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Fall 2013

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CONTENTS Fall 2013 13 Cole Home Tour

Living in a downstairs apartment in their newly remodeled inn in downtown Piggott, the Coles are home to stay.

21 Historic inn

The Inn at Piggott celebrates community’s unique story.

27 Service with a smile 36

Michael Marconi’s Uncle John’s restaurant receives rave reviews from all.

Stunning watercolor

Zeek Taylor, born and raised in the Delta, heaps up honors for his vibrant work.

45 Watching children grow

Health, Wellness and Environmental Studies Magnet School introduces students to studies outside of textbooks and beyond imagination.

Photo by Nancy Kemp

Fall 2013|


Winner of Arkansas Foundation of Medical Care

Innovator Platinum Award

In Every Issue 8 Editor’s Letter 34 Product Page: Big Red spirit 54 Photo feature: fine fall 56 Calendar of Events 112 Milestones 114 Backroads Columns 52 Living Healthy: prevention 71 The Garden Spot: don’t stop now! 75 Movie Review: it’s Arkansas made 84 Pet Talk: recluse review

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ON THE COVER Photograph by Cyndi Corkran David Brazile, Administrator


ASU Museum


Biscuit sings the blues

Interact and experience the wealth of knowledge on local history and prehistory.

The annual King Biscuit Blues Festival is on its way.


The birthplace of Rock ‘n’ Roll

Museum celebrates a little strip of Highway 67 with a rich musical past.


Emma’s Junk

Treasures abound in this eclectic gem.


Great U.S. tragedy reemerges

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J. Howell Pecan Co.


Marked Tree JROTC

An amazing Delta family brings pecans and honey to Clay County and beyond.

A salute to the young men and women who take great pride in meeting high standards.

Photo by Nancy Kemp

Fall 2013|


Editor’s Letter

Falling for fall Our thoughts seem to turn toward home when autumn comes. With summer trips behind us and students now back in class, we begin to look inward in anticipation of all of the wonderful things which surround us during this most-loved season. When the shadows lengthen and we hear the familiar sound of cicadas in the late afternoon, we know it won’t be long until cooler temperatures arrive and our favorite fall rituals begin. For many it’s the familiar Woo Pig Sooie and the howl of Red Wolves, the appearance of vibrantly-colored mums in stores and on front porches, the sight of squirrels hurrying to gather acorns and pecans in the yard, watching cottonpickers move through a sea of white, the first roaring fire in the fireplace. With its magnificent beauty, autumn surrounds us, and thrills us, and somehow brings a sense of peace -- a feeling that life is good and all is well. So how do we celebrate this wonder of autumn? Check out the calendar in this issue. It is filled with things which can keep you busy nearly every day of the season -- festivals galore, great concerts, a writing retreat -- the list is long. With so much to do, it’s a perfect time for short road trips to explore the best the Delta has to offer. Having grown up in the historic Eastern Arkansas town of Helena/West Helena, I remember clearly the voice of “Sunshine” Sonny Payne on KFFA radio. “Pass the biscuits. It’s King Biscuit Time.” With that, we knew great blues music was to follow, and listening to the show was, and still is, a favorite part of the day in that part of the world. Now the longest running radio show in the nation, King Biscuit Time was the inspiration for one of America’s most renowned music events, the King Biscuit Blues Festival, which brings tens of thousands of people from all over the globe to hear the best blues musicians in the country each October. Our story by Candy Hill tells the history of the festival and outlines all this year’s event has to offer. And if you’re a music lover, you’ll want to be sure to read Trent Fletcher’s story about the Rock ‘n’ Roll Museum in Newport and that area’s connection to many of the greatest recording artists of all time. The museum, founded by Newport’s Henry Boyce, also celebrates the rockabilly stars who continue to make music around the Delta and tells of their importance in the history of the music that defines this area. We all know that, in the Delta, many of the best places to eat are in out-of-the-way places, but the little town of Crawfordsville is just off I-55 and easy to find. It is certainly worth a trip there to experience the wonderful food at Uncle John’s, featured in the pages of this edition. If you get the chance, meet owner Michael Marconi and his wonderful mother Lucille. Their friendliness and warmth are another reason the restaurant has welcomed large crowds for over 30 years.

While you’re in that area, you might want to drive just down the road to Marion to visit the new permanent home of The Sultana Museum, which offers a chance to learn about the largely forgotten steamboat explosion in 1865 which took the lives of an estimated 1,800 people. It is the worst maritime disaster in U.S. history, and our story by Revis Blaylock tells of the efforts and determination of area historians to make people aware of this very important part of Delta history. The small town of Piggott, in extreme Northeast Arkansas, has been getting lots of attention and drawing thousands of visitors since Arkansas State University opened the Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum and Educational Center in July of 1999, and Joe and Tracy Cole, new owners of the Inn at Piggott, have decided the rooms and activities at the beautiful inn should celebrate that city’s connection to one of the world’s most famous writers. A story in this issue describes the inn’s history and the Coles’ planned renovations, and the couple’s beautifully remodeled apartment, on the inn’s bottom floor, is featured as this season’s home tour. The Piggott area also is home to J. Howell Pecan Company, and the story of owner Jamie Howell and his amazing family is one you will not want to miss. A graduate of Ole Miss, Howell worked as a stockbroker before he and his wife, Kecia, decided to sell everything and move to the wilderness in Alaska. With seven growing children, they eventually decided to return to the South, and in just three short years, they have established one of the most successful business ventures in this area. It’s not often that we venture outside of the Delta area to find our articles, but after meeting artist Zeek Taylor in Eureka Springs, we knew his story and his amazing work should be in our pages. Taylor’s roots are in Marmaduke, where he grew up picking cotton, so, we, too, can celebrate the tremendous success which has brought him many honors, including the Arkansas Arts Council’s Governor’s Arts Award for Lifetime Achievement, presented last year by Gov. Mike Beebe. Taylor’s work is unique and truly brilliant, and we know you will be impressed. It was in the Arkansas Ozarks that Candy Hill discovered Emma’s Museum of Junk, a must-see for those who might venture into the hills to see the colorful autumn leaves. Owner Emma Hickey offers not only a plethora of vintage “stuff,” but also free coffee and lots of Ozark tales. These, and other stories, make this issue one of our most diverse in terms of subject matter, and we hope you enjoy hours of reading. Have a wonderful fall.


8|Fall 2013

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Piggott - 870-598-2201 Rector - 870-595-3549 Trumann - 870-483-6317 Manila - 870-561-4634 Editorial questions and comments should be sent to the editor of Delta Crossroads. Contact: Nancy Kemp, P.O. Box 366, Rector, AR 72461 870-595-3549, 870-595-3611(f )



10|Fall 2013

Delta Crossroads is published quarterly and distributed free in Clay, Craighead, Greene, Mississippi and Poinsett counties in Arkansas and Dunklin County in Missouri. Contact the offices at the above numbers for information on advertising. Š 2013, Delta Crossroads

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Preserving History with a

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Joe and Tracy Cole enjoy a Piggott homecoming with style Few people can boast a living space once frequented by one of the world’s most famous writers, but Joe and Tracy Cole certainly can make that claim. When they decided earlier this year to purchase a popular bed and breakfast inn located in an historic building in downtown Piggott, they knew immediately they wanted to create their living space in an area where the offices of Pfeiffer Land Company once were located. It was there that wealthy landowner Paul Pfeiffer managed the many large tracts of land he had purchased in the Piggott area during the first half of the 20th century and often greeted his son-in-law, Ernest Hemingway, who liked to stop by for a chat when he was visiting in Piggott along with his wife, Pauline, the Pfeiffers’ oldest daughter. It’s certainly easy to imagine lively conversations between the two men when standing in a space with such significant history. Joe and Tracy both grew up in Piggott and are happy to be back home after living away for over 20 years.

Text and Photos by Nancy Kemp

Fall 2013|


“When we heard The Downtown Inn was for sale, we decided to return to our hometown to be closer to our parents and pursue a venture we both thought we would enjoy,” Joe said. They have renamed the establishment Inn at Piggott. Joe was born in a clinic located just across the street from the inn in what was then the old Hotel Clay. A few years later, during the filming of the award-winning 1957 movie A Face in the Crowd, the room where he was born was occupied by Lonesome Rhodes, played by up-and-coming star Andy Griffith. Joe is the son of Mary Sue Cole and the late Clifford Cole, both lifelong residents of Piggott. His dad served in the Arkansas House of Representatives, the 1968 Constitutional Convention and was a member of the Piggott City Council in the late 1950s. He also was recognized as one of the community’s “Men of Vision” on the county square. Born in the old Piggott Hospital, Tracy is the daughter of lifelong Piggott residents Marshall Wheeler and the late Barbara Wheeler. Her father served as chief of the Piggott Volunteer Fire Department until he retired after working several years at United Federal Savings and Loan, which later became Arkansas Bank. Joe received a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from the University of Arkansas, and after serving Clay County as a delegate to the Arkansas Constitutional Convention in 197879, earned a Juris Doctorate from the UA Law School. He later earned a Doctorate in Theology. Tracy received a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting from Arkansas State University. In 2012, both became ordained pastors with their church

14|Fall 2013

in Memphis and continue to be active in men, women and marriage ministry. Joe and Tracy were married in 1979 at the First United Methodist Church of Piggott, where Tracy’s great-grandfather was the pastor at one time. Joe established a law practice in his hometown while Tracy worked for UARCO in Kennett, Mo. Joe later was appointed by Clay County to defend the constitutionality of its jail, the set location for the jail scene in A Face in the Crowd. As president of the Piggott Area Chamber of Commerce, he led the funding and construction of the city’s beautiful bandstand, located on the courthouse lawn just across from the inn. Both were active in the Piggott community and the First United Methodist Church until their departure in 1989 to pursue careers in Memphis. Joe served briefly as the president of a chemical company, traveling two years promoting the company and its products through speaking engagements and developing the Canadian market. When the company sold, he resumed the practice of law in Arkansas, Missouri and Tennessee. Tracy worked her way up through her company, which later merged with Standard Register. She now has been with the company 27 years and currently serves as Vice President for Strategy and Development - International. Joe and Tracy maintained numerous relationships with family and friends in Piggott over the years, as well as an interest in the community they love, so returning to their roots is a sweet thing for both.

“We planned the redesign together with an eye for recapturing the look and feel of the old building.� - Tracy Cole

Fall 2013|


The Coles began renovation of their quarters at the inn just 30 minutes after the real estate transaction was closed on April 1. “We planned the redesign together with an eye for recapturing the look and feel of the old building,” Tracy said. They began peeling away plaster to expose the original brick, which not only preserves history, but gives the open concept living space the feel of a spacious loft apartment. In the restoration process, the Coles were excited to uncover spaces which had been hidden away for years behind walls erected by later owners. An old vault used by Paul Pfeiffer is now a perfect kitchen pantry, and custom bookcases were installed in an area above the vault which conceals a doorway to the top of that area. Dropped ceilings were removed and stunning pressed tin ceiling tiles installed to restore the look of the original high ceilings. The main area of the 1,400-square-foot apartment includes the living room, dining room, kitchen and an office space. With beautiful dark hardwood flooring, the metal ceiling and a large picture window which gives a view of Main Street, it is the couple’s favorite area of their home.

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Tracy’s cleverly designed office features six panel opaque doors suspended on rails commonly used for horse stalls. The doors meet at a 90 degree angle to preserve room and light. In a more private area at the back are a beautiful master bedroom, a large bathroom with stunning tilework and the laundry room. Many spaces in the apartment are filled with wonderful books, and, in a nod to Hemingway, who wrote about hunting adventures and his pursuit of a kudu in Green Hills of Africa, mounted kudu horns hold a prominent place atop a large living room bookcase. The horns of a ram grace the top of a kitchen cabinet. A baby grand piano is Tracy’s favorite piece of furniture. Many of the couple’s family heirlooms are stored for future use by family or possibly in the inn. Throughout the apartment are intricate wood carvings by Joe, including fish, birds, ducks, loons and herons. The warm decor also includes a number of items purchased by the couple on their travels to Europe, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Central America and the Caribbean. “We always try to bring back something from each trip, whether it be jewelry or some decorative item that reminds us of the trip,” Joe said.

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Fall 2013|


Joe’s beautifully-detailed carvings include several birds, such as this bluejay.

“It is our desire for the apartment to reflect who we are, so many of the photographs displayed were taken by us on our travels,” Tracy added. “One favorite photograph is of an old lady watching people board ships on the Isle of Capri.” Joe is an avid outdoorsman and has led wilderness expeditions throughout North America. He has authored one book entitled “Seasons in the Wilderness,” depicting some of the many adventures he has shared with others. He hasn’t yet attempted to have the book published. Both Joe and Tracy have traveled on mission trips to Nicaragua and to Navajo and Apache reservations. The Coles are all smiles when they speak of their new home and new business venture. “We returned to our hometown because we both love the community of Piggott,” Joe said. “We love the way our new home turned out and plan to stay here forever.”

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Historic bed and breakfast offers warm welcome

The Inn at Piggott

As new proprietors of the Inn at Piggott, a bed and breakfast located downtown in one of Piggott’s most historic buildings, Joe and Tracy Cole hope to use their establishment to promote the unique history of the small Northeast Arkansas city they are happy to again call home.

Text and Photos by Nancy Kemp

After living away for over 20 years, the Coles, who both grew up in Piggott, returned to their hometown earlier this year when they had the opportunity to buy the inn. “Our friends have told us that Piggott is the crossroads of the universe,” Tracy said. “We agree and want to keep that image.”

Fall 2013|


“We feel it’s important to promote the history, which has become a lasting part of the inn.” - Joe Cole, innkeeper The inn is housed in a building built in 1925 by the Bank of Piggott, which, at one time, was located just across the street. “When that institution became insolvent, Piggott State Bank was chartered in 1927, due, in part, to the financial support of local resident Paul Pfeiffer,” Joe said. Piggott State Bank soon opened in the new building, and Pfeiffer, the father-in-law of writer Ernest Hemingway, moved his land company office from his home on Cherry Street to the east side of the bank building — an area the Coles have beautifully renovated as their living quarters. Hemingway, later recognized as one of the world’s greatest novelists, was married for 13 years (1927-1940) to the Pfeiffers’ oldest daughter, Pauline, and frequently visited Piggott during that time, penning much of his first bestseller, A Farewell to Arms, in a barn studio behind the Pfeiffer home. His connection to Piggott has been celebrated in many ways, primarily through Arkansas State University’s establishment of the Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum and Educational Center in 1999, so it is natural that themed renovations of the Inn at Piggott’s nine units will include some which reflect that tie.

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“Since Paul Pfeiffer was one of the original tenants of the bank building where our inn now is located, we feel it’s important to promote the history which has become a lasting part of the inn,” Joe said. “For that reason, we want to display that history in various rooms, with contributions from the personalities.” Pauline Pfeiffer was a writer for Vogue magazine when she met handsome young Ernest Hemingway in the early 1920s. “Pauline’s Room” will reflect the fashionable Vogue style of that time, and portraits of her will show the beauty and charm which helped her win Hemingway’s heart. The “Safari Room” will feature photographs of Ernest and Pauline during their African hunting adventure in 1933-34, a trip funded by Pauline’s uncle, Gus Pfeiffer, who happily provided $25,000 in the hope of giving Ernest good insight for his writing. Items related to the 1957 movie A Face in the Crowd will be featured in the “Movie Room.” Hemingway helped influence noted director Elia Kazan to film part of his new movie in Piggott, and the film’s world premiere was held at the Carolyn Theater, which, until it was demolished, was located just north of the inn in an area now used for parking.

The movie starred Andy Griffith, Lee Remick and Patricia Neal, and Neal stayed in what will be the “Movie Room” when she returned to Piggott in 2007 for a 50th anniversary promotion of the movie. Themes for other rooms in the 10,000-square-foot inn are still being considered, and Tracy and Joe have called on a few talented family members to help come up with ideas. “Each will take a room and come up with the design,” Tracy said. “It will be fun for them and helpful for us and we’re really excited about it.” The inn’s four ground-level units feature beautiful ceiling me-

Fall 2013|


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dallions and light fixtures which were a part of the decor of the original bank lobby. All of the rooms are very spacious, and each has its own bathroom, television and internet service. Guests at the inn also are treated to a delicious breakfast prepared by inn manager Beverly Scott, a Piggott native who has worked in hospitality and tourism for over 40 years. “Beverly brings an incredible amount of experience and expertise through her past employment with the service industry and entertainment industry,” Joe said. Scott said she grew up in the restaurant business, learning firsthand from an aunt who had one of the first restaurants in Piggott. After earning an Associate’s Degree in hospitality and tourism, she was a manager for Red Lobster, working in several different cities, and later worked at Dollywood and Dixie Stampede. Scott goes the extra mile in making her food presentations both beautiful and appetizing. “Not only do I like to travel, I love making other people’s travels wonderful,” she said.”I am thrilled that Joe and Tracy thought of me when they purchased the inn. I hope I can make everyone’s stay here special and one they will never forget.” When renovation of the inn’s dining room is completed, services will be expanded to include more private luncheons, banquets, showers, teas and parties. The Coles will have special packages which help promote tourism in Piggott and also offer information and/ or tours relating to other interesting historical facts about the city. For instance, the Hemingway-Pfeiffer two-night package, available Oct. 22-23, Nov. 26-27 and Dec. 17-18, includes a visit to the museum, a lecture at the inn on Hemingway and the Pfeiffer family, a visit to the barn studio where Hemingway worked on A Farewell to Arms, as well as information on the Piggott theater which hosted the world premiere of the movie A Farewell to Arms, starring Gary Cooper. A Veterans Celebration package Nov.12-14 includes special breakfast and dinner presentations about Piggott’s role during World War II, when the city purchased a P-47 Razorback Thunderbolt called “The Town of Piggott, Arkansas,” flown in the European theater by former University of Arkansas Razorback Pierce McKennon. Veterans Celebration presentations also include the story of Hemingway’s work as an ambulance driver and jour-

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Inn manager Beverly Scott nalist during World War I, as well as information on Piggott personalities who helped shape the destiny of World War II, such as Alva C. Lasswell, a Piggott soldier who cracked the Japanese code prior to the Battle of Midway. Piggott’s Favorite Movie package, available Oct. 22-23, Nov. 26-27 and Dec. 17-18, includes a visit to the Piggott film locations of A Face in the Crowd, information on the writing of A Farewell to Arms and its movie premiere in Piggott and the presentation of both movies at the inn. A Christmas at the Inn package Dec. 6-7 includes a special guest reception, a walk around the town square to enjoy the Christmas pageantry, shopping on the square, stories at the historic bandstand, the annual Christmas parade and march of the Christmas gifts (children dressed in Christmas packaging) and a visit to the HemingwayPfeiffer Museum for special Christmas presentations. Though both still have demanding careers, Joe and Tracy plan to be at the inn as much as possible. Amanda Beaver is employed to assist in guest services.

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The Best of Authentic Italian and Southern fare With generational values of community and family, Michael Marconi carries on the legacy of a local treasure It’s a tiny Delta town near Memphis. Crawfordsville, Arkansas. Population 479. The streets are quiet and peaceful. But at the center of town, there often is a buzz of activity. Cars and pickup trucks frequently crowd the sidewalks, and people pour through the door of Uncle John’s restaurant until the modest little Main Street building is packed. It’s been happening for 30 years, and the many who regularly enjoy the amazing food — unmistakably among the best in the region — hope it continues for at least another 30. Authentic Italian dishes such as spaghetti, lasagna and ravioli, southern fare such as delicious barbecue, and (only on Fridays) catfish which Text and Photos by Nancy Kemp

Welcome to Uncle John’s many swear is the best they’ve ever eaten bring customers back to Uncle John’s again and again. Those who show up at the lunch hour quickly see there is something more than just great food — a special warmth, laughter, lots of visiting. It’s like a family gathering — be-

cause it is. “In a small town like this, everybody is like family,” owner Michael Marconi says. “We call people ‘aunt’ or ‘uncle’ even if they’re not really related to us.” But coming from a large Italian Catholic family, Marconi does have Fall 2013|


provided courtesy

Michael Marconi, owner of Uncle John’s

provided courtesy

provided courtesy

28|Fall 2013

a sizable number of local relatives who provide a customer base for the restaurant, started in 1983 by his parents, John and Lucille. “My father was one of eight children and my mother one of five and they all married local, so I have lots of aunts, uncles and cousins here,” he said. However the lines between blood and friendship disappear in this very special place, where locals maintain a special bond but also extend a warm welcome to those who come from other areas to experience the magic of Uncle John’s. Michael, the youngest of seven children, was in the midst of college studies at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock when he came home to help his ailing father with the restaurant. A short time later, John Marconi lost his battle with cancer. “My father died on Christmas Day in 1994,” Michael said. While Lucille had helped some at the restaurant, John was the driving force, so she was pleased when, in early 1995, Michael took over. The transition was seamless. “The menu was basically established,” Michael said. “I just kept doing what my father did.” Cooking was a natural gift for the late John Marconi. The son of an Italian immigrant from Ancona, he grew up in a culture where a passion for good food and its proper preparation were just a part of life, along with large family gatherings and a strong faith in God.

Lucille Marconi with mural artist JoAnn Bloodworth (midddle and bottom) Stirring the spaghetti pot is Jennifer Callicutt, whose mother, Helen (not pictured) is also a valued staff member. Bessie Jones readies plates for a large lunch crowd. All of those gifts served him well when, in the early 1980’s, low prices for the crops he raised on his farm near Crawfordsville caused him to look elsewhere for income. “He was having a hard time making ends meet, so he thought of his other talent — cooking,” Michael said. “There was nothing he loved more than cooking for his family and friends, and just about every minute he was home he was cooking or barbecuing. That’s what brought him joy.” Lucille’s sister had been serving food to locals in a little cafe she had downtown, but she planned to give it up, so John decided to pick up where she left off. His menu, however, would include the same foods he had enjoyed making at home from Marconi family recipes.

“I don’t take any of the credit. The staff is the same, and I lean on them to just keep doing what they’ve always done. This may not be the most profitable way, but it’s the way I want to do it.” - Michael Marconi, restaurateur The restaurant’s colorful mural includes many Crawfordsville residents

Fall 2013|


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Lunch time at Uncle John’s So in the Main Street building, which formerly housed a movie theater, and later a laundromat, John and Lucille opened their restaurant. They had a core group of local diners, but word soon spread and people came from all over the area. John also continued to farm, but on a smaller scale. “They started out serving breakfast and lunch with fresh vegetables and meat and some lunch specials,” Michael said. “Then my father decided to try staying open at night. He added more pastas and a steak, and with that, it just grew.” John and Lucille’s bread pudding, though simple, soon became legendary. “They tinkered with it and came up with the recipe over time,” Michael said. “It doesn’t have raisins and has just a basic bourbon sauce.” People loved it then, and many years later, they love it still. “Not much has changed,” Michael said. “My secret is to just do what my father did. I don’t take any of the credit. The staff is the same, and I lean on them to just keep doing what they’ve always done. This may not be the most profitable way, but it’s the way I want to do it.” Michael gives generous praise to his staff, most of whom, he said, have been at Uncle John’s over 20 years. “They are dedicated, God-loving people, and if I paid them what they are worth they would all be millionaires.” Michael also still serves steaks and has added a few salads and sandwiches. Visitors to Uncle John’s are drawn to a large mural in the restaurant’s second dining room. “After my father’s customers started coming back again

and again and business grew, he needed more space,” Michael said. “So he bought the room next door — which was a shoe store in the good old days — and knocked a hole in the wall. The room was sort of ‘blah,’ so local artist JoAnn Bloodworth talked with my father and tried to figure out what to do.” One of Michael’s brothers had been to Italy, so Bloodworth looked through his photos of buildings there and came up with her own ideas. “She kept painting and painting and, to add spice, started putting in some people,” Michael said. “She painted in my father, and then other local people starting saying they wanted to be in it.” The mural now includes a large number of Crawfordsville residents. It is still a work in progress, though, according to Michael, Bloodworth doesn’t work on it as frequently as she did at one time. A portrait by Bloodworth of an apron-clad John holding a spatula welcomes visitors to the establishment, but, according to Lucille, the figure is, with subtle changes, becoming a portrait of Michael. Lucille still lives in the same house where all of her children grew up in downtown Crawfordsville and enjoys coming in to help out some and visit with friends. Michael and his wife, Amy, reside in Marion, and spend quite a bit of time trying to keep up with the hectic schedules of their three sons: Caleb, a junior at Marion High School; Mitchell, an eighth grader at St. Louis Catholic School in Memphis, and Max, a seventh grader at West Junior High School in West Memphis. All three boys are athletic and involved in school sports programs, Caleb in baseball and tennis, Mitchell in bas-

Uncle John’s, located at 5453 Main Street, just a few blocks off Highway 64, is open from 9 a.m. to about 8 p.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Thursdays, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Fridays and 5 to 9 p.m. Saturdays. Fall 2013|


Sacred Heart Church in Crawfordsville ketball, football, baseball and golf, and Max on the seventh grade football team. Amy works with her father at his business, located in West Memphis, where she and Michael met when both were students at St. Michael’s Catholic School. “She probably sacrifices more and gets less in return than anyone,” Michael said of his wife. “She keeps me where I’m supposed to go.” With their busy schedules, the boys only occasionally make their way to the restaurant, but when they do, they like making ravioli and getting leftover dough to make desserts, according to Michael. Faith in God has always been at the center of life for the Marconi family, and almost the entire clan took part in July in a 100th anniversary celebration of Crawfordsville’s Sacred Heart Catholic Church, where John and Lucille were married and all of their children were baptized. Michael’s oldest brother, Father John, is pastor of St. Joseph’s Church in Conway. Another brother, Father Joseph, is pastor of St. Thomas Aquinas University Parish in Fayetteville. Michael also continues to look after his 200acre farm near town, but watching him move easily among the tables at Uncle John’s, greeting customers and delivering food, it’s clear his heart is in continuing the work of his father. “I am very fortunate and very blessed,” he said.

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34|Fall 2013


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ZEEK Taylor Brilliant artist with Delta roots gathers major honors

Photo by Chip Ford

He enrolled in 1970 in the Memphis College of Arts, The year 2012 did not start out auspiciously for Zeek Taylor. He didn’t stay up until midnight on New Year’s Eve where he was in the same class as Eureka Springs artists or do anything special on New Year’s Day. Then in January Mary Springer, John Weller and David Hussey. The teachof last year, he received word that Arkansas Life magazine er he said influenced him the most: Veda Reed, who taught wanted to do a full-page story, illustrated with his artwork, color theory. “I consider myself a colorist,” Taylor said. “I like the for the May issue. From then on, the recognition snowballed, culminating interplay of different colors and how they react with each in October with Gov. Mike Beebe presenting Taylor with other on the paper. They can create vibrations, great conthe Arkansas Arts Council Governor’s Arts Award for Life- trast or a muted effect. The interplay of color can create time Achievement. It is an appropriate honor for the Eu- different moods in a painting. “One thing that makes my watercolors look different is reka Springs artist, who grew up picking cotton in a Delta because I was never trained as a watercolor painter, so I’ve town but knew what he wanted to do with his life. “I always knew that I wanted to be an artist, even though there were no art classes in school,” he said. “I took my first art class in college.” Taylor, 66, has lived almost all of his life in Arkansas. He was born and raised in Marmaduke (Greene County), which at that time had 650 residents and two cotton gins. Taylor’s father was the postmaster. His mother was a hairdresser. Named after a Dutch great-grandfather whose last name was Zeek, Taylor was five years old when his grandmother first took him to pick cotton. “Everybody did it,” he said. Because of the harvest, the first semester of school was split-term — students went to school in July and August, then were out for two months. Taylor picked cotton every season through high school, earning three cents a pound along with a life lesson: the harder you work, the more you make. “I could pick between 300 and 400 Zandria Iris, a watercolor, was completed in August pounds a day when I was a teenager,” Taylor said. “I made $9 to $12 a day. When I was 12, I bought a little pony. When I was 14, I sort of approached it as if I were an oil painter,” he said. “I bought a little motorcycle. When I was 16, I bought a car use a lot more pigment than I do water so they don’t look like traditional waterprints as much. They have a lot more for $300 — a 1953 Ford.” The Marmaduke schools had no art classes, no music detail and greater depth of color.” Taylor paints with watercolors on clayboard, using a classes, no band program and one sport, basketball, because everybody was in the fields during football season. Taylor dry brush technique that allows him to paint fine details. took his first art class when he entered Arkansas State Uni- One of his iconic images — chimpanzees — started with versity in Jonesboro in 1964, where he majored in art and a design he created for a decorative pillow company. The journalism. Graduating at age 21, he taught art in public chimps became so popular that people collected them, he schools in Mountain Grove, Mo., and a suburb of St. Louis said. Another big break came in the late 1980s when the before deciding to return to school to study art.

Text by Jennifer Jackson|Photos provided courtesy

Fall 2013|


Iris Clapton, watercolor

Franklin Company of Chicago picked up his work and started distributing limited edition prints. But Taylor never doubted that his life’s work was to create art, even when he worked in a Lockheed factory, sold flowers on street corners or supported himself as a hairdresser for 40 years. “I have been so obsessed with painting, there was never a moment when I thought about stopping,” he said. “I never considered giving up an option.” Taylor lives on the historic loop in Eureka Springs, a location that provides him plenty of revolving views to take in every day. “Everything from the scenery to the people is an inspiration in Eureka Springs,” he said. When it was announced he would receive the Lifetime Achievement Award, some people asked if that meant he was through painting. “Absolutely not,” he told them. “I’ll get up the day after I get the award and paint.” In fact, Taylor gets up every morning to paint, long before the streets crowd with any sign of life. He keeps a

38|Fall 2013

Beulah Gladstone, watercolor

shorter schedule only on weekends. “I wake up early and I’m already at work in my mind,” Taylor said. “I usually start painting between 4 o’clock and 5 o’clock in the morning and I work till 5 or 6 at night. And if I’m not interrupted, I even forget to eat, I just keep on working.” One of Taylor’s shadow boxes was featured on the cover of the “What’s Up” section of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in June of 2012. That’s when he learned he was receiving the Governor’s Arts Award for Lifetime Achievement. Taylor previously had one of his images, of an iris, selected to be in the Governor’s Mansion Association Calendar and did several book signings with Arkansas First Lady Ginger Beebe. Then she and the mansion director requested an iris painting for the mansion, Taylor said. When he learned that he was receiving the Governor’s Arts Award, Taylor said he cried. “It seemed like a goal I never would reach,” Taylor said. “It wasn’t in my realm of dreams.” His parents, who were always encouraging of his career,

For more information about Taylor’s art, go to

Stella Schultz at the Beijing Opera, shadowbox Fall 2013|


“I consider myself a colorist. I like the interplay of different colors and how they react with each other on the paper.” - Zeek Taylor, artist

Together on stage following the presentation of the Governor’s Arts Award for Lifetime Achievement were, from left: Arkansas Arts Council executive director Joy Pennington, Karin Boudet Ford, recipient Zeek Taylor, Gov. Mike Beebe and Department of Arkansas Heritage director Cathie Matthews.

The artist’s studio

had passed away, but the ceremony, held at the Peabody Hotel in Little Rock, was attended by friends and supporters from Eureka Springs. He was introduced by Karin Boudet Ford, who said Taylor had 45 years of leadership in the arts community, including arts promotion and advocacy. He served on the Eureka Springs Mayor’s Arts Council and the Eureka Springs-Crystal Bridges Joint Committee, curates the annual Artigras show during Eureka’s Mardi Gras festivities, and is known for mentoring other artists and providing food and art supplies for people in need, Ford told. Taylor said he was touched that so many people, including people from the Chamber of Commerce, the City Advertising and Promotion Commission and the Eureka Springs Arts Council, came to see him accept the award. “I stopped and realized what great friends I have and what great support I have received from this town,” Taylor said. “Living in Eureka Springs has made everything happen for me.” In November of last year, he served as the grand marshal of the Ozark Folk Festival parade and, at the conclusion of a three-year term on the Eureka Springs Chamber of Commerce, was honored by the Chamber, which held a

40|Fall 2013

reception to celebrate the Governor’s Award and named him its Man of the Year. When asked to give a Ted Talk in Bentonville on the theme “Becoming,” Taylor talked about how he became an artist. “It was very scary and is one of the more rewarding things I’ve ever done,” he said of making the speech. “I made a lot of friends and a lot of contacts.” Taylor was chosen to paint a pig for the Ozark Literacy Council’s Pigshibition fundraiser, and his beautiful purple pig “Hurricane, the Pig Easy,” now adorns the front of the Powerhouse Seafood Restaurant in Fayetteville. He had a carousel in the 2012 International Toys Designed by Artists, a juried show at the Arkansas Arts Center, and also received honorable mention in the 2012 Delta Exhibition at the Arkansas Arts Center. The increased recognition has brought increased sales, Taylor said, both online and in galleries that carry his work: Out on Main, Iris at the Basin Park, and Eurekan Art, all in Eureka Springs, and the Norberta Philbrook Gallery in Bentonville, named for his painting “Norberta Philbrook Returned From the Farmers Market With Something For Everyone.”

Photo courtesy of Tracey Lovett

Photo by Chip Ford

Taylor with one of his pieces, a toy titled “Circle of Friends.” The piece was in the 2012 Toys Designed by Artists International Show and on display at the Arkansas Arts Center. It now can be seen at the Norberta Philbrook Gallery in Bentonville.

Ode to Joy, watercolor

Taylor recently completed this 5”x 5” acrylic on canvas titled “Something To Crow About” for the Arts Center of the Ozarks show, coming up in November. Fall 2013|


Photo by Chip Ford

Century 21 Wright-Pace Is the Right Place

Artist Zeek Taylor at work In March of this year, he gave the keynote address at the Arkansas Young Artists Association state convention for high school students, held at the Peabody Hotel in Little Rock, and Taylor was quoted in a recent edition of U.S. Airways magazine — available to six million people who fly United — concerning the arts in Northwest Arkansas. The former editor of “IonART” magazine, Taylor puts his journalism training to use as editor of the Eureka Springs Artists Registry. “On a volunteer basis he is a platform for advocacy of the arts and all of the artists in their careers,” Ford said in her speech preceding the presentation of the Governor’s Award. Taylor is not predicting what the future will hold, but has a lot to look back on. “I didn’t expect this to happen,” he said of the Governor’s Award, “so I will wait and see how things unfold. I’m an optimist, so I think things are going to be good.” The Governor’s Arts Award for Lifetime Achievement started in 1993 and has been given annually since 2000. In a town known for its many great artists, Susan Morrison is the only other Eureka Springs artist to receive the award.

Jonesboro’s HWES

Magnet School unique classrooms and curriculum



When you step into the lobby of the Health, Wellness and Environmental Studies (HWES) Magnet School in Jonesboro, it’s evident this is not the typical public school most of us grew up with. Bulletin boards covered with “green” messages and large photos of the students cooking, working and learning in the school’s student kitchen and gardens line the walls as upbeat, happy students bustle down the hallways. With a curriculum tied to real life, HWES promotes inquiring minds, healthy bodies and environmentally responsible adults, according to the school’s principal, Kim Anderson. In its sixth year of existence with over 600 students from first to sixth grades, HWES is a very special environment for learning with three outdoor classrooms, a critter garden, nutrition lab/student kitchen and a bio-earth lab. “Within the first four years, we transformed three un-

Text by Candy Hill|Photos by Candy Hill or provided courtesy

used and undeveloped enclosed courtyards into three outdoor classrooms,” said magnet school specialist Melinda Smith. The school now has a harvest garden, consisting of 15 raised beds, two small greenhouses, a tool shed equipped with student-sized tools and equipment, and two rain barrels. The students themselves plant and take care of lettuces, carrots, beets, asparagus, strawberries, broccoli, peppers, tomatoes, potatoes, garlic, onion and a variety of flowers. The “critter” learning garden is home to various native birds and famous rabbit, Oreo, as well as chickens Fred, Ethel and Minerva and a few turtles. The sensory garden consists of four raised beds filled with various plants and herbs such as sage, oregano, rosemary, cilantro, basil, lavender and others in addition to a covered area for outdoor cooking and other lessons.

Fall 2013|





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The school was fortunate to acquire use of its former cafeteria kitchen after a new cafeteria kitchen was built. The former kitchen was transformed into a nutrition lab and student kitchen with six stainless steel tables, kid-sized sinks, a commercial stove with six burners and two ovens, as well as an industrial-sized refrigerator. The pantry is stocked full of kitchen equipment and tools for the students, such as choppers, graters, mixers, knives, measuring tools, cutting boards, pots and pans, and more. The school also created a bio-earth lab/elementary science lab which houses the school’s many animals, including Chin the Chinchilla, Einstein the tarantula, Jag the bearded dragon, Rocko the gecko, Moe the fire-bellied frog and Peaches the corn snake. The study of animals at HWES is an important and rewarding experience for the students as it allows the students to learn how environmental issues affect living creatures of ecosystems and gives a hands-on approach to animals’ needs and adaptations. HWES teachers are very dedicated to the outdoor classrooms, student kitchen and Bio Lab as they integrate the school’s theme into Arkansas State frameworks, resulting in highly engaged lessons and activities which interest and challenge the students. The state of California has led the movement of garden to kitchen curriculum in schools for over 100 years and the HWES journey of developing its particular theme started with a team of seven teachers, administrators and the district’s building and facility director. The team traveled to California to visit six public and private schools whose focus was the gardento-kitchen concept and, during the trip, received initial training from the famous Life Lab Science and Edible School Yard programs. That week in California convinced the team that the theme of Health, Wellness and Environmental Studies could be achieved, and for the next two summers, the entire school staff was trained on the Jonesboro campus by Life Lab Educators. The training consisted of curriculum ideas, materials and activities that taught all the subject areas using gardens and the kitchen. All grade levels receive a regularly scheduled Bio Lab block and the teachers develop lessons to be conducted in the science lab, outdoor classrooms or student kitchen, with the lessons and place of

Trash N Fashion Fall 2013|


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instruction depending on the unit of study at the time. Instruction could be a cooking lesson in the student kitchen using fractions, a descriptive writing lesson using the five senses in one of the gardens, a life cycle lesson using the chickens or a math lesson measuring the raised beds in the harvest garden. The school also helps the students create an awareness of environmental issues through a number of activities. The students pledge to recycle within the school with a focus on paper, cardboard and tin and the school’s “Kids for Saving Earth” club meets monthly and receives special programs through the school’s community partners, Legacy Landfill, Tenenbaum Recycling Group and Mark Recycling. The school also partners with Sudden Link to offer a special E-Cycle in honor of America Recycles Day on Nov. 15, and this will be the school’s fifth year to offer the community an opportunity to drop off small electronics, printers and computer equipment at the school for recycling. Where the wellness component of the school’s mission is concerned, HWES health education emphasis this year is SPARK, a nationally-recognized program of health activities, and HWES students start each day with “morning movement” time, stretching, dancing or doing other movements to get their bodies ready for the day’s activities. In fact, all activities throughout the day encourage and promote movement. Community involvement is crucial to the school’s success, and literally hundreds of outside guest speakers have spent time at HWES. For example, the school has a TV news program put on

by the students, who partner with the Arkansas State University (ASU) Broadcasting and Communications department. Each semester one of ASU’s graduate students spends two weeks with students to create video projects from the students’ research on topics relating to the school’s theme of health, nutrition, gardens or environmental issues. The videos then are featured at the school’s annual Discovery Showcase Night for parents and the community in February. Some of the other HWES community partners include Whitton Farms, local plant nurseries, ASU Farmers Market, NEA Center for Healthy Children, St. Bernards, Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality and the National Wildlife Federation. The newest HWES community partners are the Craighead County master gardeners, who came on board in January and are an official project of the school. “The master gardeners have made our garden effort so much more efficient and are also valuable role models for our kids,” Smith said. “We have been very lucky to have wonderful guests from our local community and those from afar who are experts in their fields, such as author, culinary herbalist and educator Susan Belsinger, herbalist and author Tina Wilcox, and herbalist and author Jim Long,” she adds. Long recently traveled from Blue Eye, Mo., to hold classes with students, helping them to cook with herbs from the school gardens. “It’s fascinating to see kids excited about learning,” Long said. “This is a remarkable school with some of the most creative and amazing teachers. Every trip I make to the school,

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Those who want more information about the school or wish to speak with someone about visiting as a guest speaker may contact

Anderson or Smith at (870) 933-5850 Additional information about HWES and its events can be found on the school’s Facebook page.

Student gardeners 12 hours round trip, I come back saying if school had been that way when I was a kid, I would have loved school!” Smith has seen students’ lives change as a result of the things they learn at HWES. “Along with changes in students’ knowledge have also come changes at their home where they start to grow things in containers or build homemade raised beds. They really want to grow things at home,” she points out. Andrew, a sixth grader who has been at HWES since first grade, remarks, “I love going to school here and especially love taking care of the animals and working in the gardens. It’s great to learn to cook here with fresh-grown vegetables from our school garden. Also, the teachers really help you when you’re down, and my teachers really helped me through a hard time in my life.” Best friends Alexis and Hannah, both in fifth grade, look forward to every day at HWES. “I love dress-up day and our club, Kids for Saving Earth,” Alexis said. “I get to help with the garden and animals and I especially love Oreo, the school rabbit. I look forward to coming to school because it’s never boring -- there is something different to do every day!” “I love going out to feed the animals and the good friends I have made here,” Hannah added. “Cooking in the student kitchen helps us to eat more healthy and I love doing the unexpected and surprising things we do here at HWES.” According to Anderson, funding and resources are always a challenge in running HWES. “To operate a magnet school, especially one with gardens, animals, a student kitchen and cooking, there is always upkeep. The animals have to be fed and cared for 365 days out of the year, as well as maintaining the gardens year round. You can say a lot of our resources are consumable. “We are fortunate that Melinda Smith and a core of teach-

ers write grants to support our programs,” she added. “And our community partners are a great asset to the school, as they have provided resources and labor to help our programs maintain and grow.” HWES has a number of yearly community events administrators and faculty members hope to make the public aware of, and all of the school’s events have the goal of involving teachers, students, their families and the community. A few of the regularly-scheduled events include a Grandparents Day Breakfast in the Gardens in mid-September and Parent Appreciation Breakfast in mid-May, with students preparing the garden foods in their own kitchen to be served on the special mornings. Two of the biggest community events are the spring plant sale and heirloom tomato plant sale, both in April. Held on the school campus, these sales help maintain the school gardens, animal care and supplies for the student kitchen, as well as promote gardening at the homes of the students and the community. Toward the end of April, Earth Week is celebrated, and every day during that week the school hosts guest speakers, field trips, a recycle art show and its newest event, “Trash’n’ Fashion,” which challenges students to dress up in outfits they have made from 100 per cent trash. Principal Anderson especially notes the school’s strong interest in involving the community in the school’s mission. “I would like to invite those having an interest in education and the magnet concept to come see our school. We are always looking for partnerships and individuals having expertise in the areas of health and environmental issues. This could be speakers, fitness activities, gardening help, guest chefs, etc.,” she said. Health, Wellness and Environmental Studies Magnet School is located at 1001 Rosemond Drive in Joneboro.

Fall 2013|


Column by Judy Leach, APN

Judy Leach

Advanced Practice Nurse in Rector

Do you see your primary care provider only when you are sick? If so, you are missing out on very important services. Prevention, annual exams and immunizations are not just for children. Adults, both male and female, should have an annual checkup, including a review of your past medical history, family history and social history. A personal history will help your health care provider identify areas of concern and develop a list of risk factors. It is helpful if you prepare your history and take it with you to your clinic visit. Wellness visit services also include a physical exam, screening and counseling. Wellness exams are often encouraged by the employer, sometimes reducing the cost of the health insurance. Each company has its preference of services covered, but differ on the specific time or frequency for these screenings. Guidelines for screening for cancer and diabetes can be found at American Cancer Society and American Diabetes Association websites. The United States Preventive Services Task Force guidelines are what I will use here. Basic health screening will include your height, weight and vital signs, to include blood pressure, pulse and respiration, and body mass index. A physical exam is completed and risk factors are identified. This information is used to determine if other tests are indicated in addition to the basic screening.

Hypertension is screened for at every medical visit. Cholesterol screening should be done for men age 35 and older and women 45 and older. If at increased risk for coronary heart disease, the screening for men and women should begin at age 20.

52|Fall 2013

Living Healthy: PREVENTION

OsteoporosIS screening in women should be done at age 65 and older and in younger women if at high risk. Cancer screenings are very important and include colorectal cancer, skin cancer, breast and cervical cancer. Breast — women should have a screening mammogram every 1 to 2 years for age 40 and over. Cervical — screening should start within 3 years of becoming sexually active or at age 21 and screen every 3 years at a minimum. Colorectal — screening should begin at age 50 using fecal occult blood or colonoscopy and earlier if a first degree relative had colorectal cancer at less than age 60. Prostate cancer — controversy exists over PSA and digital rectal exam testing for men, but the American Cancer Society suggests that men be informed of the risks and benefits and screening start at age 50 for average risks and at age 40 for high risk.


is well managed in primary care, and early detection of conditions can tremendously change the outcome. Many times early detection is managed with lifestyle changes. Take charge of your health by calling your nurse practitioner or physician today for an appointment for your wellness exam.

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Fall 2013|


20 Things to Love About Autumn Photos by Nancy Kemp

Crisp morning air

A mug of hot spiced tea

Fields of white cotton

A pot of homemade vegetable soup with hot buttered cornbread Reading a good book by the fireplace Brilliant fall color

The sound of geese honking at dawn A harvest moon

Cinnamon scented candles Caramel apples

Watching the leaves falling

Gathering pecans and making a pie

High school and college football games

Bright orange pumpkins

Snuggling in a warm quilt


Golden leaves against crisp blue skies Thanksgiving dinner

A soft, warm sweater


The fineness of fall

Fall 2013

Community Calendar courtesy of Delta Crossroads

Oct. 11

Lynn Trefzger Ventriolquist and Comedienne Sept. 21

Annual Sorghum Festival

7 p.m., Fowler Center, Arkansas State University, Jonesboro

Poor Boys Garden near Caraway; music, games and old-fashioned sorghum making.

Oct. 11-12

19th Annual Autumn on the Square

Weiner; contests, displays, fun for all ages

10 a.m. to 4 p.m., downtown Marianna; free to all; live music, crafts, food, zipline, bungee jumping, pony rides; street dance from 8 to 11:30 p.m.

Opening of 21st Annual Pumpkin Hollow Pumpkin Patch

St. Francis, north of Piggott; continues through Oct. 31; corn mazes, hayrides, pony rides and pig scrambles (weekends only), farm animals, food, Horror in the Hollow for older kids and adults Sept. 22

Rhonda Vincent and The Rage

2 p.m., Fowler Center, Arkansas State University, Jonesboro

Oct. 12

5th Annual Tour duh Sunken Lands Bike Ride

7th Annual Hometown Crawfordsville Harvest Festival Main Street, Crawfordsville; children’s parade, 5K run, car show, live entertainment, arts and crafts, food vendors

2nd Annual Life Is Good 5K

8 a.m., Village Creek State Park, near Wynne; for all ages, strollers welcome, t-shirts and goodie bags; registration deadline is Oct. 1

3rd Annual Oktoberfest

KASU’s Bluegrass Monday

Oct. 12-13 and Oct. 19-20

Piggott High School Mohawks Homecoming Football Game vs. Manila Lions Parker Field, Piggott Sept. 28

Annual Quilt Show

9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Buffalo Island Museum, Monette

14th Annual Lost Cane, Little River, Whistleville and Roseland Reunion 9 a.m., Manila Community Center; potluck lunch

Annual Homestead Festival

Parker Homestead south of Harrisburg; sorghum cooking, craft demonstrations, fun, food, music Oct. 15

Piggott Area Chamber of Commerce Annual Banquet and Dinner Meeting 6:30 p.m., Piggott Community Center Oct. 19

33rd Annual Championship Chili Cookoff, 5K and Poker Run

9 a.m. to 4 p.m., downtown Blytheville; chili teams, children’s activities, crafts, 5K walk/run, motorcycle poker run

Oct. 5

83rd Annual Terrapin Derby

Main Street, Lepanto; bean dinner, arts and crafts, music, food, 5K, turtle races, parade, street dance, carnival

Annual Big Lake Chili Cook-off

sponsored by the Manila Lions Club, The Depot Center, Dewey Street, Manila Oct. 10-12

28th Annual King Biscuit Blues Festival

historic downtown Helena; featuring top blues musicians from all over the nation

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showcasing the life and music of the legendary Johnny Cash, The Forum, downtown Jonesboro (call for more information) Nov. 2

Sept. 23

Sept. 27

Ring of Fire

37th Annual Arkansas Rice Festival

10 a.m. to 5 p.m., downtown Paragould; running of wieners, dog parade, biergarten, all-German car show

7 p.m., Collins Theater, downtown Paragould

Oct. 26-28

Oct. 24

Clay County Arts Council Fashion Show, Dinner and Auction 6:30 p.m., Sugar Creek Country Club in Piggott Oct. 26

27th Annual Harvest Festival

Wynn Park, Corning; live entertainment, kids area, 5K, antique cars and machinery, food, arts and crafts, more

13th Annual Harvest Festival

noon to 5 p.m., Main Street, Caraway; music, fun, food and prizes for all

10 a.m., starting at the Southern Tenant Farmers Museum in Tyronza; stops at the Johnny Cash Boyhood Home in Dyess, John Grisham’s The Painted House in Lepanto and the Marked Tree Delta Area Museum

Indoor Yard Sale

7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Piggott Community Center; clothes, antiques and more Nov. 4-8

Fall Writers Retreat

Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum and Educational Center, 1021 W. Cherry Street in Piggott; mentor Andrea Hollander Nov. 8

Rhodes Family Concert with Craig Morris 7 p.m., Rector Community Center Nov. 9

Indoor Yard Sale

7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Piggott Community Center; clothes, antiques and more.

All Hands on Deck

7:30 p.m., Fowler Center, Arkansas State University, Jonesboro Nov. 16

Nitty Gritty Dirt Band Concert

Fine Arts Center on the campus of East Arkansas Community College, Forrest City Nov. 22

Rhodes Family Show

sponsored by the Piggott Chamber of Commerce, Piggott Community Center; call (870) 598-3167 for more information. Nov. 23

Fall Craft Fair

9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Rector Community Center.

Ultimate Oldies Show

sponsored by the Piggott Chamber of Commerce, Piggott Community Center; call (870) 598-3167 for more information

Travel With Us Tours & Cruises

2718 E. Nettleton Ave. Jonesboro

Nov. 23-30

68th Annual World’s Championship Duck Calling Contest and Wings Over the Prairie Festival Stuttgart

870-932-7221 — 800-934-7221

Nov. 30


Leachville’s Annual Christmas Parade

June 9, 2014

6:30 p.m., followed by open house at the Melody Theater with refreshments and photos with Santa Dec. 2

Monette’s Annual Christmas Parade 7 p.m., lineup at the American Legion Dec. 5

Rector’s Annual Christmas Parade

6 p.m., starting downtown and continuing to the Community Center, where a Christmas reception and program will be held for the entire community Dec. 7

Piggott’s Annual Christmas Fest and Parade town square, Piggott

Manila Lions Pancake Supper 5 p.m., Manila school cafeteria

Manila Annual Christmas Parade

6 p.m., for more information call Manila City Hall, (870) 5614437

Caraway Annual Christmas Parade 6 p.m., lineup at 5 p.m

Clay County Arts Council’s Annual Night of Chocolate

featuring a dinner theater presentation of Murder Cafe, directed by Whitney Conley, 6:30 p.m, Rector Community Center Dec. 8

First Annual Community Choir Christmas Cantata

2 p.m., Harrisburg Fine Arts Center; call Randy Mills at (870) 408-0590 for more information Dec. 9-20

Display of Entries in the Annual Hemingway-Pfeiffer Art Show


Once in a lifetime     

Bethlehem Sea of Galilee Nazareth Capernaum Upper Room

   

Dr. Ballard is the Sprititual Guide on this tour.Call Emelda for details. Passport is required for this tour.

Qumran Megiddo Via Dolorosa Garden of Gethsemane


* Tour under construction




BEST OF ITALY, May 4 - 15 COSTA RICA PARADISE, May 30 - June 7 HOLY LAND TOUR, June 9 - 18

Deposit due February 15; Call for availability


September 26 - October 4

Arkansas State University Museum (the display will move to Piggott in January)


Dec. 12


Mark O’Connor and Friends, An Appalacian Christmas

7:30 p.m., Fowler Center, Arkansas State University, Jonesboro.

Four days in October October 17 - 27

NASHVILLE SHOW TRIP November 10 - 14


Dec. 21-22

Journey to Bethlehem live nativity 6 to 8 p.m., Hitts Chapel Church, near Piggott

CALL FOR DETAILS: 870-932-7221 • 800-934-7221 2718 E. Nettleton Ave., Jonesboro • Fall 2013| 57 Visit our new website:

Make Piggott Your Destination Shop•Dine•Sleep

n’s Greetings Seaso



FEATHER YOUR NEST On the square — Piggott 870-598-1004 Vera Bradley, Fossil, Beatriz Ball, Arthur Court, Candles, Vietri and Home Decor, Men's & Ladies Clothes & Accessories

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Fine Gifts—Home Decor Owners: Kevin and Julia Jones


Walk-Ins Welcome! S e asons’s G r e e ti n g s

Furniture & Appliances 285 West Main—on the square—Piggott




260 W. Court

7 Days a Week, 10am-6pm

Antiques Jewelry/Clothing Gift Items Consignment

Owner—Thrista Chase

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332 W. Clay Piggott, AR.

Vintage Palooza

Rhonda's Hair & Nail Salon


Tessa Stanley—870-595-4951 Katie Pierce—870-324-1574 Tanning & Spray Tanning By Appointment Only Rhonda Harlan, Owner—870-324-0360

Country Kitchen (on the square)

Piggott, AR 598-5753

Good Country Cookin’ ‡ Quality consignment for the entire family

Monday - Thursday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Mens & Ladies Clothing Home Decor & Gifts Jewelry Toys Childrens Clothing and Much More! 162 South 2nd Ave. | On the square -Piggott

Christmas Fest

Christmas Open House

Dec. 7

Nov. 7-10

Owners: Wanda and James Morris

NEW LOCATION: 221 W. Main (on the Square) Piggott

Sugar Creek Kids

“Frosting for your Little Cupcake”


Piggott, Arkansas

Inn at Piggott


Florist 870-598-2203 221 West Main | Piggott, AR This Holiday Season Say I Love You with Cookies!

Place Your Order for a Dozen or Half Dozen!

Fine Fragrances, Jewelry, Accessories, Florals, & Wreaths

flea. find. fun.

Serving Lunch Daily, 11-2







With PPG We can Maintain Custom Computer Match

Hours: Mon-Fri, 8am-4:30pm; Sat, 9am-Noon

Come See Us at Our New Location 144 South Moore Street Piggott, AR. 72454 870-324-4276

(870) 324-0568

Bed & Breakfast

193 West Main St. | Piggott, AR. Innkeepers: Joe & Tracy Cole


We accept Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover


Madpies Owner 118 Court Patty McHaffey Piggott, AR 72450 Mon - Sat: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm

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On The Square Piggott, AR

193 West Main St. Piggott, AR 72454

PAYLESS FURNITURE & APPLIANCES 178 South 2nd Street - 870-598-3809

120 Days Same as Cash No Credit Checks

Living Rooms, Bedrooms, Dinettes, Appliances, Electronics, Computers and Bedding Store Manager - Andy Neeley

870-634-6438 • 870-598-2210

Make Your Stay a Wonderful Experience

Come visit our Hemingway-Pfeiffer and Matilda & Karl Pfeiffer Museums Piggott, AR



Fall 2013|


Manila Public Schools

We are the Lions

Providing an Equitable, Well-Rounded Education to Its Students in a Structured Learning Environment Where Students Can Achieve Success in All Academic Disciplines

1 2 3 4 5 6 7

Accessing and processing information Thinking, reasoning, and problem solving Achieving working skills in technology Dealing with change

Developing creativity Valuing and contributing toward the community Exhibiting responsible behavior Manila Public Schools Board & Administration Elementary Office: 561-3145 High School Office: 561-4417

Middle School Office: 561-4815 Superintendent's Office: 561-4419


‘ Mud’’’

Jeff Nichols is undoubtedly one of the best modern filmmakers of our time. Nichols obviously cares deeply for both film and filmmaking, which was clearly evident in 2008’s “Shotgun Stories” and 2011’s “Take Shelter” (both excellent yet very different projects). He doesn’t always take the easy way out and finds new ways to satisfy audiences. So when I heard that his third feature, “Mud,” was aimed at more mainstream appeal, I wondered if he would stoop to the new low that David Gordon Green (another visionary filmmaker who began in the indie circuit) took with his stoner comedies. I love this movie. It’s the kind of film I would love to make. “Mud” is a coming-of-age story in a nontraditional sense, using elements of adventure to tell the tale of two young boys learning some important life lessons. Another such film is 1986’s “Stand by Me,” which was one of my main influences in becoming a film critic and filmmaker. There’s just something so engaging about a coming-of-age adventure such as this. “Mud” takes place in the Arkansas Delta, near the White and Mississippi rivers, giving the film a great deal of Southern grittiness. Our main characters are two 14-year-old boys — Ellis (Tye Sheridan) and Neckbone (Jacob Lofland), who spend their days riding a dirt bike and using a skiff to explore the Mississippi. The boys come across an island and discover a boat lodged high up in a tree due to a flood. They are surprised to find the boat is inhabited by a ragged-looking man named Mud (Matthew McConaughey). Mud may be homeless, hiding out on the island and carrying a gun for “protection,” but he comes off as unthreatening to the boys, telling them tales of superstition. He also tells them about his true love, who is supposedly coming to meet him so they can escape together. Ellis and Neckbone decide to help him out, bringing food and running a few errands for Mud, including finding his girlfriend Juniper (Reese Witherspoon) in town and taking her messages from him. Ellis wants to help Mud and Juniper get back together, primarily because he wants to believe true love exists. Mud’s devotion to Juniper also mirrors that of Ellis’ infatuation with an older girl, May Pearl (Bonnie Sterdivant). This new look at reality, which is starting to soak in with Ellis, is what makes “Mud” an effective drama, as well as an adventure story. His interaction with Mud increases his self-


esteem, as well as the pride he feels in what he thinks he should do. Tanner Smith He also learns some harsh Film Critic truths that Mud learned the hard way, giving this character much room to grow. This film didn’t necessarily have to involve two boys — just one is enough, while the other is suitable for the “adventure” element. Speaking of which, things get even more dangerous when the boys encounter a nasty bounty hunter (Stuart Greer) who is seeking vengeance against Mud (the man Mud killed turned out to be his brother), along with a posse led by his father (Joe Don Baker). They keep close watch on Juniper, believing she will lead them to Mud, so Ellis and Neckbone must plan a sneaky way to get her back to him. Matthew McConaughey has received well-deserved praise for his strong, memorable portrayal of a man who risks everything for the one he believes is his soulmate. He’s truly brilliant here. But the real stars of “Mud” are the two excellent young actors playing Ellis and Neckbone. Tye Sheridan and Jacob Lofland are already labeled as resembling Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn in their performances, and deservedly so (this is a Mark Twain type of story). Sheridan’s Ellis is more enlightened and thoughtful, while Lofland’s Neckbone is more outgoing and defiant (and he also provides some funny moments as well). The blend of these two is excellent and is played in an entirely credible way. Reese Witherspoon’s role as Juniper is more complicated than being only a “soulmate,” and there manages to be more complexity implied than actually stated. Sarah Paulsen and Ray McKinnon are convincing as Ellis’ squabbling parents, who each try to give Ellis further outlook about growing up. The look and feel of the Arkansas Delta is captured perfectly. As someone who has spent a majority of his life so far in an Arkansas small town, a sense of familiarity overcame me. The small town, the boondocks, the landscapes. I felt like I wasn’t too far from home. And for anyone, this film captures this particular essence so expertly that those who live in large cities are most likely to notice the vividness of atmosphere. “Mud” is a wonderful film and another winner in Jeff Nichols’ great résumé. This is further proof that Jeff Nichols is one of the most impressive filmmakers of our time.

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“This place was the shining light at the end of the tunnel,”

Rod Cornelison said on his last day as a resident of Hometown Nursing Center in Trumann. As evidenced by his age, 43-year-old Cornelison was not the typical nursing home resident. A condition that he has battled his entire life — his weight — is what brought him there. At his heaviest Cornelison weighed 692 pounds about a year ago. He was working as a projection and equipment installer/repairman at movie theaters. But the extreme weight made doing his job extremely difficult and caused several problems, including a weakened heart and dysfunctional knees. His first hospital stay was due to a knee injury. He received rehabilitation, went back home to live with his mother and then went back to work only to find that he couldn’t do his job anymore. At home, his outlook was bleak as well. Falls were common and he had gotten to a point where he could only walk about six steps from the living room to his bed. He couldn’t even walk to the shower. It wasn’t long until he was hospitalized for a heart condition. This time, however, he wasn’t accepted into a hospital rehabilitation program. And he couldn’t go home. When he went into the hospital it had taken six people to move him from the ambulance into the facility. This time, Cornelison said, the ambulance service was reluctant to take him home because transporting him and then moving him from the ambulance to his bed at his home could have been a liability. In fact, several skilled nursing facilities also denied him. It wasn’t until Cornelison met April Bateman, administrator of Hometown Nursing Center, that his fate began to change. When Bateman was called to the hospital to assess Cornelison for rehabilitation at Hometown Nursing Center, he said, “At first I was mad. Then my will took over. I said ‘I have got to fix this’”. In late March, Cornelison weighed 580 pounds on his first day at Hometown Nursing Center and he could not stand on his own. “I rolled in and I am walking out,” he said 62 pounds lighter and three months later during an interview on his last day at Hometown Nursing Center. Cornelison received restorative physical and occupational therapy at Hometown Nursing Center. Therapy, well-balanced meals equaling 2,000 calories a day, moral support from staff and fellow residents and a lot of will power took him from not being able to stand on his own to walking a step or two, to walking several feet and then eventually to walking the halls of the nursing center. “It is unbelievable how encouraging they have been,” he said of the staff and residents at Hometown Nursing Center. “I got a lot of support both mentally and physically,” he added. “Rod’s success in ambulation and ADL’s (activities of daily living) was because of the wonderful restorative aids we have at Hometown,” said Dayna Gossett, RN, director of nursing.

333 Melody Drive, Trumann, AR 72472

870-483-7623 His caregivers at Hometown Nursing Center even took him home three times during his rehabilitation stay to evaluate his progress and assess his ability to maneuver inside his home. Reminding Cornelison of his progress at Hometown Nursing Center is a notebook scribbled with feats both small and large… pounds lost, calories eaten and steps taken. He plans to keep it by his side as he works toward his long-term goals of losing down to about 375-400 pounds, getting back to where he can live on his own and starting a new career. His notebook also contains the phone numbers of staff members and residents at Hometown Nursing Center with whom he plans to keep in touch … a lifeline of sorts … the shining light at the end of the tunnel.

Hope is Here

prehistoric to


ASUMUSEUM Serving as the heart of lifelong learning for people of all ages and all walks of life, the Arkansas State University Museum focuses on the natural history and cultural heritage of Northeast Arkansas and the Mississsippi River Delta region. Located on the ASU campus in Jonesboro, the ASU Museum holds notable historic, archaeological and natural history collections and exhibits and is considered the largest and most comprehensive museum in Northeast Arkansas. Originating in 1933, the museum was a creation of the Arkansas State College History Club with the fledgling facility mounting its first exhibits in four wooden cases. Coming into national recognition in 1973 when it was accredited by the American Association of Museums (AAM), the museum expanded and retracted through the years on the ASU campus and finally moved in 1980 to the west wing of the Dean B. Ellis Library building, where it currently resides. The museum presently inhabits 21,000 square feet of exhibits, beginning with the rich fossil history of Arkansas and continuing through the advent of humankind, and offers permanent, temporary and online exhibits. Greeting visitors as they arrive is the museum’s most readily recognized artifact — the skeletal remains of a mastodon fondly christened “Mona.”

Text by Candy Hill|Photos provided courtesy unless noted

Fall 2013|


Kids enjoy the frontier exhibit, while senior visitors don frontier attire

Other notable permanent exhibits include the history of early American settlement in Arkansas, “Living off the Land,” “Old Town Arkansas,” and the hands-on exhibit “Earthquake! Are you Ready?,” which tells the story of the New Madrid Earthquake zone. The popular earthquake exhibit outlines its history and national significance and what it means for those who live near the earthquake zone. A two minute video below the exhibit presents science experiments and earthquake safety information. Other permanent exhibits include the military gallery, with a collection of military and civilian artifacts reflecting successive conflicts from the Civil War through the Vietnam war, and the Native American Gallery, which presents the story of Arkansas’ first civilization. The museum’s newest exhibit is the Crowley’s Ridge Exhibit, funded by a grant from the National Scenic Byways Program. Located in the library’s lobby, this exhibit is a photographic journey featuring views of landscapes, historic buildings and events, as well as a pictorial summary of the natural history of the Ridge. A new permanent exhibit now in development, entitled “Rockabilly,” will celebrate and give homage to our region’s role in the rise of Rock ‘n’ Roll. For more information, visit, call (870) 972-2074 or visit the museum’s Facebook page.

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A visit to the ASU Museum is an interactive experience for young and old Rockabilly will explore Rock ‘n’ Roll’s bi-racial origins, showing how Rockabilly skyrocketed into a music sensation in Arkansas towns like Newport, Bono, Paragould and Trumann. The Rockabilly exhibit will include push button interpretive audio, life-size photomurals of Rockabilly musicians from Northeast Arkansas, along with their biographies and best known works, original artifacts, footage of authentic Rockabilly dancing and hands-on learning stations for kids and families. This exhibit will occupy approximately 600 square feet in the museum and, pending funding, is slated to open in mid-2017. The museum hosts approximately 35,000 visitors each year, including visits from 85 school groups from across Northeast Arkansas, the bootheel of Missouri and the Arkansas Delta region. In addition to self-guilded tours, the museum offers guided group tours by reservation for school groups, clubs and other organizations. When touring the museum, more in-depth information about each exhibit is available through the museum guidebooks, located at the guard’s desk in the main gallery. Teachers are able to check out “traveling suitcases” from the museum for their schools. Each contains original arti-

Fall 2013|


Natural history, archaeology and history are ready for observation at ASU Musuem. Go interactive with an iPod tour of ‘Old Town’.

facts, lesson plans, books and activities supporting Arkansas curriculum frameworks. Available “suitcases” include African American artists, Arkansas frontier, dinosaurs, earthquakes, fossils, pioneer living, vintage clothing and maps, and several others. The museum also offers custom-response tours for atrisk and special needs children, and the museum’s website is being revamped in such forms as YouTube and iPod downloadables. Through the museum’s affiliation with the Arkansas Discovery Network, the museum hosts programs targeting children in pre-kindergarten through eighth grade, and in April each year, the museum hosts “Through a Child’s Eyes,” showcasing the artwork of the region’s most artistic children. Jill Kary, Curator of Education for the museum, especially enjoys working with school groups and says she is never bored with her job. “I get paid to do the things I love when working with kids’ events at the museum, such as singing, acting, drawing and reading,” Kary said. Museum director Marti Allen remarked, “It is especially rewarding for us to impact special needs kids, including autistic, deaf and blind children, as they tour the

66|Fall 2013

museum. Jill uses sign language for the deaf and we have audio in every gallery.” The museum also provides an iPod tour of “Old Town” and online tours are available in Spanish as well as English. In addition to tours, the museum offers several other child-centered activities, such as birthday parties at the museum. Families may choose from an archeology or western theme. Based on the museum’s Mother Goose collection of characters and funded by a Phi Kappa Phi literacy grant, a family reading castle play area offers a space for parents and grandparents to spend time playing and reading with little ones. Another child-centered activity at the museum is the popular “Tinkering Studio,” a workshop for playful invention and exploration, where visitors of all ages can work and play with a variety of tools and materials to create whatever their imaginations can design. Children from two to 92 are encouraged to visit this permanent exhibition. However, the studio hours vary from the normal museum hours and visitors who want to experience the Tinkering Studio are encouraged to call the museum to verify open times. Other kids’ activities at the museum include HiStory Time, where factual history is presented in a fashion that is both fun and interesting, and a patch program for Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts of all levels, which includes activities supporting the Early Arkansas and Portals of the Soul patches. The Early Arkansas patch is designed to help scouts learn about farming and homesteading during the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, and the Portals of the Soul patch helps them learn about native peoples of Northeast Arkansas. Debbie Blalock, who works with Walnut Ridge schools, often takes the school’s summer camp children



Blytheville 870.762.2262 Osceola 870.863.3330

PROFESSIONAL & INDUSTRIAL STAFFING After hours and emergencies: 1-800-521-2450

Safety Matters

- Always turn off the power to any circuit - Use the appropriate tools for the job - if you see a downed power line, stay away and call to report it

Corning: 870-857-3521 Pocahontas: 870-892-5251 Rector: 870-522-3201 | Like us on facebook


(Tickets are free to members and underwriters)

Presents the

Arkansas Jazz


The Claudia Burson trio

Gary Gazaway, trumpeter, Lisa Ahia, vocalist.

October 18, Riceland Hall

68|Fall 2013

You can become a member of KASU by pledging during our fall membership drive October 12-23 or pledge anytime at

to the museum, which is always a big hit. “We are very privileged to have access to so much, especially at no charge. All of our children loved the Tinkering Studio, especially, because they felt they had created something. Cameron, age nine, was very excited about the dinosaur exhibit and asked his mom if he could work at the museum and was ready to start the next day,” Debbie exclaimed. Janie Cruce of Jonesboro regularly takes her grandson, Luke, to the museum. “I really enjoy seeing Luke get so excited about the new experiences at the museum. At the earthquake exhibit, he experimented over and over trying to build a house that could withstand an earthquake. The museum has so many great activities and interesting exhibits, but the Tinkering Room was Luke’s favorite. With the assistance of a college student working in the room, he tinkered with aviation, electricity, science and numerous ‘cause and effect’ projects. Our trip to the museum was really fun for both of us.” Notable museum events coming up this fall include “Mystery Museum: The Case of the Missing Housewife,” from 3 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 19, an activity for pre-teens and up to sharpen their detective skills as they investigate and solve the case. On the same day, the public is invited to attend “After Dark!” from 7 to 9 p.m. at the museum, for those 18 and over, to join the museum staff and its paranormal team for an after dark investigation of ASU museum. Reflecting on the importance of the museum to Northeast Arkansas, Allen says,”ASU Museum leads the region in high quality, informal learning opportunities that thrill children, promote education as a family value and instill in us pride of place. I love being involved with preserving our heritage, leading children into learning and, in general, promoting the important role museums play in American education.” Free to the public, the ASU Museum is located in the west wing of the Dean B. Ellis library building on the Jonesboro campus. Parking is plentiful on Tuesday evenings and weekends. Atrium exhibits are open seven days a week. Main gallery hours are: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday. The museum is closed Mondays and on university holidays.

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He is a preacher, a postman and a handyman. Sam Becerra is always on the move, so when his knee required medical attention, he chose Arkansas Methodist Medical Center. “I’m still kicking, just not high,” joked Becerra. Helping patients like Sam regain his health and get back to life are just a few ways we are making the AMMC healthcare experience all about you.

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the Garden


Column by Ralph Seay

plant your own

Fall Harvest

Summer is coming to an end, Labor Day is over, and it is time to clean-up your garden and store your garden tools for the winter.


Think about it. Would you not like to have some fresh vegetables grown in your own garden for your October and November table? Possibly your Thanksgiving feast? Fall gardening is a little different than spring and summer gardening, but may be a bit more rewarding. Nearly everyone plants a garden in the spring, and there is so much squash in the summer, you can’t keep someone from putting a sack of squash in your car. With any success, you will be rewarded with a plethora of great-tasting vegetables from your fall garden. For example, last year I furnished fresh, home-grown tomatoes from my garden for our Thanksgiving dinner! This article will briefly discuss how to garden in the fall and provide some tips to help you be successful. While fall gardening is easier than spring

and summer gardening in some ways, it is more difficult in others. Water management is crucial, especially when attempting to start seeds during the last hot days of summer. The insect population has likely flourished throughout the spring and summer months, so careful vigilance is required to ensure your fall vegetables are not destroyed by hungry pests. Diseases have also had the whole growing season to become more difficult to control. Careful observation and subsequent insect and disease control will help you be successful. What can you grow in the fall? While you can plant warm-season vegetables, such as squash, zucchini, and tomatoes, if you get started early enough, you might find it easier to plant so-called cool-season vegetables. You may sow seeds of lettuce, radish, beets, mustard, spinach, turnips, kale and carrots from early August to midSeptember. However, squash, broccoli, zucchini, tomatoes, cauliflower, and/or cabbage must be planted as transplants instead

of seed. This year, there is not enough time to grow a plant from seed and still get production with these vegetables. Sowing starter seeds approximately a month before your plant date should provide ample time to grow your own transplants. This table, listing various vegetables, days to maturity, and planting period, summarizes a few of the fall vegetables you should be able to raise here in the Delta area (we are likely too late this year for carrots, cabbage, cauliflower and beets, but they will produce if you can get starter plants in the soil a couple of weeks earlier): Carrots, 65 to 75 days to maturity, Aug. 1 to Sept. 1 planting period; cabbage (plants), 65 to 70 days to maturity, Aug. 10 to Sept. 1 planting period; cauliflower (plants), 60 to 70 days to maturity, Aug. 10 to Sept. 1 planting period; broccoli, 70 to 80 days to maturity, Aug. 1 to Sept. 1 planting period; beets, 60 to 70 days to maturity, Aug. 15 to Sept. 1 planting period; collards, 70 to 75 days to maturity, Aug. 1 to Sept.

Fall 2013|


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15 planting period; turnips, 50 to 60 days to maturity, Aug. 1 to Sept. 15 planting period; mustard, 50 to 60 days to maturity, Aug. 1 to Sept. 15 planting period; spinach, 40 to 50 days to maturity, Aug. 25 to Sept. 15 planting period; kale, 60 to 65 days to maturity, Aug. 20 to Sept. 15 planting period; lettuce, 50 to 55 days to maturity, Aug. 20 to Sept. 15 planting period; radish, 25 to 30 days to maturity, Aug. 20 to Sept. 15 planting period. As with your spring and summer gardens, you should add a general complete fertilizer (e.g., 10-10-10; 12-12-12, or 13-13-13) and till it into the soil as you are planting. Consider a lower rate of application to prevent burning tender new plants or seedlings. If you do use a smaller amount of fertilizer initially, you may want to scatter additional fertilizer along the row (called sidedressing) to ensure your plants have sufficient nutrients. Once your plants appear to be “started,” monitor closely for pests, water appropriately, and mulch. Mulching will not only keep weeds from taking over your garden, it assists in keeping your soil moisture from evaporating. Mulch will also help moderate the soil temperature to keep it more uniformly cool/warm and conducive to plant growth. If weeds still come through, pull them or use a hoe to remove them being careful not to damage plant roots. If you have any questions about gardening or suggestions for potential Delta Crossroads gardening articles, please send them to me via email at deltacrossroadsgardener@, or you can send them to me via regular mail to: 513 Magnolia Road, Jonesboro, AR 72401. Wishing you success in your fall garden! Happy gardening!

Pass the Biscuits.

It’s King Biscuit Time!

28th Annual King Biscuit Blues Festival offers the best of blues

photo courtesy of David Bear, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

“Sunshine” Sonny Payne broadcasts “King Biscuit Time” from Delta Cultural Center in Helena. He has been host of the radio show since 1952. Some say Helena, Arkansas, is one of the best places in the world to hear real blues music. Apparently many agree. Thousands of blues fans come from all over the world on Columbus Day weekend each year to hear exhilarating and inspiring blues performances during the city’s annual King Biscuit Blues Festival, one of the nation’s most renowned and longest running music events. Held on the banks of the Mississippi River in the city’s historic downtown area, the King Biscuit Festival has hosted many of the nation’s greatest musicians since it began 27 years ago. The year’s event, set for Oct. 10, 11 and 12, will feature such music greats as Gregg Allman, Marcia Ball and the Robert Cray Band, along with a long list of other amazing artists over the three-day period. Launched in 1986 under the guidance of Main Street Helena, a part of the Main Street USA program, the aim of the event was to help revitalize Helena’s downtown area.

At that time, Helena’s rich musical heritage was largely unknown even to hardcore blues fans and the festival, initially only one day, was an effort by local blues lovers to establish the city’s rightful place in the Delta’s musical history. The festival’s name stems from King Biscuit Time, a live blues radio program started in 1941 under the sponsorship of King Biscuit Flour Company. Hosted since 1952 by “Sunshine” Sonny Payne, King Biscuit Time still airs at 12:15 p.m. weekdays on Helena’s KFFA radio station and is now the longest-running radio program in the nation. Over the years, the program has featured thousands of live performances and interviews with many legendary blues names. The show is also now available online. Jim O’Neal, one time editor of Living Blues Magazine and an authority on blues history, has been quoted as saying the King Biscuit Hour “really crystallized blues music in Delta area.”

Text by Candy Hill|Photos courtesy of King Biscuit Blues Festival and David Bear

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“Muddy Waters and B.B. King would come home from working in the fields every day just to listen to the King Biscuit Hour,” he said. The festival grew quickly after that first year, when a crowd of about 500 listened to music played from the back of a flatbed truck. More than 100,000 people crowded the Helena streets for the festival by the late 1990’s. Longtime festival executive director Munnie Jordan said the event draws blues enthusiasts from countries all over the world, including Germany, Croatia, Italy, France, the Netherlands and Belgium, just to name a few. King Biscuit is a real musical treat for blues lovers, and that flatbed truck has become the main stage, a permanent pavilion on historic Cherry Street facing the Mississippi levee’s grassy slope. As far as the eye can see, festival goers lounge in their lawn chairs, enjoying performances and socializing between sets. Visitors can hear all types of blues music and even alternative music on the five stages at the festival, including the Main Blues Stage, Lockwood Stackhouse Acoustic Stage, Rising Biscuit Stage, Bit’O’Blues Stage and Gospel Stage. Other temporary stages on Helena streets host free performances, and with the addition of several other small clubs, Cherry Street becomes nearly solid music from end to end. The event often attracts blues musicians performing on street corners among the festival vendors, where they plug their amps into stores’ outlets, playing as small crowds converge and toss coins into their hats. Up and down the street, festival visitors can sometimes catch glimpses of well-known blues artists, and perhaps a mime troupe or a politician or two. There also is a Saturday Blues symposium, where a panel of musicians discuss the origins of the genre, speaking candidly to the audience about their life and craft. Hours later, they perform. The festival website outlines the weekend schedule, beginning this year with renowned slide guitarist Sonny Landreth on Thursday, Oct. 10. Landreth has released more than 10 solo albums and played and toured with Jimmy Buffet and Eric Clapton, among many others. A King Biscuit veteran, Marcia Ball, is Thursday night’s headliner. The Boston Globe described Ball’s music as “an irresistible celebratory blend of rollicking, two-fisted New Orleans piano, Louisiana swamp-rock and smoldering Texas blues from a contemporary storyteller.” Friday brings a Biscuit favorite, the Paul Thorn Band, which has performed three times previously at the festival and is the lead-in for the Robert Cray Band, Friday night’s headliner.

The full musical lineup and more festival information can be found on the event’s website at or by calling (870) 572-5223. The festival also has a Facebook page and a smartphone app. Cray has played alongside Eric Clapton and John Lee Hooker and was the uncredited bassist with Otis Day and the Knights in the cult classic, Animal House. Cray is a member of the Blues Hall of Fame. Returning to the festival Saturday, Oct. 12, is James Cotton, a true blues legend who has played with all of the greats, from Muddy Waters and Sonny Boy Williamson to Janis Joplin. The rock legend Gregg Allman is Saturday’s headliner. A founding member of the Allman Brothers Band, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995 and has landed on Rolling Stone’s “100 Greatest Singers of all Time” list. In addition to the myriad of music throughout the weekend, festival visitors strolling down Cherry street will find vendors selling their blues-related crafts and foods. This year’s vendors include all manner of arts and crafts dealers, including painters, wood workers, jewelers, guitar makers and those offering customized guitar picks. Other festival events include a 10K run, a children’s walk/run, the People’s Choice BBQ Contest and a fireworks display the end the day at 8:30 p.m. Saturday. Throughout the area, more than 400 festival volunteers make available to visitors free programs and maps of the stages and vendors. In addition to storms and the occasional equipment failure, each year usually brings a surprise or two, Jordan said. She recalls an astonishing event during the 1991 festival when someone thought they recognized a person sitting on the levee bank in front of the main stage. A brave soul walked over and inquired, “You look just like John Kennedy Jr. Could you be him?” The answer: “Yes.” During the 1996 festival, blues guitarist Luther Allison continued playing as he left the main stage while photographers snapped photos, and the crowd went wild as he strolled up and down the levee wirelessly amplifying his guitar licks. In 1998, then-Governor Mike Huckabee, a Baptist minister, married a couple on the main stage. The two had met at the previous year’s festival. Reflecting on the meaning of the celebration for her community, Jordan said, “I love King Biscuit Blues Festival for the pride it brings to our community, as well as the economic boost it gives our town. I thoroughly enjoy entertaining tourists from around the world who make their annual pilgrimage to experience this genre of music, which is our culture and heritage.”

B.B. King

Kenny Neal photo courtesy of David Bear, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Marica Ball

Gregg Allman

Blind Mississippi Morris

It is the mission of the Riverside Public Schools to educate all students in a safe environment that is accessible to each student. We will strive to provide a relevant and challenging curriculum that will promote higher level thinking skills, develop working skills in technology, and develop the skills to be a responsible citizen in an ever-changing world.

Home of the REBELS Superintendent Office 601 Catfish Drive • Lake City, AR 72437 • Ph: (870) 237-4329

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Rock ‘n’ the cradle

Highway 67 Museum Rock ‘n’ Roll legend Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones once sang, “It’s only rock and roll, but I like it, like it, yes I do.” Boy, do we ever like it. Since Elvis Presley first swiveled his hips in the 1950s, Americans have gone crazy over rock music, spending millions of dollars on records, concerts, tshirts, or anything remotely related to their musical idols. The roots of rock and roll can be traced to the cotton fields of the Delta, the churches of the South or the smoky bars where the Blues were born. Most people tab Memphis, Tenn., as the birthplace of rock and roll, where Sam Phillips’ Sun Records spawned future Hall of Famers Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins and Roy Orbison. But just over an hour from Memphis, cradled in the heart of Northeast Arkansas, lies the small town of Newport, in Jackson County, which also boasts a rich musical history dating back to the early 1950s. Jackson County was home to dozens of small night clubs and honky-tonks during that era which attracted many of the Memphis musicians out to make a name for themselves. Places like the Silver Moon, Porky’s

Text by Trent Fletcher|Photos provided courtesy or public domain

Henry Boyce (center) with Sonny Burgess and Billy Lee Riley Rooftop and Bob King’s B & I Club served as training grounds for the early rockers. The nightclubs also gave birth to local legends like Sonny Burgess, Billy Lee Riley and Joe Lewis. During this golden age of rock and roll, the list of performers at these legendary clubs reads like a Who’s Who of the music industry. Part of this history has been captured through the eyes of Newport native Henry Boyce, who founded the Highway 67 Rock ‘n’ Roll Museum in his hometown. Prosecuting attorney for Arkansas’ third judicial district, Boyce got the idea for the museum, in part, after hearing musician Sonny Burgess say: “If something isn’t done to preserve the history of the music here, in the next 10 years it will simply vanish.”

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“I just took it upon myself to start this particular museum after collaborating with the Newport Economic Development Commission,” Boyce said. “They loaned me the use of the second floor of this old bank building that we share with the Chamber of Commerce.” Boyce’s vision quickly grew into reality as rock memorabilia started to flow in from all over the area. “I started receiving people’s personal collections,” Boyce said. “I decided to build the theme around our two living legends at the time, Sonny Burgess and Billy Lee Riley. We had also started the Depot Days Festival a few years earlier, and Sonny Burgess and the Pacers at a UA fraternity party, 1956 this gave me the incentive to have a museum to honor these greats.” Located in old downtown Newport at 201 Hazel Street, the Highway 67 Rock ‘n’ Roll Museum features old vinyl records, signed guitars, and photos of rock and roll greats in their early years, as well as tales of their appearances at the various nightspots in Jackson County. Boyce, a virtual encyclopedia of information concerning the musical history in and around Jackson County, is very proud of the historical significance his region gave to the development of rock and roll. “We’ve had so many great stars play in our area,” he said. “Elvis, Johnny Cash, Fats Domino, Jerry Lee Lewis — all of the great Sun Record stars played numerous times in our clubs. Conway Twitty became a close personal friend of Bob King and played the B & I, owned by King, many times. Elvis played all the big three clubs, including the Silver Moon on four occasions. One night Elvis and Sonny were playing together at the B & I Club, and after it closed down, they were having such Conway Twitty a good time that they moved over to the Swifton High School gym and continued playing throughout the night.” Jackson County is the start of a stretch of Highway 67 that credited with co-writing Twitty’s first number one hit, “It’s weaves a musical history of its own through Lawrence, Ran- Only Make Believe,” which made Twitty a superstar. Newport is also home to legendary disc jockey Steve Stedolph and Clay counties. “J.R. Rogers of Walnut Ridge was the driving force behind vens, who was known as the Voice of the White River Valgetting Highway 67 dedicated by the Arkansas legislature on ley. Stevens would go on to host a dance show in Little Rock, March 20, 2009,” Boyce said. “We had representatives from all which preceded Dick Clark’s American Bandstand. “We have had a lot of great artists come from this area, and of our counties, along with Sonny Burgess and Billy Lee Riley, attend the official ceremony when the governor signed the law the museum keeps their memory and music alive,” said Boyce. “The nightclubs and honky-tonks in this area were a breeding into effect. It was a proud moment for our entire area.” Besides locals Burgess and Riley, two other Jackson County ground for these artists. Jackson County was unique in that it natives, Joe Lewis and Jack Nance, also etched their marks in was wet and was surrounded by three dry counties, so you had the music industry. The pair started as part of Burgess’ band, liquor, dancing and live music. “This made it that much more attractive for entertainment. The Pacers. The duo would later go on to join Conway Twitty as members of his backup band, The Twitty Birds. Nance is Gambling was tolerated by the authorities in those days. People

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“We have had a lot of great artists come from this area, and the museum keeps their memory and music alive.” - Henry Boyce, museum founder traveled from miles around to come here. The Silver Moon was the largest of the nightclubs, with a capacity of 800. It was actually the largest nightclub in Arkansas at that time. “The money the club owners made afforded them the ability to pay the musicians more than they made at the Memphis clubs. It made it more lucrative for them to come over here and play. “Arkansas native and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, the late Levon Helm, of The Band, talked about the Silver Moon in his autobiography, writing that it was his desire to perform there one day,” Boyce continued. “Elvis played the Newport Armory, Swifton Gym, Bob King’s, Porky’s Rooftop and the Silver Moon. Anywhere Elvis darkened the doors in 1955 is considered hallowed ground. Presley’s first appearance was at Porky’s and his last was at the Swifton gym. Unfortunately, most of the old clubs are gone now, although a few are still standing.” Boyce said prior to the 1950’s, big bands traveled through the area and performed at the local clubs, including the Dorsey Brothers and Louis Armstrong. “Legend has it that these bands would travel from St. Louis to Dallas and the only motel along the way that would allow blacks was the one in Tuckerman. So when Armstrong’s band spent the night, they decided to play at one of the local clubs,” Boyce said. He recalls the night the light bulb went off in his head regarding early rock and roll. “I grew up in the Jackson 5 era, and then became a big Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath fan,” Boyce said. “But one night in Memphis I happened to see Albert King, a famous Blues guitarist, and it changed my outlook on music forever. I became very interested in the history of rock and roll and where and how it originated.” Boyce said Robert Plant and Jimmy Page, of Led Zeppelin, both were influenced by Sonny Burgess. The two rock gods recorded a Burgess-penned song, “My Bucket’s Got a Hole.” Bruce Springsteen also was influenced by Burgess.

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Johnny Cash in the early days

The museum features photographs of Burgess with Plant backstage in Memphis, as well as Springsteen at an event in New York City,” Boyce said. “After reading documentaries about my musical heroes, such as The Beatles, Zeppelin and Eric Clapton, I realized how much the earlier artists like Elvis, Johnnny Cash and Burgess, among others, had influenced them. It ignited my interest in learning more about these amazing musicians and led me to want to promote their legacies.” This year’s Depot Days Festival also will feature Boyce’s museum. In existence since 2010, the museum has never been officially opened, so Boyce wanted to make it a part of the festival, to be held Saturday, Sept. 28. The museum will be open to the public that day from noon until 4 p.m. for tours. “We have had many legends headline the festival over the years, including Narvel Felts and Carl Perkins’ son, Stan Perkins. This year’s headliners include Sonny Burgess and legendary saxophonist Ace Cannon,” Boyce said. Regular museum hours are from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday. The museum is a self-guided tour. “Rock and roll has always been big here and it will always continue to be,” Boyce said. “The support of the area people for the museum has been fantastic.” Remember, it’s only rock and roll, but we like it, like it, yes we do.

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Store: 870.972.8480 Fax: 870.972.5836

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Regular Hours: Tuesday to Saturday, 10 – 5:30

321 W. Main Street Blytheville, AR 72315 870-763-2924

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Column by Dr. Norette Underwood, Trumann Animal Clinic

PET TALK: Brown Recluse facts to ponder

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One bite from a brown recluse spider will probably mean several weeks of pampering for your pet while she heals. Although the wound may appear nasty, your pet will usually recover fully, though you may want to take a trip to the veterinarian to be sure. A brown recluse spider is a halfinch to two inches long. They are usually identified by a distinctive fiddle-shaped mark on their back. Although primarily residing in the midwestern United States, the brown recluse spider (Loxosceles reclusa) often travels with people as they move, hiding in boxes or other dark, secluded areas. While not aggressive, these spiders will bite if they feel threatened. The bite itself does not cause much pain, and your pet may not even know she was bitten. After a while, a reddened area develops, with fever and nausea. The underlying tissue may die, and bleeding may occur. With or without treatment, the wound may take weeks to heal. Sometimes the pet may have an autoimmune reaction to the venom and serious systemic signs may appear. The best way to prevent a bite is to limit your pet’s access to places where spiders may reside. This means checking dark areas, like dark basement corners or rarely used closets, for evidence that spiders are also

residing in your home. The diagnosis is based on the appearance of the skin wound and whether the brown recluse spider is present. Although the wound may heal on its own, it’s better to be safe and have your pet checked out by a veterinarian. This may prevent further tissue damage and infection.

Home and Veterinary Care At home, clean the wound with hydrogen peroxide, chlorhexidine or povidone iodine. Do not use a tourniquet; because the venom stays in the area of bite, a tourniquet is not necessary. The tourniquet may cause circulation damage. If you see your pet acting lethargic, begin vomiting or the wound becomes larger, it is strongly recommended that you bring your pet to the veterinarian. Treatment may be necessary to reduce these symptoms. Your veterinarian will treat the bite wound and may give your pet antibiotics to prevent infection. Surgery may be necessary to remove the skin around the affected area, if other treatments do not heal the wound. Generally, pets recover fully from these spider bites after several weeks. If you have questions regarding spider bites, please contact Dr. Norette L. Underwood at catdoc56@

Dr. Norette L. Underwood is a veterinarian at the Trumann Animal Clinic. Contact her at or (870) 483-6275.

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Brock Wooldridge

287 S. Country Club Road | Osceola, AR 72370 | 870-563-3201

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210 South Main St. | Leachville, AR 72438

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Office 870-539-6732 Cell 870-243-7191 Fax 870-539-6420


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Rodney Robertson Manager

Travelin’ Arkansas

Heading to the Arkansas Ozarks? Don’t miss Emma’s Museum of Junk

courtesy photo

If you find yourself heading west to the Arkansas Ozarks during the “leaf peeping” season, be sure and stop in to undergo a most delightful shopping experience located in Jasper (Newton county), the heart of the Ozarks and elk country. Emma’s Museum of Junk, owned by Emma Hickey, has been a must-see stop for Ozark visitors for over 26 years. From a humble beginning with two boxes of donated books, Emma’s has grown into a sophisticated antique shop with unique “junk” and beautiful old treasures that will intrigue and satisfy your curiosity of things past. Shepherding her business into a fun experience with a warm and friendly atmosphere, Emma collects the most interesting “stuff,” ranging from local handmade crafts to all things vintage. She invites her customers to come in, drink a cup of free

Text and Photos by Candy Hill

coffee, hear her delightful stories and share their own. Emma’s currently is in its fifth location on the square in Jasper, but you’ll have a hard time getting through town without noticing the store, located in a distinctive stone building -- one of Gould Jones’ stone creations evident in nine Jasper buildings built in the 1930’s. The front of the store is distinctly “Gould’s” and remains as it was since built. With a constantly evolving inventory, Emma sells everything from soaps, lotions, cedar stools and books by local authors to every type of vintage creation one can imagine. “The things I sell mostly come from local folks, though not always,” she said. “I get a lot of stuff from people moving, parents passing away and people downsizing. One time I drove to Lawrence, Kans.,, to buy beautiful things from an 80-year-old woman I had just met.”

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courtesy photo

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Originally from Rhode Island, Emma moved to Arkansas in the late 1970’s with her husband and baby daughter because she decided early on she wanted to raise her children in the country, grow her own food and live the simple life. “We moved into a teepee, then an army tent, then a small building with plastic for walls, before beginning to build a REAL house,” she laughed. “And, actually, those were the best times of my younger life. “After getting divorced, I decided I needed a business here in Jasper and started a junk consignment shop, as, naturally, I had no ‘start-up’ money. Luckily, a friend of mine let me use his old empty building for quite awhile. Another friend donated a box of books, one of which I eventually sold, and I was finally in business! “Not long after, I moved across the square to another location, and slowly but surely, more and more people started bringing things in to consign. As things picked up, I finally made it to my current location, which is located right on Highway 7 -- my fifth location on this sweet little square. I say this is my final resting place, as I have gotten older and can’t move all this stuff again! “I love running this business, as I have always been people-oriented and a junk and antique lover. And I guess I’ve always had an inner sense of what people want and like. Because I have always been happily broke, I decided I would sell things based on what I paid for them instead of what other people decided they were worth. So I am able to cater to all types of people, which includes other dealers,” Emma said. Customers come from all over to visit Emma’s, and many travel not only from other areas of Arkansas, but also from Texas, Oklahoma and other states, as well as from other countries, including Germany and Russia. “A cute older couple from Australia visited the shop and purchased quite a few metal oil cans, as they sold things at a ‘swap meet’ back home and they were excited because they said it was nearly impossible to find metal oil cans in Australia,” Emma beamed. “Emma’s is an adventure from the minute you drive up to it,” said Kathryn Testa of Santa Rosa Beach, Fla. “There’s a great assortment of buckets, ladders, birdcages, flowers, wagons...I could go on...on the front porch and in the alleyway, and the wonder continues as you stroll through the store. “Emma has a gift for arranging her eclectic merchandise in such an intriguing way that I’m sure during your hunt through her store, you’ll find all sorts of delightful things like fine glassware, deer antlers, old linens, vintage jewelry, a cast iron tub or two and much, much more,” Testa added.

Aerial Application courtesy photo

“It’s worth your while to wind your way on scenic Highway 7 and plan to spend some fun time in a most unique store,” she said. “And, by the way, you’ll make a worthwhile new friend in Emma, who is honest, generous, witty and fair-minded!” Robin Smith of Jasper has been visiting Emma’s for a number of years and says,”I never leave Emma’s emptyhanded, plus, Emma, herself, is a real jewel and makes you feel so welcome. Who knew when we first walked into her shop over six years ago we would be making a lifelong friend. Besides, where else could we find a whale vertebrae, an antique rocker, assorted old tools, movies for my parents, an old suitcase I use as my bedside table, an elk antler and too many other things to name!” Reflecting on the best and worst aspects of owning her business, Emma commented, “I absolutely love what I do and always have. I truly love working with the public and have met and made many lifelong friends who began as customers of mine. “As far as what I dislike about running my business, it’s funny, because once in awhile I don’t feel like leaving my home, as I live happily in the woods. But once I arrive at my store, I am as happy as can be,” she proclaimed. When she’s not at the store, Emma loves to garden and enjoys her family, which includes three children and six grandchildren. Her daughter, Asia, is a stay-at-home mom, son Odin Blue attends culinary school in Portland, Ore., and another son, Tucker, owns and runs the Floating Buffalo in Jasper, which specializes in camping, hiking, rock climbing and kayak equipment. To find out more about Emma’s Museum of Junk, go to the store’s Facebook page, where you will find the business phone number, location and hours.

Zach White 870.324.1969

Mindy White 501.351.0913

P.O. Box 176, Piggott, AR.

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The greatest maritime disaster in United States history A model of the Sultana

90|Fall 2013

Remembering The


James Cass Mason was captain and part owner of the Sultana. His body was never found.

President Lincoln is dead, John Wilkes Booth was shot the day before. The Sultana was forgotten. The explosion of the Mississippi River steamboat Sultana, sometimes referred to as the last great tragedy of the Civil War, is a notable part of Delta history still largely unknown by the public. Yet it is the greatest maritime disaster in United States history. An estimated 1,800 lives were lost on the Sultana — more than on the Titanic or in other maritime disasters — when its boilers blew up at 2 a.m. April 27, 1865, near Marion. So why did the Sultana disaster not get more publicity? People were extremely weary with the war, which had just ended, President Abraham Lincoln had been assassinated just 12 days before, and Lincoln’s killer, John Wilkes Booth, was found and killed the day before. These things dominated the news and, while unbelievably tragic, the Sultana’s demise and the resulting deaths were relegated to the back pages and soon largely forgotten.

But thanks to work of a handful of historians and the Marion Chamber of Commerce, the story of the Sultana is now gathering interest and increased exposure. Two temporary exhibits on the Sultana tragedy have been held, the first last year and a larger one this year, held June 10-July 26 at the Bella Vista Commons in Marion. Both drew a lot of interest, with an estimated 1,200 people visiting this year’s exhibit from 30 states and Canada. But through the continued efforts of those involved, a permanent exhibit is about to open in Marion — and, hopefully, the Sultana will finally have its rightful place in history. Local historian and writer Norman Vickers, who volunteered at the Sultana exhibitions, said a lot of people worked together to bring the project to fruition. His book “Sultana’s Road to the Final Voyage” demonstrates his great interest in the

Text and Photos by Revis Blaylock|Photos access courtesy of Louis Intres

Original copy of Loss of the Sultana by Chester D. Berry, owned by survivor Cpl. William H. Norton Co. C, 115th Ohio Infantry

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Mississippi County Hospital System

MISSION: To provide quality health care with attention to clinical excellence, patient safety and commitment to assure the very best care for those communities we serve.

VISION: To be the provider of choice for Mississippi County and surrounding areas and to be known for meeting the healthcare needs of the entire community. VALUES: Patient-Centered Care, Co-workers, Communication, Quality, Safety, Teamwork, Respect, Compassion.

Access WWW.MCHSYS.ORG to find a physician, program or service to meet your needs. Mississippi County Hospital System is recognized as an accredited Joint Commission facility. MCHS achieved Level IV Trauma Designation at Great River Medical Center and SMC Regional Medical Center Emergency Rooms. Our hospitals have so many exciting achievements in programs, patient care, equipment and new physicians.

MCHS is known as "The Provider of Choice."

It is with great honor that MCHS incorporates their mission and vision statements:

to help the local communities toward a healthier sense of self.

Mississippi County Hospital System is very fortunate to have facilities tied together as a system. Each facility operates as a major healthcare provider throughout the county. Our patients do not have to drive far to receive quality health care provided by neighbors, friends and family trained in specialty areas. - Ralph Beaty, CEO of MCHS


End of North 4th St, Piggott, AR

(870) 563-7000

611 West Lee Ave., Osceola, AR 72370

Great River Medical Center

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Norman Vickers, local historian and writer, welcomed visitors to the summer Sultana exhibit in Marion story, and he says he found great pleasure in sharing the exhibits with visitors. He is very much looking forward to having the permanent museum to tell the Sultana story. One can only imagine the horror of the explosion which tore the steamboat apart. The Sultana was built with a capacity of only 376, but, sadly, every possible space on the boat had been packed with people and its decks were overflowing when the tragedy occurred. A majority of the 2,400 passengers on board were Union soldiers who had been released from Confederate prison camps. The tragedy seems even worse for the men who had survived the war and brutal conditions of the prison camps only to die in such a tragic way. Many had been held in camps such as Cahaba and Andersonville and finally had the hope of going home to their families. When the boilers exploded, hundreds were killed instantly. Rescue ships from Memphis pulled more than 500 live passengers from the water. They were taken to a Memphis hospital, but over 200 died later. According to historians, the Sultana burned to the waterline and sank near Marion, where the boat’s hull still remains.

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Many of the items in the temporary exhibits were on loan from Louis Intres, Arkansas State University history instructor and Sultana scholar, who will allow them to be a part of the permanent exhibit. Items displayed included actual bits of metal and bricks salvaged from the boat, letters, personal belongings from survivors, photographs, maps, and much more, including a Union flag presented to Sgt. William Fies of Company B, 6th Ohio Volunteer Infantry when 19 survivors met in Toledo, Ohio, in 1915. Following the tragedy, a group called Survivors of the Sultana was formed, and it was those survivors who helped pass down information on the tragedy. Today the organization Descendants of the Sultana Survivors continues to keep the story alive. Vickers said that group is planning a 2015 meeting in Marion to mark the 150th anniversary of the tragedy. Some of those who attended the two temporary exhibits had ancestors who were on the Sultana, Vickers noted. Many had family stories about the Sultana passed down from generation to generation. Marion mayor Frank Fogleman said the building at 104 Washington Street which will house the permanent exhibit is now being painted. The museum hopefully will open at the end of September, he said.


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Fogleman expressed his appreciation to everyone who has taken a part in making the museum a reality. Since his great-great-grandfather was one of the area residents who helped rescue survivors of the Sultana tragedy, he has a great personal interest in the telling of its story. While the current building is adequate for the permanent exhibit, organizers hope an historical bank building about 200 yards away possibly will be made available for the museum. “It was built in the early 1900s and needs a lot of renovation, which will be expensive,” Fogleman said. “Depending on the renovation and the costs, it could eventually become the permanent home for the Sultana museum.” Fogleman expressed his appreciation to Intres and others who are working on the permanent museum. “One of Intres’ goals is to help accord the Sultana its proper place in U.S. history,” Fogleman said. How wonderful that is finally happening.

96|Fall 2013


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LIVING the Dream J. Howell Pecan Co. of Clay County

Jamie Howell grew up in the small north Mississippi town of Water Valley. After earning a degree from the University of Mississippi at Oxford in 1983, he got married and, in 1987, went to work as a stockbroker with E.F. Hutton (which soon merged with Shearson Lehman). For eight years he sat behind a desk studying numbers on the stock exchange and buying and selling stocks and securities for clients. But then one day he decided to trade in his suit and tie for a pair of jeans — permanently. For a while he built log cabins in North Mississippi. But then he and wife, Kecia, (whom he met at Ole Miss) decided to take their departure from the “rat race” a little further. They sold everything and moved deep into the Alaskan wilderness.

Home on a summer afternoon to take part in the work of the farm were, from left: Front — Brock, Eleasah and Jamie (holding Maggie Mae). Back — Mahala, Gabriel and Nathaniel. Not pictured are Jamie’s wife, Kecia, and daughters Victoria and Cora.

“I spent 12 years in Alaska hunting, trapping and guiding,” Jamie said. As the years went by, the Howell family grew. While Jamie worked, Kecia home-schooled their seven children, Victoria, Brock, Nathaniel, Cora, Mahala, Eleasah and Gabriel. It was a very different kind of life for a family — thrilling, but at times very challenging. Bears were a constant threat, both while Jamie worked and at home. “In the wilderness, you always keep a loaded gun nearby,” Jamie said. “One day one of the boys was outside and called to me, ‘Daddy, there’s a bear in the yard.’ By the time I got outside with my gun, the bear was wandering away, but our dog starting barking and ran toward the bear, which stopped, turned, flattened his ears and came

Text by Nancy Kemp|Photos by Nancy Kemp and courtesy of the Howells

Fall 2013|


at us full charge. By that time the dog had hidden behind my legs. I had only one shot. Luckily it was a good one.” Since there aren’t many social opportunities for kids in the wilderness, the Howells eventually headed back south looking for a new adventure closer to home. “We settled on pecans, and pecans brought us to Northeast Arkansas,” Jamie said. With Kecia hailing from Northwest Arkansas and parts of Missouri, the location was perfect. “We moved to Clay County in the spring of 2010 after we saw the potential for leasing pecan orchards in the area and then stumbled into the purchase of our current location (near Greenway), which has 20 acres of pecans. The Howells’ initial plan was to do custom harvesting of pecans, but with the opportunity to pick up three more leases with an additional 55 acres of pecans, the business has grown quickly.

Orchards provide an excellent location for bee hives. - Jamie Howard They expanded the sales of their orchard with the purchase of a building in Paragould, where they also buy pecans. “My background is in business — through schooling, practical application and experience,” Jamie said. “Our pecan experience has been through the simple method of rolling up our sleeves and just doing it — and trial. It’s the break it, fix it, error method.” The Howells grow several varieties of pecans. “Pawnee is our early premium pecan which usually starts the harvest in October,” Jamie said. Other varieties include Jack Ballard, Osage, Stuarts, Mohawks (paper shell) and Mahan (paper shell). “Good cotton land is good pecan land, which is a reason there are few commercial orchards,” Jamie said. “But Northeast Arkansas provides ideal land for pecans. “It takes a long time to bring a pecan tree into production, so we only renovate and reinvigorate mature orchards,”

(top left) The Howell cabin in Alaska (bottom left) Howell and a bear hunting client from Mississippi 102|Fall 2013

he continued. “The only seedlings were already planted to replace lost trees.” Howell noted that light is very important in growing good pecans. “Some people who have small orchards or a copse of trees seem shocked when I tell them if you want more pecans, you need to cut down some trees — but that’s the way it works.” Enemies of a pecan orchard are pecan scab and pests such as the pecan weevil, stink bug and phylloxera. “The pests can be treated by spraying,” Jamie said. “Pecan scab also can be taken care of by spraying, but a better way is pruning trees as high up as you can with a pole saw and thinning your trees to get a good air flow through and under the trees. We prune as high up as we can and make sure there are no obstructions for the mechanical harvester or shaker.” The Howells spray nutrients on their orchards one to three times a year as they see the need and run soil samples

Cleaning pecans

Fall 2013|


J. Howell Pecan Co., 3166 CR 533, Greenway, AR 72430, phone (870) 529-3777

as needed. There is irrigation on the 20acre orchard, but this year may be the first it is not necessary since rainfall has been plentiful. “When we came to Clay County, the harvesting was primarily by hired pickers,” Jamie said. “We use a mechanical shaker, a mechanical harvester and a mechanical field cleaner and also have two mechanical crackers and a shopbuilt dryer. “The whole family is involved, from shaking, harvesting, cleaning, bagging, drying, cracking, selling to the public and making a few salt-roasted and chocolate-covered pecans.” The Howells sell about 15,000 pounds of pecans locally or to small resellers. The remainder of their harvest goes to commercial accumulators in Mississippi in 3,000 to 5,000-pound shipments. “The locally sold pecans are usually cracked and sold in paper sacks,” Jamie said. “Shipped pecans go in 50-pound sacks, but as we grow we will move to shipments in super sacks holding around 1,000 to 1,500 pounds in a bag.”





The Howell family also has a pilot program in honey production. “We will stay in the pilot stage until we feel solid in our pecan business,” Jamie said. “We hope to ramp up the honey side starting next year, but this will require a sizable investment and all kinds of equipment for commercial production. The orchards do provide an excellent location for hives.” Jamie and Kecia also have several other small jobs to bring income for the family, and she continues to home school the youngest children. Victoria now works on a military base in Arizona, Brock is a senior at Ole Miss, and Nathaniel has been attending Northeast Mississippi Community College but will take that school’s online classes this fall. However, when any of the Howells’ offspring are at home, they pitch in with chores and do their part with the farm work. It’s the way they were raised. Far from the pressures of Wall Street, the Howell family lives a simple life among the trees on their beautiful Arkansas farm. Their smiles tell the story of their obvious contentment.

1) Harvesting pecans; 2) Cleaning and bagging; 3) Gleaning after the harvest|Fall 2013

Marked Tree High School


joining the call

Marked Tree JROTC cadet Dee Griffin takes part in JROTC physical fitness exercise, which includes a one mile run/walk near the school each Tuesday

High school students around the nation in the military’s Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC) programs are held to a higher standard than other students. At Marked Tree High School, in Poinsett County, that includes at least a third of the student population in grades nine through 12. “When the military looks at putting a JROTC program in a school district, they usually look at schools with at least 1,000 students in grades nine to 12 and hope to get 10 percent of those students to participate,” said Col. Clarence Overbay, who, along with Sgt. First Class Donald Perry, is instructor of the MTHS program. “Marked Tree High School usually has a population between 175 to 190 students, but the JROTC program typically has 60 to 70 students participating.

Marked Tree JROTC cadet Charlie Peevy rappels down a wall at Arkansas’ Camp Robinson for cadets, attended by some members of district’s program Text by Corey Clairday|Photos provided courtesy

Fall 2013|


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As the smallest school district in the state — and possibly the nation — with a JROTC program, that statistic is quite remarkable. The result is students who are better citizens in almost every way. “Our objectives are to develop leadership potential, improve physical fitness, promote high school competition and provide incentive to live drug free,” Overbay said. There is a strict code of discipline. If a JROTC cadet gets in any kind of trouble anywhere, he, or she, is prohibited from participating in program events. “One of the things that makes working with students worthwhile for me is seeing them overcome obstacles in their lives,” Overbay said. He recalled one student who was the first person in his family to graduate from high school and stay out of jail. Overbay said in 13 years at MTHS, he has sent only one student to the office. Lessons in civics are an important part of JROTC, and Overbay said he makes sure students know how to vote, make a decision, and how various levels of government work. Studying in a regular classroom setting each Monday, they receive instruction on various topics including current events, geography, history and politics. “We occasionally substitute the textbook with a newspaper so students get a feel for the real world,” Overbaby said. “JROTC is not just about marching,” he said. The cadets also study first aid and financial planning. “Many students may have some idea where they want to be a year from graduation but have no idea how much it will cost,” Overbay said. JROTC team competitions include academics, color guard, drill team, marksmanship and orienteering. The MTHS academic team has gone to national competition in Virginia four times. “Among the biggest benefits of JROTC are scholarship opportunities and discipline,” Overbay said.

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Col. Clarence Overbay, senior Army instructor for Marked Tree’s JROTC program, stands proudly by a sign at the school which identifies students who hold high positions within the program Marked Tree JROTC students participate each Tuesday in physical fitness training, which includes stretching, pushups, situps, and a one mile walk/run around a block near the school. The grade for each student is based on participation. Improvement is expected as the year progresses. Student tasks Wednesday through Friday of each week include marching, color guard, reviewing instruction or preparing for upcoming competitions. “The majority of students in JROTC never go into the military,” Col. Overbay said. He added that JROTC does not push students into the military or show favoritism to one branch over another when a student does show interest in joining. The U.S. Army provides uniforms for each cadet at a cost of about $800 per uniform. There is no cost to students in the program. Cadet uniforms are like those of the regular Army, the only difference being the color of the collared shirt — Army wears white while cadets wear grey. Everything on the uniform represents an accomplishment of the cadet. Awards they can earn include recognition with ribbons, medals and plaques. Scholarships also are available to those who work hard to achieve in the program. Nationally, cadets begin the program ranked as Privates but can advance as high as Colonel. Overbay noted

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Marked Tree students can advance only as high as Lt. Col. because of the size of the program. “In order for a Colonel to be appointed, the program has to have at least 150 cadets,” he said. The Marked Tree JROTC program was started after Col. Billy Thompson, a Marked Tree native, became a JROTC instructor in Trumann in 1983. Thompson wanted to get a program started in his hometown, so together with Mary Ann Arnold and the Portis family, he got the support of state leaders. The Marked Tree JROTC program was established in 1995. Arnold and the Portis family put up the initial money to get the program going, and Arnold has continued to sponsor trips for students, such as a trip to Washington, D.C., made this summer by four JROTC students. “There are advantages and disadvantages to being a small school,” Col. Overbay said. “One of the disadvantages is we’re all after a lot of the same students.” Several students in JROTC are involved in other school activities, such as band or sports, but for those who aren’t involved in other activities, it provides them an opportunity to become more involved and to build leadership skills. MTHS senior Dylan Rains is a JROTC Command Sgt. Major. He is on the color guard and is captain of the Rangers team. Rains said he originally joined JROTC to learn the fundamentals of the Army because he was interested in joining. He has since changed his mind about the Army but says he has learned a lot of self discipline thanks to JROTC. “Everyone has an opportunity to become a better leader. The harder you work, the sweeter the rewards,” Rains said. Since he began the program three years ago, Rains said he has become more mature and grown up a lot. “I’ve become a better citizen. ROTC kept me out of trouble,” Rains said. Senior Breanna Francis agreed that keeping students out of trouble is a big part of JROTC. Now ranked Lt. Col., she is on the color guard and is co-captain of the Rangers team. For Francis, JROTC is all about leadership and self discipline. “I’ve definitely matured a lot,” she said. “I take freedom a lot more seriously.” Both Francis and Rains split their time between JROTC and band, while another student, Dee Griffin, splits his time between JROTC and basketball. Griffin, a sophomore Sgt. First Class, participated during the summer in the JROTC Cadet Leadership Challenge (JCLC), a one-week camp where students put everything they learn in JROTC to the test, from rappelling and survival skills, to drills, ceremonies and leadership skills. “It’s shown me not just how to be a leader in JROTC, but how to be a good leader in football and basketball,” Griffin said.

108|Fall 2013

Cadet Command Sgt. Maj. Dylan Rains and Cadet Lt. Col. Breanna Francis are highly decorated as the highest ranking officers of the Marked Tree JROTC.

A group of JROTC cadets had the honor of visiting Washington, D.C., and seeing the White House for the first time. Pictured are (lefT) Dylan Rains, Breanna Francis, Jack Owens (former MTHS Teach for America instructor), Jay Perry and Kenya Moore. Owens, a graduate of Wake Forest University, is now working on a master’s in engineering at Georgia Tech. In addition to learning good citizenship and leadership, JROTC students also are heavily involved in the community. They march in parades, perform for a Veterans Day ceremony and place flags on veterans’ graves at the cemetery each Memorial Day. This year, JROTC students also will be mentoring at Marked Tree Elementary as part of their community service credit. “Our mission is to motivate students to be better citizens,” Col. Overbay said. In Marked Tree, the program certainly seems to be working.

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Everyday Heroes

Chief Chad Henson, Trumann Police Department Photo by Corey Clairday

How long have you been in law enforcement? Fifteen years.

What kind of training do you have?

I have training in the medical field as an EMT. I was certified as a basic police officer. I was promoted to a narcotics detective from 1999-2001. After Sept. 11, I was one of 350,000 who applied for the position of air marshal. Of that number, one percent were chosen. I trained for 16 weeks in New Mexico. I teach firearms to new hires and am one of the lead instructors at Black River Technical College.

Where have you worked?

I started in Blytheville. I’ve worked in Jonesboro. I worked in Paragould for six months. I worked for the United Nations in Kosovo for two years. I was in Chicago as an air marshal for one-and-a-half years. I had to leave that because I received an injury in training and couldn’t sit for long periods of time.

Why did you enter law enforcement?

Growing up, I wanted to be able to be called out for a special skill. I thought about being a flight nurse, a medic, an astronaut, and a fireman. When I turned 21, I met my first police officer. After seeing him in uniform and seeing how he talked, I wanted to be one.

You became Trumann Police Chief in April of 2012. Why did you decide to come to Trumann?

Two dates surround my career: Sept. 11, 2001, and April 12, 2011 -- the day Trumann Officer Jonathan Schmidt was fatally shot during a traffic stop. When I heard the news and heard where it happened and who it was, I knew immediately my life would change. It changed my teaching. It changed everything. When the opportunity arose (to become Trumann Police Chief), I knew I could help the police department and hopefully help the city.

What are your goals as Trumann Police Chief?

A friend gave me this sage advice: this department needs love. I want to give some type of structure and love to the department. My goal is to bring this department up to speed in technology. I want these guys to have everything I always wanted from equipment to pay to discipline and structure. I’m tired of the Trumann Police Department being the butt of the joke. I want us to be the tip of the spear. I want us to lead the way in technology, in the way we operate in the community, and in the way we look and train. I want the most for our guys, and I want the most for the citizens of Trumann and Northeast Arkansas. My goal is for the Trumann Police Department to be the best.

What are your hobbies?

Work. When I’m not at work I think of work. I like to hunt, but when I’m off I always expect an interruption. My fear when I leave is: are my guys safe? I’m always waiting to get called in.

110|Fall 2013

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Mary Ann and Mike Carter, formerly of Piggott, celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary with a reception June 22 at Ridgewood Baptist Church in Forrest City. The Carters were married June 21, 1963 in Piggott.

Larry and Patsy (Rice) Patterson were honored Aug. 31 with a reception marking their 50th wedding anniversary. The celebration, hosted by their daughter Sandra Little, was held at the Sugar Creek Country Club in Piggott.

Calvin and Patsy Merrell of the Piggott area were honored Aug. 18 with a reception in celebration of their 50th wedding anniversary. Friends and relatives joined in the event, held at the Marmaduke Community Center.

Glenna (Sigsby) Bookout (left) of Rector was honored Sept. 3 with a reception hosted by her sister, Janelle, in celebration of her 80th birthday. A large number of friends and relatives attended the event at the Rector First United Methodist Church’s Wesley Hall.

Carlene Iberg of Piggott celebrated her 80th birthday with a party Aug. 20 at the General Baptist Nursing Home, where she volunteers on a regular basis. Carlene enjoyed the day, and shared her birthday cake with over 40 friends from around the Piggott area and the nursing home.

112|Fall 2013

Spencer and Patricia Permenter of Piggott celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary with a reception July 6 at New Hope Baptist Church at Pollard. The Permenters were married July 8, 1963.

Bertine Stevens will be honored Saturday, Sept. 28, with a drop-in reception in celebration of her 100th birthday. Hosted by her family, the event will be from 1 to 3 p.m. at the South Thornton Street Church of Christ in Piggott.

Cleta Whitaker Simmons of Rector was honored with a special drop-in party Saturday, Aug. 17, at Rector Nursing and Rehab in celebration of her 100th birthday. A large number of friends and relatives were on hand to share in her big day.

Longtime Rector residents Hughey and Mary Linam celebrated their 75th anniversary June 9 at Southern Independent Living in Wynne, where they now reside. Mary celebrated her 100th birthday Sept. 4 and Hughey turned 99 in July. There were many friends and relatives on hand for all three big celebrations.

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The Farmers Bank & Trust Main Office Raymond W. Dismukes (left) of Piggott received his 50-year Masonic pin July 27 at his home. He completed his Apprentice and Fellowcraft degrees and was raised to Master Mason on June 8, 1963, in his home lodge, Eastern Star #207, located north of Piggott. He holds membership in both Eastern Star #207 and Piggott Lodge #545.

870) 763-8101 (870) 763-3500 - fax 400 West Main Street Blytheville, Arkansas 72315

Thank you for your patronage Fall 2013|



114|Fall 2013

Photo by Nancy Kemp

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Delta Crossroads, Fall 2013  

The beauty within.

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