jr.

Maurice Cathey Award: Caroline Boch

Golden Gavel Awards:

Payton C. Bentley

David Biscoe Bingham

Leslie Copeland

Joe A. Denton

Paul N. Ford

Caroline Kelley

Young Lawyer Section Awards: Kelsey Boggan

Grace Fletcher

Caroline Kelley

Frank LaPorte Jenner

The Arkansas Bar Foundation and the Arkansas Bar Association will recognize several persons to honor because of their outstanding contributions:

Devin R. Bates, Equal Justice Distinguished Service Award

David M. Fuqua, C. E. Ransick Award of Excellence

Anthony McMullen, Outstanding Lawyer-Citizen

Emily McCord, Outstanding Lawyer-Humanitarian Award

Stuart P. Miller, James McKenzie Professionalism Award

Benton County Bar Association

Pulaski County Bar Association

Sebastian County Bar Association

Congratulations to the following members who have been admitted to the practice of law in Arkansas for 50 years: Mr. Frank H. Bailey • Mr. Bruce Hollis Bethell • Lt. Col. Denzil Keith Blackman • Mr. Daniel C. Blaney • Mr. Tom A. Buford

Mr. Larry E. Chisenhall, Jr. • Mr. Richard C. Downing • Mr. James M. Dunn • Mr. B. Michael Easley • Mr. Don A. Eilbott

Mr. John R. Eldridge, III • Judge Alan D. Epley • Mr. James E. Evans, Jr. • Judge John C. Finley, III • Judge David Folsom

Mr. Stephen Doak Foster • Judge Don E. Glover • Mr. Frank S. Hamlin • Mr. Raymond Harrill • Ms. Georgia Elrod Harris

Mr. H. Oscar Hirby • Mr. Q. Byrum Hurst, Jr. • Judge Kirk D. Johnson • Mr. Raymond W. Jordan • Mr. James M. McHaney, Jr. Mr. William Russell Meeks, III • Mr. David F. Menz • Mr. Richard N. Moore • Mr. N. M. Norton, Jr. • Mr. Michael O. Parker

Mr. Ellis Lamar Pettus • Judge Chris C. Piazza • Mr. James M. Pratt, Jr. • Mr. Larry L. Snodgrass • Mr. Paul W. Stanfield

Mr. Mark A. Stodola • Hon. Bentley E. Story • Mr. Floyd M. Thomas, Jr. • Mr. Charles M. Walker • Mr. Chris Walthall

Mr. Dennis M. Zolper

Judge Margaret Dobson

Arkansas Bar Association President, Circuit Judge Seventh Judicial District, Division 1

from the President aymag.com 157

Arkansas Bar Association Annual Award Recipients

Presidential Awards of Excellence

Glen Hoggard; Hoggard Law Firm, Little Rock; for work as Secretary.

Gordon S. Rather, Jr.; Wright Lindsey Jennings, Little Rock; for 20 years of service on the Editorial Advisory Board.

Payton C. Bentley; Clark Law Firm, PLLC Fayetteville; for work on the Governance Task Force.

Leslie Copeland; Leslie Copeland Law & Mediation, Fayetteville; for work as Annual Meeting Co-Chair.

Paul N. Ford; Law Office of Paul Ford, Jonesboro; Chair of Program Review Task Force.

Harry A. Light; Friday, Eldredge & Clark, LLP, Little Rock; for work as Chair of the Law School Committee.

William A. Waddell, Jr.; Friday, Eldredge & Clark, LLP, Little Rock; for work as Chair of the Editorial Advisory Board.

David Biscoe Bingham; Mitchell, Williams, Selig, Gates & Woodyard, P.L.L.C. Little Rock; for work as chair of the 501 (c)(3) Task Force.

Joe A. Denton; Denton, Zachary & Norwood, PLLC, Conway; for work as Annual Meeting Co-Chair.

Caroline Kelley; Mitchell, Williams, Selig, Gates & Woodyard, P.L.L.C. Rogers; for work as Chair of the Young Lawyers Section.

Golden Gavel Awards

Other Awards

Maurice Cathey Award: Caroline Boch; Law Clerk to the Hon. Brian S. Miller, Little Rock; for outstanding contributions to The Arkansas Lawyer magazine.

Judith Ryan Gray Young Lawyer Service Award: Frank LaPorteJenner; LaPorte-Jenner Law, PLLC, Little Rock; for extraordinary service and outstanding contributions to the Young Lawyers Section.

YLS Award of Excellence: Grace Fletcher; Mitchell, Williams, Selig, Gates & Woodyard, P.L.L.C., Little Rock.

Frank Elcan, II Young Lawyers Leadership Award: Caroline Kelley; Mitchell, Williams, Selig, Gates & Woodyard, P.L.L.C., Rogers; for commitment and dedication to the Young Lawyers Section.

YLS Award of Excellence: Kelsey Boggan; Leslie Copeland Law & Mediation, Fayetteville.

aymag.com 159

Arkansas Bar Foundation and Arkansas Bar Association Joint Awards

The Arkansas Bar Foundation was established in 1958 to support efforts at improving the administration of justice. The foundation’s mission is to promote educational, literary, scientific and charitable purposes, and it is classified as a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization.

Founded in 1898, the Arkansas Bar Association is the premier legal association in the state. As a voluntary organization of more than 5,000 members, the Association’s primary mission is to: support attorneys; advance the practice of law; advocate for the legal profession; foster professionalism, civility, and integrity; and protect the rule of law.

THE ARKANSAS BAR FOUNDATION AND THE ARKANSAS BAR ASSOCIATION have selected the following persons to honor this year because of their outstanding contributions. Those selected are:

Outstanding Lawyer-Citizen: Anthony McMullen; Associate Professor of Business Law, University of Central Arkansas, Conway; given in recognition of outstanding participation in and for excellent performance of civic responsibilities and for demonstrating high standards of professional competence and conduct.

James McKenzie Professionalism Award: Stuart P. Miller; Mitchell, Williams, Selig, Gates & Woodyard, P.L.L.C., Little Rock; given in recognition of sustained excellence through integrity, character and leadership to the profession and the community.

Equal Justice Distinguished Service Award: Devin R. Bates; Mitchell, Williams, Selig, Gates & Woodyard, P.L.L.C., Little Rock; given in recognition of commitment to and participation in equal justice programs, including pro bono efforts through legal services programs.

C. E. Ransick Award of Excellence: David M. Fuqua; Fuqua Campbell, P.A., Little Rock; given in recognition of outstanding contributions to the profession.

Outstanding LawyerHumanitarian Award: Emily McCord; Mitchell, Williams, Selig, Gates & Woodyard, P.L.L.C., Rogers; given in recognition of outstanding humanitarian service.

Outstanding Local Bar Association: Benton County Bar Association

Outstanding Local Bar Association: Pulaski County Bar Association

Outstanding Local Bar Association: Sebastian County Bar Association



To Richard Mays, the “environment” includes everything that impacts one’s quality of life. His practice is devoted to attempting to preserve and protect notonly the air, water and earth, but also the social, civic and human elements thatmake lives richer and more satisfying.

Mays has handled environmental cases protecting the Buffalo River from the impacts of hog-farming, preventing boat docks from crowding Greers Ferry Lake, fighting construction of coal-fired electrical generating plants, opposing unconstitutional tax spending on highway projects and claiming damages caused by the herbicide Dicamba that kills crops and native plants.

He also fights for social and civic causes, suing the state for a just reapportionment of voting districts and land developers for poorly planned and implemented subdivisions. In doing these things, Mays takes on large agencies, such as the Corps of Engineers, the Federal and State Transportation Departments, cities and counties, entrenched political interests and corporations that attempt to violate the rights of individuals and small entities.

aymag.com 161 Thank You for recognizing me as one of AY’s BEST LAWYERS 501.500.5512 Main Line • 501.500-5513 Direct Line 855.535-8485 Facsimile • caldwellfirm.org
P.A. 425 W. Capitol Ave., Suite 3180 • Little Rock Andy L. Caldwell Attorney at Law
Caldwell Law Firm,
501-451-5405 | richardmayslawfirm.com 2226 Cottondale Lane Suite 210, Little Rock, AR


Mark H. Allison

Wright Lindsey Jennings

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Fuqua Campbell, P.A.

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Ark Ag Law, PLLC


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Conner & Winters

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Davidson Davidson Law Firm

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Fuqua Campbell, P.A.

Scott Hilburn

Hilburn & Harper, Ltd.

Lucas Z. Rowan

Dodds, Kidd, Ryan & Rowan


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Conner & Winters

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Suzanne G. Clark

Clark Law Firm, PLLC

Drake Mann

Gill Ragon Owen, P.A.

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The Applegate Firm

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Fuqua Campbell, P.A.

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Gibson & Keith, Attorneys at Law

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James, House, Swan & Downing

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Will James James, House, Swan & Downing, P.A.

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Quattlebaum, Grooms & Tull, PLLC



Vanessa Cash Adams and Charlie Cunningham on being voted among AY’s 2024 Best Lawyers! Vanessa and Charlie are Co-Founders and Managing Attorneys at AR Law Partners, PLLC, with offices located in Little Rock and Fayetteville.

aymag.com 163
Estate Planning | Probate Family Law | Bankruptcy Civil Litigation Little Rock
Friedman Law Firm focuses on personal injury claims, insurance claim litigation, and working with property managers to secure evictions. If you need strong and skilled legal support, we’re here to protect your rights and secure justice. Congratulations CRAIG FRIEDMAN for being named one of AY’s Best Lawyers! 501-985-5555 | 301 N.1st Street, Suite D | Jacksonville Friedman Law Firm, PLLC 835 Central Ave. | Suite 508 Hot Springs 501.321.2333 Thank You For Honoring Me As One of The Best in Arkansas Divorce • Custody • Family Law
(501) 710-6500 Fayetteville (479)
arlawpartners.com Vanessa
Adams Bankruptcy Law vanessa@arlawpartners.com Charlie
Family Law charlie@arlawpartners.com

Carla L. Miller

James, House, Swan & Downing, P.A.

Charley E. Swann

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James, House, Swan & Downing, P.A.

R. Ryan Younger Quattlebaum, Grooms & Tull, PLLC


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Schnipper, Britton & Stobaugh

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Gibson Law Firm

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Eichenbaum Liles & Honaker Law

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Jonathan D. Jones, Attorney at Law

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Schnipper, Britton & Stobaugh


Michelle Banks Humphries, Odum & Eubanks

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Sheila F. Campbell Law Firm

Nickolas W. Dunn Davidson Law Firm


Phil W. Campbell Fuqua Campbell, P.A.


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Wright Lindsey Jennings

Robyn P. Allmendinger Rose Law Firm

Betsy Baker Rose Law Firm

M. Stephen Bingham Rose Law Firm

Vicki Bronson Conner & Winters

Robert M. Cearley Jr. Cearley Law Firm

J. Bruce Cross Rose Law Firm

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Richard Donovan Rose Law Firm

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Julie DeWoody Greathouse PPGMR Law

Randy L. Grice Hilburn & Harper, Ltd.

Nicholas D. Hornung

Wright Lindsey Jennings

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Wright Lindsey Jennings

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Gill Ragon Owen, P.A.

David Mitchell Jr. Rose Law Firm

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Paul Parnell

Rose Law Firm

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Gordon S. Rather Jr.

Wright Lindsey Jennings

Brian Rosenthal Rose Law Firm

John E. Tull III

Quattlebaum, Grooms & Tull, PLLC

Ralph W. Waddell Jr. Waddell, Cole & Jones, PLLC

Samuel T. Waddell

Waddell, Cole & Jones, PLLC

William A. Waddell Jr. Friday, Eldridge & Clark

Quinten J. Whiteside

Wright Lindsey Jennings

Carolyn B. Witherspoon Rose Law Firm



Mitch Berry Pro Land Title Co.

Charles Darwin “Skip”

Davidson Davidson Law Firm

Heartsill Ragon III

Gill Ragon Owen, P.A.

Patrick Spivey Fuqua Campbell, P.A.

Christopher Travis Gill Ragon Owen, P.A.

A TRUSTED LAW FIRM FOR YOUR LITIGATION NEEDS 121 W. South Street Fayetteville 479-856-6380 clark-firm.com Suzanne Clark and Payton C. Bentley for being voted among the best lawyers in Arkansas! We would also like to Congratulate Payton C. Bentley for receiving Arkansas Bar Association’s Golden Gavel Award for work on the Governance Task Force! Congratulations!
David W. Parker Criminal Defense Criminal Defense: Blue-Collar Criminal Defense: White-Collar DUI/DWI Defense Jacob I. Wickliffe Family Law Catherine A. Ryan Appellate Personal Injury Litigation Lucas Rowan Alternative Dispute Resolution Mediation Judson C. Kidd Family Law Contact us today for a free consultation 501-375-9901 313 West Second Street dkrfirm.com Congratulations


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Davidson Law Firm



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Eichenbaum Liles & Honaker Law

Paula Storeygard Hilburn & Harper, Ltd.


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Fuqua Campbell, P.A.

Rufus Wolff

McDaniel Wolff, PLLC


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Patrick J. Benca, Attorney at Law

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James Bornhoft Law

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Davidson Law Firm

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Epperson Panasiuk Law

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John Wesley Hall

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Gibson & Keith, Attorneys at Law

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Morris Thompson Law Firm

George “Birc” Morledge Morledge Law Firm

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Norwood & Norwood, P.A.

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Dodds, Kidd, Ryan & Rowan

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Schnipper, Britton & Stobaugh


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Davidson Law Firm

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James Law Firm

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Dodds, Kidd, Ryan & Rowan


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Davidson Law Firm

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James Law Firm

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Dodds, Kidd, Ryan & Rowan


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Pulaski County Prosecutor’s Office


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Patrick J. Benca, Attorney at Law

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Collins, Collins & Ray, P.A.

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Collins, Collins & Ray, P.A.

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Davidson Law Firm

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Dodds, Kidd, Ryan & Rowan

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Collins, Collins & Ray, P.A.


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Clark Law Firm, PLLC

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L. Jennings Law

D. Kimbro Stephens Jurist Law Group


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Wright Lindsey Jennings

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Wright Lindsey Jennings

Sydney Rasch

Turner & Rasch

Paul D. Waddell

Waddell, Cole & Jones, PLLC

• Martindale-Hubbell AV-rated

• Former Deputy Prosecutor

• Defended over 10,000 DWIs

the Year”
• Best Lawyers • “Lawyer of
in Criminal Defense: General Practice in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
• SuperLawyer
• Defended over 30,000 cases

Brandi Collins, Brian Ray and John Collins would

aymag.com 167 thecrowefirm.com | 501.369.6926 116 Ottenheimer Plaza | Suite 4 | Little Rock Incredibly honored to be named among AY’s Best Lawyers. As always, “We’re here when you need us.” Thank you! FIGHTING FOR CRASH VICTIMS IN ARKANSAS & TEXAS 912 West 4th Street • Little Rock WHEN IT’S SERIOUS ... CONTACT US
of confidence
us as three of the best.
had years of experience and training in representing people involved in alcohol and drug impairment cases.
have been injured by a drunk driver,
experience to work for
Mike Munnerlyn, p.a. Voted Best Trusts and Estates 10350 Riverview Corporate Drive | North Little Rock, AR 72113 501-663-5620 | mikemunnlaw.com
like to thank the
and our peers for giving
a vote
in selecting
Our firm has
Call if you
and we will


G. Allen Perkins



Vicki Bronson Conner & Winters

John R. Elrod Conner & Winters

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McMath Woods, P.A.

Richard Mays

Richard Mays Law Firm

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Quattlebaum, Grooms & Tull, PLLC

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Eichenbaum Liles & Honaker Law


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Wright Lindsey Jennings

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Cox, Sterling, Vandiver & Botteicher


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Robertson, Oswalt, Nony


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Clark Law Firm, PLLC

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Law Offices of Katherine E. Blackmon

Jessalynn Born Born Law Firm, PLLC

James Bornhoft Bornhoft Law

Charlie Cunningham ARlaw Partners, PLLC

Josh Drake Drake & Street

Beth Echols

Gill Ragon Owen, P.A

Jennifer Glover

Jennifer Glover, PLLC

Sam Hilburn Hilburn & Harper, Ltd.

Jonathan D. Jones

Jonathan D. Jones, Attorney at Law

Paul Keith

Gibson & Keith, Attorneys at Law

Judson C. Kidd

Dodds, Kidd, Ryan & Rowan

Michael Knollmeyer Knollmeyer Law Office

Sara K. Lingo Davidson Law Firm

Angela Mann Mann & Kemp

Lee Miller Morris Law Firm

Brianna Spinks Nony

Robertson, Oswalt, Nony

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Robertson, Oswalt, Nony

Sydney Rasch Turner & Rasch

Bonnie Robertson

Robertson, Oswalt, Nony

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John Stobaugh

Schnipper, Britton & Stobaugh

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Presley Turner Turner & Rasch

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Wagoner Law Firm

Megan Wells Hilburn & Harper, Ltd.

Jacob I. Wickliffe Dodds, Kidd, Ryan & Rowan


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Friday Eldredge & Clark, LLP

Annie Depper Fuqua Campbell, P.A.

Eric Gribble Fuqua Campbell, P.A.

Mariam T. Hopkins

Anderson Murphy & Hopkins

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Wright Lindsey Jennings

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Gill Ragon Owen, P.A

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168 LASER LAW FIRM, P.A. 415 N. McKINLEY STREET, SUITE 760 LITTLE ROCK 501-376-2981 laserlawfirm.com Kevin Staten and
Brown have each been partners at Laser Law Firm PA, in Little Rock, for over thirty years. The Laser Law Firm has been engaged in civil defense, specializing in all areas of insurance defense litigation, for more than sixty years.

Gordon S. Rather, Jr. is the recipient of the 2024 Presidential Award of Excellence for years of valued service on the Editorial Advisory Board for The Arkansas Lawyer magazine.

Kudos, Gordon!

And thank you, AY Readers, for recognizing 16 WLJ attorneys as "Best Lawyers" in Arkansas in 2024!

aymag.com 169 LITTLE ROCK ROGERS wlj.com SINCE 1900 WRIGHT LINDSEY JENNINGS WE BELIEVE a celebration is in order!
MORE THAN 25 YEARS OF EXPERIENCE Thank you for recognizing me as one of AY’S BEST LAWYERS “THERE ARE NO ACCIDENTS, ONLY COLLISIONS.” Alan LeVar Arkadelphia • Little Rock • Conway • Bentonville • Fayetteville Vehicle Accidents Congratulations! ERISA LABOR & EMPLOYMENT TRUST & ESTATES Thank you, Arkansas, for recognizing Brian A. Vandiver & Cade L. Cox as two of AY’s Best Lawyers in 2024. 8201 CANTRELL ROAD | SUITE #230 | LITTLE ROCK

Jonathan Martin

Matthews, Campbell, Rhoads, McClure & Thompson, P.A.

Robert Tellez Tellez Law Firm, PLLC


Tim Boone Munson, Rowlett, Moore & Boone

Charles B. Cliett Jr. Mitchell, Williams, Selig, Gates & Woodyard, PLLC

J. Cotten Cunningham Barber Law Firm

Randy P. Murphy

Anderson Murphy & Hopkins

Kevin J. Staten Laser Law Firm


Steven W. Quattlebaum Quattlebaum, Grooms & Tull, PLLC


Charles Darwin “Skip” Davidson Davidson Law Firm

Kelly Carithers CJD Law Firm

Jonathan Martin Matthews, Campbell, Rhoads, McClure & Thompson, P.A.

Melanie J. McClure

Simmons Bank

Dylan Potts

Gill Ragon Owen, P.A

Abbie Rucker Fuqua Campbell, P.A.

Jenny Holt Teeter

Gill Ragon Owen, P.A

Brian A. Vandiver Cox, Sterling, Vandiver, & Botteicher, PLLC


Emily Mizell Conner & Winters


Jess Askew III Kutak Rock

Michelle Ator

Friday Etheridge Clark

Brian Brown Laser Law Firm

Bart Calhoun McDaniel Wolff, PLLC

Suzanne G. Clark Clark Law Firm, PLLC

Annie Depper Fuqua Campbell, P.A.

Nickolas W. Dunn

Davison Law Firm

David Fuqua Fuqua Campbell, P.A.

Eric Gribble

Fuqua Campbell, P.A.

Scott Hilburn Hilburn & Harper, Ltd.

Q. Byrum Hurst Hurst Law Group

Andrew King Kutak Rock

Samuel E. Ledbetter McMath Woods, P.A.

Dustin McDaniel

McDaniel Wolff, PLLC

Edward Oglesby

The Brad Hendricks Law Firm

Chris Stevens Fuqua Campbell, P.A.

Richard N. Watts



Tom Mars

Mars Law Firm


Charles T. Coleman

Wright Lindsey Jennings

Stephen L. Gershner

Davidson Law Firm

Andrew King Kutak Rock

Kelly McNulty

Gill Ragon Owen, P.A


Drake Mann

Gill Ragon Owen, P.A

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Matthews, Campbell, Rhoads, McClure & Thompson, P.A.

Bruce E. Munson

Munson, Rowlett, Moore & Boone, P.A.

Lucas Z. Rowan

Dodds, Kidd, Ryan & Rowan


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Sheila F. Campbell Law Firm

Glenn S. Ritter

Wright Lindsey Jennings


Antwan D. Phillips

Wright Lindsey Jennings


Will Bond McMath Woods, P.A.

James Bornhoft

James Bornhoft Law


415 N. McKinley St., Suite 210 | Little Rock 501.420.3050 | paulbyrdlawfirm.com


At the Law Offices of Katherine Blackmon, we are thankful and honored to have been voted Best Lawyers in AY Magazine for 2024. This much-appreciated recognition is a testament to our unwavering commitment to zealously and empathically represent our clients as they navigate the complex and emotionally charged legal landscape of family law.

With almost fifty years of combined litigation experience, trauma-informed compassion, and a skilled understanding of the law, our dedicated team provides the highest caliber of legal representation. Equally important is our understanding that timely and personal communication is one of the basic building blocks of a trusted attorney-client relationship. We know what it takes to make a difference in our clients’ lives and recognize how privileged we are to be able to continue to impact Arkansas’ legal landscape. We are grateful for the respect of our peers in the legal community and our clients’ loyalty and support. We look forward to continuing to exceed your expectations.

212 Center Street | 11th Floor | Centre Place | Little Rock 501.372.7636 | KEBlackmon
Personal Attention, Proven Results Since 1953 | 711 W. 3rd Street, Little Rock, AR 72201 | 525 S. School Avenue, Fayetteville, AR 72701 We’re proud to be included in AY’s Best Lawyers of 2024 and even prouder to serve you. We’re All About You. mcmathlaw.com | 501.396.5400
Left to right: Carter C. Stein, Samuel E. Ledbetter, Neil Chamberlin, Sarah C. Jewell, Charles D. Harrison, Will Bond, & Tim Giattina
Phil Campbell Business Litigation Commercial Insurance John Adams Banking and Finance Law Annie Depper Health Care Law Litigation David Fuqua Alternative Dispute Resolution Administrative/Regulatory Law Abbie Rucker Labor & Employment Employment Law Eric Gribble Health Care Law Litigation J. Blake Hendrix Criminal Defense: White-Collar Patrick Spivey Corporate Law Commercial Real Estate Chris Stevens Litigation Because every client deserves excellent representation. • Business and Commercial Law • Employment Law • Real Estate Law • Banking Law • Civil Rights Defense • Intellectual Property • Nursing Home Defense • Insurance Law • Probate • Family Law • Criminal Defense • Administrative Law • Litigation • Appeals 3700 CANTRELL ROAD • SUITE 205 • LITTLE ROCK 501.374.0200 • FACSIMILE: 501.975.7153 • FC-LAWYERS.COM We are honored to have nine attorneys listed among the best lawyers in Arkansas.

Greg Bryant

Greg Bryant, Attorney at Law

Paul Byrd

Paul Byrd Law Firm

Andy Caldwell

Caldwell Law Firm

Robert M. Cearley Jr.

Cearley Law Firm

Neil Chamberlin

McMath Woods, P.A.

Hugh Crisp

Crisp Law Firm

Michael Crowe

The Crowe Firm

Bob Edwards

The Edwards Law Firm

Craig Friedman

Friedman Law Firm

Charsie Gordon

Taylor King Law

Gary Green

Law Offices of Gary Green

Kayce Green

Law Offices of Gary Green

Matt Hartness

The Brad Hendricks Law Firm

Hani Hashem

Hashem Law Firm

Christopher Heil

Taylor King Law

Brad Hendricks

The Brad Hendricks Law Firm

Denise R. Hoggard

Rainwater Holt & Sexton

Justin Hurst

Hurst Law Firm

Sarah C. Jewell

McMath Woods, P.A.

Austin King

Taylor King Law

Taylor King

Taylor King Law

Alan LeVar

LaVar Law

David R. Matthews

Matthews, Campbell, Rhoads, McClure & Thompson, P.A.

Bobby R. McDaniel

McDaniel Law Firm

James Bruce McMath

McMath Woods

Peter Miller

The Law Offices of

Peter Miller

Justin Minton Minton Law Firm

Bruce Munson Munson, Rowlett, Moore & Boone, P.A.

Andrew Norwood

Denton, Zachary

Norwood, PLLC

Sach Oliver

Oliver law Firm

Susan Pomtree

Dabbs & Pomtree

Steven W. Quattlebaum

Quattlebaum, Grooms & Tull, PLLC

Michael R. Rainwater

Rainwater, Holt & Sexton

Catherine A. Ryan

Dodds, Kidd, Ryan & Rowan

Bob Sexton

Rainwater, Holt & Sexton

Art Singleton Hashem Law Firm

Kevin J. Staten Laser Law Firm

Carter C. Stein

McMath Woods, P.A.

Tab Turner Turner & Associates

David H. Williams

Law Offices of David H. Williams


Mitch Berry

Pro Land Title Co.

Vicki Bronson

Conner & Winters

Amy Clemmons Brown

McMullan & Brown

Charles Darwin “Skip” Davidson

Davidson Law Firm

Don A. Eilbott Eilbott Law

Stephen L. Gershner Davidson Law Firm

Jackie Hancock CJB Law Firm

Kasper Huber RMP

Jerry Larkowski Prestige Legal

Olivia Rottman

Prestige Legal

Jennifer Wilson-Harvey Wilson & Associates


Michael E. Hartje Jr. Hilburn & Harper, Ltd.

John C. Lessel RMP

Charles D. McDaniel Eichenbaum Liles & Honaker Law

Jessica Witherspoon Davidson Law Firm

174 Personal Injury – Family Law – Estate Planning – Criminal Defense 501.501.LAWS | Bornhoftlaw.com 340 Ouachita Avenue, 2-G | Hot Springs James D. Bornhoft is Honored to be selected to the prestigious 2024 AY About You’s BEST LAWYERS List Call 501-501-LAWS When it Matters Most.
aymag.com 175 400 Ouachita Ave, Hot Springs, AR 71901 • 501-624-1252 A tradition of excellence since 1875. Real Estate Law • Family Law • Business & Commercial Law • Probate • Estate Planning • Criminal Defense • Personal Injury Schnipper, Britton & Stobaugh want to congratulate BEAU BRITTON & JOHN STOBAUGH for being named one of AY’s 2024 Best Lawyers Don A. Eilbott practices throughout Arkansas. His practice is primarily real estate and commercial litigation. He is admitted to practice in all courts in Arkansas, including federal courts, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, and the U.S. Supreme Court. Eilbott has represented owners and developers in real estate transactions and title insurance agents and underwriters in claims matters for 50 years. His previous experience includes management positions in title insurance, finance, and bonding. Mr. Eilbott earned his B.S. degree and J.D. degree from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. Advocates for your family, inside and outside the courtroom Focusing on issues involving • Family Law • Criminal Defense • Commercial Litigation • Probate & Estate Planning Contact us today (501) 515-1692 www.lpjlaw.com 300 S. Spring Street, Suite 418 Little Rock, Arkansas


Robert S. Jones

Waddell, Cole & Jones, PLLC

Adam Reid

Gill Ragon Owen, P.A

Vince Ward

McDaniel Wolff, PLLC


J. Charles Dougherty

Wright Lindsey Jennings

Roger H. Fitzgibbon Jr. Gill Ragon Owen, P.A


Jessalynn Born

Born Law Firm, PLLC

James Bornhoft

James Bornhoft Law

Cade L. Cox

Cox, Sterling, Vandiver & Botteicher, PLLC

Pamela A. Haun

Waddell, Cole & Jones, PLLC

W. Curt Hawkins

Waddell, Cole & Jones, PLLC

Ledley Jennings L. Jennings Law

Jarred Kibbey Natural State Law, PLLC

John C. Lessel RMP

Charles D. McDaniel

Eichenbaum Liles & Honaker Law

Mike Munnerlyn

Mike Munnerlyn

Trae A. Norton RMP

Elizabeth Lee Haney


Elizabeth Richardson, Attorney at Law

Jessica Witherspoon Davidson Law Firm


S. Shane Baker

Waddell, Cole & Jones, PLLC

Andy Caldwell Caldwell Law Firm

Eddie H. Walker Jr. Walker Law Firm

Trial Lawyers with experience in recovering damages from personal injury, failure to honor contracts of all nature, and criminal defense work. Justin B. Hurst, Q. Byrum Hurst, Josh Q. Hurst READY TO FIGHT TO MAKE THINGS RIGHT 501-623-2565 | 518 Ouachita Ave. | Hot Springs, Arkansas to our partner Angela Mann being recognized in the 2024 Edition of AY Best Lawyers for her work in Family Law Congratulations SUBSCRIBE NOW amp Arkansas Money & Politics 12 months/$30 Go to armoneyandpolitics.com and click on the subscribe tab. •Health care •Business •Politics •Startups •Sports SUBSCRIBE NOW 5 reasons to

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Arkansas boys ranch helps young men get back on track HOME RANGE

In the quiet town of Morrow, one may not expect to find teenage boys ziplining, climbing towers or spelunking on a typical Saturday, but that is exactly what one might discover at Teen Challenge Adventure Ranch.

The ranch is a structured but adventure-filled professional addiction treatment center, licensed behavioral health program and sober-living Christian boarding school designated to help boys ages 14 to 17 from Arkansas and across the country.

Founded in 1973, the ranch was the first adolescent boys center in the country to be part of the nationally acclaimed Teen Challenge Adventure Ranch program. Over the ranch’s 50 years of operation, more than 2,000 students have participated in the program.

“We offer an open space to relax and share life experiences,” said Justin Smith, director. “We’ll often get kids that wouldn’t share their struggles in a traditional therapy office to open up through nature walks or challenging them to overcome a fear of heights. We have kids with a variety of addictions, anxiety, depression and more. You can go all in for something positive or for addiction.”

Smith is in his 28th year at Teen Challenge and said he is thrilled to still be part of the Christ-centered program.

“Our goal is to help these young men succeed long term and find their identity in Christ,” he said, adding that the program provides structure and exposure to a variety of personal growth opportunities while rebuilding the students’ confidence and trust.

“We’re not your typical rehab program,” he said. “We’re not even your typical Teen Challenge rehab program.”

Teen Challenge operates year round, has capacity for 40 boys and offers a 90- to 120-day stabilization with the option for therapeutic boarding school for a full nine months. The nonprofit ministry offers outdoor experiences such as canoeing, fishing and rock climbing, as well as overnight camping near the Buffalo River. The ranch also features a climbing tower, ziplines and equine therapy, all on-site. A CrossFit affiliate established itself on campus in 2018.

One of the ways the ranch reaches its goal is by having one of the longest aftercare follow-up programs in the country. Smith said by staying in contact with students at least six months after they leave, the staff is able to provide extra help to families.

“We have students that come to us from all over the United States [who receive] our aftercare follow up, including one in-person visit no matter where they live,” he said. “It’s all covered in the cost of the program.”

Smith was called into ministry at age 20 and majored in missions at Southeastern University in Florida. During his time there, he learned he had a passion for at-risk youth and has pursued that calling ever since.

“I found a way to combine my love of the outdoors and missions,” he said. “We want to bring hope to young men that have lost it, and I fell in love with seeing the change on a young man’s face.”

Teen Challenge Adventure Ranch also works to include patients’ families on the path of change, as well.

“Family retreat days, visits once a month and weekly contact are all part of the process in ensuring these students have continued success outside of the program,” Smith said.

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Justin Smith

Phil Bright, supervisor with Renewal Ranch’s Direct Care team, leads a youth through a rock climbing lesson. Outdoor activities are a major part of the ranch’s therapeutic program.

In addition to rebuilding relationships with family, the ranch combines a curriculum of life skills and character building. Part of the ranch’s mission is teaching participants that God loves them and has a plan for their life, no matter what they have been through or done in the past, so weekly chapel and visiting a local church are two important ways Teen Challenge focuses on developing the boys’ relationship with Christ.

The program has many spiritual success stories, such as the number of boys who end up stepping into leadership roles or joining the drama team to teach others about Christ.

“Last year, our students were able to go on four mission trips to places such as Costa Rica, Honduras and the Navajo area in Arizona,” Smith said. “We believe missions and nature align as part of God’s plan.”

Also part of the students’ experiences in nature is the certified ropes course and climbing wall that can be found on the 31-acre site. Teen Challenge was the first center to install its type of course on-site using state-of-the-art safety equipment. No matter their physical ability, the course challenges students to step outside their comfort zones, build confidence and work together as a team.

Staff members are specifically trained in various forms of therapy and activities, including ropes course safety instructors, equestrian specialists, therapists, psychiatrists, and the office and

kitchen staff, which includes three former graduates of the program.

One of the graduates, Houston native David Worthington, serves as student supervisor and is a pastor on-site. Worthington, who stepped foot onto the ranch on his 17th birthday in 2009, said he may not be the typical story out of Teen Challenge’s program because did not initially graduate.

“You’re supposed to be past level 1 after six weeks, and I was five months in and still hadn’t made it past the first level,” Worthington said.

Used to having his own way and rejecting the religious foundation of the place, Worthington dropped out to follow his own rules. What happened next surprised him.

“Even though I left, I noticed the first year after being on my own that any time something occurred in my life, I still wanted to talk to the staff members I had met at the ranch,” he said. “I stayed in touch.”

At 19, Worthington said, he gave his life to the Lord and began working with youth at his church. That work led him to want to share his story with the young men at Teen Challenge Adventure Camp.

“I called the ranch, and I thought I’d be there one or two days, sharing my story, but that turned into a week,” he said. “Justin asked if I wanted to stay there, and he started an internship program just for me. I wasn’t ready to be a staff member, but he provided classes and training for 10 months for me to learn how ministry worked, how to respond in crisis situations and how to truly be a mentor to the students. I give credit to God but also a lot to Justin for helping me get to where I am.”

Smith and Worthington agree that it benefits the young men to have staff members who can relate to their struggles and have come out on the other side of it. Having someone on staff who had been in the same situation as the current students has been a valuable aspect to their growth, Worthington said.

“When a student complains that I don’t know how it feels [to be them], I tell them I’ve literally slept where they’re sleeping,” he said. “That always changes the conversation.”

Worthington said his favorite part of working on-site is getting to see the change from when the boys enter the program to hearing them speak at graduation.

“Hearing students share a conversation we had where I helped change their outlook is always unexpected,” Worthington said. “I love seeing them go from coming in hating everything to encouraging the new students as they’re starting. It truly is watching them go from a behavior change to a heart change.”

For many students, combining outdoor activities with trauma-based clinical treatment is the key to that change. Within 12 months of leaving Teen Challenge, 78 percent of graduates are in active recovery. In 2023, 45 students committed their lives to Christ, or about 74 percent of those in the program. Additionally, 99 percent of graduates said they get along better with their families over the next year after exiting the program.

Smith and Worthington are eager with anticipation for this year’s annual fundraiser because it will be held in the site’s new 20,000-square-foot riding arena, which will open soon as part of the equestrian-assisted therapy program. This year’s event will be a family-friendly cowboy-themed fellowship Sept. 14. For more information, look up TCAR Cowboy Ranch Equestrian Center Dedication on Facebook.

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Ghosts Cecil Cove The of

This spring, from Boston to Berkeley, thousands of college students across dozens of campuses demonstrated their opposition to the Israel-Hamas war by building encampments, disrupting classes and causing the cancellation of commencement exercises. While watching news coverage of these confrontations from a quiet cabin in Newton County, I was reminded of another anti-war protest that occurred slightly more than a century ago. That one, though, had been local, happening just a few miles down the road in Erbie, a rural community near the Buffalo River on Cecil Creek.

The world back in 1917 was also experiencing a major conflict, the Great War. A few naive optimists even called it “The War to End All Wars,” but we know it today as World War I. Although claiming a neutral position, the United States supplied England and France with tons of munitions. When a German U-boat torpedoed and sank the Lusitania in 1915, causing the loss of 128 American lives, public opinion began to shift. Suspected German sabotage in the Black Tom Island explosion of 1916 in New York City’s harbor — which killed at least four people, destroyed $21 million worth of military goods and damaged the Statue of Liberty — outraged the country. Hostilities had been raging in Europe for almost three years before the U.S. finally entered the fight and declared war on Germany on April 16, 1917.

A month later, Congress passed the Selective Service Act of 1917, which required all males from 21 to 30 to register to potentially be drafted for military duties. (The act was later amended to include all men from 18 to 45.) Only eight members of the U.S. Senate voted against the legislation, and one of them was Sen. William Kirby of Arkansas. A populist, Kirby strongly supported neutrality, feeling the country’s powerful business interests were plotting behind the scenes to get America involved in what he maintained should remain a European struggle.

To bolster enthusiasm for the war effort, the federal government created the Committee on Public Information. Chairman George Creel said his agency would coordinate “not propaganda as the Germans defined it but propaganda in the true sense of the word, meaning the ‘propagation of faith.’” A cornerstone of his program was the Four Minute Men organization, a volunteer army of 75,000 amateur speakers trained to give brief lectures in support of the American military campaign wherever they could find an audience — in churches, women’s clubs, synagogues, movie theaters, labor unions, lodges and colleges. During the next 18 months, the legion of orators delivered over 7.5 million speeches to nearly 315 million people across a nation of 103 million citizens.

However, when the first draft occurred on June 5, 1917, a few young men in northern Newton County remained unconvinced and refused to report for duty. These “slackers,” as they were called, took refuge in

The nooks and crannies of Cecil Cove once hid “slackers” evading a draft during World War I.

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Cecil Cove, a rugged and remote valley of Cecil Creek. In a front-page account from the era, the Arkansas Gazette noted Cecil Cove “is 9 miles long and 3 miles wide with unusually steep mountains on both sides.”

Half a century earlier, the same tract of nearly inaccessible country had also sheltered men who “were neither Federals nor Confederates during the Civil War.”

The World War I draft resisters of Cecil Cove were not cowards; they simply disagreed with the war. Lige Harp, an older spokesman for the group, said:

“We all don’t take no truck with strangers, and we didn’t want our boys taking no truck with foreigners. We didn’t have no right to send folks over to Europe to fight; it ain’t a free country when that’s done. ‘Wait till them Germans come over here, and then fight them’ is what I said when I heard about the war. If anybody was to try to invade this country, every man in these hills would get his rifle and pick them off.”

France Sturdgil, another local leader, shared a second justification in support of the slackers:

“It’s a war for the benefit of them silkhatted fellers up in New York. We don’t want our boys fighting them rich fellers’ battles and getting killed just to make a lot of money for a bunch of millionaires. Why, they own most of the country now.”

A lengthy Kansas City Star article included a third argument from George Slape, a religious leader in the community:

“The good book says, ‘Thou shalt not kill.’ We didn’t want our boys taking nobody’s life. It ain’t right — because it’s contrary to the Bible and the good Lord’s teachings.”

Asked to explain the difference between fighting Germans and preparing to resist the draft authorities, both likely to result in death, Slape said:

“The boys wasn’t going to kill nobody unless they had to. It’s different killing a man who tries to make you do wrong and killing somebody in war.”

When the Newton County sheriff announced he was going to track down and apprehend the gang of draft resisters, he received this response: “Come on, but look out for yourself.”

Federal officials had no choice but to make an appearance, and that came by way of an army colonel, a team of special investigators and four U.S. marshals who visited Cecil Cove. After inspecting the area, J.H. Parker, U.S. marshal for the western district of Arkansas, claimed it would take a regiment of soldiers months to comb the country, adding the terrain was so rough he doubted if the search could be undertaken with horses. Unable to develop any leads on the slackers’ location, the authorities left empty-handed.

One factor for their lack of success was the Cecil Creek canyon itself. It was the ideal hideout. A reporter at the Kansas City Star visited the area during the controversy and reported its “a region of multifarious hiding places, studded with boulders and pocketed with caves; a searcher might pass within six feet of a dozen hidden men and see none of them.” According to the Arkansas Gazette, the slackers were “living in a cave a mile long . . . and divided into great rooms that could only be entered by crawling through passageways that were only large enough to permit one man to enter at a time.” Reports were the small entrance to the cave could be easily concealed by shoving a rock over the opening.

Contributing to the slackers’ success in evading authorities was the backing by their families and friends in the community. Three dozen local folks signed a covenant promising to work together to deter governmental officials, and deter they did. Here is what the reporter from the Kansas City Star observed:

“Nearly all the families in the Cove have telephones. It is a remarkable fact that these mountaineers will do without the meanest comforts of life, but they insist upon having telephones. This and the other varied methods of intercourse peculiar to the mountains gave the Cecil Cove slackers an almost unbeatable combination. They always knew where the searchers were and what they were doing, but the searchers never were able to find anything except a blind trail.”

The standoff continued well over a year after the initial draft began. In September 1918, as the war was winding down, representatives of the federal government convened with family members of the gang and offered amnesty. If they turned themselves in for military service for 60 days, the slackers would not face charges of desertion. After receiving a promise from the newly-elected sheriff of Newton County, Frank Carlton, that he would meet them alone and unarmed, they surrendered at a remote crossroads on the Newton County/Boone County line. Although earlier reports indicated two or three dozen men had sought refuge in Cecil Cove, only eight draft evaders emerged from the woods. Carlton took them to Camp Pike in North Little Rock, where they fulfilled their obligations and eventually got honorable discharges. Interestingly enough, several of the same men enlisted for military duty during World War II.

As for casualties of the Newton County Draft War, it was largely a bloodless affair. The 12-year-old brother of one of the slackers was roaming through the thick brush and trees in the deep woods of the cove one day when, mistaken for an officer of the law, he was wounded in the left leg by friendly fire.

In several respects, the Cecil Cove of 2024 has changed considerably from the Cecil Cove of a century ago. It is still incredibly rocky and rough, of course, but few families now live in the area. Much of the property is owned by the National Park Service as a part of the Buffalo National River. A series of blazed trails now meander through the craggy countryside that once hid the slacker gang. Most of the homes of the original settlers have long gone, leaving only clearings and foundations and cemeteries. As for the fugitives’ cave, a handful of locals know the location of its opening but were sworn to secrecy.

To experience Cecil Cove and its fascinating history, visitors today have four good options. The first is to hike the Hideout Hollow Trail, an easy 2-mile, out-and-back path that leads to a 35-foot waterfall and a bluff line overlooking the valley. The trailhead is located about 3 miles southeast of Compton on Newton County Road 2700.

A second option, another quarter mile or so beyond on this same road, is the trailhead to McFerrin Point. Park at a small clearing on the right (south) side of the road. The unmarked trail begins across the road and heads east to a nice overlook far above Cecil Creek. Round trip, it is a moderate hike of about 1.8 miles.

The third choice is to explore the Paige Falls/Broadwater Hollow Falls area at the upper end of Cecil Cove. A short distance north of Compton on Arkansas 43, take Newton County Road 2660 to the east. A highclearance vehicle is recommended. Two miles or so down the bumpy road will get drivers to the trailhead. The falls are to the right. Paige Hollow is a couple of hundred yards downstream, and then another short hike will lead to Broadwater Hollow Falls.

A fourth choice is to follow the Cecil Cove loop trail, a 7-mile trek that passes by old home sites and historic cemeteries. It is a moderately challenging hike made more difficult if Cecil Creek is carrying a lot of water, given the numerous stream crossings. Complicating things is a serious landslide blocking a large section of the trail’s western portion. The best way to access the trailhead is to come in from Arkansas 206 using the Erbie Cutoff Road a short distance east of the Gaither Township.

Those who are ready for a break from negative news can head to Newton County and check out the country that once provided a secure hideaway for a small group of World War I draft resisters. Even in the hustle and bustle of 21st-century life, Cecil Cove remains a quiet sanctuary.

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This side of SEVEN


Matter of Months

Justice can be denied, delayed and disappointing. Sentences of death, life without parole or even a set number of years are often as uncertain as trying to predict a tornado’s exact path.

“We were satisfied with his ‘second chance’ being getting life without parole instead of the death penalty,” Jo Ann Nipper told the Arkansas Parole Board on a Wednesday morning in May, “and then now … he’s getting another chance — and maybe another chance after that. It just saddens us.”

Nipper, her cousin, Edie Thompson, and her nephew, Christopher Cameron, traveled to North Little Rock from El Dorado and were given 10 minutes to persuade the seven members who make up the parole board to keep Steven Wade Miller behind bars.

It has been 30 years since Leona Cameron was murdered. Christopher Cameron lost his mother, Thompson lost her sister, and Nipper lost her cousin.

“She was such a big part of our lives,” said Nipper, who did most of the talking before the parole board. “Memories that we had … just stopped at 21 years old. She had just turned 21, and that was all taken away. We didn’t get to know her as an older adult. She didn’t get to raise her kids. She’s got grandkids now.”

Wade Miller has spent two-thirds of his life in prison because he shot and killed Leona Cameron during her shift at an El Dorado Subway sandwich shop. While it appeared at first to be a robbery gone wrong, detectives later identified a more intentional motivation for the murder, which will be shared in a moment.

Cameron was working alone and was less than an hour away from closing up the restaurant. She planned to quickly change clothes and join her cousin, Nipper, only seven months her senior, for a night of dancing at the Heritage

Club next door on West Hillsboro Street, but the 16-yearold Miller, along with his 18-year-old pal, Heath Kennedy, walked in before she got the chance.

“He’s never really showed any kind of remorse,” Nipper told the parole board. “He just kind of laughed through [his trial]. We just don’t feel that he deserves that chance to be able to walk the streets when she can’t. I mean, she was pregnant — four months pregnant with her first baby girl.”

Born Alpha Leona Goode, Cameron’s short life had been marked by both joy and struggle. She dropped out of school in ninth grade, and by age 21, she had three boys and a daughter on the way.

Almost two years prior to her fateful final shift at Subway, Cameron and her two young sons moved to North Carolina with a new boyfriend, Willie Saunders. That was in August 1992. A month later, Saunders was charged with physically abusing Cameron’s oldest son. Because investigators determined that she did not do enough to stop him, Cameron was also charged with abuse. Both boys entered foster care.

Cameron tried to remain in North Carolina so she could have scheduled visits with her sons, Blake and Christopher, but with no money and no local support, she had to move back to El Dorado. There, she started to work on a plan to get her boys back. Part of that plan involved steady employment, and that is why she was working at Subway on March 5, 1994.

“She had a full-time gig,” Nipper said, “but she hadn’t been there but a few weeks. She hadn’t been there very long. She had started working there, and it was within a few weeks of Christopher’s second birthday. She was wanting to have enough money and everything to go to North Carolina and see him, and then, you know, that didn’t happen.”


Steven Wade Miller, who was convicted of killing Leona Cameron at an El Dorado Subway and, along with Heath Kennedy, received a life sentence without the possibility of parole, became eligible for parole due to a U.S. Supreme Court ruling.

Despite not remembering his mother, Christopher wanted to testify before the parole board about how the loss of his mother has negatively impacted his life, but his emotions prevented him from being able to speak. The board expressed appreciation for his presence nonetheless.

Miller — rob a store, kill the store employee and make off with the surveillance tape. Even though neither teen had a criminal record, it took investigators less than a week to zero in on the pair and arrest them. Prosecutors presented extremely strong cases, and ultimately, both were sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

The suspects, Miller and Kennedy, share a birthday, December 13, but Kennedy is two years older. They also shared an obsession with the movie Menace II Society, which they watched the day before the murder. During the movie’s opening scene, two teens rob a convenience store and, in the process, kill the store’s owners. They then eject the store surveillance tape and take it with them, playing it proudly over the days that followed for anyone willing to watch.

That was the plan hatched by Kennedy and

“I mean, a movie is a movie,” said Cameron’s uncle, Wayne Goode. “If we copycatted every movie that comes out, this world would be really messed up. For those kids to say, ‘Hey, that’s pretty cool. I’m going to do that,’ something ain’t right with those kids. This whole going back and redoing things has really set me off against the judicial system, to be perfectly honest with you.”

Thompson, Leona’s older sister by three years, submitted 400 to 500 signatures collected around Union County and at change.org. All of those who signed the petitions are against Miller’s release.

Parole Board Chairwoman Lona McCastlain explained the board has three options: deny parole for two years, deny parole for one year or grant parole. The board’s decision was revealed May 28, past the deadline for this article. Enter “Arkansas Parole hearing decision search tool” online to find out the immediate future of Wade Miller. His inmate number is 107482.

Despite being the younger of the two, it was clear to investigators that Miller was the planner, leader and executioner of the operation. Miller fired the shots that killed Cameron, but because the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled it is

cruel and unusual to sentence anyone under the age of 18 to a life in prison with no possibility of parole, it is Miller, not Kennedy, who has a chance at freedom. Kennedy turned 18 a matter of months before the murder.

“Kennedy? I don’t think we would ever have another problem with him if he were to get out,” said Union County Sheriff Ricky Roberts, who was an El Dorado detective in 1994 and investigated Cameron’s murder. “But Miller? I can’t say that about him. He’s bad.”

Cameron’s is not the only Arkansas case with such circumstances. Michael Hinkston was a matter of months past his 18th birthday when he and his 16-year-old friend, Tony Ray, decided to burglarize a residence in Crawford County. When 30-year-old Lisa Lewis came home during the burglary, Ray shot her three times with a shotgun. Both Ray and Hinkston were sentenced to life without parole, but as in the case of Miller, it is Ray who has a chance at getting out — despite pulling the trigger — because of his younger age.

“We really just want y’all to know the type of person that Leona was,” Nipper told the parole board. “She would give you the shirt off her back. The love she had for her children and her family and her dad. He died in 2011, and although I’m saddened that he passed away, I’m glad that he didn’t have to live to see this day, that we would have to come to y’all and beg y’all to please consider our pleas. I just don’t think he’s ready to be out in the free world.”

In that free world, earthly justice can be saddening and maddening, unpredictable and unfair. That is why Leona Cameron’s loved ones expressed hope that Wade Miller and Heath Kennedy will remain locked up and faith that a final judgment for the pair rests in higher hands.


For two decades, Jason Pederson served as KATV-Channel 7’s Seven On Your Side reporter. Now on the other “side” of his awardwinning time on the news, he now serves as deputy chief of community engagement for the Arkansas Department of Human Services. His perspective-filled and thought-provoking column, “This Side of Seven,” publishes exclusively in AY About You magazine monthly.

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Leona Cameron with her three sons.
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The car was a beauty: a blue two-door Oldsmobile Cutlass, still so new that it gleamed in the darkness. On an August night in 1997, it pulled out from a restaurant parking lot, smoothly cutting through the lingering heat that had dominated yet another summer day. Soon a cold evil would encompass the young couple in the car, a cold that still lives within the hearts of their families.

For American teenagers, getting a first car is a rite of passage in every sense of the word. It is a given for a lot of kids, while for others, they know that getting any kind of wheels at all is going to require a lot of effort — theirs.

“We didn’t come up from much, so we knew we had to work for what we wanted,” Tynisha Hudson said.

The Hudson kids did not flinch from their challenges, especially Tynisha’s younger sister, Teela. Going into her senior year at Hot Springs

World Class High School, Teela had plans for her post-graduation life. Like her older brother, Rodney, she wanted to study computer science, starting with classes at the local National Park College. NPC would not be quite as convenient as her high school, and she would have to work a lot of hours to pay her college expenses. Having her own car would be a huge benefit, so paycheck after paycheck went into the bank account she set up for that car.

While a lot of high school kids were already cruising around in their new cars, Teela’s life was an unrelenting cycle of school and jobs — yes, jobs as in plural. For the 17-year-old, a day out of school was a day she could work full-out. Those mornings, she would work a day shift at the local McDonald’s then go on to do the night shift at Applebee’s Grill + Bar just down the street. Other days, the jobs were wrapped around school.


The Hudsons, a family that included six siblings, were headed up by a divorced mother. As daunting as it must have been for her at times, she was a woman determined to raise them right, even if that took some doing. Transportation was just one of the many challenges she faced; with only one car to share between herself and the kids still at home, the family’s scheduling was a master class in coordination.

Early mornings, the Hudson girls — Teela, Tynisha and another sister — pulled out of their driveway to go to Applebee’s. The latter two then began working while Teela headed out again to pick up their mother, now getting off her overnight job. As one shift at Applebee’s ended and another began, Teela was back, handing the car keys over to Tynisha. While Tynisha drove home, Teela started her shift. Around closing time, she called Tynisha to pick her up.

On a fateful Saturday night in 1997, Rodney and Teela, both line cooks, worked together. The clock had ticked well into Sunday, Aug. 31, by the time employees began to make their way out the back door, some tossing friendly see-you-laters across the parking lot.

Teela had decided not to wake up Tynisha and instead spend the night at Rodney’s place. She got into his car just as Frank Delaney pulled up beside it and offered to give her a ride home. Teela got into the new Oldsmobile.

Originally from Louisiana, Delaney had been a year ahead of Teela in school. Although he and Teela were sweet on each other, it was not the typical teenage romance. Teela’s mother was a devout Jehovah’s Witness, and her belief on dating was that it was permissible only as a prelude to marriage. Thinking the two teens were simply good friends, Delaney was welcome in the Hudson home.

For the two youngsters, however, it was a classic case of opposite personalities choosing the same orbit. Teela’s warm smile and sweet nature endeared her to most everyone around her. Delaney seemed like a nice kid, a quiet sort who kept mostly to himself. Nothing set off alarm bells about the relationship, and that night, there was no reason to doubt that the two were heading for Teela’s house. Indeed, the Oldsmobile left the parking lot, turning left on Central Avenue heading toward Malvern Avenue, off of which the Hudsons lived. It took only a few minutes to cover a short distance, but something unexpected happened — something still unexplained.

Teela and Delaney were not the only ones out on that dark night. Earlier in the evening, a first responder had been called to work a boating accident. A few hours after the couple were last seen, turned onto his street, Hayti Lane, back then a dark dirt road in a more remote eastern area of Garland County. He was surprised to see that beautiful new Oldsmobile parked in the middle of the road, loud music tearing through the stillness of the night through open doors. As he began to maneuver around the Oldsmobile, he saw Teela. He knew what he had to do next. He stopped, locked his car door and called the Garland County Sheriff’s Department.

Officers arrived at a crime scene detailing a particularly malicious death. This was not a robbery, an attempted carjacking or a sexual assault; the couple was killed execution style — death as a message. Shot multiple times, Delaney’s body was in the back seat. Teela’s head was face down in the passenger seat in a pool of blood. Based on the crime scene photo she was given access to, Tynisha said she believes Teela was forced to her knees and at least one shot caused her to fall forward with her legs still outside the car.

The investigation quickly yielded something else: Before multiple

gunshots stopped her, including one to the forehead that mourners noted as Teela lie in her funeral casket, the teen had fought hard. The medical exam noted her fingernails were broken, as well as both her arms.

How had the couple ended up in this remote place? Given the absence of today’s surveillance cameras and the lack of known witnesses, it is believed the two were intercepted on their ride home. Perhaps they stopped for gas or snacks, or maybe they were forced over to the side of the road.

Police deduced that there were multiple shooters. About six weeks later, one weapon confirmed to have been used in the murders was retrieved from Hot Springs Creek about 6 miles away. If any other weapons have since been recovered, that has not been made public.

In an interview last year with KARK in Little Rock, Rodney told reporter Tylisa Hampton that the murder was an act of street violence, a species of crime that lived by its own simple code: Say nothing.

That silence enables criminals to feed on the lives of those around them, yes, but those who break the code are subject to swift and unmerciful accountability.

The press attention since that night 26 years ago has added up to less than 10 articles published. Unfortunately, that number is not uncommon in cold cases, despite the fact that exposure can be critical to solving a crime. The hard truth is that both the press and law enforcement have, over the years, become increasingly challenged by cuts in manpower and resources. In what is a painful Catch-22 for families, the reality is that only something compelling — a previously unknown witness or evidence — can justify turning away from a current case or story and back toward a cold one.

In case after case, social media is now proving to be a powerful weapon in solving crimes, even taking cases far beyond their geographical limits. Teela’s case has not yet benefited from the exposure provided by podcasters, YouTubers and documentary filmmakers, but Hampton’s broadcast might just change that. There is power in words, and perghaps hers are the catalyst needed to reach the hearts of others who can carry this story forth and, most importantly, those who have stayed silent.

During the interview, Rodney expressed what the Hudsons need so very much: “simply who did it and why.”

Why was the couple targeted? What message were the murders meant to send? Over the years since, how many other families have suffered because of the killers? How many more will die before the perpetrators are taken off the streets?

Teela never got her own car. Instead, the money she saved went toward paying for her funeral. She is remembered today as someone who was not afraid to do what was right, no matter how hard it was. There may be someone out there that can do the same for her now. Anyone with information about the couple in the car can call the Garland County Sheriff’s Office at (501) 622-3690.

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In the paragraphs that follow, the term “pickup” refers to a lightweight truck, rather than the often cheesy but occasionally clever line one might use to attract a stranger’s attention.

Arkansans love their pickups — and own a bunch of them. Last time I looked, for instance, many more than 600,000 such vehicles were on the rolls of the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration. Take out underage drivers, and that is one truck for every two men in the state. Here is another way of looking at it: Lined up bumper to bumper (and assuming an average length of 17 feet), the state’s pickups would extend slightly more than 2,000 miles. In other words, that is the equivalent of trucks filling both lanes of a highway around the perimeter of the state (i.e., from Bentonville to Blytheville to Lake Village to Texarkana and back to Bentonville). Those of a competitive nature might be pleased to know that on a per capita basis, Arkansas easily beats Texas when it comes to pickups.

The most famous pickup in the state is proudly displayed in the Walmart Museum on the square in downtown Bentonville. Guests can examine Sam Walton’s original 1979 Ford F-150, his vehicle of choice when he and his bird dog, Ol’ Roy, went quail hunting. If they look closely, visitors will spot the dog’s teeth marks on the steering wheel.

Most of the 65,627 miles put on the classic red-and-white pickup were not for hunting trips. Before his retailing empire exploded to cover the country, Walton drove the truck from one Walmart store to another to check on inventory, displays and staffing. Veteran managers knew to be on the lookout for the truck and the random surprise inspection. Walton also routinely parked his truck in the lots of competitors, where he gauged store appearance and consumer traffic before wandering in to assess the shopping experience.

For certain demographic groups — particularly young men in rural portions of the state — acquiring one’s first pickup truck is a rite of passage. A gun rack in the rear window completes the look, especially if the rack is occupied, and four-wheel drive is highly desired. As for the exterior, the muddier, the better.

The first factory-built pickups arrived in the American marketplace in 1925, when Ford Motor Co. offered them for sale. Prior to that, consumers had to purchase a chassis and cab from a dealer and then find local craftsmen to build custom beds for the new vehicles.

Given the state’s rural population and strong agricultural base, pickup trucks quickly caught on in Arkansas, and they have remained popular ever since. In a typical year, about 30 percent of the state’s registered vehicles are pickups.

These new models are a far cry from the utilitarian 1953 Ford three-quarter-ton pickup Papa Rice drove around Clay County to check on his farming operations back in the 1950s and ’60s. Today’s top-of-the-line pickups are fully tricked out with state-of-the-art electronics, GPS, leather upholstery, climate-control systems and other advancements my grandfather would have seriously questioned.

These days, there are a surprising number of pickup trucks parked in the garages of upscale neighborhoods across the state. Most city dwellers rely on their trucks to haul mulch, sod, firewood, garage sale gleanings, sporting equipment, the latest large-screen televisions and the annual Christmas tree, never getting their tires off the pavement.

Let me conclude with a reminder that you do not have to own a pickup to be an Arkansan, but you dang sure better know a good friend who has one.

Joe David Rice, former tourism director of the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism, wrote Arkansas Backstories, a delightful book of short stories from A through Z that introduces readers to the state’s lesser-known aspects. Rice’s goal is to help readers acknowledge that Arkansas is a unique and fascinating combination of land and people — a story to be proud of and one certainly worth sharing.

Each month, AY will share one of the 165 distinctive essays. We hope these stories will give you a new appreciation for this geographically compact but delightfully complex place we call home. These Arkansas Backstories columns appear courtesy of the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies at the Central Arkansas Library System. The essays have been collected and published by Butler Center Books in a two-volume set, both of which are now available to purchase at amazon.com and the University of Arkansas Press.


McDaniel Law Firm, PLC congratulates founding partner BOBBY MCDANIEL for his well deserved, continuing recognition of excellence fighting for injured Arkansans and their families.

mcdaniellawyers.com | 400 S Main St, Jonesboro, AR | (870) 336-4747

Voted one of AY’s Best Hospitals

Conway Regional has been the community’s hospital for more than 100 years, providing high-quality, compassionate care. As our communities grow, we are growing alongside you to ensure all of your healthcare needs are met right here in Conway. When your family needs medical care, you can trust our board-certified providers to provide you with the comprehensive care you deserve when you need it most.

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