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BUSINESS

imagesarktex.com TM

OF THE ARK-TEX REGION

Reins in the Forecast Rodeos rule here in cowboy country

Try the Tri-Lakes Waterways draw vacationers from near and far

Friday Night Bragging Rights Football border battle plays out each fall

SPONSORED BY THE ARK-TEX COUNCIL OF GOVERNMENTS | 2008


Texarkana Ark ansas

LOW Cost of Living

HIGH Quality of Life


Texarkana Ark ansas


Texarkana, Arkansas offers the luxury of modern accommodations found in most cities while maintaining the advantages of small-town life. Texarkana is unique, not only because it shares a border with a city of the same name in a separate state, but also because of its tax beneďŹ ts. Like many cities in Arkansas, Texarkana has low property tax rates, but that’s not all; Texarkana, Arkansas is unique because of its exemption from the Arkansas State Income Tax making it the best of both worlds.


The Te xarkana Arkansas

Advantage • Compared to cities of the same size Texarkana, Arkansas is ranked in the top 5% in affordable property taxes across the nation • Arkansas pays 60% less in taxes on comparable property values in Texas

• Unlike other cities in Arkansas, Texarkana is income tax exempt • Texarkana residents enjoy shorter commute times than 75% of other cities of the same size • Enjoy Texarkana’s climate with an average high of 76ºF and average low of 55ºF • Texarkana helps keep Arkansas the natural state with more than 10 public parks • Texarkana is the transportation hub of southwest Arkansas with interstates that allow easy access to larger cities like Dallas, Texas (190 miles) Little Rock, Arkansas (142 miles) and Shreveport, Louisiana (70 miles)

Visit us on the Web at: www.txkusa.org/ar or call City Hall at: (870) 779-4991

Texarkana, Arkansas City Hall • 216 Walnut St. • Texarkana, AR 71854 Ask about our free Texarkana, Arkansas DVD


COMMUNITY Nestled in the piney woods of northeast Texas, Atlanta is a thriving and vibrant community of 5,700 people. Atlanta is located 20 miles south of Texarkana and is served by U.S. Highway 59, a major designated NAFTA route. Established in 1872, history surrounds you as you stroll the downtown, visit the historic Depot Museum, view the huge downtown war murals or look up your long-lost ancestors in the family history center. Atlanta’s beautiful parks invite you to view the budding dogwoods in springtime, participate in youth sports or just lie under the tall pine trees swaying in a light breeze. Three state parks and abundant hunting, fishing, camping and water sports are close by.

the

With a low cost of living, exceptional schools, excellent medical facilities and cultural and sporting activities for all, Atlanta makes both the young and young-at-heart feel at home.

BUSINESS Atlanta is distribution central! Located on a major designated NAFTA route, U.S. Hwy 59 (future I-69), within 30 minutes of both Interstate 20 and Interstate 30, and within an hour of Interstate 49 and the Port of Shreveport, your business in Atlanta will have easy access to all of your important markets. We’re committed to providing cost-saving incentives to financially strong companies that offer above-average wages and benefits to their employees. Incentive packages may include property tax abatements, sales tax refunds, franchise tax reductions, subsidized employee training, infrastructure improvements and utility cost reductions. Our full-service 88-acre Business Park is ready and waiting for your project. With a supportive business climate, low cost of living and lucrative incentives, make Atlanta, Texas your new profit center!

Atlanta Economic Development Corporation 315 Buckner • P.O. Box 1086 • Atlanta, TX 75551 (800) 594-2135 • (903) 796-5627 www.atlantatexas.com


The Heart of Bowie County

New Boston, Texas The Geographic Center of Bowie County Location The county seat of Bowie County, New Boston is located in the geographical center of the county. New Boston bridges the historic past with a growing positive future. On I-30 at US Hwy. 82 and State Hwy. 8. Less than 150 miles from Shreveport, Dallas and Little Rock.

Transportation Rail • Major Interstate • Air • Cargo • Freight

Resources Farmland • Timber • Abundant, Inexpensive Water Affordable Electric Power • Available Warehouse Space Cement Manufacturing • Steel Manufacturing Warehousing and Distribution, etc.

Economic Development Low Tax Rates • Incentives • New Boston Industrial Park Red River Army Depot • Affordable Housing • High-speed Internet

Education Qualified Workforce • Excellent School District Two Major Universities Within 25 Miles: Texas A&M and Texarkana College

Quality of Life City of Parks • Golf • Fishing • Camping • Rodeo Annual Events and Festivals • Monthly Trade Days Youth Sports • Abundance of Churches in Every Denomination

For more information, contact: New Boston Special Industrial Development Corporation Deborah Cook, Executive Director 100 N. Center • New Boston, TX 75570 (903) 628-6340 • sidc@newbostontx.org www.newbostontx.org www.newbostonsidc.org

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contents BUSINESS TM

OVERVIEW

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BUSINESS ALMANAC

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BUSINESS CLIMATE

Slow and Steady, Region Grows

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The broad base of Texarkana’s economy has helped insulate it from the extreme ups and downs felt in other parts of the country.

Into the Cyberworld

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Recruiting Business

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HEALTH CARE

A Dynamic Duo

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Wadley Regional Medical Center and CHRISTUS St. Michael Health System share deep roots in Texarkana. DISTRIBUTION

At the Center of It All

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Interstates and railroads make the Ark-Tex region a distribution hub.

On the Cover Lake Cypress Pier STAFF PHOTO

READ MORE ONLINE

IMAGESARKTEX . com LINKS Click on links to local Web sites and learn more about the business click climate, demographics, service providers and other aspects of life here. WEATHER Find current conditions, immediate and long-range forecasts and historical averages.

SHARE E-mail articles to a friend, Digg them, or use the RSS feed function to keep track of content updates. THE MOVIE Take a virtual tour of the Ark-Tex Region as seen through the eyes of our photographers. ABOUT THIS MAGAZINE

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ONLINE VIRTUAL MAGAZINE Flip through pages of Business Images of the Ark-Tex Region on your computer screen, zoom in to read the articles, and click on the ads to be linked to the Web sites of advertisers. B;

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ARK TEX REGION

Business Images of the Ark-Tex Region is published annually by Journal Communications Inc. and is sponsored by the Ark-Tex Council of Governments. In print and online, Business Images gives readers a taste of what makes the Ark-Tex Region tick â&#x20AC;&#x201C; from transportation and technology to health care and quality of life.

â&#x20AC;&#x153;Find the good â&#x20AC;&#x201C; and praise it.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Alex Haley (1921-1992), Journal Communications co-founder

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ACTION! ADVENTURE! “IT KEPT ME ON THE EDGE OF MY LAPTOP!” “THE ARK-TEX REGION LIKE IT’S NEVER BEEN SEEN BEFORE!”

Images of the Ark-Tex Region

THE MOVIE WORLD WIDE WEB SHOWTIMES VALID MONDAY-SUNDAY 24/7

SPECIAL ENGAGEMENT ANY RESEMBLANCE TO PLACES, EVENTS OR QUALITY OF LIFE IN THE ARK-TEX REGION IS PURELY INTENTIONAL!

THE A R K-TEX R EGI ON 2008 EDITION, VOLUME 1

SENIOR EDITOR ANITA WADHWANI MANAGING EDITOR MAURICE FLIESS COPY EDITOR JOYCE CARUTHERS ASSOCIATE EDITORS LISA BATTLES, KIM MADLOM, BILL McMEEKIN ASSISTANT EDITOR REBECCA DENTON STAFF WRITERS CAROL COWAN, KEVIN LITWIN, JESSICA MOZO DIRECTORIES EDITORS AMANDA MORGAN, KRISTY WISE EDITORIAL ASSISTANT JESSY YANCEY CONTRIBUTING WRITERS PAMELA COYLE, TIM GHIANNI, SUE LENTHE, ELLEN MARGULIES, DAN MARKHAM REGIONAL SALES MANAGER CHARLES FITZGIBBON ADVERTISING SALES MANAGER TODD POTTER INTEGRATED MEDIA MANAGER MIKE ARNOLD ONLINE SALES MANAGER MATT SLUTZ SALES SUPPORT MANAGER SARA SARTIN STAFF PHOTOGRAPHERS JEFF ADKINS, WES ALDRIDGE, TODD BENNETT, ANTONY BOSHIER, IAN CURCIO, BRIAN M C CORD CREATIVE DIRECTOR KEITH HARRIS WEB DESIGN DIRECTOR SHAWN DANIEL PRODUCTION DIRECTOR NATASHA LORENS ASSISTANT PRODUCTION DIRECTOR CHRISTINA CARDEN PRE-PRESS COORDINATOR HAZEL RISNER SENIOR PRODUCTION PROJECT MGR. TADARA SMITH PRODUCTION PROJECT MGRS. MELISSA HOOVER, JILL WYATT SENIOR GRAPHIC DESIGNERS LAURA GALLAGHER, KRIS SEXTON, VIKKI WILLIAMS LEAD DESIGNER CANDICE HULSEY GRAPHIC DESIGN JESSICA BRAGONIER, ALISON HUNTER, JANINE MARYLAND, LINDA MOREIRAS, AMY NELSON, CARL RATLIFF WEB PROJECT MANAGER ANDY HARTLEY WEB DESIGN RYAN DUNLAP, CARL SCHULZ WEB PRODUCTION JILL TOWNSEND COLOR IMAGING TECHNICIAN CORY MITCHELL AD TRAFFIC MEGHANN CAREY, SARAH MILLER, PATRICIA MOISAN, RAVEN PETTY CHAIRMAN GREG THURMAN PRESIDENT/PUBLISHER BOB SCHWARTZMAN EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT RAY LANGEN SR. V.P./CLIENT DEVELOPMENT JEFF HEEFNER SR. V.P./SALES CARLA H. THURMAN SR. V.P./OPERATIONS CASEY E. HESTER V.P./SALES HERB HARPER V.P./VISUAL CONTENT MARK FORESTER V.P./TRAVEL PUBLISHING SYBIL STEWART V.P/EDITORIAL DIRECTOR TEREE CARUTHERS MANAGING EDITOR/TRAVEL SUSAN CHAPPELL PHOTOGRAPHY DIRECTOR JEFFREY S. OTTO CONTROLLER CHRIS DUDLEY ACCOUNTING MORIAH DOMBY, RICHIE FITZPATRICK, DIANA GUZMAN, MARIA MCFARLAND, LISA OWENS RECRUITING/TRAINING DIRECTOR SUZY WALDRIP COMMUNITY PROMOTION DIRECTOR CINDY COMPERRY DISTRIBUTION DIRECTOR GARY SMITH MARKETING COORDINATOR AMY AKIN IT SYSTEMS DIRECTOR MATT LOCKE IT SERVICE TECHNICIAN RYAN SWEENEY HUMAN RESOURCES MANAGER PEGGY BLAKE CUSTOM SALES COORDINATOR PATTI CORNELIUS SALES COORDINATOR JENNIFER ALEXANDER OFFICE MANAGER SHELLY GRISSOM

Business Images of the Ark-Tex Region is published annually by Journal Communications Inc. and is distributed through the Ark-Tex Council of Governments. For advertising information or to direct questions or comments about the magazine, contact Journal Communications Inc. at (615) 771-0080 or by e-mail at info@jnlcom.com.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT: Ark-Tex Council of Governments 4808 Elizabeth St. • Texarkana, TX 75503 Phone: (903) 832-8636 • Fax: (903) 832-3441 www.atcog.org VISIT BUSINESS IMAGES OF THE ARK-TEX REGION ONLINE AT IMAGESARKTEX.COM

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©Copyright 2008 Journal Communications Inc., 725 Cool Springs Blvd., Suite 400, Franklin, TN 37067, (615) 771-0080. All rights reserved. No portion of this magazine may be reproduced in whole or in part without written consent. Member Member

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ARK TEX REGION


contents QUALITY OF LIFE

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Try the Tri-Lakes

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Pine-lined recreational waterways draw people from across Texas to the “Tri-Lake Area.”

Friday Night Bragging Rights

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E DUCATION

Engineering Success

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Texas A&M University-Texarkana plans to open a $20 million facility for a new engineering program.

A Jewel of a School

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AGRIBUSINESS

Timber!

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The timber industry remains a vital economic engine in the region.

Milking It

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A Daily Dose of Dairy

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E N E RGY

Mining Their Business

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The companies that mine lignite in the region are winning awards for their environmental work.

PORTFOLIO Reins in the Forecast

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ECONOMIC PROFILE

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SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION: CITY OF TEXARKANA, ARKANSAS

ARK TEX REGION

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overview

TOP 10 REASONS TO DO BUSINESS IN THE ARK-TEX REGION 6. Favorable Tax Climate The State Business Tax Climate Index ranked Texas as having the sixth best business tax environment in the nation. Local officials work hard to create favorable tax incentives for business.

1. Location Centrally located within the United States, the Ark-Tex Region is easily accessible by rail, road and air.

Ark-Tex Region

2. Thriving and Diversified Industries Manufacturing, energy, timber, health care and distribution businesses have all found the Ark-Tex region to be fertile ground for their growing businesses. The broad base of the region’s economy has helped insulate it from extreme ups and downs.

7. Hospitality City, county and economic development officials actively work together to address the needs of relocating businesses. 8. Mobility Interstate 30 and U.S. Highways 59, 67, 71 and 82 converge in Texas’ northeast corner. Plans are underway to lay Interstate 69, also known as the “NAFTA Highway,” directly through the region, making it an ideal place for distribution.

3. Low Cost of Living Housing prices are among the lowest in the nation, making it an attractive location for relocating families who find they can get a lot more in return for their housing dollars here.

9. Recreation The Ark-Tex region has an abundant supply of recreational activities, from boating and fishing, to museums and festivals, to rodeos and retail shopping.

4. Scenic Beauty Vast open ranchlands, piney wood forests, scenic lakes – the Ark-Tex region offers it all.

10. An Ideal Climate The climate is consistently mild, with more than 245 days of sunshine.

5. A Skilled and Adaptable Workforce The region offers top education and workforce training institutes.

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SEE VIDEO ONLINE | Take a virtual tour of Ark-Tex Region at imagesarktex.com, courtesy of our awardwinning photographers.

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business almanac

PICTURE THIS An outdoor mural in Texarkana honors the city’s most famous son. The Scott Joplin Mural is on display in the downtown district on Main Street at Third Street. Joplin was a ragtime composer and piano player who lived from 1867-1917 and posthumously won a Pulitzer Prize for his work. Besides showcasing Joplin, the colorful work of art also features musical notes of the final measures of his most famous song, The Entertainer. The mural is on the south wall of a building at 311 Main near the Perot Theatre.

THIS IS NO YOKE A bird egg museum? One does exist in Mount Vernon at the Franklin County Historical Association’s Fire Station museum. The exhibit showcases more than 150 bird eggs that include one from the extinct Carolina parakeet, and one from the extinct passenger pigeon. Prior to the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, collecting bird eggs was a popular hobby. Many of the eggs in the museum were collected in the late 1800s by a taxidermist in Ohio, and eventually found their way to a Texas collector named A.W. Nations. Nations’ collection was piled in cardboard boxes in his garage, and it made its way into the fire station museum soon after his passing. There is also a century-old butterfly collection on display. In addition, the museum has some memorabilia from former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Don Meredith, a Mount Vernon native.

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TRUSTY RUSTY Golf is big in Texas. There are ample opportunities at wellmaintained courses across the region, with one of the most touted courses being the Rusty Rail Golf Course. The Dallas Morning News has rated it among the best Top 25 Nine-Hole Courses in Texas. The picturesque course in Jefferson measures 3,015 yards and plays as a par 35. It opened in 1983.

ALTERED STATES The U.S. Post Office and Courthouse in Texarkana is the only federal building in the country that is actually in two states. The northern portion of the building is in Texarkana, Ark., while the southern half is in Texarkana, Texas. That means that the courthouse is in two circuits (the 5th and the 8th) and in two districts (Eastern District of Texas and the Western District of Arkansas). The unique building was constructed in 1933 and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

HOPPED TO IT The Hopkins County Courthouse looks great. In fact, it has received awards for its renovations. The courthouse that was constructed in 1895 underwent a complete restoration in 2003. The Romanesque revival building in Sulphur Springs was largely built of pink granite and red sandstone, and was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1977. The courthouse occupies the northeast corner of the town square. More than $3 million in restoration work was funded through The Texas Historic Courthouse Preservation Program. Then-Gov. George W. Bush kicked off the Texas Historic Courthouse Preservation Program at the courthouse in 1998.

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business almanac

NOT THE ONE IN FRANCE Oui: The second largest Eiffel Tower in the world is in Paris, Texas. It is at the corner of Jefferson Road and South Collegiate Drive, adjacent to Love Civic Center. But this particular Eiffel Tower has a big red cowboy hat perched on top of it.

E-Z DOES IT E-Z Mart remains a family-owned company, with a chain of quick-stop markets in 300 locations throughout the United States.

The city of Paris itself is in the heart of Red River Valley, and was recognized in 1998 for being the “Best Small Town in Texas” in a book entitled, The New Rating Guide to Life in America’s Small Cities. Paris was founded in 1839 and became incorporated in 1845.

The motto of the Texarkana-based company is Making Life EZR 4 U, with the convenience stores often featuring on-site gasoline stations as well. E-Z Mart locations offer either Citgo, Conoco, Phillips or Shell brands of gas. E-Z Mart’s first-ever store in Nashville, Ark., is still in operation.

BREAK A LEG Don Henley of the legendary band Eagles hails from Linden. In fact, he was behind efforts to get the Music City Texas Theater established there. The theater is actually in a late 1940s building that was formerly known as the Linden American Legion Auditorium. After a major renovation to the structure, the Music City Texas Theater opened in 2003. Today it hosts nationally known, regional and local entertainers representing all types of music. The theater can also be rented for civic and private functions.

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Ark-Tex region charts path for long-term economic success

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The major highway improvements are projected to double the amount of freight carried through the region over the next 15 years. “We are poised to be a natural location for warehousing, logistics, anything transportation and movement-of-goods based. When these highway construction projects get finished, we’ll have some of the best road transportation anywhere. Combine that with the rail system, and we are ideally situated,” Sparks says. “We are actively recruiting all manner of companies to look at us as a distribution center.” A $153.5 million project aimed at improving frontage roads and relocating entrance and exit ramps along I-30 at the north end of Texarkana is also underway, Sandifer says. And big-box retailers have seen the area’s potential. A retail development surge near I-30 includes Home Depot, Best Buy, Kohl’s, Target and Gander Mountain. Numerous restaurants and hotels also have opened, including a Courtyard by Marriott and a Hampton Inn and Suites, says Brad McCaleb of the Texarkana Metropolitan Planning Organization. The increasing number of service sector jobs is drawing workforce made available by the military’s downsizing. Meanwhile, local leaders look ahead to long-term workforce development. Even the Texarkana Independent School District is in on the effort, tailoring educational programs that look to the region’s future. The new Martha and Josh Morriss Math and Engineering Elementary School opened in the fall of 2007. “The school is designed to take students on a math and science track all the way from kindergarten through a bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M University,” McCaleb says. – Carol Cowan

S TA F F P H OTO S

f slow and steady really does win the race, Texarkana ought to take home the trophy. Its strategic location, diverse economic base, mature manufacturing sector and stable job and housing markets ideally position this town for growth – the slow, steady kind. With every step, be it infrastructure improvements, retail development, industry recruitment or workforce development, Texarkana moves closer to becoming an economic powerhouse. The broad base of Texarkana’s economy has helped insulate it from the extreme ups and downs felt in other parts of the country, says Jerry Sparks, economic development director for the Texarkana Chamber of Commerce. “We have had slow but steady growth over the years,” Sparks says. “We haven’t had dramatic swings in employment and the local housing market. And we don’t foresee any rapid change – which is good as long as we maintain our slow, steady growth.” The defense industry has been a pillar of Texarkana’s economy since the Red River Army Depot and Lone Star Army Ammunition Plant set up operations here in 1941. Although the Lone Star plant is downsizing, the defense industry still supplies about 5,000 jobs, according to Sparks. The Lone Star facility’s large campus and manufacturing capabilities, along with a comprehensive plan proposed by the Red River Redevelopment Authority should make for a smooth transition to other uses. “And we’ve been blessed with a diverse economy,” Sparks says. “In addition to the defense industry, our two hospitals provide over 2,000 jobs. We have two paper mills that provide about 2,000 jobs. Cooper Tire employs 1,500. And we have many local businesses that employ between 100 and 400 employees.” A growing network of asphalt arteries and a strong rail system make this area an ideal distribution nexus. Already, Interstate 30 and U.S. highways 59, 67, 71 and 82 converge in Texas’ northeast corner. Construction is currently under way that will extend Interstate 49 north from Shreveport, La., through Arkansas to I-30 at Texarkana. And Interstate 69, also known as the “NAFTA Highway,” – which will ultimately stretch from Port Huron, Mich., to Lazaro Cardenas, Mexico – is slated to flow right through the region, though final plans have not yet been established. “If Congress doesn’t approve I-69 as federal Interstate [in Texas], then Texas will build it as a toll-way,” says Marcus Sandifer, public information officer for the Atlanta District of the Texas Department of Transportation. As part of the Trans Texas Corridor plan, the route would follow U.S. Highway 59. “This is spurred mostly by NAFTA, because truck traffic has boomed,” Sandifer says. “The Trans Texas Corridors are all intended to get traffic, people and goods across Texas.”

Retail development is surging, says city planner Brad McCaleb. Left: Asphalt arteries create distribution nexus.

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STAFF PHOTO

business climate

Texarkana Water District is one example of the above-and-beyond collaborative efforts to create a favorable, low-tax business environment that is truly a regional effort.

Into the Cyberworld Utilities company aids schools and development

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ike other municipal water companies, Texarkana Water Utilities provides water and sewage services to businesses, homes and schools. But the company – which serves the city of Texarkana on both sides of the Texas-Arkansas border – has taken on some unusual responsibilities, says executive director Bill King. “It’s now a water, wastewater and information technology department for both cities,” says King, who has been answering to the city managers of Texarkana, Texas, and Texarkana, Arkansas, since 1991. In addition to handling those services, the Texarkana Water Utilities also operates what King calls “a very good greenways disposal site (for grasses, limbs and leaves) and composting program.”

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And the responsibilities of the 59year-old department “certainly keep evolving,” he says “We can sell the compost back to the public at a nominal price and that helps keep sewer rates down,” King says. There also are two sites for dropping off used motor oil, so it can be recycled. King’s department is charged with computer maintenance to the two cities. Texarkana Water Utilities also is responsible for Geographic Information Services, which provides aerial photography that displays where sewer lines, highways, railroad lines and the like are located. King says the next step for this “major development tool” is to get it on the Internet, “so someone in Oregon can look at a site here” and see what the infrastructure is while plotting economic development.

And a major new innovation has been making the school districts partners in stringing fiber-optic cables through the two cities. The cables are connected to utility poles throughout both Texarkanas, serving public agencies as well as tracking problems at sewer and water facilities. “We worked out an arrangement with the schools: If they paid for the hardware, we’d put it up,” King says, so when the cable passes the schools, they are added onto the network. King is proud of what Texarkana Water Utilities has done with the cooperation of the two municipal governments. “It is a very unusual arrangement,” he says. “In my opinion it has been extremely successful.” – Tim Ghianni

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Recruiting Business Former Army depot is now a business draw

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to-find development on a small swath of what was Red River Army Depot, Lear Siegler is a defense contractor, which helps build and maintain military vehicles and portable bridges. “We support our tenants – the defense contractors – who support the depot. And the depot supports the soldier in the field,” Lavery says. The Red River Redevelopment Authority’s mission is being carried out on 765 acres of land that was a part of the 17,000acre Red River Army Depot. Beginning as a “brownfield redevelopment project” – which basically means retrofitting buildings formerly used by the Army depot – Lavery has overseen the reuse and development of 1.1 million square feet of industrial space. He says there are less than 100,000 square feet still available for tenants. The authority also has enticed tenants to the wide-open spaces, also known as “greenfield redevelopment,” where there are still 200-300 acres with utilities and infrastructure already in place for new businesses. Other lures are accessibility on the NAFTA corridors of U. S. 82 and Interstate 30 and the regional airport 17 miles west of Texarkana. – Tim Ghianni

S TA F F P H OTO

ormerly part of a sprawling Army maintenance installation, the Red River Commerce Park has a precise strategy: “Recruit and retain companies of quality which are committed to the region for the creation of jobs and capital investment.” These tactics help the Red River Redevelopment Authority succeed in promoting economic growth by supporting companies that create jobs. Duane Lavery, a certified economic developer, regularly fields one question about his work as executive director of the RRRA. “They ask me: ‘How many jobs have you created out there?’” Lavery says. “And my answer is ‘Zero. I don’t create jobs. The companies do.’ ” “What the RRRA does is create an environment for companies to come in here and begin operations,” he says. Evidence of success: in the last decade, 1,000-plus jobs have been created by the more than 15 companies lured to the commerce park. The largest occupant is Lear Siegler Mobility Center, which employs about 400 workers. Like the other employers drawn by the low-cost and easy-

Since 1997, 14 companies have relocated to the Red River Commerce Park on 765 acres of land designated as a special district by the U.S. military. The success of the park is one example of public-private partnerships in the region.

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Dynamic Duo Two regional hospitals provide state-of-the-art care

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Affiliated with the Baylor Health Care System, the 100-bed facility provides complete care to the 30,000 area residents, according to marketing director Sherry Moore. Founded 57 years ago, the hospital has 40 physicians on staff. It also has been awarded the “Nurse Friendly Designation” by the Texas Nurses Association. The latest addition is the 32,000-square-foot Memorial Medical Plaza, with its first-floor HealthPlex rehab center that includes a therapeutic pool. The hospital is involved in a $36 million expansion program, overseen by board president Tim Kelty, son of one of the original board members appointed by the county to start a hospital. “I wonder what my father would say if I told him that today we have over 500 employees with a 2008 budget of $80 million and are one of the three top employers in the county?” he asks. Another full-scale community hospital is the Paris Regional Medical Center that serves 25,000 residents of the city and another 23,000 in Lamar County. A full range of specialties, from digital mammography to orthopedics to emergency care is available at the 364-bed hospital operated by Essent Health Care, based in Nashville. While the hospital has plenty of exciting plans in the future, right now the focus is continuing to be a full-service hospital complete with diagnostic and interventional cardiology and cardiac surgery. – Tim Ghianni

S TA F F P H OTO S

adley Regional Medical Center and CHRISTUS St. Michael Health System share deep roots in Texarkana. St. Michael – with its 312-bed acute-care hospital, 50-bed rehabilitation center, outpatient rehab, health and fitness center, two medical plazas, imaging center and more – turned 90 in 2006. It opened in 1916 as Michael Meagher Memorial Hospital, named for the Irish-Catholic civil engineer who left the bulk of his estate to seed a hospital, according to Francine Francis, marketing director. The Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word, in Houston and San Antonio, were invited in 1915 to come sponsor this mission. An old sanitarium was renovated in time to meet the medical needs of the hospital’s first patient: Phillip Brooks, a transient with a 106-degree fever, who was found in the boiler room. Indigent care remains a priority. Last year St. Michael provided $27 million in charity care, community service and unpaid indigent care, according to Francis. “Our mission today is to extend the healing ministry of Jesus Christ,” Francis adds, of the hospital that includes 247 physicians and offers “the best in innovative care from advanced cardiac care and cancer treatment to the forefront of imaging technology to complete rehabilitation and wellness services.” Wadley Regional similarly has been keeping up with the Texarkana region’s growth. Founded by four local physicians in 1900, this is a community-owned, not-for-profit hospital. According to Shelby Brown, director of marketing and planning, the hospital is licensed for 402 beds, but is operating 130. “Wadley is a full-service acute-care hospital,” she says. “Our emergency department focuses on the critically ill, such as those suffering with heart attacks and stroke.” A big development was the purchase of MammoSite equipment, which shortens the period of radiation therapy for some breast cancer patients. The cancer center also offers seed implants for prostate cancer treatment, a first for Texarkana, she says. “We’re looking to build a new hospital in the next couple of years. We have already purchased new land north of (Interstate 30),” Brown says. About halfway between Dallas and Texarkana, Hopkins County Memorial Hospital cares for people who live around Sulphur Springs.

Wadley Regional Medical Center plans to build a second facility. Left: CHRISTUS St. Michael Medical Center

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distribution

At the

Center of It All Interstates and railroads make Ark-Tex region a distribution hub

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rocery Supply Co. moved to its current site in Sulphur Springs in 1965, and the spot has served the convenience store supplier so well it’s expanded 14 times in 40 years to 450,000 square feet. “We have a good, central location to our service area, complimented by the Interstate system,” says John Prickette, division manager. GSC supplies independent and chain convenience stores in seven states, but it is far from alone in using the Ark-Tex region as a distribution point. In fact, employment in the transportation and warehousing sector is way up in the nine-county area covered by the North East Texas Workforce Development Board. The number of such jobs jumped more than 50 percent

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in four years, to 4,655 in June 2007, according to the agency. The Union Pacific and Kansas City Southern railroads serve the region. Interstate 30 and Interstate 49 are major routes for trucking, augmented by U.S. highways 59, 67, 71 and 82. Taking advantage of that access is an impressive roster of national and regional companies, who have relocated to the region. Campbell Soup supplies 14 states in the Southwest and Midwest from its distribution center in Paris. Paris is also a hub for We Pack Warehousing & Distribution (also known as WeStow. com), which provides storage containers and office trailers. In 2007, TAC Energy, a division of Truman Arnold Companies, finished a $5 million expansion of its

Caddo Mills fuel storage facility. Even the military is on board, with a Defense Logistic Agency Distribution Operations Center at the Red River Army Depot that opened in 2000. Its 205 warehouses store more than 100,000 repair parts and other items for tracked and wheeled vehicles, aircraft and weapons defense systems. “For anything related to movement, parts of the region are well suited because of interstates and railroads, and land is comparatively inexpensive,” says Jerry Sparks, economic development director for the Texarkana Chamber of Commerce. Additionally, the region is far enough from the Dallas metroplex that trucks can navigate without brutal traffic but close enough to the area to serve it, he says. The region also includes Miller County,

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“One of the things that helps us here is that I-30 makes it convenient to get trucks in and out, and employees, too,” says Jeff Foster, Lowes’ regional general manager. The smaller of the two buildings stores major appliances and high-ticket items like premium lawnmowers that could be easily damaged – they are loaded onto the trucks first. The next building – 134 shipping doors, 60 receiving doors and an automated sorting system – holds the rest of the massive inventory.

With more than 1,100 workers, a third of them from Titus County, Lowes’ distribution center is a major employer in the region. Grocery Supply has about 375 employees and its own fleet of trucks, too. The company has been in this region of Texas for more than 60 years, and given its rapid growth, it doesn’t plan to go anywhere. “We are in an area of the country where there is still a lot of growth,” Prickette says. – Pamela Coyle

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Ark., where Southern Refrigerated Transit moved into its new location less than two years ago. “They put us on the radar screen for anyone who is doing trucking and distribution,” Sparks says. Lowes set up shop in Mount Vernon more than 10 years ago and has since expanded its huge distribution center. With 1.3 million square feet in two buildings, the home improvement giant sends about 100 trucks a day to its stores in Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Arkansas.

The region’s central location and easy access to main transportation has made it into a hub for distribution centers.

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quality of life

Watered-Down Fun Tri-Lake Area offers three times the fun

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The Right Corner of Texas is home to some of the most beautiful lakes in the country and is a big draw for fishing, boating and swimming. B R I A N M C C O R D

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ine-lined recreational waterways draw people from across Texas to what Mount Vernon Main Street manager Teresia Wims likes to call the “Tri-Lake Area.” Lake Cypress Springs, Lake Bob Sandlin and Lake Monticello provide ample opportunities for fishing, boating or simply sitting on a pier and dangling one’s toes into the water. About eight miles south of Mount Vernon, Lake Cypress Springs has twice been named the most beautiful lake in Texas by Dallas’ D Magazine. “It’s gorgeous,” Wims says of the spring-fed lake, built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The quiet waters and lush surroundings seem to cast a spell on visitors – many of whom have decided to buy some land for weekend getaways or permanent retirement. The shoreline of Lake Cypress Springs is zoned for single-family residences. “They are upwards of $2 million homes,” Wims says. “For a lot of people, they are second homes. They come down from Dallas on the weekends.” Many weekend home-owners, Wims believes, plan to eventually retire there. Parks and boat docks provide public access to the lake. The lakes have had some ripple effects on the surrounding communities. The folks who have trekked the 100 miles from Big D to build second homes include two couples who perform in the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. The two violinists, cellist and pianist started Mount Vernon Music. Partnered with the city and aided by an economic development sales tax incentive, they have purchased a historic church and turned it into a music venue, where they regularly perform. – Tim Ghianni

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opkins County has often been called the Dairy Capital of Texas, and for good reason. At times over the last 50 years, the county has been home to more than 600 dairies. “Today there are about 160 dairies in Hopkins County, but we’re milking as many cows as we were 20 years ago — 30some thousand of them,” says Larry Spradlin, Hopkins County agricultural agent. “The number of dairies has declined, but the size of the dairies has increased. Our production is amazing.” Still Meadow Dairy Inc. in Pickton is the largest in the county, with 2,600 mature cows and 2,000 calves and heifers. Owner Jack Kempenaar started the dairy in 1986 after immigrating to the United States from his native Holland. “I had been dairying in Holland since 1968, but it got crowded and there were lots of government regulations,” Kempenaar says. “I got tired of that, and I had seen some dairies moving this way.” When he started his dairy career in Holland, Kempenaar had 50 cows, and by the time he left for America, he was milking 200. “I started over with 75 cows here, and we’ve been in expansion mode ever since,” he says. Kempenaar brought his wife, Saakje, and son, Luute, with him when he came. Luute plans to eventually take over Still Meadow Dairy, which employs nearly 40 people. In the meantime, the dairy is striving to incorporate the latest advancements in dairy technology into every aspect of the business. “I’ve always been on the forefront of technology,” Kempenaar says. “My dairy in Holland was one of the first freestalls in the world. And here, we have all our cattle in freestalls, which is unusual.” Still Meadow Dairy is working on a project that will allow it to turn manure into useable energy. The dairy already recycles manure by using it as fertilizer for the crops it grows for feed. “We barely buy any commercial fertilizer,” Kempenaar says. Two years ago, Still Meadow Dairy built a new rotary milking parlor that increases comfort for the cattle. The rotary parlor features a carousel that holds 80 cows, and as the cows enter the stall, milkers are attached from behind. The cows rotate around a constantly moving platform until they complete their milking cycle and exit through an exit lane. “The cows feel more comfortable and are a lot more quiet with this system,” Kempenaar says. More than 300 dairy producers attended an open house at Still Meadow Dairy after the rotary parlor was installed to catch glimpses of the most modern technology in dairy farming. Tours of the dairy are available upon request. Now a U.S. citizen, Kempenaar says he’s happy to be running his business in the Right Corner of Texas, and he plans to stay here. “This area is an old dairy area, so people are very dairyfriendly,” he says. “And I like that.” – Jessica Mozo

The Southwest Dairy Museum depicts life on a dairy farm before electricity came to rural America.

A Daily Dose of Dairy MUSEUM GIVES TASTE OF THE DAIRY LIFE At the Southwest Dairy Museum & Education Center in Sulphur Springs, there’s something for everyone. Future doctors can learn from “Cal C. Umm,” a life-sized human skeleton on a bicycle, about osteoporosis and how milk, and the calcium in it, strengthens growing bones. A cut-a-away fiberglass cow makes a great biology lesson. Those with a mechanical bent will like the milking machine demonstration. Chemistry gets its due in an exhibit about labs and milk testing. And there’s even an authentic 1940s soda fountain that serves up a menu of dairy desserts. In all, the museum has 12 areas that compare the stages of milking in the early 1900s and 2007, says Raymond Haygood, the museum’s director of fairs, livestock shows and traveling exhibits. The nonprofit museum is funded by dairy farmers. Haygood says more than 25,000 people visit the museum each year, many of them on school tours. But much of the center’s educational work takes place on the road – mobile dairy classrooms and demonstrations at nearly 50 events each year, from county fairs in seven states to livestock festivals, reaching about 1 million people, Haygood says. Each 32-foot classroom has a working milking parlor and a live cow. A “Pizza Ranch” program uses milk (to make cheese), wheat, meat and vegetables such as pepper plants to show that pizza does not simply come out of a box. The kids get pizza for lunch. And, of course, an ice cream cone for dessert. – Pamela Coyle

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education

Engineering

Success A university grooms the next generation for a growing field

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Texas A&M University - Texarkana has purchased property to build a new, 42,000square-foot facility in 2008 for its new engineering program.

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hen Texas A&M UniversityTexarkana wanted to see what was in store for the future, it didn’t turn inward as so many institutions often do. It turned toward the community, sought the advice of local leaders and studied the trends in the area. What they learned has led to a new, state-of-the-art engineering program that will be equipped to meet the needs of a fast-paced industry in a swiftly growing region. The university plans to open a $20 million, 42,000-square-foot facility for the new engineering program in time for the fall 2008 semester. And best of all, when the first engineering students enter the program, says Texas A&M University-Texarkana President Stephen Hensley, “it will be started totally on the basis of private funds donated to the university.” Hensley says the program’s inception was truly born of those initial meetings with movers and shakers in northeast Texas. It was soon clear that what was

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quality of life

Nothing is bigger in this corner of Texas than high school football on a Friday night.

Friday Night

Bragging Rights For one night each year, a border battle for bragging rights

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n one Friday night every year, it is not a state line that divides Texas and Arkansas, but a line of scrimmage. One of the nation’s greatest high school football rivalries plays out in the late summer in Texarkana when Texas and Arkansas high schools knock heads. The contest pits two of each state’s best teams playing before nearly 10,000 fans, either in Texas or four miles away at Arkansas High School. The game doesn’t have playoff or conference ramifications. Winning is its own reward. “There are no implications on the season,” says Van Alexander, a former Texas High School Booster Club president. “It’s just for bragging rights.” Bragging rights had to be shared in 2007, as Texas’ six-year run of victories was semi-snapped when the two teams played to a 17-17 tie. Texas will keep possession of the Battleaxe, the tangible prize for winning the game. The Texas Tigers and Arkansas Razorbacks often use the game as a springboard to success. Texas finished the 2006 regular season undefeated, while Arkansas bounced

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back from its 2006 loss to Texas to win the state’s Class 6A championship. “Both schools have had tremendous success,” says Alexander, who also served as a city councilman on the Texas side of the line. “We’re blessed to have so much football talent in our city.” The rivalry doesn’t simply begin with the kickoff. Preparations start early on both sides of State Line Avenue. In Texas, Tiger boosters hold a breakfast bacon fry, a notso-subtle suggestion of what the squad has planned for the evening’s game with the Razorbacks. With Tiger meat not available in most local groceries, Arkansas counters with a pep rally featuring Orange Crush and Tiger Tails (orange doughnut twists). While the rivalry may have brought out a bit of orneriness in the past, with “more eggs sold than for Easter,” the current version is mostly a good-natured event. “It really brings both cities together,” says Genia Bullock, community involvement and public relations coordinator for Texarkana Arkansas Independent Schools. – Dan Markham

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education

most needed in the area was engineering, Hensley says, and “electrical engineering was at the top.” “They do a tremendous amount of design work. In some ways it’s almost hard to separate electrical engineering from computer engineering. … It’s going to be a huge field.” The roughly 1,550-student university will start with a fairly small class of about 15-20 students, but Hensley anticipates those numbers will swell to upwards of 100-125 in the next five or six years. “We have done a partnership with the local school district,” he says. “They have developed an elementary that is a magnet science and engineering school.” As those students “grow through the system,” so too will the university’s engineering program.

A nationally accredited engineering program – the university’s goal – will help the college attain its goal of higher enrollment and graduation rates. And the program stands to increase the university’s research potential. It will also potentially have a huge effect financially on the surrounding community. “All of the community leaders and ourselves think we’ll see a tremendous impact in turning out an educated workforce. This definitely can change us from the old, Southern manufacturing community we have been to more of that type of [high-tech] industrial community that needs that type of educated workforce,” Hensley says. Currently an upper-level institution that accepts only junior-level classmen and above, the university plans to begin

“downward expansion” so the first freshmen will be enrolling in 2010. Hensley is excited about the handin-glove relationship the school has developed with the community, seeing nothing but good things for all involved. “I believe when the community caught fire to wanting the engineering program and looking to education as a leading factor in economic development, that’s when we turned the corner,” Hensley says. “I don’t think it could have been done by the university alone. Community involvement is vital.” And as the university grows with its programs, Hensley believes the engineering program in particular will leave an indelible mark. “It’s incredible. It’s going to change the face of the university considerably.” – Ellen Margulies

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TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY

1,549

students, including 569 pursuing graduate degrees.

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baccalaureate programs and 11 graduate programs are offered.

80 percent of the 56 full-time faculty members hold a doctoral degree. The teacher-tostudent ratio averages 1 to 14.

Offices located in Paris and Clarksville, Texas

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is the average student age. Thirty percent of the student body is from Arkansas. 2005-2007 Centurion Office

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Each office independently owned and operated.

Source: Texas A & M University-Texarkana

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education

A

Jewel

of a

School Master jeweler program a rare find

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“Typically, the majority of them go to small stores that have repair shops in the back,” she says. But shop owners tend to make them managers quickly because they’re so knowledgeable about the industry. The program’s reputation is solid nationwide, says Jackson. “When we are at trade shows or meeting with the national association and state affiliates, they do ask about our school here,” Jackson says. “Many jewelers send their children to this school.” The jewelers program is a big draw and could be a natural fit for many people, Jackson and Raus say. Raus says no particular artistic skill is needed; only a passion for jewelry and some hand-eye coordination. “We have students of all ages,” she says. “We see children right out of school … and people retraining to start second career in their lives coming back and finally get to do what they wanted to do all their life. Our students come from all over the U.S. and the rest of world.” Jackson thinks the industry is perfect for wounded veterans, who were traditionally trained as watchmakers after World War II, Korea and Vietnam. “For example, someone who has lost a leg or they’re in a wheelchair, this is a very great industry for them to be in,” he says. “There is work for them to do and a future for them. I would love to see our government offer something similar to the GI Bill that trained veterans.” And as the aging jewelers and watchmakers start to retire, the need for skilled labor will only increase. “We have a vacuum in our industry in watchmaking,” Jackson says, “and also in jewelry making and repairing. We need these folks to apply. There will be jobs for all of them.” – Ellen Margulies

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alk about job security. Any student who successfully completes the master jeweler program at Paris Junior College is guaranteed a job. Guaranteed. It’s the sort of cache you’d expect, though, given that the Paris Junior College program is one of only two of its kind in the country. “I get calls daily from jewelers that want to hire our graduates,” says Ulla Raus, division chair of the Paris Junior College jewelry technology program. “We have more job offers than we can ever fill. This small public Texas college, in fact, co-authored the master jeweler program standards in the mid ’90s with a private college in California, hoping to make American jewelers industry-wide as prestigious as those overseas. “In jewelry, anybody could hang their shingle out that says ‘master jeweler,’” Raus said. “We wanted to certify jewelers in America. In Europe it is very rigid; they have to be tested.” Now, students can enroll in the Texas Institute of Jewelry Technology, as the PJC program is known, and complete up to four levels of mastery, with the highest designation being certified master jeweler. “It helps keep us, the jewelry industry, supplied with people with the ability to work on jewelry in a professional manner,” says Doug Jackson, owner of Jewelmart in Paris and president of the Texas Jewelers Association. “A master jeweler would be able to do virtually anything with a piece of jewelry from designing it to manufacturing it to restoring it.” Watchmaking, an important part of the jewelry industry and another area where skilled workers are desperately needed, has long had a certified program. With the help of Paris Junior College, aspiring jewelers are now able to train for master certification, learning everything from centuries-old skills in identifying and shaping gems and metals to designing and working with computer-aided technologies and lasers. Students in the program – working in a locked environment and under tight security – work with all the precious elements intrinsic to the jeweler’s craft. “We have a great collection, everything they need,” Raus says. That includes diamonds – natural and manmade – emeralds and rubies. The school gets donations of many of its precious materials and also works with some resources over and over again. “We can afford to let our students work in gold and platinum because we can recycle. It gets disassembled and melted down again,” he says. Raus says graduates go on to work in fine jewelry – major stores in New York as well as internationally renowned manufacturers like Rolex. There are currently about 100 students in the program.

An elite school in an elite profession, Paris Junior College has one of only two master jeweler programs in the nation. There are believed to be only 1,000 master jewelers in the world.

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agribusiness

Seeing the Forest

for the Trees Timber industry remains a vital economic engine

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ith more than 12 million acres of commercial forestland covering the Piney Woods region of Northeast Texas, it’s no surprise that the majority of commercial timber growing and wood processing in the state takes place here in the ArkTex region. This lucrative industry brought Bill Ward to Texas in 1978, and timber sales for his company, Ward Timber, now run about $35 million a year. “This is the biggest industry in east Texas,” says Ward, whose company – co-owned by John B. Jones – employs 110 people and has five locations in Northeast Texas. Ward Timber primarily buys and sells timber and timberland in the fourstate area: Northeast Texas, Southeast Oklahoma, Southwest Arkansas and Northwest Louisiana. “It’s easily over a billion-dollar-ayear industry just in Northeast Texas. It’s huge,” he says. “If you took the timber industry out, it would really knock the economy in the head around here.” It’s been this way for decades, thanks to the abundance of hardwood trees, particularly pine; a climate well suited to their growth; and plenty of people ready

and willing to process the bounty. The global company International Paper is a major player in the industry here, with its Texarkana Mill in Domino spending an estimated $70 million a year on payroll. The company also pays $909,000 in annual sales taxes for the mill, further bolstering the region’s economy. “Northeast Texas boasts many great resources,” says Amanda Black-Keeney, spokeswoman for International Paper’s Texarkana Mill. “Friendly, talented, caring people coupled with abundant working forestlands and adequate water resources made this the right choice for International Paper 35 years ago, and it certainly remains the right choice today.” The Texarkana Mill produces coated paperboard for packaging, hot and cold drink cup stock and folding cartons. Anthony Forest Products, headquartered in El Dorado, Ark., is another major, longtime company in the region, owning approximately 86,000 acres of timberland in Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas. It operates Southern pine lumberproducing mills in Urbana, Ark., and Atlanta, Texas, and wood chip mills in Plain Dealing, La., and Troup, Texas. The biggest change to the industry

through the years has been an increase in efficiency thanks to mechanization on the logging side, Ward says. “Thirty years ago, if you had a logging job, you’d expect to produce 75 tons per week per man,” he says. “Today, with new equipment, you can produce 250 tons per week per man – and that’s a big difference.” Management practices have changed for the better as well, he says, such as avoiding clear-cutting along streams to help preserve wildlife and prevent water pollution and erosion. The biggest threat to the timber industry these days is the loss of timbergrowing land — to urbanization, to the government for other uses such as reservoirs, and to private companies for oil and gas pipelines, Ward says. Another challenge is the rising cost of fuel. “I think it will continue to be a strong, viable industry,” he says. “I think one of the biggest changes we’ll see in the next 10 years will be more efficient use of our forest products. We’ll be selling limbs and pine needles to fuel biomass plants to generate electricity. We’re already seeing some of that.” – Rebecca Denton

Vast acreages of piney woods have given rise to a billion-dollar timber industry in Northeast Texas.

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agribusiness

Milking It Hopkins County is a leader in Texas’ dairy industry

Hopkins County’s biggest dairy – Still Meadows Dairy – recycles manure into reusable energy.

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energy

Mining Their

Business TXU and Luminant lauded for attention to the land

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he Ark-Tex region is replete with lignite, which runs in seams much closer to the surface than its Appalachian neighbors and is much easier to mine. Lignite, though, is a lower-grade type of coal, and one company operating in the region has taken measures for decades to avoid coal mining’s bad rap, setting the standard for reclaiming mined land. TXU Corp.’s Monticello Mines complex includes the Winfield North Mine and Winfield South Mine, near Mount Pleasant; and Thermo Mine, near Sulphur Springs. All three feed the Monticello Steam Electric Station, a plant run by Luminant, a TXU subsidiary that produces electricity for Texas. The Monticello mining began in the early 1970s. The company has since reclaimed more than 19,000 acres of mined land there with trees, native grasses and wildlife, creating wetlands, ponds and streams as well. TXU and Luminant have won numerous state, industry and federal awards for their environmental work. “We are very proud of efforts and believe they are second to none,” says Sid Stroud, Luminant’s environmental mining manager. At roughly 60 million years old, lignite is “just a baby” compared to other types of coal, Stroud says. Lignite is strip-mined after removing 60 to 80 feet of topsoil and dirt; uncovered bands may be miles long but 150 feet wide, and four to 10 feet deep. Below another layer of clay and sediment is another band of lignite. The deepest lignite mine may hit a few hundred feet, well above any groundwater or main water-bearing aquifers, Stroud says. As soon as one area is mined, the reclamation begins. The new dirt removed as the pit moves across the landscape is

used to backfill the area just mined. “Then we come in with bulldozers, level the ground and plant it with trees and grasses and restore the landscape as it existed,” Stroud says. It sounds simple, but TXU’s reclamation program has evolved over decades of study and research. The company has environmental staff in Dallas and at each mining operation. The company started reclamation before any federal or state regulations required it, back in the early 1970s. Since then, TXU has planted more than 25 million trees in Texas. Because pine forests and pasture lands dominate the Monticello area, it works out to about 400 trees an acre. At least 20 different hardwoods go into the ground, along with grasses and other plants aimed at attracting back native wildlife. “There was a general consensus you couldn’t plant trees on mined land and we didn’t accept that,” Stroud says. “The way we look at it, it was the right thing to do.” The results have been well recognized and led to the creation of a special “Director’s Award” by the federal Office of Surface Mining. Agriculture, wildlife and fisheries programs at the Monticello mines have been lauded by the Nature Conservancy of Texas, the Texas Agricultural Extension Service, the Railroad Commission of Texas (which regulates mining in the state), the Interstate Mining Compact and the Office of Surface Mining. A few years back, Stroud took a group that included the railroad commission chairman on a tour through reclaimed areas near Monticello. Impressed by the site, one man all but gasped when the tour vehicle came upon a scrubby area, demanding to know what had happened. “We had just left the mined land,” Stroud says. “It was native land.” – Pamela Coyle

Reclaiming more than 19,000 acres of mined land, TXU Energy in Mount Vernon is setting the standard for environmentally-conscious mining. S TA F F P H OTO

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portfolio

Reins in the Forecast I

Hopkins County isn’t the only show in the region. Nearly every town has a rodeo. Some, like Clarksville’s, are charity events that raise money for a local cause. Mayor Ann Rushing says the big event is always held the second weekend in June and last year had competition from three other rodeos on the same day in Northeast Texas. Clarksville’s event, which also includes clowns, “mutton bustin” and other attractions, raises money for the city’s volunteer fire department. “It is a wonderful community event,” she says. “It is a wonderful way to promote economic development.” James Andrews, Rushing’s son, puts on rodeos in Texas, Arkansas, New Mexico, Arizona and Oklahoma. It’s in the blood: Grandfather Burr Andrews was a stock contractor who competed

himself; father Sammy Andrews started producing amateur rodeos in the 1980s and still does with his son. He’s known for raising “Bodacious,” a fierce but popular bull that remains a legend. He died in 2000 at age 12. Rodeo fans have no shortage of options in this part of Texas, where nearly every town hosts its own. Mount Pleasant has its rodeo every June. Late April brings the Cass County Championship Rodeo, a professionally sanctioned event, to Linden at the end of April to coincide with the Wildflower Trails of Texas Festival. A portion of the proceeds supports the county’s 4-H group and scholarships. Elliott says people just love the excitement of rodeos, though he admits he doesn’t get to see much of it. “I am usually working in the concessions,” he says.

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n this part of the world, rodeos rule and Hopkins County may be at the top of the heap. The Hopkins County Regional Civic Center hosts no fewer than four major rodeos each year, starting in January with the Four States High School Rodeo, attracting young riders from Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Arkansas. March brings the spring UPRA membership rodeo; the finals return to Sulphur Springs in November. The Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association comes to town in July. Why Hopkins? “Our arena is air-conditioned,” says Bill Elliott, president of the Hopkins County Chamber of Commerce. The town has 16,000 people; the civic center has 2,500 bleacher seats, and the county just built a stall barn to accommodate 300 animals.

Nearly every town has a rodeo in this part of the world, and hometown rodeos draw big local crowds.

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portfolio

Serving With a Smile W

S TA F F P H OTO

aitress Mabel Wheat has been serving sundaes, shakes, malts and fountain drinks at Miller’s Pharmacy in downtown Cooper for 57 years. She left the cotton fields for the soda fountain, her first job that wasn’t outside in the fields or raising her own children. It was 1951, and Wheat made $100

Miller’s Pharmacy waitress Mabel Wheat

a month, working 10-to 12-hour days, especially on Saturdays when the fountain at Miller’s Pharmacy was a regional destination. She was 29 then and is 86 now. “It wasn’t long before I started getting raises,” she says. These days, she works less but makes more. Miller’s no longer has a pharmacy, but the soda fountain remains an attraction, drawing groups from class reunions and the nearby college. It is open from noon to 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and Wheat is always there. The Miller family opened the pharmacy in the 1920s and moved it to the current location, 300 E. Dallas St., about 1930. The family still owns the joint, which retains its old-timey atmosphere. The menu has its oddities, including some signature items and some standards named for politicians who’ve made campaign stops. The Boo Boo is straw-

berry, cherry and grape syrup with carbonated water. Take out the grape, leaving just strawberry and cherry, and you’ve got a Red Hot. The Dusty Road is an ice cream sundae with malt powder. Ann Richards put her stamp on the chocolate soda; Jim Ferguson is immortalized as root beer. The chocolate and vanilla ice cream are made on site. Wheat can’t even guess how much Miller’s uses in a week, let alone a lifetime. “I was the first lady he (Mr. Miller) taught to make ice cream,” she says. “We use so much vanilla making malts and shakes.” Wheat, a self-described country gal, loves her job but at times misses the long days in the fields. She loves being outdoors, though for more than five decades now, she’s collected stories and friends rather than cotton and pecans. “I’d write a book, but I don’t have time.”

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categories for chicken and beef. The stew tradition, says Bill Elliott, president of the Sulphur Springs Chamber of Commerce, started in the late 1800s at the end of the school year, when folks would throw everything they had into the pot. Today, contestants use castiron pots up to 40 gallons in size but must cook over a wood fire. “Recipes with secret ingredients abound,” Elliott says. Over time, those kettles may well have included Avery tomatoes. The city got into the tomato industry in the 1920s when two local farmers realized Avery could duplicate the success that Jacksonville, Texas, had had in growing and shipping tomatoes to points north, says Lynn Stephenson, city secretary. Signs proclaiming “AVERY, Tomato Center of Northeast Texas,” greeted visitors at the town line; the town water tower got a bigger version of the same sign in 1949.

For many farming families, tomatoes meant green. At its peak, Avery was filled with so-called “tomato tramps,” those who arrived each summer for the back-breaking work of picking them, and tomato sheds with teenagers for sorting and packing. Each year, there was a tomato festival. The tradition faded as the industry did, but in 2003, city leaders brought back the annual festival. The event draws more than 10,000 people to the city of 462 each summer.

BRIAN MCCORD

he city of Avery loves the tomato and celebrates it every summer on the Saturday before July 4th with a Tomato Queen Pageant, lawnmower races, music and two salsa contests, one red, one green. The northeast corner of Texas likes its festivals, and the Avery Tomato Festival is just one local tradition. The towns of Linden, Avinger and Hughes Springs host the Wildflower Trails of Texas festival each April, showcasing literally thousands of varieties. Hopkins County has a Dairy Festival each June with a homemade ice cream contest and a folk festival in May. Each November, Texarkana has a Mistletoe Fair. And in this region of Texas, the cooking festivals are about stew, not chili. The Fall Festival in Sulphur Springs draws 120 cooking teams for the annual stew cook-off, with separate

Wildflower blooms peak in April.

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Get Some R&R

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elah Inn at the Ranch is a retreat with a mission. Owners Candy and Dave Hickerson originally wanted a retirement getaway with some land in the country. They wanted to be within 100 miles of the Dallas area, where they ran a Christmas tree farm, for an easy weekend commute, but far enough to find some solitude. Their search took them to 750 acres and a small farmhouse outside Mount Vernon owned by “Dandy” Don Meredith. For five years, they worked on the land and decided to build their weekend home. But the Hickersons struggled with the design; as Christians, they prayed for guidance.

The vision that unfolded was a place where people could leave behind stress, enjoy wildlife, eat healthy food and find renewal. “Selah,” the couple says, is a Hebrew word that means pause or rest. The inn expanded its mission in 2007 when it became one of three sites in the U.S. where the Wisconsinbased Pastors Retreat Network Pastors sends ministers and their spouses for a weeklong renewal. In 2008, the network – which also provides scholarships – will have 30 retreats at Selah Inn for up to six couples at a time. Participants, Candy Hickerson says, must agree to a “media fast” without television, laptops or cell phones. The

week includes self-directed study and pastors are encouraged to “leave doctrine at the door,” Hickerson says. Guests can hike, practice shooting, relax, get massages or simply enjoy the land.

Selah Inn at the Ranch is a 30,000square-foot ranch and working retreat, with three stand-alone cabins.

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ccess is key for birders, and the Prairies and Pineywoods Wildlife Trails in Northeast Texas provide it – more than 250 viewing sites, from urban to woods and prairies on both public and private lands. The variety and access make the combined trails one of the two top birding destinations in Texas. “To find shore birds in east Texas, you have to have access to water, which is a tough thing to do,” says David Brotherton, an avid birder from Daingerfield. “The really great thing for birders (on these trails) is you have permission,” he says. The habitats vary greatly and with them the bird species. “In the north part there are more prairies and open grasses but you don’t have to go far to get into piney woods,” Brotherton says. The list of what can be seen from the trails is long: • Scissor-tailed flycatchers and Cooper’s hawks in the Blackland Prairie Habitat; • Grasshopper sparrows, Eastern meadowlarks and dickcissels on open grassland in private ranches;

A R K–T E X R E G I O N

• Indigo buntings and summer tanagers in woodland areas; • Great blue herons, egrets, kingfishers near lakes, rivers and streams; • Several different colorful warblers, the red-shouldered hawk and common nighthawk in the Big Thicket forest area. Regional favorites included the large pileated woodpecker, the loud one that makes “the Woody Woodpecker noise,” Brotherton says, and bald eagles, which nest in spots throughout the region. That wasn’t happening when he moved to Texas in 1981 and has picked up in the last six years, he says. Chris Gunn’s favorite is the pileated woodpecker. He’s the ranger at Atlanta State Park in Cass County and watches as scores of birding groups from Texas and across the country visit, especially in the fall. Fall brings the migratory birds, and in November the park had several, including pelicans. The park also is home to nesting bald eagles. For more information: www.tpwd. state.tx.us/huntwild/wild/ wildlife_trails/.

– Stories by Pamela Coyle

A N TO N Y B O S H I E R

Bird Watchers Flock Here

The Prairie and Piney Woods Wildlife Trail is among the state’s top birding spots.

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Transportation

You can’t

“GO”

without it!

Texarkana Metropolitan Planning Organization “Come Plan With Us” 220 Texas Blvd. • P.O. Box 1967 • Texarkana, Texas 75504 • www.texarkanampo.org Phone: (903) 798-3927 • Fax: (903) 798-3773 • E-mail: txkmpo@txkusa.org


ECONOMIC PROFILE BUSINESS CLIMATE

TRANSPORTATION Highways Future I-69, I-20, I-30, I-49 – complete to Louisiana

Business Climate: The Ark-Tex region is strategically prepared for business, with its proximity to Mexico, excellent infrastructure, skilled and trainable workforce and favorable pro-business climate. There is affordable, customized workforce training available through the region’s many colleges and universities.

Air Texarkana Regional Airport

2005 State Tax Comparison

www.txkairport.com (870) 774-2171

Texas per capita income, $32,462

Shreveport Regional Airport www.ci.shreveport.la.us (318) 673-5370

Taxes as a percentage of personal income, 4.42%.

Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport www.dfwairport.com (972) 973-5100 Rail Union Pacific Railroad www.up.com (402) 544-5000 Kansas City Southern Railroad www.kcsouthern.com (877) 527-9464

E-mail: sidc@newbostontx.org www.newbostonsidc.org New Boston Chamber of Commerce (903) 628-2581 (phone/fax) E-mail: chamber@newbostontx. org, www.newbostontx.org

State taxes per $1,000 of personal income, $44.18 Comparison of Percentage of Personal Income Oklahoma percentage, 6.59% Louisiana, 7.69% Arkansas, 8.77% (Source: www.longviewedc.com)

BOWIE COUNTY

Amtrak, www.texaseagle.com Ports Port of Shreveport/Bossier www.portsb.com (318) 524-2272

TAXES Texas is a pro-business state with low taxes and no personal or state corporate income tax. Texas state sales tax is 6.25% with an additional economic development sales tax of .5%. The local sales tax and property taxes vary by county.

Population, 89,306 County Judge: The Honorable James M. Carlow Bowie County Courthouse P.O. Box 248 New Boston, TX 75570 (903) 628-6718 (903) 628-6719 (fax) www.co.bowie.tx.us Nash Industrial Development Corporation (903) 838-0751 (903) 831-3411 (fax) New Boston Special Industrial Development Corporation (903) 628-6340 (phone/fax)

Red River Redevelopment Authority (903) 223-9841, (903) 223-8742 (fax) Email: duane.lavery@rrcp.org www.rrcp.org Texarkana Chamber of Commerce (903) 792-7191 or (877) ARK-LATX (903) 794-4304 (fax) http://www.Texarkana.wliinc2. com/index.htm

CASS COUNTY Population, 30,438 County Judge: The Honorable Charles McMichael P.O. Box 825 Linden, TX 75563 (903) 756-5181, (903) 756-5732 www.cass.tx.us Atlanta Chamber of Commerce (903) 796-3296

I spy something green. Everyday moments can be learning moments with your kids. For more tips, visit bornlearning.org

Cloud Nine. The Hampton Bed Experience. On the House™ Hot Breakfast On the Run Breakfast Bag™ 100% Hampton Guarantee 5300 N. State Line Ave. • Texarkana, TX 71854 (870) 774-4444 • Fax: (870) 779-1303

ARK TEX REGION

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Complimentary Full Breakfast Complimentary Wireless High-Speed Internet Access Free Local Calls Complimentary Coffee in the Lobby Seasonal Outdoor Pool Exercise Room Meeting Room

5210 N. State Line Texarkana, AR 71854 (870) 772-0070 Fax: (870) 773-1408 E-mail: qualityinntxk@cableone.net

1920 Clarksville â&#x20AC;˘ Paris, TX â&#x20AC;˘ (903) 737-7473 www.parisisd.net

Creating an environment conducive to the education and development of each student by raising the standard of excellence in academics, arts, technology and athletics while preserving and using our natural resources to enhance a welcoming and secure environment.

www.qualityinntxk.com

State-of-the-art high school and athletics facility opening Fall 2010.

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ARK TEX REGION


economic profile (903) 796-5711 (fax) www.atlantatexas.org Atlanta Economic Development Corporation (903) 796-5627 (903) 799-4072 (fax) Email: atlantatexas@sbcglobal. net, www.atlantatexas.org Atlanta City Development Corporation (903) 796-6041 (903) 796-6062 (fax) www.atlantatexas.org Queen City Economic Development Corporation (903) 796-9060 (903) 796-4170 (fax) Linden Economic Development Corporation/ Chamber of Commerce (903) 756-7774, (903) 756-3106 (903) 756-7842 (fax) Hughes Springs Chamber of Commerce (903) 639-2351 (903) 639-3769 (fax) www.hughesspringstx.net

DELTA COUNTY Population, 5,327 County Judge: The Honorable Ted Carrington Delta County Courthouse 200 West Dallas Cooper, TX 75432 (903) 395-4400, (903) 395-2178 (fax) www.deltacounty.org Delta County Chamber of Commerce (903) 395-4314 (903) 395-4318 (fax) www.deltacounty.org

FRANKLIN COUNTY Population, 9,458 County Judge: The Honorable Jerry Hubbell Franklin County Courthouse 200 N. Kaufman St. Mt. Vernon, TX 75487 (903) 537-2342 (903) 537-2418 (fax)

ARK TEX REGION

Franklin County Chamber of Commerce (903) 537-4365 (903) 537-4160 (fax) www.mtvernon-tx.com Mt. Vernon Economic Development Corporation/ Franklin County Industrial Foundation (903) 537-4495 (903) 537-2634 (fax) www.visitmtvernontx.com Winnsboro Economic Development Corporation (903) 342-0684 (903) 342-5708 (fax) www.winnsboroedc.com Winnsboro Chamber of Commerce (903) 342-3666 www.winnsboro.com

HOPKINS COUNTY Population, 31,960 County Judge: The Honorable Cletis Millsap Hopkins County Courthouse P.O. Box 288 Sulphur Springs, TX 75483 (903) 438-4006, (903) 438-4007 (fax) Sulphur Springs/Hopkins County Chamber of Commerce (903) 885-6515 (903) 885-6516 (fax) E-mail: billelliott@ suddenlinkmail.com www.sulphursprings-tx.com Sulphur Springs/Hopkins County Economic Development Corporation (903) 439-0102 (903) 439-6396 (fax)

LAMAR COUNTY Population, 48,499 County Judge: The Honorable M.C. (Chuck) Superville, Jr. Lamar County Courthouse 119 North Main Paris, TX 75460 (903) 737-2410, (903) 785-3850 (fax) www.co.lamar.tx.us

Paris Texas/Lamar County Chamber of Commerce/ Economic Development Corporation Contact: Pete Kampfer (800) PARISTX, (903) 784-2501 (903) 784-2503 (fax) E-mail: pedc@paristexas.com or chamber@paristexas.com www.paristexas.com

MORRIS COUNTY Population, 13,048 County Judge: The Honorable J.C. Jennings Morris County Courthouse 500 Broadnax Daingerfield, TX 75638 (903) 645-3691, (903) 645-5729 (fax) www.co.morris.tx.us Daingerfield Chamber of Commerce (903) 645-2646 (903) 645-7847 (fax) www.daingerfield.tx.net

RED RIVER COUNTY Population, 14,314 County Judge: The Honorable Morris Harville County Courthouse Annex 400 North Walnut St. Clarksville, TX 75426 (903) 427-2680, (903) 427-5510 (fax) Red River County Chamber of Commerce (903) 427-2645 (903) 427-5454 (fax) www.red-river.net Clarksville Economic Development Corporation (903) 427-3834 (903) 427-3907 (fax) www.red-river.net

TITUS COUNTY Population, 28,118 County Judge: The Honorable Sam Russell County Courthouse 100 West 1st Street, Suite 200 Mt. Pleasant, TX 75455

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(903) 577-6791, (903) 557-6793 (fax) www.co.titus.tx.us Titus County Chamber of Commerce (903) 572-8567 (903) 572-0613 (fax) www.co.titus.tx.us Titus County Industrial Foundation (903) 572-6602 (903) 572-0613 (fax) www.mpedc.org

MILLER COUNTY, ARKANSAS Population, 40,443 County Judge: The Honorable Roy John McNatt Miller County Courthouse 400 Laurel St. Texarkana, AR 71854 (870) 774-1301, (870) 773-3493 (fax)

FOR MORE INFORMATION

VISIT OUR ADVERTISERS Ark-Tex Council of Governments www.atcog.org

Lamar County Courthouse www.co.lamar.tx.us

Atlanta City Development Corporation www.atlantatexas.com

Mount Vernon Economic Development

Black Chamber of Commerce, Texas Bowie County Courthouse www.co.bowie.tx.us

Ocean Spray Cranberries Inc. www.oceanspray.com

Century 21 – Harvey Properties www.c21php.com

Paris Independent School District www.parisisd.net

City of Texarkana, Arkansas www.txkusa.org

Paris Junior College www.parisjc.edu

City of Texarkana, Texas www.ci.texarkana.tx.us

Paris Regional Medical Center www.parisrmc.com

Delta County Courthouse www.co.delta.tx.us

Quality Inn

Guaranty Bond Bank www.gnty.com

Queen City EDC www.queencitytx.org

Hackelman Brothers Construction

Red River Development Authority www.rrcp.org

Hampton Inn – Paris www.paris_hampton@hilton.com

Red River Federal Credit Union www.rrfcu.com

Hampton Inn – Texarkana, Arkansas www.txkar.hampton@hilton.com

Texarkana College www.texarkanacollege.edu

Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites www.hiexpress.com/ sulphurspringstx

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New Boston SIDC www.newbostontx.org

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Texarkana Metropolitan Planning Organization www.texarkanampo.org Texas A&M University – Texarkana www.tamut.edu

Ark-Tex Council of Governments 4808 Elizabeth St. Texarkana, TX 75503 Phone: (903) 832-8636 Fax: (903) 832-3441 www.atcog.org The Ark-Tex Council of Governments is a voluntary association of cities and counties in Northeast Texas and Miller County, Ark., dedicated to promoting the economic development of the area. The Northeast Texas Economic Developers’ Roundtable, a partnership of Northeast Texas counties, was founded to promote the region’s economic development. More information is available at www.therightcorner.com.

SOURCES: The source for all information, unless otherwise noted, is www.atcog.org. OTHER SOURCES: www.therightcorner.com www.longviewedc.com http://texarkana.wliinc2.com

ARK TEX REGION


Come Live the

Good Life Texarkana, Arkansas

Affordable Living Attracts Commerce Postcards from the Past, Progress for the Future Special Advertising Section


Come Live the Good Life

Affordable Living

Attracts Commerce BUSINESS MATH: LOW TAX RATES ADD UP TO MAJOR SAVINGS FOR BUSINESSES & RESIDENTS

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tage on the Arkansas side of the line, Boldt says, “because you don’t pay taxes any differently than a citizen would who owns a home.” This favorable tax structure is one of several factors that make Texarkana, Ark. a smart place to do business, according to Bob Nelsen, longtime manager of the Cooper Tires plant there. Nelsen, who is now retired, watched the plant grow and thrive in this pro-business environment, including five major expansions between 1964 and 1993. When it opened in 1964, Nelsen says, the plant employed 400 people and generated 4,000 passenger-size car and truck tires daily. Those numbers had grown to 2,000 workers and 42,000 tires a day by 2004. In addition to its appealing tax structure, Texarkana, Ark. offers a highly strategic location and a readily available, skilled workforce with a strong collective work ethic, Nelsen says. Boldt adds that the state of Arkansas allows city governments to serve as conduits for issuing the debt for companies in search of capital, which provides even more incentive for businesses looking to relocate. “And we can do it faster and probably cheaper than businesses would be able to do if they are trying to finance on a private-funding basis,” Boldt says. And there’s more. Nelsen ticks off additional benefits to businesses locating on the Arkansas side of the line. “The state of Arkansas has lots of incentives for business to expand. They have some tax incentives if you’re adding new, full-time jobs or expending over $5 million on capital equipment. They have incentives to spread out or forgive sales taxes and they provide money for training employees,” Nelsen says. “We took advantage of all of those benefits over the years.”

STAFF PHOTOS

he numbers are compelling. A thin line may separate Texas from Arkansas in Texarkana, but compare property taxes for a business located on the Arkansas side with those on the Texas side, and the difference is dramatic. Arkansas residents and business owners pay roughly 60 percent less in property taxes on comparable property values, explains Texarkana, Ark. City Manager Harold Boldt. Considering that Texas assesses properties at 100 percent of their value, and Arkansas assesses properties at 20 percent of market value, homeowners in Arkansas benefit from substantial savings. “You find yourself paying 60 percent less in taxes when you look at comparable property values,” Boldt says. “That’s pretty significant.” And for business owners, there is an even greater advan-

Large employers such as Cooper Tires are drawn to Texarkana, Ark. because of a favorable tax structure and a city government that aggressively pursues development.

Special Advertising Section


Te x a rkana, A rkans a s

Main Street

of Distinction

DOWNTOWN DISTRICT COMES ALIVE WITH ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT

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apata Grill Mexican Cantina in downtown Texarkana is the kind of place where you bring friends from out of town. With a popular happy hour and an interesting location in an older building, the unique eatery is filling a niche long-open in Texarkana. “For the longest time, people had to go to Shreveport or somewhere else for that kind of night life,” says Bethany Hanna, executive director of the Texarkana Main Street program. Zapata brings local flavor and flair to the night scene downtown. The restaurant serves up an example of the success that can be had by entrepreneurs who are creative enough to pass up on strip mall locations and eschew same-old, same-old franchises. Established in 2000, Zapata’s has done so well that it has expanded.

It’s a success story others are hoping to emulate, Hanna says. And others are on the way. Considering the growing revitalization downtown, Hanna lists some of the latest development news as definite signs of success. “We’ve got a dance club coming in. We’ve got a brew house with a Creole restaurant. We have a sports bar, and more loft or historic apartments are being refurbished, as well,” Hanna says. Today, downtown Texarkana is an eclectic mix of businesses drawing people in with arts and entertainment venues and pedestrian-friendly urban living. The business district along State Line Avenue is flanked on one end by the courthouse and post office, which straddle the state line, and the other by the historic marble train depot.

Zapata Grill Mexican Cantina provides an excellent example of the success that awaits entrepreneurs who choose to invest in the downtown district.

www.txkusa.org

The retail district, a T-shape formed where Front Street crosses State Line in front of the depot, spans Texas and Arkansas. People have come downtown for years to “cross the line,” then they stay to visit restaurants, nightclubs, art galleries, the theater and special events venues. That hasn’t always been the case. Once a bustling place filled with the ebb and flow of train passengers, downtown Texarkana – like downtown districts across the country – has reinvented itself in recent years. Four years ago, a coalition of businesses joined the Main Street program operated by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, which is a nationwide organization that employs a mix of historic preservation and economic development initiatives to restore and revitalize downtown districts. The revitalization effort is a true work-in-progress, Hanna explains. The program involves a four-point approach with attention to design, promotion, organization and economic restructuring. It’s an incremental program and it takes time, she emphasizes. “Downtowns didn’t decline overnight and they don’t come back overnight either,” Hanna says. Since the Main Street program launched in Texarkana, more than $200,000 in grant money has been secured for its restoration and revitalization efforts. Visible signs of all the hard work are evident when visiting the area today. “All of the buildings that are useable and in good condition have been purchased, as well as some that need work,” Hanna says. “You’re doing pretty well when people are finally saying ‘I’m going to fix that up.’” This special section is published for the City of Texarkana, Ark. by Journal Communications Inc.

For more information, contact: City of Texarkana, Ark. P.O. Box 2711 • Texarkana, AR 75504 Phone: (870) 779-4991 • Fax: (870) 774-3170 ©Copyright 2008 Journal Communications Inc., 725 Cool Springs Blvd., Suite 400, Franklin, TN 37067, (615) 771-0080. All rights reserved. No portion of this special advertising section may be reproduced in whole or in part without written consent. On the cover: Texarkana Federal Building Staff Photo


Come Live the Good Life

Postcards from the Past

Progress for the Future MAYOR’S COLLECTION EVOKES MEMORIES OF DAYS GONE BY

STAFF PHOTO

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Mayor Horace Shipp’s vintage postcard collection documents Texarkana history.

ike the historical Texarkana postcards he collects, Texarkana, Ark. Mayor Horace Shipp waxes short, sweet and to-the-point on the benefits of his native city. “We have a great quality of life and a very reasonable cost of living,” Shipp says. “I think it’s a great place to raise a family and I think it is a great place to retire.” Shipp speaks from experience – seven generations’ worth, to be exact. “I’m the seventh generation that has lived here. This is the only location my family knew for those seven generations,” Shipp says. When Shipp strolls through town he sees both present and past, listing his favorite spot as Union Station. “Studying and knowing the history of our city, I know its birth was right there with the railroad,” Shipp says.

Over the past 25 years, Shipp has worked to preserve another piece of Texarkana, Ark. history – the vibrant record relayed by postcards. His collection includes postcards dating from 1904 to the present. Congress authorized the penny postcard in about 1904, and the popularity of the cards soared, Shipp explains. Texarkana, meanwhile, was alive with travelers arriving by railroad and later by car and bus. Once a form of sending a message, the postcards today encapsulate history. “It was kind of a stopping off place, so these postcards were very popular in Texarkana,” Shipp says. “It’s a record unlike any other record. These postcards are not photographs you find in a museum, they’re taken from a different mindset.”

Entertaining History ORGANIZATION AIMS TO RESTORE GRANDEUR TO HISTORIC AUDITORIUM

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lvis played there. Johnny Cash, Louis Armstrong, Roy Orbison and countless other performers once rocked the house at the Arkansas Municipal Auditorium. Its stage lights have long since dimmed and the wooden stage is covered over, but the heart of the auditorium – once the heart of Texarkana’s entertainment scene – is still beating beneath carpet and drywall. A community group called the Arkansas Municipal Auditorium Commission is determined to revive the auditorium and restore its glory. “It has been a hidden gem and nobody has done anything with it until the auditorium commission formed to see if it could be restored,” says Mark Shoptaw, Arkansas Municipal Auditorium Commission president. As Shoptaw explains, the project is

about more than restoring a building; it’s about reclaiming history. Built in 1928, the auditorium seated 900 and drew popular entertainers of the day, as well as serving as a venue for countless community performances. Then, as it does now, the building played a multipurpose role in the city landscape with a fire station on one side and city hall on the other. Those municipal functions remain, but the auditorium was silenced some time in the 1960s. Later the space was converted into office space for city workers. Today, the restoration is under way, and the building has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The ambitious project will refurbish the building to the specifications set forth by the architect’s original design dated June 26, 1928. The vision is to

create a state-of-the-art arts facility inside the historic structure. A banquet hall, classrooms, rehearsal rooms and a 700-seat auditorium are all part of the plan.

Arkansas Municipal Auditorium in the 1930s

Special Advertising Section


STAFF PHOTO

Te x a rkana, A rkans a s

The Texarkana Regional Airport in Texarkana, Ark. is in the early stages of a major expansion project.

Prepare for Takeoff TRANSPORTATION IMPROVEMENTS FUEL TEXARKANA ECONOMY

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xperts say the Texarkana, Ark., economy is poised to take off in the next 10 to 20 years, and the Texarkana Regional Airport could account for a great deal of the wind beneath those wings. While most talk centers on plans for major road projects that will transform the area economy, the region’s air travel also is slated to improve dramatically in coming years. The airport is about to embark on a major expansion project that will dramatically change its appearance, functionality and access, says Airport Director Steve Luebbert. Contractors already are moving dirt on the site and Luebbert says he expects to cut the ribbon on a brand-new passenger terminal by 2012. The new commercial facility will include new parking, a new fire station, a new rental car facility, new passenger terminal and more convenient access. While the definite size of the facility has yet to be determined, Luebbert says “it will be anywhere from 15,000 square feet on up. The intent is to provide room for growth.” Once the new passenger terminal is open, the airport also plans to build a platform for Amtrak passengers. Creating an intermodal transit facility is the goal, which will open up access to new sources of money that “very few communities meet the requirements to tap,” Luebbert says. Already, the airport is a powerful economic engine,

Luebbert says. In addition to commercial traffic and general aviation business, it appeals to large corporate entities whose leaders travel by air. “You’re a nonstarter if you don’t have a commercial airport,” Luebbert says. “If you don’t have an airport that can handle the corporate jets or base [then] the corporations aren’t interested in locating here.” The current facility and its location compose “a little piece of history that goes back past World War II,” Luebbert says. Luebbert says that in the 1920s, aviators would take off from the horse race track, once located at Spring Lake Park. Following a tragic accident, Howard Webb, the son of a dairy farmer and the longest-serving airport director, moved the airfield to a dairy east of town that offered more clearance. “By 1928, the city of Texarkana decided that Howard was on to something,” Luebbert says. “So while 1928 is officially the beginning, we got our start with a crash out at Spring Lake Park.” From the original 190-acre dairy farm, the airport has grown over the years to its present-day size of approximately 1,000 acres. It features two runways, a 6,600-foot strip and an alternate runway that is 5,200 feet long. American Airlines and Continental both serve the Texarkana Regional Airport, connecting it with Dallas, Houston and beyond. The airport operates about nine flights daily.

www.txkusa.org


Come Live the Good Life

Superior Schools HIGH ACADEMIC STANDARDS RETURN SUCCESS

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n Texarkana Arkansas School District, the emphasis is on achievement for all students, with a mission of providing “an exceptional education for all students in a quality environment that develops citizens who are responsible, ethical, literate, competent and productive.” A string of honors, championships, recognition and surging test scores during the 2006-2007 school year attests to the district’s growing success in reaching for its goals. Genia Bullock, the district’s community involvement coordinator, offers a list of kudos the award-winning district has garnered. The list includes: • College Hill Middle School received the 2007 Shannon Wright Award for excellence, recognizing exemplary performance statewide. • College Hill Elementary was one of only two schools in Arkansas to be named a 2007 Blue Ribbon School by the U. S. Department of Education.

• Robin Stover, Arkansas High School principal and former College Hill Middle School principal, was named 2007 Middle School Principal of the Year for Arkansas. • The district’s North Heights Junior High, College Hill Middle School and Fairview Elementary School are recognized as prestigious Explorer Schools by the U.S. Department of Education and NASA. Student athletes from the district have earned the spotlight, as well. TASD high school baseball, tennis and football teams all took state championships for the 2006-2007 school year, a feat the football team repeated for 2007-2008. The arts, too, are well-represented. The Arkansas High School band was selected to play in the 2007 Sugar Bowl, while the high school dance team was tapped to perform at the 2007 Cotton Bowl. Texarkana Arkansas School District employs 914 and has more than 4,000 students.

Recent improvements at Texarkana High School included major renovations to its football field.

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STAFF PHOTO


Te x a rkana, A rkans a s

Plentiful Parks COMMUNITY EFFORTS ENRICH RECREATIONAL SPACES

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exarkana resident Debbie Haak was traveling the state in her position as a member of the state parks and tourism commission when she began to dream about improving a park in her hometown. When she learned that the state of Arkansas has a goal of ensuring there is a quality fishing lake within 30 minutes of every child within its borders, something clicked. “From there it grew,” says Haak, describing the redevelopment efforts that are transforming Texarkana’s Bobby Ferguson Park. The park, as it was, had a small lake, a walking trail and outdated playground equipment. “I like to dream about what’s the biggest something can be,” Haak says, explaining how her vision for improving the park evolved. With newspaper publicity to intro duce the idea, community interest just kept expanding, Haak says. From elementary school students to local contractors to city, county and state government, Haak’s dream for Bobby Ferguson Park has drawn broad support. The park improvements will include a new, larger fishing lake, expanded walking trails, a new playground, an amphitheater and a pavilion. The pavilion will provide a community gathering place, as well as outdoor classroom space where the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission employees will teach workshops.

School children are decorating benches with facts about Arkansas. Eagle Scouts are renovating a bridge. The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission has provided $75,000 toward the project, and Haak expects the Arkansas Parks and Tourism Department will grant $500,000. “It’s a community effort,” Haak says. “If you engage people, they want to help.” The 24-acre Bobby Ferguson Park is just one in a system of city parks that cover more than 280 acres. There are playgrounds and walking trails, neighborhood parks and city parks. They range from the 115-acre Ed Worrell Park – which is handicap-accessible and features six lighted baseball/softball fields, enabling it to host the Dixie Youth World Series in 2009 – to small parks such as Downtown Pocket Park, which is just over one-tenth of an acre. Within the city’s parks, diverse amenities color the landscape, from basketball hoops and jogging trails to picnic tables and a wide variety of playground equipment. Vibrant parks are a critical component to ensuring the continuing success of the local economy and a high quality of life for residents, says Texarkana, Ark. City Manager Harold Boldt. “I don’t see how you can have economic development without the amenities, and parks certainly are one of them,” Boldt says.

Thanks to a citizen-led improvement project, scenic Bobby Ferguson Park is only getting better by the day.

www.txkusa.org


Come Live the Good Life

More than Fairly

Accommodating FAIRGROUNDS PROVIDE VARIED VENUES & ECONOMIC BENEFITS Arkansas, Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana. From the Four States Fairgrounds “you can get to any adjoining state within 30 minutes at the most,” Duncan says. The namesake event, the Four States Fair and Rodeo, is a regional attraction, and several of the facility’s other events draw from states across the nation. Visitors, for example, streamed into Texarkana, Ark. from 34 different states for the 2007 AKC dog show held there. The annual bucking stock sale drew visitors from 31 different states in 2007, Duncan says. – Stories by Sue Lenthe

The Four States Fair and Rodeo is one of 60 to 70 events hosted annually at the Four States Fairgrounds.

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WES ALDRIDGE

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ike a steady engine, the Four States Fairgrounds churns out millions of dollars in economic benefits each year. The 104-acre facility draws approximately 400,000 visitors annually to events ranging from holiday festivals to monster truck shows, catered banquets to spelling bees, livestock sales to the most popular event of all – the nine-day Four States Fair and Rodeo. Dwight Duncan, president and CEO of the Four States Fair Association, offers a conservative estimate of the economic impact of the facility he oversees, placing it somewhere between $8 million and $10 million in a year’s time. The Four States Fairgrounds hosts 60 to 70 major events each year, Duncan says. There are circuses, community events, gun and knife shows, Harlem Globetrotters performances, demolition derbies and more. Many of the events take place inside the Four States Entertainment Center, which is the largest climate-controlled facility of its kind within a 65- to 70-mile radius of Texarkana. The 70,000-square-foot building can seat as many as 7,500. In addition, the Four States Fairgrounds offers event venues ranging from a newly completed 6,150-square-foot Fine Arts building that seats up to 350; a VIP room overlooking the Entertainment Center that seats up to 100; the 4,200-square-foot Oasis Pavilion for groups of 200 to 300; a 35,400-square-foot livestock barn; and a 1,254-square-foot outdoor stage with seating for 500. A catering division, meanwhile, can serve up menus as varied as the settings in which they are served. The emphasis at Four States Fairgrounds is on providing diverse entertainment options. “We try to host as many things and to be a part of the community in every way as we possibly can,” Duncan says, explaining that the fairgrounds often works with local charities to support their endeavors. “We try to provide wholesome family entertainment to the people of the four states area.” The fairgrounds’ central location, varied event venues and the variety of activities all are part of its appeal. The name of the facility – Four States – aptly describes the fairgrounds’ central location near the convergence of


QUEEN CITY ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

“Come Grow With Us” One of Queen City’s most valuable assets is the availability of land and locations ideal for new business or industry. Large and small tracts of land are available for purchase from private landowners. The Economic Development Corporation is interested in assisting entrepreneurs to acquire property and develop business in this area. For more information, contact the Queen City Economic Development Corporation. High-tech chicken houses supply the large poultry industry.

ADVANTAGES OF A QUEEN CITY LOCATION:

• Busy Hwy. 59 runs through the heart of Queen City • Easy access to I-30, only 18 miles • Union Pacific Railroad, more than two dozen trains per day through Queen City • Aviation available • Available land Metal fabrication products and technology for residential, commercial and industrial construction.

• Affordable housing in restricted subdivisions • Excellent local school systems, colleges/university • Near major medical centers • Near entertainment and shopping

Wide-spread pine forest supports a thriving forest industry.

Growing housing industry provides beautiful homes.

P.O. Box 219 • Queen City, TX 75572 (888) 286-3836 • Fax: (903) 796-4170 E-mail: queencityedc@aol.com www.queencitytx.org



Business Images Ark-Tex Region: 2008