county line JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2017
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M A G A Z I N E
Best of the
East Side of Texas
EAGLE FEST COMEDY THEATER HEALTHY MARSHALL WINTER BIRDING DEBORAH PARIS COUNTY LINE KIDS LEAâ€™S RESTAURANT HOUSE PLANTS WILDLIFE RESCUE
GREENVILLE Explore the Audie
North Texas with a Twist!
d wine at reat food an
inery! Landon W
travelgreenvilletx.com Live entertainment
2 • COUNTYLINEMAGAZINE.COM • JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2017
in lots of places!
We’re ready to surprise you! JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2017 • COUNTYLINEMAGAZINE.COM • 3
county line Since 2000
26 P aintings of Daphne Prairie’s delicate Texas tallgrass; TRAHC’s annual African American artists exhibit; and a mixed media display at LMFA.
FILM 30 With more screenings, events and categories, the Nacogdoches Film Festival triples its offerings.
32 UT Tyler Professor’s tales of a year spent in Burma; and several other local novels and books.
MUSIC Photo by Lisa Hilbers.
34 Miranda Lambert and other East Texans snag Grammy nominations; plus upcoming Mount Vernon Music performances and another Eisley album.
FOOD & DRINK 38 Lea’s Restaurant hides a rich menu of southern cooking stables in a humble address.
PUBLISHER P.A. Geddie MANAGING EDITOR Elaine Rogers EDITORS Jill Couchman, Steve Freeman
CONTRIBUTORS Lisa Hilbers Clare McCarthy Juay’s Photography
GRAPHIC DESIGN & PRINT PRODUCTION Jill Couchman, Jette Stephens
ADMINISTRATION Annette O’Briens
DISTRIBUTION Tom Geddie, Joseph Drew
40 Bright blooms and healthy houseplants brighten interiors and cleanse the air.
6 Best of the Upper East Side of Texas
Readers weigh in on favorite places to eat, shop, tour, camp and more.
14 Winter Birding
in the Piney Woods
With or with binoculars, it’s time for the Great Backyard Bird Count. By Clare McCarthy
18 Get Healthy Marshall
In the middle of cattle country, a community nonprofit promotes an eat-those-vegetables agenda. By Elaine Rogers
18 DEPARTMENTS 5 Editor’s Note & Letters
THIS TIME OF YEAR
42 Pride Rock in Terrell provides a quiet sanctuary for wildlife with nowhere else to go.
COUNTY LINE KIDS
46 Acting classes for kids; a stage performance of The Cat in the Hat; and TJC’s ambitious scholarship program.
SUBSCRIPTIONS firstname.lastname@example.org County Line Magazine is published every other month, 6 times a year. Subscription costs: $15 per year. Bulk rate postage paid at Ben Wheeler, Texas. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to County Line Magazine, P.O. Box 608, Ben Wheeler, TX 75754. Contents COPYRIGHT 2017 County Line all rights reserved. Material may not be reproduced without written permission. Opinions expressed in articles or advertising appearing in this magazine do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher. Mailing address: P.O. Box 608, Ben Wheeler, TX 75754 Phone: 903.963.8306. E-mail: email@example.com Website: www.countylinemagazine.com. Free listings are entered on a space available basis. Advertising space may be purchased by calling 903.963.8306. We reserve the right to refuse any advertisement we deem incompatible with our mission.
20 W hy Athens is Texas’ black-eyed pea capitol, and remembering the Texas Playboys’ pianist and other homegrown achievers.
CULTURE & ENTERTAINMENT
Serving the Upper East Side of Texas
24 A photographer, yoga instructor and artist with stories to tell.
Cover photo by Lisa Hilbers.
SEE WEBSITE EXTRAS! www.CountyLineMagazine.com 4 • COUNTYLINEMAGAZINE.COM • JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2017
And since a new year often brings with it a new commitment to getting in shape or eating more wisely, it seemed a good time to check in with Get Healthy Marshall, a nonprofit that promotes this agenda year-round. Besides planning an annual Healthfest event which brings an impressive roster of national nutrition and health experts to the area in late March, founders Ed and Amanda Smith periodically arrange healthy potluck dinners and grocery tours in the community while working with area restaurants to encourage more vegetarian options.
Each January, readers submit nominations for their favorite places to eat, shop and visit, and County Line Magazine compiles the list of the top choices. It’s a marathon task, but totally worth the effort. Our categories range from perennial favorites like burgers and barbecue to camping locations, sweets, historic buildings and downtown destinations. Here’s hoping the 2017 list gives you endless inspiration for new things to do and places to visit in the coming year.
County Line Magazine also welcomes the new year with a new County Line Kids page. As the name implies, it’s devoted to children and the mission of encouraging local youth to achieve their potential. Keep an eye on this section for everything from kid-friendly arts opportunities and poetry to scholarship news.
Of course, one of the easiest East Texas activities this time of year is birdwatching, and whether you prefer brisk walks in your neighborhood or occasional nature hikes in nearby parks, there are numerous migratory species vying to catch your eye. You might consider participating in the Great Backyard Bird Count, an annual event held February 17-20, or schedule a January 28-29 trip to Rains County, the Eagle Capital of Texas and home of Eagle Fest — expanded to a two-day event this year and included in a recent list of 13 fun winter birding events by the National Audubon Society. Read more about birds and the bird count on pages 14-16.
That’s a short sampling of this issue’s varied offerings. From healthy houseplants (page 40) and Grammy news (page 34) to profiles of interesting neighbors (page 24), you’ll find plenty to savor on a wintry curl-up-and-read afternoon. Elaine Rogers Managing Editor
LETTERS Dear Editor, This is one of the sweetest ladies you could hope to meet. (Andie Kay Joyner: Keeping the Beat for a Blacktop Gypsy/ September/October 2016). Her love for people just shines all over her, and comes out beautifully in her music. An-
Let us hear from you
22 J efferson’s Mardi Gras Upriver and magic and comedy shows in Texarkana, Longview and Rusk.
die Kay is beautiful on the outside and the inside, as evidenced by the scores of people who love her. As a singer and musician, you couldn’t ask for anyone more talented and entertaining. Marion Dennis Wills Point
Please feel free to send us your comments. County Line Magazine P.O. Box 608, Ben Wheeler, TX 75754 email: firstname.lastname@example.org Find us on Facebook and Twitter. Go to LETTERS on www.countylinemagazine.com.
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Best of the Upper East Side of Texas In its 13th year now, County Line Magazine’s annual survey keeps uncovering more and more local gems in the Upper East Side of Texas. More than 1,200 nominations were received this year and 2016 showed that our region continues to grow as a Texas treasure with delicious food, wonderful attractions and beautiful backdrops, one-ofa-kind shops, exciting entertainment, and many talented individuals. This year’s winners represent a great selection of the best of 2016 in the Upper East Side of Texas. If your favorites didn’t make the cut this year, please let us know about them and we’ll spread the word.
Best Barbecue Country Tavern. Kilgore. Simple choices with award-winning ribs, brisket, or sausage. This location is a bit out of the way but so worth it according to the masses of people that keep coming back since it opened in 1939. 1526 FM 2767. 903.984.9954. facebook.com/CountryTavern-Barbecue.
Best Breakfast The Fatted Calf. Rockwall. This downtown eatery specializes in what’s called “DownHome Chic” cuisine. Along with the usual
favorites for breakfast are some entrees like Sweet Potato Pancakes and The Chic & Waffle. 112 E. Rusk St. 972.722.3343. thefattedcalfrestaurant.com.
Fosters Place. Pickton. An Americana menu in a laid-back venue comes with a surprisingly extensive selection of craft beers and special selections from micro breweries in and around the DFW area. The knowledgeable owner and bartender enjoy discovering what taste buds like and adding new flavors to the mix. 15244 TX-11. 903.866.0606.
The Liberty Bell. Nacogdoches. Yes, the menu items are reason enough to eat brunch here, but so are the special drinks. Combine mimosas or bloody marys with Crab Cakes Eggs Benedict, migas or chicken and waffles. Brunch served from 10 a.m. -2 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday. 422 E. Main St. 936.622.6425. libertybellbar.com.
Claw Daddy’s. Mineola. Claw Daddy’s gets big points for its fried catfish and
also serves up boiled crawfish, shrimp, snow crab, gumbo, red beans and rice, and more. Outdoor patio seating. BYOB. 120 S. Johnson St. 318.235.8822. facebook.com/clawdaddysboiledcrawfish.
Jucy’s. Longview. Prepared fresh daily ingredients including grinding their own fresh beef. Jucy’s is recognized around the state but this is the original location that opened in 1980. 816 West Marshall Ave. 903.753.8993. juicyshamburgers.com.
Laura’s Cheesecake. Mount Pleasant. In business for more than 20 years in downtown Mount Pleasant, Laura’s Cheesecake has perfected the artform, baking its goodies from scratch with cream cheese, farm fresh eggs, sugar, and sour cream. Besides the classic, there’s triple chocolate, marbled brownie swirl, raspberry, apple streusel, turtle, and key lime. With cheesecake and baked goods sold during regular business hours, Laura’s serves lunch daily from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. There’s also an online store with 2nd Day delivery options. 109 N. Madison. 1.800.252.8727. laurascheesecakes.com.
Best Chicken Fried Steak Buttermilk’s. Canton. For the second year in a row, Buttermilk’s takes the prize for its homestyle, perfectly battered chicken-fried steak. 100 W. Dallas St. 903.567.3287. buttermilkscanton.com.
Taste Buds. Mineola. Thirteen is the lucky number for sandwich lovers here. The menu offers choices like the Meat Lover’s and the Mineola Grand Slam. If preferring something light, try one of seven salads or their homemade soups. Closed Tuesday and Wednesday. 13 E. Commerce St. 903.569.2888. tastebudsccc.com.
Idzi Bitsy Bakery. Sulphur Springs. After a day of fun in Sulphur Springs’ Celebration District, the prize might be a “cupshake” from this full-scale bakery with a clear devotion to sugary treats. An Idzi Bitsy cupshake costs $5 and involves a cupcake drowned in a milkshake in flavors like wedding cake, salted caramel and chocolate. 209 Main St. 903.885.9866. idzibitsybakery.com.
Watermelon Mills. From a Signature Drip with notes of milk chocolate, pecan and strawberry to a creamy, coldbrewed Nitro Brew, Watermelon Mills celebrates the barista arts. Specialty drinks like the $3 Arnold Palmer – classic lemonade with loose leaf black tea – expands the tasty options. 100 Houston St. 903.270.2511. watermelonmills.com.
The Farmhouse. Van. A sprinkle of nutmeg, a drizzle of chocolate syrup, a scoop of vanilla ice cream...and those are just the toppings! Among their pie selections are classics like buttermilk, southern pecan, and dutch apple with more varieties extending beyond the main menu. Take-home and special occasion orders are welcome – just give 24 hours notice. 1125 S. Oak St. 903.963.7077. thefarmhousevantx.com.
Best Dog-Friendly Restaurant
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The Patio at Fresh by Brookshire’s. Tyler. This inviting space welcomes pets on leashes. There’s a wide variety of foods and beverages to choose from at the outdoor grill or inside at various food bars, and live music is a frequent offering. 6991 Old Jacksonville Highway. 903.747.3503. freshbybrookshires.com.
Roast Social Kitchen. Tyler. Fresh dough made daily using the finest flour and extra virgin olive oil make these brick oven pizzas the bee’s knees. Coincidentally, Bee’s Knees is one of their signature pies, featuring roasted garlic, a four cheese blend, soppresatta, and sausage topped with Mike’s Hot Honey, thyme,
and fresh orange. Gluten free available on request. 1125 E. 5th. 903.202.0295. roastsocialkitchen.com.
The Farmer’s Wife. In addition to offering pantry essentials like oils, spices, pastas, and coffees, this downtown market boasts specialty foods including local, high-quality meats and cheeses, fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy, and artisan breads. Open Tuesday-Friday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. 210 N. Madison Ave. 903.573.155. thefarmerswifeshop.com.
Hall of Fame MAGAZINE
ART & ESPRESSO
WINNSBORO. Best Coffee
BEAUTY AND THE BOOK HAWKINS. Best Book Store
CROSSROADS MUSIC COMPANY WINNSBORO. Best Live Music Venue
DAIRY PALACE CANTON. Best Hamburgers Best Malt/Shake
EAST TEXAS BURGER COMPANY MINEOLA. Best Hamburgers
Kiepersol. Tyler. Specializing in USDA Prime steaks, fresh seafood, and handselected wines, Kiepersol is all about fine dining. There’s a bar and lounge as well, plus private event dining spaces. Reservations are recommended and a dress code is enforced. Open Tuesday-Saturday for lunch and dinner, with breakfast served on Saturday. 21508 Merlot Lane. 903.894.3300. kiepersol.com.
FIVE D CATTLE COMPANY AVINGER. Best Steak
FOUR WINDS STEAKHOUSE WILLS POINT. Best Restaurant & Best Steak
FRANK RUMORE WILLS POINT. Best Chef. Four Winds
JACKSON YORK Best Chef
LAKE FORK Best Fishing Hole
THE LINKS AT LAND’S END
YANTIS. Best Golf Course
Chilango’s Mexican Restaurant. Clarksville. Queso takes no second place to salsa here. The authentic Tex-Mex chip dip has plenty of fans, who often even trade up to Queso Fundido: melted cheese with Mexican sausage, beef or chicken fajita meat. 2000 W. Main St. 903.427.0089.
MILL CREEK RANCH RESORT CANTON. Best RV Park
MINEOLA NATURE PRESERVE Best Nature Walk and Bird Watching
MOORE’S STORE BEN WHEELER. Best Live Music Venue
QUITMAN COMMUNITY THEATRE Best Small Theatre Company
RC & MOON PIE MURAL
Best Salsa and Chips
Posados. Lindale. Folks come away from Posados admiring the crispy thin chips and flavorful salsa. And for a change of pace, some regulars opt for the tomatillo sauce. 3201 S. Main St. 903.881.0434. posados.com.
BEN WHEELER. Best Sign
STANLEY’S FAMOUS PIT BAR-B-Q TYLER. Best Barbecue
THEE HUBBELL HOUSE WINNSBORO. Best Bed & Breakfast
THE SHED CAFE EDOM. Best Pie, Best Wait Staff
Pearl’s Kitchen. Mount Pleasant. This popular lunch venue puts a lot of healthy thought into their menu including the salads. Choices include one with kale, roasted butternut squash, pumpkin Continued Page 8
TOM PERRYMAN KKUS THE RANCH, TYLER. Best Radio DJ
TYLER STATE PARK Best Camping Spot
WINNSBORO Best Small Town
JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2017 • COUNTYLINEMAGAZINE.COM • 7
seeds, dried cranberries, and feta with a maple dijon vinaigrette; and another with spinach, grapes, roasted sweet potatoes with a pear/white balsamic vinaigrette, and several other delicious combinations. 2237 N. Edwards Ave. 903.563.7721. pearlskitchentx.com.
Stanley’s Famous Pit Bar-B-Q. Tyler. Hall of Fame winner for best barbecue in the Upper East Side of Texas, Stanley’s wins Best Sandwich this year for their Jumbo Brother-in-Law with grilled hot link, cheese, and chopped brisket and sauce on a jalapeno cheese sourdough bread. 525 S. Beckham Ave. 903.593.0311. stanleysfamous.com.
Copeland’s of New Orleans/Longview. Longview. A New Orleans-style restaurant serving a wide variety of seafood including crab claws, oysters, shrimp, crawfish, catfhish, redfish, salmon and more. They offer an extensive drink list including their signature Applewood Smoked Bacon Bloody Mary. Open daily for lunch and dinner and brunch on Sunday. 3213 N. Fourth St. 903.212.7200. copelandsofneworleans.com/longview-store-details.
Lone Republic Steakhouse. Winnsboro. Lone Republic promises to impress your taste buds with 30-day aged Certified Angus Beef. Indulge in the intense flavors of their hand-cut top sirloin, NY strip, filet mignon, or ribeye all while enjoying live entertainment under the outdoor pavilion. 206 Market St. 903.347.6526. lonerepublicsteakhouse.com.
La Finca Mexican Restaurant. Gilmer. A spacious new building added ambience and comfort to La Finca’s offerings, but the family restaurant’s menu remains its biggest selling point. From sizzling fajitas to cold margaritas, the south-ofthe-border fare is fresh, flavorful and inexpensive. Special seasonings make the refried beans and rice particularly tasty, and the signature dessert — ice cream in a flour tortilla topped with fruit and whipped cream — is a necessary indulgence. 200 E. Warren St. 903.843.5355. lafincamexicanrestaurant.net.
The Forge. Ben Wheeler. This cozy corner offers vegetarians quite a few options, including delicious pizzas with a large variety of toppings or portabella
pesto or vegetarian specials. For appetizers try the fried avacado, cheese board, or Blue Cheese Chips. The Meltdown is a delicious grilled cheddar and Havarti dill with grilled onions, roasted bell peppers, spinach and avocado, and there’s a grilled portabella sandwich as well. The veggie wrap is popular as is the gorganzola salad and vegan tacos. All burgers can be ordered with a chickpea or black bean patty on request. 1610 FM 279. 903.833.5970. theforgebenwheeler.com.
Los Pinos Ranch Vineyards. Pittsburg. Aside from the landscape and live jazz on weekends, the labels for the 10 dry and seven sweet wines ensure each visit is unique. Try Rosie the Riveter, All My X’s, Symphony or Texican. 658 County Road 1334. 903.855.1769. lospinosranchvineyards.com.
Best Afternoon Stroll
Edom Craft Community. Edom. Home to an eclectic array of shops and boutiques, Edom caters to window-shoppers and lovers of artistic handmade items. Must-stops include Zeke & Marty for jewelry and “cool guys stuff,” Potters Brown for precious pottery, Arbor Castle for beautiful, quirky birdhouses, and the Old Edom Firehouse for visual arts. 844.633.6689. visitedom.com.
Los Pinos Ranch Vineyards
Best Alternative Well-Being Shop
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StarDragonfly Herb Company. Winnsboro. It starts with bulk herbs, spices, fragrant candles, botanicals and organic chocolate. But that’s just the warm-up for earth-mother treasures like aprons, sachets, granola and lye soap. Shop in the afternoon and someone will offer you a cup of tea, and, that’s just a heartbeat away from buying a totally unnecessary but oh-so-cute tea cozy. 300 N. Main St. 903.588.4313.
Best Annual Event
Wonderland of Lights. Marshall. This magical event happens each year since 1987 from about Thanksgiving to New Year’s with ice skating, millions of
white lights, and activities in the downtown area. 101-125 W. Houston St. 903.702.7777. wonderlandoflights.com.
ple of years ago to all it’s original majesty including a clock tower dome. 903.537.2252. visitmtvernontx.com.
continues to expand the offerings. 2626 County Road 217. 903.730.5055. highhillfarm.com.
Best Antique Store
Best Dog Walk
Best Gift Shop
Harry Myers Park. Rockwall. Our fine furry friends enjoy plenty of romping space (in fenced areas), drinking water and even on-leash walking trails at this city park. Small dogs have a section, too. 815 E. Washington St. 972.771.7740. playrockwall.com/harry-myers-park.
Blue Moon Gardens. Edom. Located in an old farm house, the shop offers plant and outdoor accessories and so much more. Unique, thoughtful items include candles, jewelry, sented sachets, handdyed fiber arts, towels, soaps, lotions, wind chimes, and more. 13062 FM 279. 903.852.3897. bluemoongardens.com.
The Vintage Bucket. Texarkana. This popular landmark offers antiques, vintage, repurposed, and many other treasures. 2121 N. State Line Ave. 903.793.2830. facebook.com/statelinetreasures.
Best Art Gallery
Gingko Leaf Art Gallery. Marshall. A delightful collection of works by regional artists that includes fiber arts, metal sculpture, paintings, pottery, jewelry, and more. They also offer classes, workshops and demonstrations. 212 N. Washington Ave. 903.471.5225. gingkoleafgallery.com.
First Monday Trade Days. Canton. This phenomenal attraction in downtown Canton continues to draw hundreds of thousands of visitors once a month for shopping, eating, touring, entertainment, people watching, and more. 903.567.6556. firstmondaycanton.com.
Best Bed and Breakfast Savannah’s Meadow. Celeste. Guests enjoy this 18-acre farm getaway with options to stay in a treehouse. Ammenities include a hot tub, pond fishing, and walking trails. 4445 FM 903. 214.668.4299. savannahsmeadow.com.
Best Fishing Hole Cedar Creek Lake. Cedar Creek. The lake is the fourth largest in Texas with 320 miles of shoreline. Numerous kinds of catfish, bass, and crappie are the predominant fish species. Fishing is particularly good in the spring and into summer. 903.887.1087. gunbarrelcity.net.
Best Getaway High Hill Farm. Arp. With 75 acres of with forests, meadows, manicured gardens, vineyards and nature trails, the new resort boasts several bungalows and Southern-by-way-of France fine dining, plus activities ranging from skeet shooting to sunset champagne picnics. Ongoing construction of new bungalows
Best Golf Course Van Zandt Country Club. Canton. A popular, member-owned club, this location has an 18-hole course and a spacious clubhouse with all the amenities to accommodate weddings and special events. The 52-year-old facility won a few extra fans two years ago with the completion of a dramatic remodel, and you can’t beat the scenery of the course. 117960 I-20. 903.56.4884. vanzandtcc.com.
Best Historic Building Redlands Historic Inn. Palestine. A charming 102-year-old building in Palestine’s downtown hub, Redlands has a Continued Page 10
Best Camping Spot Jellystone Park. Tyler. Here are 47 acres of fun in the East Texas Piney Woods with wagon rides, horseshoes, shuffleboard, ping-pong, tennis, basketball, swimming and pedal carts plus an adult saltwater pool and spa. Tent sites are $20 plus $5 per person; Cabin rentals range from $120$160. 5583 FM 16 East. 903.858.2405. jellystoneatwhisperingpines.com.
Best County Courthouse Franklin County. Mount Vernon. The stately courthouse in the county seat of Mount Vernon was restored a cou-
Kiepersol Estates Restaurant
BEST continued from page 7
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BEST continued from page 9
claim to fame as the former headquarters of the International and Great Northern Railroad, and touts 16 suites, including several two-bedrooms and one with four. 400 N. Queen St. 903.729.2345. redlandshistoricinn.com.
Best Hotel/Motel/Inn Hilton Inn. Rockwall. An ideal “getaway” option, this hotel overlooks Lake Ray Hubbard and the stunning Harbor Rockwall development. Besides shopping, dining and entertainment choices, guests can go sailing or fishing, take in a movie or play golf. 2055 Summer Lee Dr. 214.771.3700. dallasrockwall.hilton.com.
Best Improved Small Town Downtown Lindale. Lindale. The addition of The Cannery and other tourism and entertainment-based businesses in the past year has meant significant positive changes for the town. The Cannery is a mixed-use development offering lofts, dining, shopping, and music and includes the popular Love & War in
Texas eatery and music venue and The Pink Pistol, owned by country music artist Miranda Lambert. 105 Ballard Dr. 903.882.3422. thepinkpistol.com.
Best Kids’ Meal Deal Moore’s Store. Ben Wheeler. Kids eat free on Tuesday nights at this charming nostalgic gathering place, but the food is good all week long. The menu includes chicken strips, steak fingers, corn dogs, burgers and grilled cheese sandwiches. 1535 FM279. 903.833.5100. mooresstore.com.
Best Lakeside Town Lake Jacksonville. Lake Jacksonville. A recreational and retirement area on the Neches River Basin situated just a halfmile from Jacksonville, the 1,325-acre lake maintains a quiet profile but is well-known to anglers. Three boat ramps and camping facilities with showers entice non-natives, while an active homeowners association keeps things civilized for full-timers. 903.586.2217. jacksonvilletexas.com.
Best Live Music Venue The Bowery Stage. Winnsboro. Located within the Winnsboro Center for the Arts, The Bowery Stage consistently brings stellar performers of classical, American, folk, and country music to East Texas. Judy Collins, Peter Yarrow, Pauline Reese, Susan Gibson, Druha Trava, Trout Fishing in America, Beyond the Pale, and Adler & Hearne. 200 Market St. 903.342.0686. winnsborocenterforthearts.com.
Best Museum Michelson Museum of Art. Marshall. Established in the mid-1980s to care for the work of Russian-American artist Leo Michelson, who died in 1978 at 91, the museum expanded its permanent exhibits to include early 20th century American art as well as African masks and Chinese opera puppets gathered by Jay Ward, creator of the cartoon characters Rocky and Bullwinkle, George of the Jungle and Dudley Do-Right. A Discovery Room is popular with children and student exhibits are scheduled year-round along with interactive hands-on student tours. 216 North Bolivar St. 903.935.9480. michelsonmuseum.org.
Best Nature Walk Mineola Nature Preserve. Mineola. Breathtaking views any time of the year on wellpaved trails. 1860 CR 2724. 903.569.6183. mineolanaturepreserve.com.
Redlands Historic Inn
Faulkner Park. Tyler. Family-friendly offerings here range from a tennis complex, softball fields and bike trails to a splash park and fishing pond — plus play areas with plenty of bench seating for tired parents. 410 W. Cumberland Rd. 903.531.1370. parksandrec.cityoftyler.org.
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Best RV Park Barefoot Bay. Pittsburg. Eighty waterfront sites situated in Barefoot Bay Cove on the shores of Lake Bob Sandlin feature full hookup and shade. Marina amenities include 40 covered boat
Love’s Look Out. Jacksonville. Some of the best views in East Texas start or end with a scenic drive. On a clear day, visitors can see into several counties. It’s a lovely sight any time of the year, but blooming dogwoods and other flowers enhance the views in the spring, and the autumn foliage is not to be missed. 43822 Hwy. 69 North. 903.586.4868. jacksonvilletexas.com/loves-lookout.
hub of eateries, boutiques, galleries and attractions. Transformed from a parking lot to a park, the square features a splash pad, game tables and bistro areas and the city’s “Celebration District” is highlighted by an interactive, illuminated fountain shaped like a Texas star and a see-through public bathroom — reportedly the first in the nation — with one-way mirrors that maintain privacy but allow the people inside to look out. Restaurants with names like John’s Potato House, Redneck Bar & Grill, Al’s Diner and Plain and Fancy Sandwich Shoppe keep visitors well fed. sulphurspringstx.org.
Best Shopping Experience
slips, six cabins, kayak and paddle board rentals, and a sports bar. 5244 FM 1520. 903.856.3643. barefootbaymarina.com.
Best Scenic Drive
Uptown Forum. Greenville. The historic old building that once housed Greenville’s Perkins Brothers Department Store is approaching a 40-year history as an eclectic mix of stylish shops, artist studios and small businesses. From the Calico Cat Contemporary Clothing & Gifts and The Black Chandelier Boutique to Yaya’s Café and Conner’s Corner Antiques & Collectibles, it’s a fun mix. 2610 Lee St. 202.270.4276. uptownforum.net.
Simon Webster. Palestine. Chef Webster was classically trained at the New Zealand Culinary Institute and apprenticed with some of the finest chefs in the area. His experience spans 40 years with fivestar restaurants, wine bars, and catering. He opened Sabor a Pasion in 2004 and it is a well-respected getaway with his attention to personal service and detail to food and flavor. 110 CR 406. 903.729.9500. saborapasion.com.
Texan Theater. Greenville. The generously-sized vertical banner announces entertainment is nigh with plenty of neon and nostalgic pizzazz on Greenville’s old cinema, renovated two years ago as a 120-seat dinner theater venue. 2712 Lee St. 903.259.6360. texantheatergreenville.com.
Best Slogan Champagne Served, Boots Welcome. Palestine. Palestine is showing visitors their very tasteful offerings from stately homes and fine dining to true Southern experiences like the Texas State Railroad. They promise everything from food trucks to fine china. 825 W. Spring St. 903.723.3014. visitpalestine.com.
Best Small Downtown Sulphur Springs. A major revitalization project here has created a lively business
team of actors and others with the Henderson County Performing Arts Center. 400 Gibson Rd. 903.675.3908. hcpac.org.
Best Small Theater Company Lindale Community Theater. Lindale. Planning and performing four to five stage productions each year, this busy community theater group also hosts concerts in its intimate setting and conducts winter and fall theater classes for kids via an LCT Too program. 109 W. Hubbard St. 903.638.0402. lindalecommunitytheater.org.
Best Actor/Actress Beth Walker. Walker had two significant roles in 2016 with the Lindale Community Theater that may have garnered her nominations for “Best.” One was the sour-tempered Ouiser Boudreaux in Steel Magnolias and the other was a more kindly, concerned Aunt Eva in The Miracle Worker.
Debora Schubert Lytle. Lytle paints portraits, animals, landscapes, still lifes and murals for commission and exhibit. deboralytle.com.
Best Local Band Wesley Pruitt Band. This band never disappoints, playing Texas music with soul led by the incredibly talented Wesley Pruitt. facebook.com/Wesley-Pruitt-Band.
Best Local Singer/Songwriter Heather Little. A local favorite, she’s also quite popular in Nashville and all over Texas for her beautiful lyrics and voice. heatherlittlemusic.com.
Best Play Last Chance Romance. Athens. This hilarious comedy about dating, marriage, and french fries took place in September. Directed by Gary McDonald with a vibrant
Debora Lytle’s “Girl with Pink Collar”
JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2017 • COUNTYLINEMAGAZINE.COM • 11
DINE. SHOP. STAY. ARTS. ENTERTAINMENT.
WINNSBORO CULTURAL ARTS DISTRICT
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Winter Birding in the Piney Woods Grab Those Binoculars and Prepare for The Great Backyard Bird Count Some of the region’s regular avian residents are wood duck, wild turkey and woodpecker species as well as the pine warbler, Backman’s sparrow and brownheaded nuthatch. Winter visitors range from the spotted towhee, LeConte’s sparrow and American woodcock to the grand Bald Eagle and American White Pelican. Cliff Shackelford, a Nacogdoches ornithologist for Texas Parks and Wildlife, says birds that are generally found farther north during nesting season migrate south as the weather grows colder, and East Texas is the receiving ground for a variety of birds during the winter months.
East Texas provides many friendly habitats for birds like the spotted towhee. Courtesy Photo.
By Clare McCarthy While the notion of birdwatching might seem foreign to some, it’s an easy hobby to pick up. Glimpsed from a back window or on a stroll through a neighborhood park, birds flash their feathers almost everywhere in East Texas. Of course, identifying them is a different matter. A good pair of binoculars and a birder’s field guide are good tools for enhancing the process and getting “serious” about observing and identifying our fine feathered friends. Every February since 1998, thousands of people across the nation and the world participate in the Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC), an annual four-day event using data collected by ordinary people
to document wild bird counts and movement. Scheduled for February 17-20 and sponsored by the National Audubon Society and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the GBBC asks participants to count birds for as little as 15 minutes on one or more days of the four-day event, and then report their sightings online at birdcount.org. During the GBBC and year-round, East Texas residents have the luxury of sharing outdoor spaces with a multitude of birds, catching glimpses or hearing their distinctive chirps from the comfort of a back porch or anywhere in the area’s bevy of state parks and wildlife preserves. The region’s dense woodlands and open lakes offer a multitude of friendly habitats for a variety of birds, and this time of year, bird populations increase as numerous migratory species fly through or linger.
“People think there’s like one or two ducks and one or two kinds of sparrows — we’ve got easily a dozen types of each of those that winter in our area,” he explains. Other winter-resident birds he likes to spy include the white-throated sparrow, yellow-bellied sapsucker and dark-eyed junco, plus a slew of various waterfowl. Shackelford also says the cooler temperatures lead to increased activity among the birds. “They’ve got to increase their caloric intake, so they’re a lot more active,” he says. “You see the opposite in August when it’s so bloody hot — they want to take a siesta, they don’t want to move — just like humans.” The East Texas region is home to 10 state parks and a great number of lakes, wildlife preserves, and arboretums — all well-suited to birding activities. Caddo Lake State Park and Caddo Lake Wildlife Refuge in
Winter birds on view in the area include the American woodcock, yellow-bellied sapsucker and white crane. Courtesy Photos. 14 • COUNTYLINEMAGAZINE.COM • JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2017
Marshall are home to more than 200 species of birds, and a variety of places surrounding Tyler attract winter migrants. Just south of Mineola, 2,900 acres on the Sabine River comprise the Mineola Nature Preserve, a natural space responsible for Mineola’s designation as the Birding Capital of East Texas in 2003. The year before, a Texas Parks and Wildlife study identified upwards of 272 different species of birds in residence. The preserve is open seven days a week and admission is free. Mercy Rushing, Mineola’s executive director of economic development and assistant city administrator, says one of the city’s primary goals in creating the preserve was to encourage residents to spend time outdoors, exploring natural settings. “We thought it would be a great thing for Mineola — we wanted what we call the naturalists and the nature tourism,” she says. “[Birders] are willing to go to remote areas — they are willing to go anywhere they need to go to see certain birds.” A variety of other local communities affiliate themselves with feathered friends. Wills Point is called the Bluebird Capital of Texas, Rains County is the Eagle Capital, and Kaufman, the Red Tail Capital. Boyd Sanders, an interpretative ranger at Tyler State Park, says almost any of the area’s state parks are good birding destinations, noting that smaller lakes tend to be better for seeing ducks and migratory species. Sanders leads Friday and Saturday bird walks during February’s Great Backyard Bird Count. He also offers Birding 101 classes to help get people started with the popular hobby.
Pelicans are common visitors to area lakes and numerous migratory species fly through or linger in the region’s dense woodlands and open lakes. Photo by P.A. Geddie.
and there’s an East Texas Naturalists group as well — which often host educational meetings and birding outings. “They can help you learn a little bit more and get you in touch with other people who are interested and knowledgeable about birding,” he says. For more information about the birds of East Texas and learning to identify them, visit the Texas Parks and Wildlife website (tpwd.texas.gov). It includes information about the various bird species sighted within the region. Also of help: East Texas Naturalists (easttexasnaturalists.com), Tyler Audubon Society (tyleraudubon.org) and Texas Ornithology Society (texasbirds.org).
Birding Resources • American Birding Association, aba.org • East Texas Naturalists and Northeast Texas Field Ornithologists (NETFO), easttexasnaturalists.com. • Texas Ornithology Society, texasbirds.org.
• Texas Parks and Wildlife, tpwd.texas.gov • The Great Backyard Bird Count, gbbc. birdcount.org. • Tyler Audubon Society, tyleraudubon.org. The 20th annual GBBC is set for February 17-20. Sign up to be a GBBC citizen scientist and learn more about birds at birdcount.org.
Birding Apps Identifying — and remembering — bird species and sounds is a challenge for most humans, but the National Audubon Society and Wild Birds Unlimited are devoted to making it easier. Birding apps like Merlin Bird ID, eBird and Audubon Bird Guide give inexperienced birdwatchers the resources they need to identify tricky bird species right from their mobile phones. For more information, visit gbbc. birdcount.org/birding-apps and audubon.org/apps. Continued Page 14
Because the weather most people enjoy the most isn’t always the best for spying on birds, he suggests bundling up and braving the cold. “Definitely dress for the weather,” he says. “Some of my best days have been overcast and drizzly, and we’ve seen tons of them.” Tyler State Park offers loaner pairs of binoculars to interested visitors, but Sanders recommends birders invest in their own field guides for easy reference during bird walks and classes. He also suggests making contact with organizations like the Audubon Society — Tyler has a local chapter
Each year, “citizen scientists” nationwide participate in the American Backyard Bird Count, held February 17-20. Photo by Peter Jeffery. JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2017 • COUNTYLINEMAGAZINE.COM • 15
she explains, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department conducts an annual eagle count in the area, sending out experts who track eagle nesting areas and share their data with the Eagle Fest organizers. “Eagles return to their nests each year,” Hatton adds, “so we have a pretty good idea where to find them and our tours give people a really good chance of spying some eagles. Some of the lakes are on private property, so people wouldn’t have a chance to go there on their own, which makes the bus tours a great opportunity. Plus, there are a lot of other birds like osprey, egrets, cranes and migratory ducks around. “For the boat tours, they leave early and you have to bundle up because it’s pretty cold out on the lake,” she adds. “But it’s worth it. The views are wonderful.” Dubbed the Eagle Capital of Texas, Rains County is a protected nesting and feeding ground for eagles and other raptors. (Below) Emory’s Eagle Fest in late January includes a range of bird shows and presentations at Rains High School as well as the popular bus and boat tours tours. The National Audubon Society recently included it on a list of 13 fun winter birding events. Photos by Lisa Hilbers.
Eagle Capital of Texas Ready for Annual Festival By Elaine Rogers For two decades, the Lake Fork Chamber has lured birding enthusiasts out to East Texas on a crisp winter Saturday with bus and boat tours focused on glimpsing the majesty of eagles in flight during their nesting season. This year, the 22nd Annual Eagle Fest is upping the ante by partnering with the Tawakoni Regional Chamber and the Rains Chamber to expand the event’s offerings and reach.
Morning boat tours start early, with 6:30, 8:15 and 9:30 a.m. launch times, while bus tours leave at 9 and 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Noting that Wood County alone has 72 lakes, event spokesperson Tracy Hatton says, “There are a lot of places for eagles to hide in our area.” Fortunately,
For Eagle Fest information and tickets, call the Lake Fork Area Chamber of Commerce at 800.846.1859 (ext 803) or visit the RainsEagleFest facebook page.
“Some of the lakes are on private property, so people wouldn’t have a chance to go there on their own, which makes the bus tours a great opportunity. Plus there are a lot of other birds like osprey, egrets, cranes and migratory ducks around.”
We care for East Texas Every day in communities large and small, near and far, we care for East Texas. Not just for you, but about you — how you’re feeling and how we make you feel. And we never stop seeking new and better ways to care for everyone who comes through our doors. Because that’s our mission and it’s what you deserve. ETMC: We care for East Texas.
-- Eagle Fest spokesperson, Tracy Hatton
The 2017 Eagle Fest tours take place both Saturday and Sunday, with a Lake Fork route January 28 and a Lake Tawakoni route January 29. Rains High School in Emory serves as the event hub, hosting a slew of activities and music plus Native American dance performances, bird and reptile shows, kids crafts and a photography contest. Several celebrity presentations are scheduled as well, with appearances by Mary O. Parker, author of Explore Texas Naturally, and Sunday’s headliner David Klevens — a colleague of Jack Hanna’s who bears the nickname “Critterman.” 16 • COUNTYLINEMAGAZINE.COM • JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2017
A not-for-profit organization committed to improving the quality of life in East Texas communities.
JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2017 • COUNTYLINEMAGAZINE.COM • 17
Get Healthy Marshall Promotes Nutritious Eating For The Town By Elaine Rogers Although January often arrives with a re-evaluation of old habits and enthusiastic resolutions to do better, those promises to eat wisely and exercise more have a way of disappearing — sometimes even before the dip and party decorations are put away. Ed and Amanda Smith of Marshall are well acquainted with the pitfalls of lessthan-nutritious eating and the difficulties of making drastic dietary changes. The former five-term mayor of the East Texas community and his energetic wife admit to years of struggling with weight gain and “being unhealthy,” Amanda says. That all changed in 2008 when a health crisis for Ed gave them a wake-up call, forcing dramatic action and transforming the way they ate and viewed food. With a diagnosis of prostate cancer, Ed chose to treat it with aggressive dietary changes, limiting his nutritional intake under a doctor’s supervision to whole grains, nuts, fruits, legumes, and fruits and vegetables. And the cancerous growth disappeared. Today, the couple proudly promotes a belief in “eating clean,” offering an impressive example of what it looks like to pursue change with purpose, passion and persistence. As founders of a nonprofit called Get Healthy Marshall, they preach the idea of a healthy diet to friends, neighbors and pretty much anybody who will listen.
Photo by Juay’s Photography.
“It keeps your arteries clear, prevents or reverses type 2 diabetes and reduces your risk of cancer,” Amanda says. “No drug on earth can do all of that.”
18 • COUNTYLINEMAGAZINE.COM • JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2017
Creating A Community Movement
Each spring, Get Healthy Marshall hosts a Healthfest event, inviting nationally-acclaimed medical and nutrition experts as well as chefs, athletes and others to gather and share their knowledge and expertise. Scheduled March 31-April 2 this year, the ambitious event draws growing crowds to the
town for the active, informational weekend, some 600 attendees are expected for the 2017 event.
he stayed with the program, eventually losing 50 pounds and discontinuing his medications.
In addition, Amanda publishes an online publication called VegWorld, further sharing information with an international audience about healthy eating and the merits of eliminating processed foods from the American diet.
A range of other Marshall residents and friends report similar successes like arresting or positively impacting disease progression or lowering blood pressure and being able to discontinue medications they’d expected to stay on for the rest of their lives. “And they always lose weight,” Amanda says. “That’s a happy side effect of getting healthy.”
Locally, the couple keeps the “get healthy” dialogue going with popular healthy pot-luck dinners and also works with nearby restaurants to encourage more vegan menu offerings. The goal, Ed says, is to make it easier for people who follow a healthy diet to dine out with friends who don’t. “Eating is such a social activity, and sometimes when people are following a really strict regimen, they don’t feel like they can go to restaurants and find anything that fits their diet,” he says. “So, we’ve worked with a lot of local restaurants to help change that.” Meeting the need, a growing list of Marshall eateries have tasty healthy options. For instance, R & R Bakery & Coffee Shop has veggie burgers and a vegan creamy enchilada casserole, and The Blue Frog Grill has its own plant-strong menu with a grilled avocado lettuce wrap that earns raves on the Get Healthy Marshall website. Similarly, Os2 Restaurant & Pub has a full vegan menu upon request, with quesadillas, pasta marinara, veggie burgers, grilled portobella and other healthy offerings. Central Perks has a whole separate vegan menu with more than 15 made-fresh-daily options of sandwiches and salads. Along with Healthfest’s growth, Get Healthy Marshall’s influence on its community has expanded in subtle and significant ways. Residents impacted by the nonprofit’s healthy dietary lifestyle include Reggie Cooper, Marshall’s fire chief and a man who earned the nickname “Veggie Reggie” after he embraced this new way of eating and reversed his type 2 diabetes. Reportedly spending 28 days making the switch — “detoxing” and changing his palate —
Amanda and Ed also help guide residents through the sometimes-painful process of making dietary changes right where it starts: at the grocery store. Every month or so, Amanda says they conduct free Get Healthy Marshall store tours at a local grocer, leading small groups in an aisle-by-aisle review of what’s on the shelves and discussing the differences between what the labels say and what they mean, and sharing tips on how to make wiser food choices. “Biology causes us to crave fat, salt and sugar whenever we’re stressed out or if we waited too long to eat,” she notes, “so there are a lot of challenges.” For those who find the concept of such a drastic change of focus toward food daunting or even scary, Amanda offers quick pointers like simply avoiding the junk food aisle in the grocery store and making healthy homemade meals in large batches and freezing them in portion-sized containers for convenient consumption during the week. She also suggests looking for food items with less than 10 ingredients on their labels, or fresh vegetables that are label-free. “If it comes from a field and not a factory, it’s a better choice,” she explains. The biggest obstacle to changing eating habits is “environment, not willpower,” Amanda adds. “It’s hard to get clean when you’re surrounded by all the junk,” she says. “But if you fill your house with clean options, that’s what you’ll eat.”
JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2017 • COUNTYLINEMAGAZINE.COM • 19
THIS TIME OF YEAR
Snowflakes are one of nature’s most fragile things, but just look what they can do when they stick together.
JANUARY 29, 1908
Vista M. Kelly
JANUARY 26, 1892
GOOD LUCK IN THE NEW YEAR
Black-Eyed Peas: An Athens Original
YOU DESERVE IT Remembering the Texas Playboys’ Pianist
Everyone knows the tradition that eating black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day brings good luck, but few may know that they originated in Athens.
of “Black-Eyed Pea Capital of the World.” The city hosted a pea festival that continued for many years until demand and production lessened.
As the story goes, in 1909 an Athens businessman named J.B. Henry sought a way to help farmers rid the area’s legume crops of weevils by drying them in ovens. Next came the discovery that what was considered livestock feed also appealed to human tastes. Henry was soon dubbed the “Black-Eyed Pea King of East Texas.”
Area farmers and backyard gardeners still grow the peas and Athenians (and millions of others) still pass the bowl of yummy vegetables at mealtimes — all efforts that harken back to the humble legume’s glory years in Athens.
News traveled fast and before too long, Athens was busily supplying black-eyed peas far beyond East Texas. Canning plants opened in the 1930s and ‘40s to meet the demand. By the 1970s, Athens had gained the title
Born in Atlanda, Texas, Coleman was the first African-American to get her international pilot’s license among many other accomplishments. Read much more about her in the CountyLineMagazine.com archives.
FEBRUARY 12, 1869
HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY
With a little luck, a Texas historical marker erected in downtown Athens may continue telling this story. The Henderson County Historical Commission is pursuing the possibility and the festival is rumored to return soon. In the meantime guests can celebrate Athens’ Black Eyed Pea Cook-off at the annual Fall Festival.
FEBRUARY 9, 1883
Marshall Native Helps Win Voting Rights African-American Lawrence Aaron Nixon was born in Marshall on February 9, 1883, the son of Charles and Jennie (Engledow) Nixon. A physician, he attended Wiley College in his hometown and later moved to El Paso where he established a successful medical practice. In 1914 he helped to organize the local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Nixon fought his denial of voting privileges and took the case to the Supreme Court. After two decades of refusal, he finally won the right to vote in the 1944 primaries as a result of another case before the Supreme Court that finally ended “white-only” primaries. Nixon died March 6, 1966, as a result of an automobile accident. 20 • COUNTYLINEMAGAZINE.COM • JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2017
Alton Stricklin, one of Bob Wills’ Texas Playboys and a Country Music Hall of Fame musician, was born in Antioch in Delta County on January 29, 1908. A jazz pianist whose idioms were basic to dance music, he was invited to join his famous group in 1935 after Wills heard him play piano at the Cinderella Roof in Fort Worth. Stricklin played with the Wills band in its first recording for Columbia Records and in all the other recordings Wills made through 1941 — a total of more than 200. He is credited with setting the piano style for all the swing bands that followed, as well as the style for all of Wills’ other piano players. In 1976, Stricklin became the chronicler of Wills’ music when he published his memoirs, My Years with Bob Wills. He died a decade later in Johnson County.
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county line Upper East Side of Texas Regional Magazine
A Historic Tragedy on Caddo Lake Local history buffs think of Caddo Lake in mid-February because of the tragedy in 1869 which took the lives of 61 of 107 passengers on a sidewheel steamboat called Mittie Stephens. On February 12, the vessel was traveling from New Orleans to Jefferson, a principal riverport at the time. When an evening breeze blew a spark from the torch baskets on the bow to a cargo of hay, the resulting fire could not be contained. As the boat headed for the shore, just 300 yards away, it grounded in three feet of water near Swanson’s Landing. The pilot and the engineer kept the wheels running in an attempt to force the boat to shore, but it was a fatal mistake that pulled the people struggling in the water into them, killing almost all. The Mittie Stephens burned to the water line, and parts of the wreck remained visible above the water through the early 20th century.
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JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2017 • COUNTYLINEMAGAZINE.COM • 21
CULTURE & ENTERTAINMENT
Check out the eMAGAZINE www.countylinemagazine.com for extended event listings.
Mardi Gras Madness
February 17 ARCATTACK: Energy and Electricity. Tyler. 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Cowan Center. 3900 University Blvd. 903.566.7424. cowancenter.org.
Seeing Isn’t Believing
Taking magic to a new level of performance art, magician Adam Trent brings his unique brand to East Texas and the Texarkana Regional Arts and Humanities Center on January 20. As star of the Broadway hit show “The Illusionists,” Trent is commonly described as “Justin Timberlake meets David Copperfield” as his act involves a fair share of singing, dancing and comedy paired with his innovative stage illusions. Trent is a self-taught performer identified by US News & World Report as one of the 10 most influential youths in the nation. For ticket information call 903.792.8681 or visit trahc.org.
February 21 Les Ballets Trockadero De Monte Carlo. Tyler. 7:30 p.m. Cowan Center. 3900 University Blvd. 903.566.7424. cowancenter.org.
February 24-26 6th Annual Nacogdoches Film Festival. Nacogdoches. Stephen F. Austin State University and other locations. 1936 North St. nacogdochesfilmfestival.org.
STAGE January 6-8, 12-15 Colin Mochrie (left) and Brad Sherwood. Courtesy Photo.
It’s All About Improv
East Texans who love the mayhem of Mardi Gras celebrations don’t have to head for Louisiana to get a taste of the silliness. Jefferson’s Krewe of Hebe organization has celebrated Fat Tuesday each year since 1989 with its Mardi Gras Upriver festival — three-days of scheduled crazy the weekend before. Bearing a “Mysteries and Masquerades” theme for 2017, the February 24-26 event includes a grand parade, motorcycle parade, children’s parade and ugly dog contest. A couple of weeks earlier, the so-
cial organization hosts its big blow-out, the Queen Mab Ball, and each year, members of the 100-plus-group select their royalty with a carnival-style cake-eating party — distributing King cakes all around and making sure that only one male and one female find a plastic treasure buried beneath the colorful brioche dough and earn the title of king or queen. For more information about Jefferson’s popular event, visit mardigrasupriver.com.
Heart-Warming Comedy Performers at the Cherokee Civic Theatre have hatched a plan to ward off the winter blues with a joyful presentation of The Hallelujah Girls, February 25-26, with a follow-up performances March 3, 4, and 5. The Southern-fried comedy from Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope and Jamie Wooten — the team that created Always a Bridesmaid, The Dixie Swim Club and the Dearly series previously produced at CCT. The Hallelujah Girls captures the comic energy of a group of friends who routinely gather at “Spa-D-Dah,” their favorite re22 • COUNTYLINEMAGAZINE.COM • JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2017
Famed for their success at seat-of-your-pants unscripted comedy performances, Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood of Whose Line Is It Anyway fame bring their Two-Man Group Tour show to the Belcher Center in Longview on February 11. Responding to audience suggestions, the comic duo promises a fresh improvisational show featuring the type of spontaneous combustion that has won Whose Line fans worldwide. Scotland-born and Canadian-raised, Mochrie claims he got his first laugh by splitting his pants in a high school play, and the thrill helped him overcome shyness and fueled a
EVENTS Adam Trent. Courtesy Photo.
treat from the stresses and craziness of their daily lives — wandering husbands, stagnant romances, kids with probation officers and more. Forced to action by an arch enemy’s effort to shutter the spa, the friends rally to save their oasis and give their own lives a shake-up — inspiring a fair share of laughter along the way. The local performance is directed by Mary Vardaman and produced by Sissy Crysup. The theater is located at 157 West 5th Street in Rusk. Adult tickets cost $13. For show time information, contact the theater at 903.683.2131 or visit the website at cherokeetheatre.net.
I Hate Hamlet. Tyler. $15-$18. Tyler Civic Theatre. 400 Rose Park Dr. 903.592.0561. tylercivictheatre.com.
Ongoing Oceans: Acid Versus Life. Tyler. 10:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. $3. Center for Earth and Space Science Education. 1411 E. Lake St. 903.510.2312. sciencecenter. tjc.edu
craving for more giggles. His background includes The Second City Comedy Club in Toronto and Drew Carey’s Improv-a-Ganza on the Game Show Network in addition to Whose Line. Sherwood, a veteran of the British version of Whose Line is It Anyway, boasts 100 sketch appearances on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno as well as a variety of TV credits that range from a season on LA Law and hosting The New Dating Game. Mochrie and Sherwood have taken their comedy on the road for several years and released a timelessly funny DVD in 2011 called Two Man Group: Live and Dangerously Comedy. For ticket information visit belchercenter.com or call 903.233.3073.
Introduction to Theater Workshop. Lindale. $160. Lindale Community Theater. 109 W. Hubbard. 903.638.0402. lindalecommunitytheater.org.
Adam Trent: The Next Generation of Magic. 7:30 p.m. Texarkana. Perot Theatre. 221 Main St. 903.792.4992. trahc.org.
January 20-22, 27-29
The Dixie Swim Club. Lindale. $9-$16.50. Lindale Community Theater. 109 W. Hubbard. 903.638.0402. lindalecommunitytheater.org.
Goldilocks. Tyler. 10 a.m. Liberty Hall. 103 E. Erwin. 903.595.7274. libertytyler.com.
Pippin. Tyler. 7:30 p.m. Cowan Center. 3900 University Blvd. 903.566.7424. cowancenter.org.
January 21, February 18 Rock and Roll Saturday. Tyler. 7-9 p.m. $5 per show. Center for Earth and Space Science Education. 1411 E Lake St. 903.510.2312. sciencecenter. tjc.edu.
February 3-5, 9-12
First Monday Trade Days. Canton. 903. 567.6556. firstmondaycanton.com.
Rains County Eagle Fest. Emory. Adults $5. Rains High School. 1651 US-69. 903.473.2465 x 6. visitrainscounty.com.
December 31-January 1
December 29-January 1; February 2-5
January 7-February 25
45 Seconds from Broadway. Tyler. $15-$18. Tyler Civic Theatre. 400 Rose Park Dr. 903.592.0561. tylercivictheatre.com. Card 53 Comedy. Tyler. 8 p.m. Liberty Hall. 103 E. Erwin. 903.595.7274. libertytyler.com. Jay Leno. Tyler. 8 p.m. Cowan Center. 3900 University Blvd. 903.566.7424. cowancenter.org.
Midnight in Monte Carlo Ball. Bullard. 8 p.m.-1 a.m. $150. KE Bushman’s Celebration Center. 1545 FM 2493 E. 903.521.8768. kiepersol.com.
Music & Memories Dance. Marshall. 7 pm to 10:30 pm. $25. Marshall Convention Center. 2501 E. End Blvd S. 903.935.4484.
February 17-19, 23-26
Through January 4
Santa Land. Tyler. 6:30-9 p.m. Cost varies. 11518 I-20 W. 903.882.1518. santalandtylertx.com.
January 7, February 4 Star Party. Tyler. 8, 8:30 & 9 p.m. Free. Center for Earth and Space Science Education, 1411 E. Lake St. 903.510.2312. sciencecenter.tjc.edu.
An Affair to Remember. Tyler. 7 p.m. Liberty Hall. 103 E. Erwin. 903.595.7274. libertytyler.com.
February 11 Newlywed Game. Tyler. 8 p.m. Liberty Hall. 103 E. Erwin. 903.595.7274. libertytyler.com.
A Streetcar Named Desire. Paris. Plaza Theatre. 36 N. Plaza. 903.783.0259. pctonstage.com. Barefoot in the Park. Texarkana. 7:30 p.m. Perot Theatre. 221 Main St. 903.792.4992. trahc.org.
February 25-26, March 3-5
The Hallelujah Girls. Rusk. Cherokee Civic Theatre. 157 W. 5th St. 903.683.2131. cherokeetheatre.net.
JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2017 • COUNTYLINEMAGAZINE.COM • 23
A Nostalgic View
Browning’s focus on this history-making form of photography is rare. He claims only a thousand photographers in the U.S. practice “wet plate” work today. And had he not made his return to East Texas, he might not have joined the club.
Chocolate and Yoga
Polley teaches yoga and has a roster of instructors as well as a couple of chefs, a retreat manager and others to coordinate the activities for groups of up to 16 that cluster there. And whether they sign up for a Mindfulness & Meditation Retreat or a Yoga Nurture Retreat, she says the camaraderie is always key. “Some think they’re coming for the yoga, but others have never done it before. And we have women who come but never step foot in a class. It’s not really what they’re here for.”
Art With Purpose
Passionate about creating “functional pottery,” ceramic artist Chris Thomas of Texarkana says she gets a kick out of helping people make things like coffee mugs, plates, planters and pinch pots. Not surprisingly her business, Chris Thomas Pottery, bears the tagline, “Art For Every Day.” “I think people get excited when they create something that’s artistic, but that they can use,” she says. “They can keep it around them and enjoy it that much more.”
I’d always had an interest in pottery but hadn’t done anything about it. So, I took the class to see if I was still interested — or if I was any good.” Turns out, she was both. Not long after, she immersed herself in transforming a spare room into a potter’s studio and experimenting with ceramic creations. In a playful reference to the wizardry world of fictional character Harry Potter, her daughter dubbed the space her “room of requirements.”
Conducting two ceramics workshops this month at the Texarkana Regional Arts and Humanities Center (TRAHC) — January 19 and 21 — Thomas conducted her first one there in the fall and regularly hosts private sessions or small classes at her home studio. She came to her art career later in life, after taking a ceramics class at a local community college.
For Theresa Polley, owner of Retreat in the Pines, yoga is the most obvious theme of the weekend getaways she hosts for women seeking a break from the stresses of their everyday lives, but that’s just part of the picture. “It’s also about wine and chocolate and their favorite sorts of things,” she explains. “Oh, and coffee. Women really love their coffee, almost as much as their wine. These are things I realized weren’t readily available at other yoga retreats,” she says. “It just seemed sensible to make them part of it.”
Many people adopt new technology as a kind of hobby, but John Browning of Mount Pleasant went the other way. A long-time amateur photographer, he took the plunge into professional photography several years ago when he and his wife returned to East Texas to care for his elderly mother. In the process, he stepped into a time machine to explore 100-plus year old photo techniques. “With the rich western history that Texas possesses and my fascination with photography, it was just natural that I fell into my current project of the art of tintype and Ambrotype photography,” he says, explaining that the latter is an antiquated form of wet plate photography dating back to 1858.
“I was in my 40s when my dad got sick,” she explains. “It reminded me that life is not a dress rehearsal and we should explore the things we’re interested in.
It is the format used by pioneering photographers Matthew Brady and Alexander Gardner, who documented the Civil War and recorded events of the old west. Browning and others like him are fascinated with original photo techniques because of their authenticity and their staying power. He notes that it’s a great way to capture family legacy and create photographic heirlooms. “People are drawn to tintype and Ambrotype,” he explains, “because they are not just a replication or simulation of an ‘old tyme’ photo like you got at the fair. “Like the very first ones done in the late 1850s,” he adds, “their lifespan is measured in centuries, not decades.”
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Retreat in the Pines dates back to 2004, shortly after Polley bought the 30-acre Mineola property as a second home. The notion of a getaway destination quickly took hold. “When you’re at home, you’re usually doing things for your kids and your family and probably not enough for yourself,” she says. “I was guilty of that when my children were younger. Women tend to put pampering and time for ourselves on the back burner.” She also embraced the idea of community building among her guests. “That woman bonding time is really special,” she explains. “They often develop friendships and stay in touch afterward.” JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2017 • COUNTYLINEMAGAZINE.COM • 25
Two Southern Artists with Colorful Histories Exhibit Mixed Media Art at LMFA On display at the Longview Museum of Fine Arts January 7 through February 18, an exhibit called “It’s Not About Me” frames a loose narrative, unique to the northeast Texas region around a mixed media and photographic art display by two local artists– Daniel Hays and Terrenceo Hammond. LMFA’s interim director Tiffany Jehorek says the exhibit investigates historical and artistic notions of identity, context, and subjectivity with new media blending with traditional art forms like paintings and sculptures. Some works, she notes, are more concerned with art and its context, while others reference historical events of East Texas.
Daphne Prairie – The Nature of Things, on display at The Fire Station Museum in Mount Vernon, includes Summer Sky (above) and May Morning (below). Photos by Steve Beasley.
Preserving the Delicate Scenery of Texas Tallgrass By Elaine Rogers Landscape painter Deborah Paris of Franklin County spent close to two years observing and painting intricate views of Daphne Prairie in the Mount Vernon area, a project that resulted in a fall exhibit of her work at Fort Worth’s Botanical Research Institute of Texas (BRIT). In February, “Daphne Prairie – The Nature of Things” goes on display once again, this time taking up residence closer to home with an extended showing at The Fire Station Museum in Mount Vernon. A remnant of the once-abundant tallgrass meadows of Texas’ diminished Blackland Prairie, Daphne Prairie hides in plain sight amid the rural area’s pastures, roads, and small towns — preserved by owner B.F. Hicks, whose family has cared for the land since the early 19th century. Estimates are that such tallgrass prairies once occupied 12 million acres but have dwindled to less than a tenth of that due to plowing, over-grazing and development. As a conservation advocate, Paris says she
was drawn to Daphne Prairie’s “tranquil splendor” when Hicks invited her to explore the natural setting. The result was a body of work that spans 20-plus paintings, with canvases that reveal — and revel in — cloudy, wintry days, swaths of native tallgrass and sunny views of the hidden gem’s colorful wildflowers. “I loved that the prairie was encircled by woods and that there were creeks and ponds around — things I always like to paint,” the artist explains. “I worked really hard to design these paintings to reflect my interest in the intimate corners of the prairie.” Earlier works by Paris are featured in three books, among them, Landscapes of New Mexico and Texas Traditions (Fresco Fine Art Publications) and Plein Air New Mexico (Jack Richeson Art Publications). In pursuit of her artistic endeavors, Paris keeps a gallery space on the square in Clarksville at 120 W. Main St. An opening reception for her exhibit at The Fire Station Museum is scheduled the evening of February 3. Regular hours at the muse-
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um, located at 201 S. Kaufman Street, are 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday. Permanent displays include a Don Meredith exhibit and a Nation’s Bird Egg Exhibit. For more information, call 903-537-7012.
Daniel Hays works in various mediums but focuses on painting. Raised in Chandler after his family moved from Germany in 1991, the artist received an associate’s degree in art from Tyler Junior College and a bachelor’s of fine art degree from the Rhode Island School of Design. As a dual citizen of Germany and the U.S., he says he believes the juxtaposition of the two cultures throughout his childhood led to deep interest in notions of context and time.
Hammond, another southerner, describes himself as “a painter, first and foremost,” and employs a technique he terms “contemporary new realism” with a goal of finding “common ground between the historical form of painting and the indexed stacking of images created by digital media.” Born in Muskogee, Oklahoma, he studied art and Asian theater briefly at California State University and elsewhere, but attributes much of his artistic development to an explosive period of creativity stemming from time spent on the streets of Hollywood selling art and working in the film industry, both in front of and behind the camera. “From the Techno — urban visual place in which we all live, I try to reflect the beauty and the beast of our society,“ he says, adding, “hopefully with more beauty than beast.” The “It’s Not About Me” exhibit complements the museum’s Aboriginal Permanent Collection. For more information, call the Longview Museum of Fine Arts at 903.753.8103 or visit lmfa.org.
The LMFA exhibit features recent works inspired by themes of sustainability and history that the artist says “engage the language of painting through a local lens.” Hays says his body of work mirrors his personal history and aesthetic influences as well as an “uncomfortable” intertwining of art production and consumer culture. “I think my painting process is an earnest — albeit possibly impotent and at times cynical — protest against the imperative of automatic productive labor and the exploitation of natural resources, “ the artist explains. He adds that it is also “an attempt to constantly question my position in the systems of which I am a part.” Hays met co-exhibitor Hammond during a residency exchange program between Berlin and Prague, Czech Republic, where the two painters found a mutual interest in “the poetics of surface and materials.”
IT’S NOT AB OUT ME... D ANIEL HAYS & TERRENCEO HAMMOND
OPENING SATURDAY JANUARY 7 • 6-8PM
JANUARY 10 – FEBRUARY 1, 2017
903.753.8103 • LMFA.org 215 E. Tyler St. • Longview, TX 75601
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BLUE MOON GARDENS
Perennials. Herbs. Garden Art. Gift Shop. Open Daily 9-5 903.852.3897 • www.bluemoongardens.com
THE FARM HOUSE RETREAT
A Unique East Texas Experience • Lodging, Weddings, Retreats 903.749.1682 • www.farmhouseretreat.com
POTTERS BROWN STUDIO & GALLERY Original Handmade Stoneware
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JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2017 • COUNTYLINEMAGAZINE.COM • 27
ARTS Through January 8
January 12 at 7 p.m.
Christo and Jeanne-Claude: The Tom Golden Collection. Tyler. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Adults $5, Seniors $3, TMA members and students free. Tyler Museum of Art. 1300 S. Mahon Ave. 903.595.1001. tylermuseum.org.
January 13 at 8 p.m.
Through January 14
103 E. Erwin • Downtown Tyler • 903-595-7274 A Department of the City of Tyler
Sing along with “Hairspray” (2007) The Bellamy Brothers January 26 at 7 p.m.
He, She; Them - The Art of Michelle Holman. Texarkana. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Free. Regional Arts Center. 321 W. 4th St. 903.792.8681. trahc.org.
January 27 at 8 p.m.
Through January 16
January 19 at 7 p.m.
Sing along with “Moulin Rouge” (2001) Sing along with “Grease” Dale Watson and Ray Benson
Around the World Exhibit. Athens. 11 a.m.5 p.m. Free. 211 Gallery. 211 N. Palestine. 903.292.1746. artgallery211.net.
January 28 at 10 a.m.
The Magik Children’s Theatre Production February 2 at 7 p.m.
Through January 21
“Sleepless in Seattle” February 4 at 8 p.m.
Card 53 Comedy February 9 at 7 p.m.
“An Affair to Remember” February 11 at 8 p.m.
Newlywed Game February 16 at 7 p.m.
Tickets available at the door and at
A variety of artworks, jewelry and other collectibles are included in the 14th annual Regional Celebration of African-American Artists Exhibit. Courtesy Photo.
African-American History On View at TRAHC Two winter exhibits at the Texarkana Regional Arts and Humanities Center in Nacogdoches are well timed to celebrate African-American History Month in February. From January 28 to March 16, the museum showcases “For All the World To See: Visual Culture and the Struggle for Civil Rights.” And for four and a half weeks, January 31 to March 4, the center hosts its 14th annual Regional Celebration of African-American Artists Exhibit: Local Artists and Collectors, featuring works by two local artists. The first exhibition examines the influence of visual culture and images that shaped and transformed the struggle for racial equality in America, paying particular attention to the realities of segregation and racial violence as well the inspiration for activism, African-American pride and the Black Power movement.
Jack Beal (1931-2013). Pond Lilies, 1971. Lithograph, 30 x 22 1/8 in. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Dorsky, Great Neck, N.Y. 1973.01.09
Flora and Fauna through March 19, 2017
Tyler Museum of Art
(903) 595-1001 • www.tylermuseum.org
Sponsored by grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and others, the exhibit includes 250 objects — posters, photographs, television and radio clips, political buttons, comic books and toys — that track the development of the civil rights movement from the 1940s to the 1970s. It was organized by the Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and the Smithsonian National
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Museum of African-American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. Regional Celebration of AfricanAmerican Artists Exhibit: Local Artists and Collectors has historically drawn attention to the diversity of the AfricanAmerican experience, inviting viewers to consider the messages embedded in the artifact’s material, subject matter and style. From 2002 to 2006, the exhibit focused on local artists. After that, themes involved musicians, athletes, artist and inventors. With the 2017 show, the emphasis returns to art of a local and regional variety. This year, the exhibit’s guest artists are Treva West and Cedric Watson. For several years, West was TRAHC’s Community Arts Director and she was curator of the TRAHC African-American Committee’s Hats African-American Women Wear to Church Exhibit. As an artist, she works in acrylic, sculpture and pottery in themes of still life, children and abstract art. Watson works in acrylic and often does custom work, creating portraits from personal photos. He will create three to five art pieces specifically for this exhibit. TRAHC is located at 321 W. 4th St. in Texarkana. For more information, call 903.792.8681 or visit trahc.org.
Wandering The Heartland - The Photography of Michael Leonard. Texarkana. 10 a.m.4 p.m. Free. Regional Arts Center. 321 W. 4th St. 903.792.8681. trahc.org.
39th Annual Art Auction. Tyler. Featuring art in all media and price ranges. Light refreshments served. 6-10 p.m. $10 donation. Congregation Beth El, 1010 Charleston Dr., 903.581.3764.
January 28-March 16
For All the World to See: Visual Culture and the Struggle for Civil Rights. Texarkana. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Free. Regional Arts Center. 321 W. 4th St. 903.792.8681. trahc.org.
Randall Ricketts Design Lindale, Texas
January 31-March 4
TAAC’s 14th Annual Regional Celebration of African-American Artists Exhibit. Texarkana. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Free. Regional Arts Center. 321 W. 4th St. 903.792.8681. trahc.org.
Through February 10
Arcadia Art Show. Tyler. 121 N. Springs Ave. arcadiaartshowtyler.com.
Through March 19
Flora and Fauna. Tyler. Free. Tyler Museum of Art. 1300 S. Mahon Ave. 903.595.1001. tylermuseum.org.
Hand crafted three legged stools
Bits & Pieces Exhibit Opening Reception. Tyler. 5:30-8 p.m. Free. Gallery Main Street. 110 W. Erwin. 903.593.6905. downtowntylerarts.com.
TO SEE OR LIST MORE EVENTS
Gun Barrel City ...a straight shot to Cedar Creek Lake
Come Stay & Play. We Aim to Please!
903.887.1087 www.gunbarrelcity.net www.gunbarrelcityfestivals.net
JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2017 • COUNTYLINEMAGAZINE.COM • 29
A film being screened at the festival is Camino, a dark comedy shot in Nacogdoches and directed by SFA graduate student Justin Herring. Photo by Jennifer Lynn.
Nac Film Festival Triples in Size for 2017 For East Texas fans of independent films, the Nacogdoches Film Festival provides good news. This year’s festival — scheduled February 24-26 — adds a full day of events and triples the number of film competition categories, generating more screenings. “We’re no longer a festival just of short films,” says Ron Johnson, chair of the Nacogdoches Art Alliance. We now can — and do — accept all types of independent films from all over the world.” The sixth annual festival is produced by the Art Alliance in partnership with the Stephen F. Austin State University filmmaking department — a 20-year-old program — and the Nacogdoches Convention and Visitors Bureau. The festival raises scholarship money for film students and programs. Two guest films are scheduled for Friday at the Lamp-Lite Theater at 4128 Old Tyler Road. At 7 p.m., the documentary Two Trains Runnin’ tells a true story of the search for two forgotten blues singers in Mississippi during the height of the American civil rights movement. Two contributors of the film participate in the Q&A session afterwards.
The second film, Camino, takes a dark comedic tone as it accompanies two slackers who steal a cooler in a search for booze and find two human kidneys inside instead. Shot in Nacogdoches, the film was directed by SFA graduate student Justin Herring and his crew of SFA students. On Saturday, the best of the short film entries are shown at 10 a.m. at downtown’s Cole Art Center and then at 1 p.m. at SFA’s Upstage Theater. The best of the high school category shows at both 1 and 2 p.m. at the SFA Film building. The afternoon culminates with a 4:15 p.m. formal awards ceremony for the winners of the short film section, the new feature film category, and the high school competition. On Saturday evening, the venue shifts to the main theater in the Student Center for a viewing of two feature films. The first, scheduled for 6:30 p.m., is For All Mankind, a documentary by two-time Academy Award nominee and Texas A&M graduate Al Reinert. In 1989, his film won the Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize for documentary films and was nominated for an Academy Award. The film led director Ron How-
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ard to hire him several years later to write the screenplay for his blockbuster film Apollo 13, which earned Reinert his second Oscar nomination and is also showing Saturday night. Reinert will be in attendance and participate in a Q&A session after the screening. An 8:15 p.m. screening of the blockbuster Apollo 13 with another Q&A rounds out the night.
MARCH 18 • BARSTOOL RACES APRIL 8 • EASTER AT THE COMMUNITY LIBRARY JUNE 17 • JUNEBUG FESTIVAL AT THE FORGE JULY 4 • INDEPENDENCE DAY CELEBRATION AUGUST 5 • FISH FRY AT MOORE'S STORE OCTOBER 21 • FALL FERAL HOG FESTIVAL DECEMBER 9 • SANTA CLAUS COMES TO TOWN
Interesting seminars happen Friday and Saturday at the university’s Student Center. Titles include “Shooting a Film in East Texas,” “Acting for Film and Television,” “Composing Music for Film,” and “So You Want to be an Actor in the Movies?” The weekend begins with a VIP Reception 5 p.m. Friday with guest filmmakers in attendance. The site is the Charles Bright Visitor Center, 200 E. Main Street. All short film and high school competition screens and all panel discussions are free of charge. Movie passes for other films are $10 per person or $5 for students. Daily event passes are $20, and a $100 VIP pass allows participation in all festival events. For more information, visit nacogdochesfilmfestival.org.
M E t a l
A r t
BENWHEELERTEXAS ♦ BENWHEELERTX.COM DESIGN BY STEVE ADAMS GRAPHIC ARTIST ♦ BULLARD TEXAS!
JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2017 • COUNTYLINEMAGAZINE.COM • 31
Author Explores that Texas State of Mind Although the title may puzzle some, Darwin’s Evolution: A Peek looks at life in Texas instead of the origins of the universe … unless your origins ARE Texas.
Local Professor Intimately Portrays A Year Spent In Burma
As a senior 2016 Fulbright Scholar, University of Texas Tyler professor Robert Sterken spent close to a year in Southeast Asia and released a travel memoir documenting the unique experience. Entitled Teaching Barefoot in Burma, his 202-page tale details interactions with Buddhist monks, ambassadors, children, Thai students and even political prisoners.
2000 and is a specialist in international law, Asian politics and international relations. His book, published by the Yangon School of Political Science (YSPS) Publishing House, is available on Amazon and at Barnes & Noble stores for just under $15.
“In the end, this is a story about connection, biases, sacrifice, struggle, kindness and the full dance of life,” Sterken says.
A new book reveals that railroad history, an obsession by many, has a lot to do with East Texas’ settlement, growth, and even its Piney Woods reputation.
The local professor’s year-long appointment at Yangon University in Myanmar was devoted to teaching and researching religion, politics and international law. While there, he recorded his personal insights about poignant encounters experienced in the isolated land and sharing his observances of hardships suffered by the Myanmar people. Besides providing an intimate view of Burma, the book may inspire readers to journey beyond their own comfort zones to travel a less trodden path through an ancient and long isolated land — or find their own Burma elsewhere. Sterken has taught at UT Tyler since
Perhaps equally dubious is the fact that the author’s name is Darwin E. Peek. Readers will probably relate to all the rest. The stories from this real lifelong Texan are yarns of people and Lone Star experiences of which all Texans can relate. In large part autobiographical, in some places genealogical, and at all times anecdotal, Darwin’s Evolution by Brown Books Publishing will delight readers with the author’s sage reminiscences of bygone days. From his birth in a West Texas ice storm after crossing the Devil’s Backbone on Friday the 13th, 1940, Peek takes us down the trails, paths, tracks, and highways and byways that comprise his road of life.
Rediscover the Region’s Logging History
East Texas Logging Railroads by Murry Hammond explores the era of lumber transportation as a part of the “Images of Rail” series for Arcadia Publishing. When the first logging railroad was built in Jasper County in the 1870s, the region’s virgin forests spread across a vast area the size of Indiana. That first eightmile logging line heralded a boom era of lumbering and railroading that would last well into the 20th century. Before the era was over, thousands of miles of logging railroads would be built, and hundreds of communities would spring up along their routes.
As times changed, the mills closed and nearly all of the early rail lines were abandoned, but most of the communities they helped establish survived those changes and thrive into the present day. Hammond has spent his life preserving the transportation and industrial history of Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana. The 200 images in his new book were gathered from his own collection, various private collectors, libraries, and special archives across East Texas.
Along the way, we meet Granddad Charlie Peek, who would not allow anyone to take his picture; Grandma Peek, who baked biscuits from scratch three times a day; and habobs, otherwise known as sandstorms, which were common then. Ladies rode both horses and bulls astraddle, not sidesaddle, and the people spoke in a language all their own. This is a Texas that is worth visiting again.
Second Novel in Series Returns to Small-Town Life
First, there was Between Heaven and Texas, and now Marie Bostwick takes readers back to the fictional town of Too Much, Texas, for From Here to Home (Kensington Publishing). Part two of this series continues the story of Mary Dell Templeton, who has returned to her hometown even while reestablishing her cable TV show, “Quintessential Quilting,” there. The town of Too Much hasn’t changed — much. The women are strong-willed and the men are handsome yet shiftless. Ever since Mary Dell Templeton was a child, her Aunt Velvet warned her away from local boys. But the females in Mary Dell’s family have two traits in common — superior sewing skills and a fatal weakness for men.
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There are just a couple of wrinkles in her new plan. Her son, Howard, who is her talented co-host and color consultant, and happens to have Down syndrome, wants to stay in Dallas and become more independent. Meanwhile, Mary Dell’s new boss hopes to attract a different demographic by bringing in a younger cohost, Holly Whittaker. As Holly adapts to small-town living and begins a new romance, and Mary Dell considers rekindling an old one, the two
find unlikely kinship and the beauty of living in small-town Texas shines through again. Bostwick is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of novels about family, relationships, and women’s friendships. In the three decades since her marriage, Marie and her family have moved frequently, living in eight different states and three Texas locations. Literary briefs compiled by Steve Freeman
JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2017 • COUNTYLINEMAGAZINE.COM • 33
Check out the eMAGAZINE www.countylinemagazine.com for extended event listings.
East Texans Nominated for Grammys inception in 1958. Country music dominates the count with 11 wins. Other categories listing East Texans are classical, rock, and pop. The winners over the years so far are Van Cliburn (2), Jamie Foxx, Johnny Gimble (2), Johnny Horton, Miranda Lambert (2), Kacey Musgraves (2), Al Perkins and the Hipower Band (3), Ray Price, Lee Ann Womack (2), Don Henley (3), Will Jennings (4), Johnny Mathis, Huddie “Lead Belly” Ledbetter, Aaron Thibeaux “T-Bone” Walker, and Chris Tomlin.
A few East Texans are once again nominated for the annual Grammy awards, which airs February 12. Miranda Lambert’s “Vice” is nominated for Best Country Solo Performance and Best Country Song. The song is co-written by Lambert, Shane McAnally and Josh Osborne. The song is off her latest album, The Weight of These Wings. “Thy Will,” by Hillary Scott and The Scott Family, is nominated for Best Contemporary Christian Music Performance/Song. The Scott Family includes country music singer Linda Davis from Carthage. The group is also nominated for their album, Love Remains, for Best Contemporary Christian Music Album. Also nominated for Best Contemporary Christian Music Album is Crowder from Texarkana for American Prodigal. Although not nominated specifically, Terrell’s Jamie Fox is featured on Barbra Streisand’s Encore: Movie Partners Sing Broadway. The album is nominated for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album. Fox and Streisand sing a duet of the classic, “Climb Ev’ry Mountain,” made famous in The Sound of Music. The Grammys are no stranger to the region. Fifteen native East Texans have won a total of 27 Grammys since the award’s
Active country recording artists Miranda Lambert and Kacey Musgraves continue to make the region proud with their country hits and Chris Tomlin keeps putting out winning contemporary Christian songs. Last year’s Cass County by Don Henley was very well received.
available online at winnsborocenterforthearts.com. Mark is concertmaster of the East Texas Symphony Orchestra and has spent the past decade performing and organizing musical events in Mount Vernon and the northeast Texas region. Ute is principal violinist with the East Texas Symphony and the musical couple perform with the Fort Worth and Dallas symphony orchestras as well as other area ensembles. Mount Vernon Music’s resident group of musicians, the Orchard Ensemble, features a rotating cast of performers, and a January and February line-up of Mount Vernon Music Hall concerts include the Oasis Saxophone Quartet on January 21 and a “Shall We Klezmer” program on February 18 — the latter a high-energy “musical stew of Hebrew melodies, folk music, dance tunes, jazz and gypsy influences” performed by the Millers and DFW area musicians on the oboe, clarinet and piano. For information call 903.563.3780 or visit mountvernonmusic.org.
Top prize winners overall include Will Jennings for earning two coveted Song of the Year awards, 1992’s “Tears in Heaven” performed by Eric Clapton, and 1998’s “My Heart Will Go On” recorded by Celine Dion.
Oasis Saxophone Quartet! Saturday. January 21. 7:30 p.m. AND
Chubby Checker. Courtesy Photo.
Twisting the Night Away
An evening of nostalgia is set for January 14 with a Belcher Center performance at LeTourneau University by Chubby Checker, the singer/songwriter who popularized the twist dance style in the early 1960s with his hit cover of Hank Ballard’s R&B hit, “The Twist,” which landed in the No. 1 spot on the bestseller list twice.
Don Most’s “A Night at the Copa” brings swing, jazz and big band music all together, and the host is none other than the actor who came to fame almost 40 years ago in the role of Ralph Malph on the TV hit Happy Days. After catapulting into the American zeitgeist at the age of 20, Most built a long list of television and film roles while also
Mark Miller, Ute Miller, and Jennifer Humphries (l-r). Courtesy Photo.
Grab a bagel and savor this musical stew spiced with dance, folk, jazz and gypsy tunes!
Saturday. February 18. 7:30 p.m.
Mount Vernon Music Hall
earning accolades for directorial work on several films. But, having spent his teen years performing in a musical revue in New York’s Catskill Mountains, the accomplished actor says he dreamed of returning to his early musical days to express and share his love of swing, jazz and big band music. Eventually, he created Donny Most Sings and Swings, a show that debuted to great acclaim in Los Angeles at Catalina’s Jazz Club in Hollywood and Vitello’s Jazz Club in Studio City. “A Night at the Copa” offers an update to the Sings and Swings show. Most’s television roles have run the gambit from roles in CHiPs, Baywatch, Diagnosis Murder and The Love Boat to Men of a Certain Age, Star Trek: Voyager, Sliders, The Family Guy and a recurring role in Glee. As a director, he earned an Outstanding Achievement in Directing Award at The Newport Beach Film Festival in 2007 with a film called Moola, and in 2011, directed his first family film, Harley’s Hill, which premiered on Showtime, Starz and Encore.
Checker earned new fans in 2007 with “Knock Down These Walls,” a song that captured his musical evolution and reached the No. 1 spot on billboard’s dance track list. For ticket information visit belchercenter.com or call 903.233.3073 or 903.233.3080.
Shall We Klezmer?
For fans of the great standards from the likes of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Nat King Cole and Bobby Darin, a February 18 performance at the Texan Theater in Greenville is the ultimate ticket.
Philadelphia-raised, the singer/songwriter formed a street corner harmony group when he was just 11 and grew up entertaining classmates and coworkers as a teen. After a recording of a novelty Christmas tune, “Jingle Bells,” came to the attention of Dick Clark, Checker gained national exposure with his 1959 recording of “The Twist.”
Mount Vernon Music Offers Something For Everyone
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Don’t miss the smooth musicianship and technical brilliance of the
Checker is the only music artist to have five albums listed simultaneously in the Top 12, as well as the only one to have nine double-sided hits. “The Twist” landed in the No. 1 spot on the bestseller list twice, and he had a string of dance hits that included “The Fly,” “The Pony” and “The Hucklebuck,” popularizing various dance styles.
Three other notable wins are Hall of Fame honors for Johnny Mathis and posthumously for Huddie “Lead Belly” Ledbetter’s work in 1939 and Aaron Thibeaux “T-Bone” Walker’s work in 1948.
As part of the Winnsboro Center for the Arts’ Sunday Afternoon Classical Series, the Mount Vernon Music’s Chamber Music Trio performs January 15 at 2:30 p.m. on The Bowery Stage. Featuring Mount Vernon Music founders, Mark Miller on cello and violin and Ute Miller on viola, the husband-wife team are joined by a colleague, Jennifer Humphries, a cellist with the Dallas Symphony. The January concert features music by Ludwig van Beethoven, jazz violinist and film composer Benedikt Brydern, and Bohuslav Martinu. Bistro table seating is $25 and
Don Most. Photo by Denise Taylor.
For more information, call 903.259.6360 or visit thetexantheatergreenville.com. JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2017 • COUNTYLINEMAGAZINE.COM • 35
MUSIC PICKS January 6
The Tuxedo Cats. Kilgore. 8 p.m. $5. The Back Porch. 904 Broadway Blvd. 903.984.8141. thebackporchkilgore.com. Lee Mathis. Longview. 9 p.m. Lone Star Ice House. 1016 McCann Rd. 903.753.5885. lonestaricehouse.net.
Blaine Hart Band. Kilgore. 8 p.m. $5. The Back Porch. 904 Broadway Blvd. 903.984.8141. thebackporchkilgore.com.
Eisley Releases Fifth Album
It’s called I’m Only Dreaming and appears February 17. The group is doing a full U.S. headline tour which kicks off in Texas February 16-18. The melodic indie-rock band from Tyler is headed up by cousins Sherri DuPree-Bemis and Garron DuPree. The album was recorded in their Tyler studio. “Musically, you could say it’s classic Eisley, in the sense that it’s melodic, moody pop and is written from the heart,” Sherri says. “Literally, it’s very whimsical; it has a vibe that will take you into its own world and let you escape your normal life for a few minutes. I like to cloak things in a little mystery and romance; I think it’s part of what makes all of Eisley’s songs sound like they’re from the same world. Every record is like opening and reading a book in a series.”
The Kid Icarus Project. Longview. 9 p.m. Lone Star Ice House. 1016 McCann Rd. 903.753.5885. lonestaricehouse.net. Ellis Paul. Winnsboro. 7:30 p.m. The Bowery Stage. 200 N. Market St. 903.342.6140. winnsborocenterforthearts.com.
Back Porch. 904 Broadway Blvd. 903.984.8141. thebackporchkilgore.com. Wayne Garner Band. Longview. 10 p.m. Lone Star Ice House. 1016 McCann Rd. 903.753.5885. lonestaricehouse.net.
Dixie Bent. Kilgore. 8 p.m. $5. The Back Porch. 904 Broadway Blvd. 903.984.8141. thebackporchkilgore.com.
Karen Mal. Edom. 7:30-9:30 p.m. $12 advance/$15 door. The Old Firehouse. 8241 FM 279. 903.852.2781. theoldfirehouse.net..
Anthony Riley Band. Longview. 7 p.m. Lone Star Ice House. 1016 McCann Rd. 903.753.5885. lonestaricehouse.net.
Sunday Classical Series Concert No. 4. Winnsboro. The Bowery Stage. 200 N. Market St. 903.342.6140. winnsborocenterforthearts.com.
Rio & Brittany Journey. Kilgore. 6:30 p.m. Free. The Back Porch. 904 Broadway Blvd. 903.984.8141. thebackporchkilgore.com.
Richard Stuart Band. Kilgore. 8 p.m. $5. The
Tenore. Lufkin. $35-$40. The Pines Theater. 113 S. First St. 936.633.0349. thepines.visitlufkin.com. Lee Mathis. Kilgore. 6:30 p.m. Free. The Back Porch. 904 Broadway Blvd. 903.984.8141. thebackporchkilgore.com.
Bach’s Lunch Concerts. Longview. 11:45 a.m.-1 p.m. Free. First United Methodist Church. 400 N. Fredonia. 903.236.9739. longviewsymphony.org. Sweet Pain Rocks. Kilgore. 8 p.m. $5. The Back Porch. 904 Broadway Blvd. 903.984.8141. thebackporchkilgore.com. Shaun Outen. Longview. 9 p.m. Lone Star Ice House. 1016 McCann Rd. 903.753.5885. lonestaricehouse.net.
Jackie Evancho. Tyler. 7:30 p.m. Cowan Center. 3900 University Blvd. 903.566.7424. cowancenter.org. Cody Wayne. Kilgore. 8 p.m. $5. The Back Porch. 904 Broadway Blvd. 903.984.8141. thebackporchkilgore.com. Oasis Saxophone Quartet. Mount Vernon. 7:30 p.m. Mount Vernon Music Hall. 402 Leftwich St. at Yates St. 903.563.3780. mountvernonmusic.org. The Winnsboro Center for the Arts promises an array of musical pleasures at The Bowery Stage in 2017, including an unusual group called the Dallas String Quartet Electric appearing February 3. As the name implies, the group is Dallas-based but tours internationally, emphasizing contemporary music played on electric string instruments best described as a musical collision of Bono and Beethoven. DSQ Electric’s credentials include performing alongside artists like Josh Grobin and the Trans-Siberian Orchestra and for Presidents Obama and Bush as well as at NFL and NBA events. General admission to the February 3 performance is $25. For more information, call 903.342.0686 or visit winnsborocenterforthearts.com. 36 • COUNTYLINEMAGAZINE.COM • JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2017
Dallas String Quartet Electric. Winnsboro. The Bowery Stage. 200 N. Market St. 903.342.6140. winnsborocenterforthearts.com.
Teazur. Longview. 9 p.m. Lone Star Ice House. 1016 McCann Rd. 903.753.5885. lonestaricehouse.net.
The Bellamy Brothers. Tyler. 8 p.m. Liberty Hall. 103 E. Erwin. 903.595.7274. libertytyler. com.
Tim Grimm and the Family Band. Edom. 7:30-9:30 p.m. $12 advance/$15 door. The Old Firehouse. 8241 FM 279. 903.852.2781. theoldfirehouse.net. Clint Alford. Kilgore. 6:30 p.m. Free. The Back Porch. 904 Broadway Blvd. 903.984.8141. thebackporchkilgore.com.
Brick Street Blues Band. Longview. 8 p.m. Lone Star Ice House. 1016 McCann Rd. 903.753.5885. lonestaricehouse.net.
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Ally Venable Band. Kilgore. 8 p.m. The Back Porch. 904 Broadway Blvd. 903.984.8141. thebackporchkilgore.com.
East Texas Symphonic Band. Longview. 7:30-9 p.m. Adults $5; Children & Students free. Belcher Center. 2100 S. Mobberly Ave. 903.738.9442. etsymphonicband.com.
Jim Brickman - An Evening of Romance. Tyler. 7:30 p.m. Cowan Center. 3900 University Blvd. 903.566.7424. cowancenter.org.
Be Our Guest. Longview. 7-10 p.m. $10$50. Belcher Center. 2100 S. Mobberly Ave. 903.233.3080. belchercenter.com.
Chris Colston. Kilgore. 8 p.m. The Back Porch. 904 Broadway Blvd. 903.984.8141. thebackporchkilgore.com. Shall We Klezmer. Mount Vernon. 7:30 p.m. Mount Vernon Music Hall. 402 Leftwich St. at Yates St. 903.563.3780. mountvernonmusic.org. The Bellamy Brothers. Lufkin. $35-$40. The Pines Theater. 113 S. First St. 936.633.0349. thepines.visitlufkin.com.
4 Ever Young. Lindale. 7:30 p.m. $15. Lindale Community Theater. 109 W. Hubbard. 903.638.0402. lindalecommunitytheater.org. Crystal Yates. Edom. 7:30-9:30 p.m. $12 advance/$15 door. The Old Firehouse. 8241 FM 279. 903.852.2781. theoldfirehouse.net. Anthony Riley Band. Longview. 7 p.m. Lone Star Ice House. 1016 McCann Rd. 903.753.5885. lonestaricehouse.net.
Dale Watson and Ray Benson. Tyler. 8 p.m. Liberty Hall. 103 E. Erwin. 903.595.7274. libertytyler.com.
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FOOD & DRINK
menu includes sides and appetizers like fluffy mashed potatoes with gravy and black-eyed peas as well as fried favorites like okra, pickles, jalapenos, potatoes, mozzarella sticks, onion rings and green tomatoes. A full all-you-can-eat buffet, costing $8, generates plenty of interest, including items like chopped sirloin, ham, and chicken-fried steak. Sides range from a green bean casserole and collard greens to rice and beans and mac and cheese. The buffet changes daily — another aspect that keeps the “regulars” coming back.
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Lea’s sweet iced tea has a strong fan base too. It and other items earn 4.4 of 5 stars on the restaurant’s Facebook page. The buffet line with a wide variety of food welcomes diners as they enter the doors at Lea’s Restaurant. Photos by Steve Freeman.
Lea’s: a Surprising Feast at a Humble Highway Stop By Steve Freeman On the other side of a pot-holed gravel lot where semis park and sleep amid a smattering of cars for sale and where teens occasionally make late-night “doughnut” tracks, a plain gray restaurant is easily overlooked — its exterior matching the gravel lot and — depending on the day — the gray sky.
Fisher’s first restaurant was Pizza ‘N’ Such, but she says she wanted to appeal to more customers and eventually changed the name and added burgers, then chicken-fried steak and catfish. Thirty years later, Lea’s still features these southern staples plus pizza, and the
Qualifying as a best-kept secret at Lea’s are the fried pies, both fruit and chocolate. They’re not on the menu but are obvious favorites with the regulars. “In Texas, it’s what diners do,” says Fisher. Lea’s serves lunch daily and dinner Tuesday through Saturday. The buffet is served daily, excluding Sunday and Monday lunches. And off to the side of the main dining area, Lea’s offers a cozy yet cool sports bar where libations are served with or without food orders. The restaurant is located at the intersection of State Highway 78 and U.S. 69. For online information, visit Lea’s Facebook page.
Celebration Dining District “Where the Locals Eat!”
Mixed Green Salad Choice of Fresh Fish of the Day, Ribeye Steak, or Filet Mignon Served with Whipped Potatoes and Green Beans $27.00
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But judging Lea’s Restaurant in north Leonard (between Sherman and Greenville) based on its humble exterior is a mistake. Far from a greasy-spoon diner in a truck stop setting, Lea’s is home to some mighty good food.
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Or, as owner Lea Ann Fisher puts it: “good southern cooking.” Starting in the eatery business at age 14 and owning her own restaurant by the time she was 19, Fisher learned to cook from her grandmother and great aunt. Several decades later, she still feeds her loyal base of regular customers one to two meals daily, seven days a week.
Tuesday & Wednesday
Go to County Line eMagazine for more fun food and drink articles, recipes, dining ideas, wineries, farmers markets, and events.
Friends often meet for a tasty meal -- plus dessert -- at the popular Leonard restaurant.
38 • COUNTYLINEMAGAZINE.COM • JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2017
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LIVING ROOM Healthy Houseplants
Perk Up Your Views — And Freshen The Air — With A Winter Collection of Bright Blooms By Elaine Rogers If those views of brown lawns and shriveled flower beds are causing a case of the winter doldrums, local horticultural experts say there’s nothing for it but to aim for a green infusion indoors with a few cheerful potted plants and live table decorations.
trichloroethylene — plus toluene and xylene, a solvent used in the leather, rubber and printing industries.
A mix of vibrant blooms or exotic succulents are the perfect reminder that winter doesn’t last forever, and there’s no shortage of plantscaping options for filling favorite spaces with color, texture, fragrance and — better yet — oxygeninfused air.
Weeping fig: A Ficus in your living room provides a natural filter against formaldehyde, benzene and trichloroethylene — pollutants that typically accompany carpeting and furniture.
Our little green friends can help restore balance to home environments (and residents’ lungs), cleansing the air by reducing mold spores, neutralizing free radicals and adding humidity to dry, stale interiors. And there’s even a technical term for the way humans gravitate to lush, natural settings — biophilia, which means “love of life or living systems.” Local plant experts have their fair share of favorites. Sharon Smith, co-owner of Blue Moon Gardens in Edom is a fan of Kalanchoe.
Gerbera daisy: A bright, flowering plant that demands sun, Geberas battle benzene and trichloroethylene, chemicals that come home with the dry cleaning.
Anthurium is a hardy houseplant with dramatic blooms. Courtesy Photo.
“The blooms hold up for months and it’s a very inexpensive plant,” she says. “It’s almost like a succulent, it holds water well. It’s versatile too. You can put a small one on a windowsill or use more in a larger pot, just about anywhere.” Smith also touts the merits of tropicals like Bromeliads as well as the ever-popular begonias. “Bromeliads tolerate indoor environments really well and they’re easy to keep around,” she says. “And begonias have a lot of foliage and come in lots of colors — silver, red and pink are all nice. You can’t go wrong.” Coincidentally, Barbara Leal, manager at Harris Nursery in Tyler is also a fan of Bromeliads and begonias for indoor winter blooms. “The only danger with begonias is that sometimes people over-water them,” she warns. “They hold water in their stems, so you can go easy on the watering can.”
Tropical plants like Bromeliads tolerate indoor environments well. Courtesy Photo.
Another favorite of Leal’s is Anthurium, a plant with dramatic blooms that handles indoor environments well and can be propagated with cuttings. And for foliage and texture, she loves ZZ plants — short for Zamioculcas Zamifolia. “Everyone seems to be using these nowa-
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days,” she says. “They don’t have a lot of color, but the texture is nice and they’re extremely hardy. It’s almost impossible to kill them.”
Fresh Air Favorites Aiming to take advantage of the air-scrubbing properties of interior greens, NASA and the Associated Landscape Contractors of America have studied the merits of various houseplants in space facilities since the ‘80s. This research has created a list of stellar performers that also work nicely in home environments on planet Earth. They range from chrysanthemums and Golden Pothos (also known as Devil’s Ivy) to dracaena and bamboo palm. Here are a few others:
Azalea: Bring this beautiful flowering shrub into your home to combat formaldehyde. Because azaleas do best in cool areas around 60 to 65 degrees, they’re a good option for improving indoor air in a cooler room of the house, if you can find a bright spot. English ivy: Besides filtering out formaldehyde, English ivy is a plant that reduces airborne particles from fecal matter, making it a great fit near a cat litter box. Spider plant: With rich foliage and tiny white flowers, the spider plant is hard to kill and takes on benzene, formaldehyde, carbon monoxide and xylene.
Aloe: A sun-loving succulent, aloe takes on formaldehyde, a common ingredient of cleaning products and personal care products, and benzene, affiliated with ink and a frequent ingredient in glue, paint, plastics and detergents. Aloe also thrives when perched on a sunny windowsill and gel squeezed from a cut leaf is a common remedy for cuts and sunburns. Peace lily: A plant that calls for shade and weekly waterings, Peace lily is worth the effort because it combats three of the most common volatile organic compounds (VOCs) — formaldehyde, benzene and
in the country
ZZ plants add texture and variety to indoor arrangements. Courtesy Photo.
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the necessary funds to build separate outdoor habitats for the bears, complete with individual swimming pools and play structures. Corey Allison, Pride Rock’s operations manager and head keeper, says that if they have the room, they will take any animal. “We don’t turn anybody away,” he says. “We’ll take a 20-year-old lion on its deathbed if we think we can give it a better quality of life for the remainder of its life.”
Education is a key element of Pride Rock’s mission, and marketing director Robyn Wheeler gives presentations to the public about the humane treatment of animals and the dangers of buying and selling wildlife species. She also speaks to a variety of civic organizations and attends events to publicize the cause and recruit donors and volunteers. When giving presentations to children’s groups and at venues like local libraries, she says children enjoy hearing recordings of animal sounds from the Continued Page 45
Three bears joined Pride Rock’s list of residents last year and a special outdoor enclosure was constructed to accommodate them. Photo by Clare McCarthy.
A big cat named Zoe carves out some private space at the wildlife refuge. Courtesy Photo.
A Place for Weary Wildlife
Pride Rock in Terrell Takes Care of Exotic Animals with Nowhere to Go By Clare McCarthy An air-conditioned trailer rattles across the rolling hills of East Texas, its only passenger entirely unaware of the safe and loving home awaiting him. His name is Rambo and his story, up to this point, is a sad one. A tiger born into captivity — like most exotic cats in Texas and the United States — he spent the first few years of his life imprisoned in a dark basement with no access to sunlight or the outdoors. His owners neglected him and were ill prepared to keep such a large and potentially dangerous animal as a pet. Rambo’s journey ends at Pride Rock Wildlife Refuge in Terrell, and his future appears much brighter. An East Texas nonprofit started a quarter of a century ago, Pride Rock is a sanctuary for abused, surrendered and confiscated exotic cats, including lions, tigers and cougars. Nestled in Terrell’s piney woods, it goes unnoticed by everyday passersby, but owners Gary and Carol Holliman share their nine-acre property with close to 30 exotic animals — ranging from bears and wolf dogs to hyenas and other tigers like Rambo.
In 1992, the Hollimans moved from Carrolton to Terrell with several wolf dog hybrids. Shortly thereafter, they saw an ad in the local newspaper for a lion named Gabe. Because they had the land and Carol had always had a fascination with large cats, the couple adopted the lion and raised him in their own home — a practice they strongly discourage for untrained others due to the potential dangers as well as unpredictable expenses, plus the likelihood of unintentionally improper animal care.
After further research and the experience of caring for Gabe, the Hollimans’ taste for animal rescue grew. Word spread about their situation and they were increasingly approached by people and organizations about other big cats in need of rescue. In the ensuing years, the sanctuary’s roster of residents grew and the Hollimans have dedicated their lives and land to saving and housing abused, neglected or abandoned animals with nowhere to go.
Majestic residents at Pride Rock include Leo and Cleo. Courtesy Photo.
42 • COUNTYLINEMAGAZINE.COM • JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2017
Typically, the animals are brought to the refuge when private owners, zoos or entertainment companies make contact after they’ve run out of options for the care and safe keeping of their exotic charges. The sanctuary has rescued big cats from locations stretching from West Virginia to California, making long trips with a transport trailer large enough to hold up to two cats at a time. Unlike many private owners, the Hollimans have educated themselves in the proper care and protection of exotic animals. “It’s our mission to rescue the animals and give them the best life they can have after — sometimes — a horrible prior existence,” Holliman says. Funded entirely by donations, the organization provides species-appropriate habitats, daily enrichment activities, and proper nutrition and veterinary care to all their animals. And despite an original focus on exotic cats, Pride Rock recently took on a hyena and three black bears. The hyena, named Helena, came with Diego the lion from a private facility in East Texas in early 2016. The bears were saved from potential euthanization in 2015 and, with Pride Rock’s year-long effort to build proper habitats, were finally able to step foot on dirt for the first time in their lives in September. “We didn’t have a place for black bears,” Gary says, “but I decided that the most important part was just to get the bears moved from that property so they didn’t get euthanized,” he explains. After that, he spent the better part of a year raising JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2017 • COUNTYLINEMAGAZINE.COM • 43
WILDLIFE continued from page 43
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sanctuary and learning about the differences between dogs and wolves. Although Pride Rock Wildlife Refuge communicates regularly with community members via its presentations and through blogging and social media, the sanctuary is not open to the public because the Hollimans want to provide a peaceful and stress-free environment for their charges. Meanwhile, staff members and volunteers say the benefits of what they do are evident every day. “Watching them play in a bubble bath or take their first steps on soil is humbling,” Wheeler says. “It’s a tremendous feeling to know we have done everything we can to make these animal’s lives just a little bit better.” Each year, the organization hosts a variety of fundraisers and, in the fall, participates in North Texas Giving Day. Monetary donations are welcomed year-round along with gifts of labor, material and food for the animals. For more information about Pride Rock Wildlife Refuge, visit priderock.org. 44 • COUNTYLINEMAGAZINE.COM • JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2017
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KIDS COUNTY LINE f CountyLineKids
Shaping the Future of the Upper East Side of Texas
Students Offered TJC Promise for a Brighter Future
Lindale Theater Sets Kids Play There are numerous children’s theatre groups in the region that offer great opportunities for kids to have fun and build confidence. The Lindale Children’s Theatre offers two sessions in 2017. Session 1 is an eight-week workshop on Saturday mornings from January 7 through February 25 for 3rd through 8th graders. Players learn the basics of theater craft including stage direction, blocking movement, character development and scene work. The course culminates with a showcase performance for a live audience. Another session takes place in September. The cost is $160. Scholarship opportunities are available. Anyone in the community that would like to help sponsor a child can email email@example.com or call 903.638.0402.
In celebration of its 90th anniversary, Tyler Junior College is launching the TJC Promise, an ambitious scholarship program. High school graduates within the TJC tax district — including Chapel Hill, Grand Saline, Lindale, Tyler, Van and Winona — can have their tuition and fees covered for two years. They need to sign up as freshman and TJC hopes to continue the program for many years to come. Other requirements include achieving a 2.5 cumulative GPA or greater for all high school courses, keep an excellent attendance record, and help others by completing some community service hours each year.
GOT YOU COVERED
“At Van ISD, our motto is ‘After High School Comes College.’ From the moment a child enters our school as a Pre-K or kindergarten student until they graduate from Van High School, we preach the importance of college. Participation in the TJC Promise Scholarship is a game changer for our students. It makes going to college a reality for all.” Students in the TJC tax district should contact their schools’ counselors about the Promise agreement.
Big Trouble in a Tall Hat
A touring Arizona-based theater company named Childsplay brings the Dr. Seuss classic The Cat in the Hat to Belcher Center in Longview on February 27. As Childsplay’s largest national tour to date, the production is an adaptation of the classic story by the same name that centers on Seuss’ beloved characters, Sally and her brother, trapped in their house on a rainy day. Once a mischievous cat in a red and white striped hat arrives, games and chaos take over their world.
Deadline March 1, 2017
Van ISD superintendent Don Dunn said this offer is a big deal in the region.
Regional Magazine for the Upper East Side of Texas
Published in 1957, The Cat in the Hat was Seuss’s 13th children’s book and it sold nearly a million copies in just three years. The inspiration was the author’s concern that reading primers like Dick and Jane weren’t engaging. Two publish-
46 • COUNTYLINEMAGAZINE.COM • JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2017
ing companies challenged Seuss to attempt an entertaining book while limiting his vocabulary list to 220 words for new readers. Reportedly, he nearly gave up on the process, then scanned the list for the third time and decided to title the book with the first two words on the list that rhymed: cat and hat. Founded in 1977, Childsplay is dedicated to producing stories that remain relevant to the unique experiences of young people today. Belcher Center is located on the LeTourneau University campus at 2100 S. Mobberly Avenue. Tickets are $20 for adults and $5 for ages 14 and under. Call 903.233.3080 or visit belchercenter.com.
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