ETX View Magazine May June 2023

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Santana Gallacher


There’s nothing like the scenery we have here in East Texas. From the tall pine trees to our beautiful lakes, beauty surrounds us. Fortunately, it’s not just nice to look at; these spots in nature provide plenty of recreational activities to keep us entertained.

With summer almost here, I’m looking forward to exploring our area more and enjoying everything East Texas has to offer. That’s one thing we like to do inside the pages of this magazine –highlight some of those awesome places, people and things to do in the place we are blessed to call home. For our May/ June issue, we were inspired to feature some things men typically enjoy.

And that’s not to say women can’t do these things too. Actually, if you turn to Page 16, you’ll see we believe women can do anything men can do. Amberly Ortiz is the talented woman behind Modern Memento Taxidermy. Ortiz, along with partner and fellow taxidermist Justina Reed, are making waves in a field traditionally dominated by men. These two are living proof no one has to be put in a box because of their gender, circumstances, or anything else.

That being said, we wanted an issue men could pick up and read front to back, with each story piquing their interest.

Our cover story, starting on Page 8, is a fun one. Sam Parker, owner of Freshwater Fishing Adventures, treated us by taking us out on Lake Palestine for a day to get the full experience of what he offers through his business. As a fishing guide, Parker takes his clients out on his boat and helps them find and catch fish, teaching them tips and tricks along the way. After a full day of exploring, Parker will filet the fish you caught so you can cook a nice dinner with your spoils. Talk about a nice goody bag!

Speaking of the natural wonders of East Texas, Upshur County Game Warden Nathan Skeen’s has the privilege to call his office either the woods or on the water, but it’s a job that requires an immense amount of dedication and bravery. Read more on Page 24 about how Skeen, and others in the profession, makes a difference in their areas.

While there’s no place like the

outdoors, some of us like to stay in – especially during this Texas heat. If you’re looking for a hangout spot, check out Freelancers Cafe in Athens. Whether you want to get involved in an eSports tournament, watch a sporting event, or even get a tattoo, the options are endless at this cyber cafe. Oh, did I mention they have a robot that serves you coffee? ’Nuff said. Read about how cool this spot is on Page 32.

Another destination spot is the newly revamped Alpine Golf Course and its Pazitivo Inspired Kitchen restaurant located inside the clubhouse. Alpine owner Ronnie Boorman and Pazitivo chef Michael Reyes are an unstoppable force and have teamed up to create a space unlike any other. This spot is far more than just a place to play golf; it’s a whole experience. Check it out on Page 63.

Speaking of good food, have you tried locally raised beef? My husband and I had the opportunity to cook a couple cuts from Cut Beef in Tyler, and let me tell you, that stuff absolutely melts in your mouth and hardly needs any seasoning because it’s just that dang good on its own. We spoke to local ranchers, on Page 77, about what goes into the process and why this type of meat is so much better than your average processed meat.

We also had a blast getting to know the rest of the folks highlighted in this issue, including Longview McAttack Boxing owner Luther McAfee on Page 55 who is making an impact on local youth and adults alike. On Page 86, you’ll meet artist Orlando Guillen, who can transform an old car part or anything that would otherwise be trash into one-of-a-kind masterpieces.

Remember to let us help you make your summer plans, with our calendar of events on Page 94 and travel feature on 40.

Our Family and Education issue is coming up, then we’ll have the Women’s Issue and Holiday Issue to close out the year. If you know of people and places we should highlight, give me a shout.


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May/June 2023 | 6 24 32 54 CONTENTS 76 8 Life on the Water Fishing guide provides fun experience 16 Art of Preservation Female taxidermist helps memories live on 24 Making a Difference Game warden protects great outdoors 32 Hangout Spot Cyber cafe features coffee robot, gaming galore 40 Weekend Getaway Trip to Waco filled with experiences 54 Physical, Mental Wellness Boxing gym owner provides priceless benefits 62 Peters Fashion Rebrand at golf, restaurant brings good vibes 76 ‘Tastes So Good’ Local ranchers share secret behind flavorful meat 86 Trash to Treasure Unique artist transforms discarded material 94 Things to Do Must-attend May/June events in East Texas

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SAM PARKER of Freshwater Fishng Adventures spends a day on Lake Palestine.


Local fishing guide spends his days on the lake at Freshwater Fishing Adventures

The wind is harsh and loud as the fishing boat motors across the waves of Lake Palestine. Occasionally jumping over large waves and landing hard back on the water’s surface, splashes of lake water spray back into the boat. Sam Parker, owner of Freshwater Fishing Adventures, drives the boat with ease as he searches for his next spot to fish.

For three years now, Parker has been a full-time fishing guide. He spends most of his days on his boat on Lake Palestine, either guiding fishing trips for his customers or looking for fishing spots.

“I’ve always wanted to be a professional fisherman, I just never realized you could be a professional fisherman as a fishing guide,” Parker said. “I never considered that as an option. I started out taking people for free and everyone was telling me to guide but I thought, ‘I don’t want to do that, I don't want to ruin my hobby and turn it into a job.’ Well, I tried it. I am the type of person who is really competitive and I don’t want to fail at anything, so I tried it and I loved it. It wasn’t ruining my passion at all, in fact it made it more exciting that I could see other people getting excited about my passion.”

As a fishing guide, Parker takes his clients out on his boat and helps them find and catch fish. This includes teaching them various ways to catch fish.

On these fishing tours, they are looking exclusively for crappie.

“Everybody loves crappies,” Parker said. “It's the best eating freshwater fish – they taste awesome. They’re not fishy; it’s clean, white, flaky meat. And the limit is 25 a person, so you can catch a whole bunch of them and have a fun time.”

Parker could be considered a crappie expert.

“I have always done everything, but crappie has been my favorite,” Parker said. “During the winter time, you can find them on bridge pillars. In the spring time they move up on the banks and spawn. April, May they're on boat houses, and the rest of the year who knows where they're at.”

Parker uses sonar technology to help his customers catch crappie on his guides.

“It’s a tool, like an electrician, they have to have the right tools for the job and if this makes my job a lot more easier and efficient then I might as well use it,” Parker said.

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Using his sonar, Parker can tell it is crappie by the shape of the fish and how they sit lower near the trees.

“We are just going to look for little glowing balls on the tree, that’s gonna be our fish,” Parker said.

He puts the jig slightly above the fish, and when the fish sees the jig he raises the pole slowly and the fish go after the bait.

“Instead of just putting the line out in the water and hoping the fish come to us, we go to them. We chase them,” he said.

Parker can tell the size of the fish through the sonar.

“It’s exciting,” Parker said. “Being able to watch them on the screen, how they react and move, it’s taught me alot because I just spend all day every day looking at the screen. So it has gotten to the point where I can tell what they're going to do before they do it.”

He controls the boat’s trolling motor with his feet. The sonar is attached to the front of the trolling motor. He is able to use the sonar to move the boat so the bait is directly on top of the fish.

“Boat control is very important with this kind of fishing,” Parker said. “I have to drive it perfectly to put you on the fish, because if it’s not within inches of that fish he’s not going to bite it. You’ve heard of hand-eye coordination, well now I've got hand-foot coordination. I know where I am looking based on where my foot is sitting on this trolling motor.”

Parker’s customers have a lot of good things to say about Freshwater Fishing Adventures.

“Top shelf operation!!” Jeff Oliver said in a review on Freshwater Fishing Adventures’ Facebook page. “Sam took my questions and not only answered them, he was able to help me pick up on things to look for and improve on my setup!! Highly recommend this man!!”

Parker says his customers are a huge part of what makes his business so fun.

“A lot of my customers have become friends,” Parker said. “We'll meet up for lunch or one guy invites me to go hunting at his place once a year and I'll give him a free fishing trip because he is letting me hunt at his place. You meet a lot of people that do all kinds of different things. Sometimes I can even pick my customers' brains on how to do

May/June 2023 | 10 | CONT. ON PG. 13 | CONT.
FISHING GUIDE SAM PARKER specializes in catching crappie.
May/June 2023 | 12

things even better.”

Parker also has a rule where he usually won’t charge his customers unless they catch at least 20 fish on a trip.

“If we don't catch at least 20 fish I don't charge my customers,” Parker said. “I kinda hold myself to a higher standard. I feel like they are paying to go fishing and they want to catch fish. And if I am getting paid to take them fishing then I want to produce.”

Parker said he tries to do business the right way, and as long as his customers are happy, that’s all that matters.

“All my return customers that will do four, five, six trips a year, that’s what I want. I want to stay so busy that I won't be booking a trip tomorrow,” he said.

Parker’s fishing trips usually last about four hours. He will then clean all of that day’s fish for his customers and package the filets for them to take home.

“My trips end at 1-o-clock usually,” Parker said. “I clean fish and hang out with my customers for a minute and that normally puts me home at about 3, 3:30.”

During the summer, Parker will do two trips a day.

“Those trips are brutal, standing on one leg for 12 hours,” Parker said. “I do those when the fishing is good and when there is enough daylight in the day. I’ll do about three of those a week, just to get the number of trips that I need to do annually where they need to be.”

Parker also offers night trips, usually in the summer.

“Once it gets real, real hot, like 100 degrees, I usually do night trips to try to curve the 100-degree temps,” Parker said. “Keep people out of the sun, and myself, I'm a redhead so, normally you can't see it but I wear a hood over my head and I am completely covered head to toe.”

If the weather isn’t permissible, due to wind or rain, Parker will usually reschedule his tours. He still goes out to the lake and will scout for fish so he is prepared the next time he goes out.

“If I don't have a trip, I am still

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out here scouting,” Parker said. “I am looking to make sure I stay on the fish so my customers can have a good trip.”

While the majority of his tours are to catch fish, he will also get tour requests for other reasons.

“It’s not just the fishing but mostly fishing,” Parker said. “ I have people who just want to learn the lake…some people are wanting to learn how to navigate the lake safely without tearing up the boat or hurting someone. Every now and then I'll get a twilight cruise. Just a couple of older ladies who want to drive around the lake and sip some wine. I’ve had some people want to go out, like drone people, who want to get aerial footage. So I'll drive them around the lake and let them do real estate shots or whatever.”

Parker also does what he calls electronic trips.

“Some people don't want to fish, they just want to learn how to do what I do,” Parker said. “For people that want to be guides, they book me to try to figure out how I do what I do so mind helping.”

Along with his fishing guide duties, Parker also competes in crappie fishing tournaments.

“Right now I am doing about three tournaments a month,” Parker said. “This is my first year to dive into it really heavily. I committed to fishing two different trails. I am fishing Crappie Masters, which is a professional level trail, and I am fishing Crappie Anglers of Texas, and I am fishing the professional division with them…I am having a really good season.”

Sam has been married almost 10 years to his wife Courtney Parker, who is a fifth grade teacher at Brownsboro Intermediate School. They have two kids together, 9-yearold Riley and 5-year-old Jaren.

“This is the life, really. I am blessed,” Parker said. “It’s a balance trying to balance so much fishing, it's all fishing to me. Guide trips, tournaments, and trying to make sure I have enough time with my family.”

For more information about Freshwater Fishing Adventures, visit

May/June 2023 | 14


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PHOTOS from Freshwater Fishing Adventures Facebook page. SAM PARKER with his wife, Courtney, and children Riley and Jaren. Courtesy photo.

More Than Your Average TAXIDERMIST

Female-owned taxidermy business in Flint is making a name for itself

When Amberly Ortiz left a career in graphic design to pursue a lifelong love for art and science through taxidermy, she knew she was taking a significant risk. Her whole life, she’d been encouraged, like so many others, to seek stability over passion, and it left her feeling unfulfilled. She knew the only way to honor the radical choice to chase her bliss was to become one of the best in her field and offer her customers more than your average taxidermist.

After a year of apprenticing followed by three successful years owning and operating Modern Memento Taxidermy in Flint, Ortiz is proud to say she has accomplished all she set out to do and more.

Over a year ago, she expanded her operation to include fellow award-winning taxidermist Justina Reed. Together, they are expanding from an 800-square-foot metal shop beside Amberly’s home in Flint to a 5,600-square-foot, one-stop shop in Troup. The new shop, located next door to their exclusive partner, TFB Custom Processing, promises a tannery, seminar and classroom spaces, as well as a retail shop and a workspace large enough for Reed’s dream specimen: a giraffe.

“The bread and butter of our business will always and forever be deer. That’s the backbone of any taxidermy business; it’s kind of what pays our bills,” Ortiz and Reed explained. “But while we do enjoy working on deer and game heads in general, we as a shop have tried to branch out past that (working on) exotic game heads and specializing in small mammals and life-size predators … Our customers have caught on very quickly with that.”

One such customer is a local outdoorsman and faithful patron of Modern Memento since its establishment, Hunter Cochran. Cochran was born and raised in East Texas and has been hunting since he was 5 years old, but it wasn’t until Ortiz came to the area three years ago, opening her shop solo, that he said he finally found his “number one, taxidermist.”

“We have talented taxidermists around here, but her expertise is on another level,” he said with admiration. “When I took my first deer there, they had literally just gotten the lights turned on at her house…” he laughed, lost in the memory of it. “I admit I felt like I was taking a risk using her, but her customer service is top-

May/June 2023 | 16 | CONT. ON PG. 19

AMBERLY ORTIZ, owner of Modern Memento Taxidermy, is an award-winning taxidermist. After running a successful operation in Flint, her shop is expanding to a larger spot in Troup.

May/June 2023 | 18
AMBERLY ORTIZ, right, owner of Modern Memento Taxidermy, poses in the shop with her manager Justina Reed. The pair is making waves in the industry, traditionally dominated by men.


notch, and she goes the extra mile for sure. When I brought her a Catalina ram, she got in contact with an expert taxidermist in Australia just to make sure she did mine perfectly. And it was. She’s really doing art.”

Cochran said he receives endless compliments for the whitetail deer and Catalina ram Ortiz did for him and already has a fox and bobcat in her freezers ready to be worked on within the year. He hopes this fall will bring him a turkey whose feathers she can mount.

“Her work speaks for itself. Now when I take stuff to her, I say, ‘all right, Amberly, do what you do,’” Cochrain said.

As an artist, there is no higher praise than a patron entrusting their vision, memories, and hard-earned possessions to your expertise and creative vision. It’s a trust Ortiz and her team take seriously.

“What we preserve isn’t just the memory of the hunt itself, but I feel it’s our responsibility to preserve that animal and represent it in its life and carry on its legacy with it,” Ortiz said with reverence. “The best part of being a taxidermist is hearing the stories from the hunters that do come in… that (mount) could have been the last hunt they had with their dad or a child’s first buck they harvested, and we get to preserve all of that for them and the animal along with it for generations.”

Ortiz and Reed specialize in preservation, but it is clear they are also invested in making something new and opening the doors for others they once felt were


19 | May/June 2023

closed to them when they were younger.

“My ambition for the new location is…community involvement, expanding beyond our doors and working with youth programs so younger generations can keep this industry going,” Ortiz said.

Ortiz’ passion ignites as she elaborates on her love for kids and making the shop a family-friendly experience. She already keeps a bin of large plastic animals aside for the shop's tiniest patrons, brave enough to come in with Mom or Dad, and she plans to offer certificates to young hunters when they get their first bucks mounted at the new shop.

In partnership with Chapel Hill High School’s AG teacher Randy Tidwell, Ortiz hopes to get 15 kids to ongoing taxidermy competitions in the coming year. Having discovered a love for nature and taxidermy accompanying her grandfather to his outdoor sportsman’s clubhouse as a young girl, Ortiz understands the positive influence spaces like hers have on kids.

“They will not only learn about taxidermy; but also the study of reference photos and habitat, and we are hoping to offer apprenticeship programs when they graduate as a first job…if anything, they will always have a trade to fall back on.”

Taxidermy has been a maledominated field for many years. More and more females are learning the trade, as nearly 20% of taxidermists in 2022 were women and 80% were men, according to Zippia. It’s a figure that has been slowly but steadily growing since 2010, when 16% of taxidermists were women. Ortiz and her partner Reed are living proof that no one has to be put in a box just because of their gender, circumstances or any other reason and serve as inspiration that anyone can pursue their dreams.

To continue following Modern Memento Taxidermy's inspiring journey and receive updates on their new shop, follow them on TikTok @curious_taxidermy or on Instagram @Modern_Memento_ Taxidermy and modernmemento.

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Your Friendly Neighborhood GAME WARDEN

Nathan Skeen has love of protecting, preserving natural wonders of East Texas

It was a gorgeous, sunny, spring day in Gladewater. A cool breeze ruffled the surface of Lake Gladewater, but the warm sun kept the temperature comfortable.

Hopeful fishermen baited their lines on a nearby dock and families enjoyed lunch on surrounding picnic tables as children snuck bites of food to approaching ducks.

“Here comes the game warden,” said a young man several picnic tables away, as the recognizable gray pickup emblazoned with the Texas Game Warden symbol approached the parking area.

Greeting the hopefuls on the dock with a kind “hi there, how are y’all today,” Nathan Skeen quickly checked several fishing licenses before settling down to chat with me. During our conversation, a young man approached him to ask if he might use the park’s dumpster for his own personal trash load. Skeen smiled as the man headed back to his car.

“I get questions like that all the time,” he said. Approachability, good communication skills, and thorough knowledge of the outdoors – all necessary qualities for an East Texas game warden, and thankfully,

all qualities Skeen possesses.

Skeen, the Upshur County game warden, is as East Texan as they come. Born and raised in White Oak and married to his high school sweetheart, Skeen never considered settling down anywhere else.

“I think we were the ones in high school voted ‘Most Likely To End Up in White Oak,’” he said with a laugh. “I always wanted to come back here.”

An avid outdoorsman, even on his offduty days, Skeen knows the Piney Woods better than most. During our conversation, Skeen asked if I’d ever been to Lake Gladewater, which looked more like a large pond from my vantage point. When I replied that I hadn’t, he swept a hand around behind him.

“Well, this is it,” he said. “The draw for me of being a game warden is that this is the office. You’re in the woods or you’re

| CONT. ON PG. 26
UPSHUR COUNTY GAME WARDEN Nathan Skeen at Lake Gladewater.

on the water. When I’m in an actual office, I’m not very happy.”

Though the game warden profession seems to have been created for Skeen, this wasn’t always his intended career path.

“My plan was originally to go to dental school,” Skeen explained. “Then I thought, ‘Do I really want to look in mouths for the rest of my life?’”

After obtaining a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Texas at Tyler, Skeen played minor

league baseball for a short while before deciding it was time to find a “real job.” He applied and was accepted to the selective game warden academy, where he underwent a rigorous eight months of training.

“We do a lot of water safety training, since we may have to investigate a boating accident, or if a contact goes badly near water,” Skeen said of his time in the academy. “We also do a lot of wildlife identification, and plenty of scenarios.”

The purpose of the game warden academy, which is

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ON PG. 28
UPSHUR COUNTY GAME WARDEN Nathan Skeen helps Katherine Wooten, 9, with a fish she caught at Lake Gladewater.
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UPSHUR COUNTY GAME WARDEN Nathan Skeen checks Robert Wooten's fishing license at Lake Gladewater. UPSHUR COUNTY GAME WARDEN Nathan Skeen checks Lewis LeBlanc, 17, and Ian Sondgeroth's, 17, fishing licenses, at Lake Gladewater.

the longest of all other law enforcement training programs in the state, is to equip cadets for any and all situations. Game wardens can expect to encounter the unexpected when working in the great outdoors.

“The craziest thing I’ve ever seen on the job was a live deer in the trunk of someone’s car,” Skeen said. “And what’s even crazier, is that the same thing happened again within six months of the first time.”

Skeen felt prepared for life as a game warden, having done plenty of research on the profession. He accompanied acting game wardens on over a dozen ride-alongs throughout college. One of these, Gregg County game warden Todd Long, would end up being Skeen’s partner.

Both Long and Skeen appeared in Season 11 of the Discovery Channel hit show “Lone Star Law.” The series follows game wardens of various Texas counties to depict what a typical “day in the life”


“People like to ask me what a typical day on the job is,” Skeen laughed. “And I tell them, there isn’t one. ‘Lone Star Law’ came along at a good time, and opened a lot of Texans’ eyes up to our mission and what we do.”

Certain episodes of ‘Lone Star Law’ shed light on some of the more dangerous aspects of a game warden’s duties, such as investigating poaching and night hunting situations. This, Skeen said, is one of the most nerve-wracking situations in his line of work. He describes the first time he ever caught a night hunter, which occurred during his time as game warden in Shelby County.

“You’re setting up in the pitch black dark, and you hear the gravel road crack under the tires,” Skeen explained. “All of a sudden, you hear a shot, and you bust out of the woods, and here comes a truck with a spotlight burning out of the driver’s side. You know he’s armed. You did all of this

May/June 2023 | 28 | CONT. ON PG. 35
| CONT. ON PG. 30
UPSHUR COUNTY GAME WARDEN Nathan Skeen patroling Lake Gladewater.
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training, but at the end of the day, this is your life.”

Law enforcement officers know all too well that serving and protecting the public is never risk-free, and a game warden’s work is no different. Nights, weekends, and holidays are required of them from time to time. However, Skeen’s passion for protecting and preserving the natural wonders of East Texas spurs him on despite potentially dangerous circumstances and long hours.

“We defend the ones that are defenseless,” Skeen said. “We are law enforcement off the pavement and play a key role in our mission, which is ‘conservation for future generations.’”

An East Texan through and through, Nathan Skeen is the whole package as game warden. His love of the region, desire to serve its people, and ability to stay calm under pressure makes him the man for this job.

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hi-tech COFFEE

From robots to gaming, Athens café brings technology to community in unique way

Paul Benson, owner and founder of Freelancers Café, started out in the technology business – an area in which he was extremely passionate.

With the idea of bringing a café of the future to utilize technology in helping educate businesses and the public in a multi-use environment, Freelancers Café officially opened in Athens earlier this year.

Benson said the business name Freelancers really says it all; patrons could be a freelancer looking for a place to do work or a gamer looking for a place to socialize and compete.

“We are a technology company first and we leave the food to the experts. We brought in a local deli that offers their entire menu to our customers while allowing us to focus on the environment and the technology in use,” he said. “We use local caterers and chefs for our events as well as have the capability to offer a variety of choices utilizing food trucks for themed events.”

Benson partnered with Café X to create a unique experience that delivers a superior product consistently and brought in the first robot in Texas that serves over 40 drink combinations.

“This is the first of its kind in the United States that is open to the public without having to buy

an airline ticket out of San Francisco airport and this is the sixth robot of its kind in the world with the last one being installed at the Tesla factory in Germany,” Benson said. “We make it a unique and local experience by using local recipes and locally roasted beans from Van Zandt Coffee.”

Benson said the tech-savvy is all about helping the community.

“We help local businesses whether it’s the local deli we brought in to serve food or giving a freelance artist a space to work. It’s all about the community,” he said. “We will help in the world of virtual reality as we help a local artist from Texas Blacksheep go from traditional murals, signs, and tattoos to helping to create digital art from the perspective of a traditional artist.”

Freelancers Café also offers the showing of sporting events for things like local high school football playoffs where people can come watch the local teams play who don’t want to make the drive to an away game.

A nod to gamers, the café is affiliated with local Athens Screen Print owner and NASCAR racer Jon Garrett who prints the café’s logo for his race car.

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A FORZA MOTORSPORTS gaming rig at Freelancers Cafe.


after his dreams and driving the 66 car in ARCA. We’ve been able to watch him on TV on Saturdays and watch our eSports logo go around and then have the car replicated in iRacing so we can race that car virtually,” Benson said. “Jon Garrett is local to the area and owns Athens Screen Print where we get many of our shirts made. He is an avid iRacer and you can watch him on Twitch when he streams but also live on TV at the tracks during the season.”

“He allows us to sponsor just a weekend and allows others to sponsor other weekends because Athens Screen Print can print the stickers for the cars,” he added.

Benson said bringing technology to a small community is a win-win, giving people of all levels a place to work, socialize and compete.

“We will be creating some technology advisory groups to help everyone understand the threats that come along with technology and empower them to be secure. Freelancers has the capabilities to bring in some of the top expertise in the country virtually and has already been talking with many of the top IT manufacturers in the world,” he said. “You will see us work with local businesses to hold classes and training from the manufacturers to help keep them up to date on the latest technology trends and security threats we face as a technological society.”

The café’s success in bringing its first tournament to the community included students of The University of Texas at Dallas making the trip to Athens to compete.

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Freelancers has the capabilities to bring in some of the top expertise in the country virtually and has already been talking with many of the top IT manufacturers in the world."
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Paul Benson, owner and founder of Freelancers Café


“We are going to help expose some of the jobs that are in the industry that our youth may not know exist, and that they can do. We will end up with a full eSports team as well as iRacing,” Benson said. “Our simulators are the same you would use in NASCAR or F1 to practice on. Full direct drive force feedback steering wheels, and wrap around screens.”

Whether for business or pleasure, Freelancers Café is catering to the East Texas community in a technologyforward way while supporting other local businesses and artists.

“Freelancers is developing the ‘café of the future’ concept right here in East Texas and we are going to help some businesses along the way that are local to the Northeast Texas area. We’ve already been working with about eight local vendors that have provided services

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A ROBOT PREPARES iced coffee drinks at Freelancers Cafe in Athens. OWNER PAUL BENSON of Freelancers Cafe in Athens.
37 | May/June 2023 (903) 295-6678 925 W. Loop 281 | Longview, TX 75604 Photography may include models or actors and may not represent actual patients. Baylor Scott & White Texas Spine & Joint Hospital - Tyler complies with applicable Federal civil rights laws and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex. Baylor Scott & White Texas Spine & Joint Hospital - Tyler is a facility in which physicians have an ownership or investment interest. The list of physician owners or investors is available to you upon request. Physicians provide clinical services as members of the medical staff at one of Baylor Scott & White Health’s subsidiary, community or affiliated medical centers and do not provide clinical services as employees or agents of those medical centers. ©2023 Baylor Scott & White Health. BSWTSJH_4_2023 ORM. Get a recipe for relief Before my procedure, back pain had me on the sidelines. Now I’m free to feel the rhythm of a smooth workday again with my team.” Learn how our network of board certified specialists can help you. • Back and Neck Pain • Joint Pain • Muscle, Bone & Joint Injuries • Sports Injuries “ (903) 295-6678 925 W. Loop 281 | Longview, TX 75604 Photography may include models or actors and may not represent actual patients. Baylor Scott & White Texas Spine & Joint Hospital - Tyler complies with applicable Federal civil rights laws and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex. Baylor Scott & White Texas Spine & Joint Hospital - Tyler is a facility in which physicians have an ownership or investment interest. The list of physician owners or investors is available to you upon request. Physicians provide clinical services as members of the medical staff at one of Baylor Scott & White Health’s subsidiary, community or affiliated medical centers and do not provide clinical services as employees or agents of those medical centers. ©2023 Baylor Scott & White Health. BSWTSJH_4_2023 ORM. Get a recipe for relief Before my procedure, back pain had me on the sidelines. Now I’m free to feel the rhythm of a smooth workday again with my team.” Learn how our network of board certified specialists can help you. • Back and Neck Pain • Joint Pain • Muscle, Bone & Joint Injuries • Sports Injuries “

for us, from food trucks to four independent bartenders, two DJs, and extra wait staff – all freelancers in our opinion and they provide better service to our customers because we hire them based on their skill sets and reputations,” Benson said. “For the past three years we have been testing foods, watching the customer service of our area, gathering information so we could bring in products we felt the public would enjoy and good enough to be featured in the café.”

The café also boasts a free high speed network open to the public with power at most tables.

Benson said the café has something to offer everyone and he hopes the community will be a part of Freelancers Café’s unique journey.

“We are a place for everyone; kids, seniors, adults, lawyers, artists, players, sports fans, and the list goes on,” he said. “We hope all will become part of this unusual journey with us.”

Freelancers Café is located at 114 North Palestine Street. Hours of operation are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Nights and weekends are reserved for private parties, special events and gaming tournaments.

For more information, visit www.

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TX BLACK SHEEP TATTOO SHOP inside of Freelancers Cafe. SHENANIGAN'S DELI inside of Freelancers Cafe.
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SKYLINE of Waco. Photo courtesy of Waco Convention and Visitors Bureau.



Waco was a largely overlooked Texas city before Chip and Joanna Gaines helped put it on the map. However, Magnolia Market at the Silos isn’t the only attraction to Waco. Nature lovers and “Fixer Upper” fans alike will be enchanted by the beauty and uniqueness of this central Texas town, which has quickly become one of the state’s most popular tourist destinations. Enjoy beautiful area parks, the local farmers market, and a wide variety of restaurants on a weekend trip to Waco.

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The Waco Farmers Market is a crowd-pleaser; no matter who you’re traveling with, there’s a bit of something for everyone. With almost 100 area vendors, the thriving market is open year-round in two different locations, serving both the downtown area and East Waco. Whether you’re hoping to find a freshly baked loaf of sourdough, some in-season, locally grown veggies, or simply want to grab a quick bite for breakfast, the market has you covered.


A hidden gem of central Texas, nature lovers will not want to miss Mother Neff State Park. The park features several different terrains – prairie, canyon, and river bottom – and nearly 4 miles of hiking trails. Spend time exploring a cave occupied by Native American tribes, or climb to the top of the observation tower and enjoy the view.


After a morning of hiking, you can’t go wrong with barbecue for lunch. Vitek’s is a true Waco staple, known across the state for being the home of the Gut Pak. This hearty entree is a delectable mess, comprised of chopped brisket, baked beans, Fritos, cheese, barbecue sauce, jalapeños, onions, and pickles. The porch at Vitek’s is

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| CONT. ON PG. 45 | CONT. FROM PG. 41 WACO FARMERS MARKET. Photo courtesy of Waco Convention and Visitors Bureau. CHOW TOWN Food Truck Park along the Brazos River. Photo courtesy of Waco Convention and Visitors Bureau.

BEGINNERS SURF LESSONS at Waco Surf. Photos courtesy Waco Surf.

THE DIVE BAR at Waco Surf. Photo courtesy Waco Surf.

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perfect for enjoying a warm spring afternoon and a plate of the area’s best barbecue.


Water sports fanatics will rejoice upon arriving at Waco Surf. Visitors may experience a water park with massive slides and a lazy river, cable park for wakeboarding, and a surfing lagoon. The entire park’s atmosphere is family-friendly, encouraging kids of all ages to explore, take risks, and have fun in the water.


What better food to refuel after a day spent outdoors than pizza? We can’t think of one. In Waco, it’s hard to beat Moroso for a wood-fired pie that you won’t be able to stop thinking about. The wine list is extensive, the specialty pizza toppings are delightful, and even the appetizers are unique and fresh. We highly recommend the “Honey Bear” pizza. As the name suggests, it features sweet, gooey honey drizzled over soppressata, chili peppers, mozzarella,

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LAZY RIVER at Waco Surf. Photo courtesy Waco Surf. FIRST WAVE BARREL at Waco Surf. Photo courtesy Waco Surf.

mushrooms, and tomatoes on a deliciously crispy, homemade crust. Paired with the “Finocchio” salad and a glass of white wine, you’ll want to linger over this meal for the duration of your evening.


For a nightcap, head back toward the Hotel Indigo and stop by Dichotomy Coffee & Spirits. This combination bar and coffee shop is charmingly decorated, evoking the old-fashioned charm of days gone by in downtown Waco. The cocktail menu is

thoughtfully diverse, complete with clever names for each drink. Featuring Texas’ first Modbar espresso machine, the coffee bar turns out hand-crafted beverages from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily, prepared by attentive and friendly baristas. We suggest relaxing on the rooftop deck under the lights of the Alico building, with an “Amalfi Coffee” or a “Campfire Old-Fashioned” (or two) in hand.

Stay at the Hotel Indigo, conveniently located downtown just minutes from Interstate 35. Modern, but with many quintessentially Texan touches, the hotel’s cleanliness, youthful atmosphere, and friendly staff will

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| CONT. FROM PG. 45 THE I-35 BRIDGE in Waco, Texas. Photo courtesy of Waco Convention and Visitors Bureau. FEATURE PRESENTED BY A MURAL in East Downtown Waco. Photo courtesy of Waco Convention and Visitors Bureau.

give you a home-away-from-home feeling.


Enjoy a leisurely brunch at Milo All Day, only blocks from the Hotel Indigo. This lovely space has become a favorite of locals and college students alike in the past several years, and provides diners with a fresh, seasonal approach to Southern home cooking. Whether you’re looking for a traditional breakfast plate or a new twist on an old favorite, you’ll find it on this menu, which is updated seasonally. Dishes are prepared with the finest local ingredients, making Milo a true farm-to-table dining experience. Try the “Georgia Peach” if you’re looking for a comfort meal, and split the “Biscuit Bread Pudding French Toast” over coffee for dessert.



Tucked neatly into the shoulder of the Brazos River, Cameron Park is Waco’s crown jewel. Once your car turns into the | CONT. ON PG. 52

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| CONT. FROM PG. 48 A MONKEY at Cameron Park Zoo. Photo courtesy of Waco Convention and Visitors Bureau. CHILDREN PLAYING with fossils at Cameron Park Zoo. Photo courtesy of Waco Convention and Visitors Bureau. FEATURE PRESENTED BY PROCTOR SPRINGS at Cameron Park Zoo. Photo courtesy of Waco Convention and Visitors Bureau.


park, you no longer feel like you’re in the middle of a central Texas city. The terrain becomes hilly and steep, with cliffside biking and hiking trails just steps away from several accessible parking areas. Gorgeous views of the river, and the east side of Waco, await anyone who desires a scenic drive all the way up the park’s main road. In addition to being a mountain biker’s paradise, the park also boasts a pristine disc golf course, numerous picnic areas and playgrounds, and the Cameron Park Zoo. The question isn’t what to do with an afternoon in the park; more likely, it’s how to choose between the various recreational activities and scenic vistas.


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A LEOPARD at Cameron Park Zoo. Photo courtesy of Waco Convention and Visitors Bureau. A GIRAFFE at Cameron Park Zoo. Photo courtesy of Waco Convention and Visitors Bureau.








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JACQUELINE FLORES, right, and Kim Moore spar during a boxing class at Athletic Performance Texas. Longview McAttack Boxing operates inside the gym.


Longview boxing gym owner provides outlet for youth, adults

Luther McAfee said one thing in his life is priceless – hearing how his boxing classes have helped others, especially children. There’s nothing better than hearing parents extend a simple ‘thank you’ for the positive impact McAfee’s teachings have had on their children

“The satisfaction I get from that, money can’t buy that,” he said.

McAfee owns Longview McAttack Boxing, a gym that operates out of Athletic Performance Texas on Judson Road in Longview. While he never expected to start a business, the boxing bone has always been in his body.

He started boxing at the age of 6 and competing as soon as he was eligible at 8 years old. From then to age 11, he already competed in over 100 fights. McAfee, now 45, still hasn’t put down the gloves. In the last four months, he accumulated five championship belts and is ranked number one in the nation as a super-heavyweight in the USA Masters Boxing division, he said.

For years McAfee has trained at Athletic Performance Texas owned by Holly and Josh Gonzalez. The fitness gym used to include a mixed martial arts gym. During his tenure there, he would often get asked by boxers and MMA fighters if he would train them. In 2019 he decided to take them up on their offer and started training fighters and boxers at the gym free of charge.

The fitness gym eventually parted ways with the MMA gym and the Gonzalez’s asked McAfee if he wanted to take the MMA gym’s spot, he said. By this point, McAfee had amassed a decent number of regular clients and was already considering finding his own building, he said.

“I was having doubts, would I have enough customers, would I be able to do this and (Holly and Josh) came to me and they helped me out. They helped me acquire everything you see in here. They had more faith in me than I did and I thank God for them,” he said.

That was in 2020. In those three years since opening his boxing gym, the door hasn’t stopped opening, he said. To his surprise, the business jumped off and McAfee’s continued to gain customers, he said. More than

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COACH LUTHER MCAFEE warms up his students during a boxing class.

anything, the success has given him an avenue to reach children, which he said is his ultimate goal.

McAfee held back tears as he began to explain his life as a troubled child.

“All my life growing up I always wanted a father to be there for me and watch me do what I did and I never had that. My mother was always there but never my father,” he said.

As an adult, a husband and a father to five children, he doesn’t want troubled children to chance falling by the wayside. He said his wife’s Brianna McAfee’s support has meant the world to him. He and Brianna are parents to Jaylynn, 9, Jasiah, 16 months, Luther Jr., 12, Aiden, 11, and daughter Mackayla, 13.

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| CONT. FROM PG. 55 | CONT. ON PG. 58 COACH LUTHER MCAFEE, right, spars with Wendall Gray during a boxing class. AMERIYA "SHOWTIME" HAYES works out during a boxing class.

One of McAfee’s goals when he started his business was community outreach, especially toward troubled youth, he said. He hopes to be able to attend local schools and be connected with youth that may be having a hard time and provide them an outlet through boxing, he said. Having been a boxer most of his life, he knows the difference the sport can make as an avenue for tough times. He believes that if he can reach them before they get in trouble or possibly suspended, he can help.

“Boxing changed my life and saved me all at the same time,” he said.

Free training doesn’t just apply to at-risk youth, as McAfee also offers any and all police officers, firemen and other law enforcement to train at his gym for free, he said. For six months he trained Sergeant Cody Lusk without knowing he worked for the police department, he said. Lusk explained to McAfee that he didn’t reveal his occupation because he’s often treated differently because of it.

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COACH LUTHER MCAFEE, left, and coach Steven "Ole School" Fletcher during a boxing class at Longview McAttack Boxing.
Boxing changed my life and saved me all at the same time."
- Luther McAfee
Owner, Longview McAttack Boxing
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COACH LUTHER MCAFEE, right, spars with Trent Burton during a boxing class.

“I said, ‘not here bro. No one’s gonna treat you different or be biased,’” McAfee said.

Aside from the occasional free training, McAfee teaches children and adult classes Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, a women’s class on Tuesdays, offers private lessons and has a competition class he travels and competes with.

He spoke about the mental and physical benefits boxing has had on his life. The sport has strengthened him mentally by helping him be more patient and organized, he said. It also taught him to think before reacting– a key tenant in boxing, he said.

“I learned to be a mature me, a better me in the ring before I learned in the street, in life,” he said.

Physical benefits that have come from boxing are countless and include everything from weight loss, conditioning and honing body mechanics to increasing agility, strengthening and coordination, he said.

Toward the end of the interview, students for McAfee’s 6 p.m. children’s class started arriving. Without fail, almost every child that came through the door ran up to him for a hug. Parents also stopped to say hello and had brief chats with him. It seemed McAfee’s earlier comments about loving his job and wanting to be a positive impact for children were materializing.

“My doors are always open and they are open to anyone. If you want it, I’m here for you. I will match your energy, I guarantee you. I will match whatever energy you bring, I welcome it,” McAfee said.

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| CONT. FROM PG. 58 KIM MOORE and other students warm up during a boxing class. COACH LUTHER MCAFEE, right, spars with Xavier Fluellen during a boxing class.



JEFFREY GRIFFITH models fashion from Dick's Sporting Goods at the recently revamped Alpine Golf Course.

Avibe is something you can’t manufacture.

Defined as “a distinctive feeling or quality capable of being sensed,” a vibe isn’t something you can buy, either.

And even though Alpine Golf Course in Longview has undergone extensive renovations, not one dollar was invested to create the undeniably comfortable, positive vibe at the all-in-one

‘Intention’ is the secret behind positive energy at newly revamped Alpine Golf and Pazitivo restaurant

golf club, restaurant and entertainment venue.

Joining together with good energy and leading their team by example, Alpine owner Ronnie Boorman and his righthand man and Pazitivo chef Michael Reyes have naturally crafted a priceless feeling visitors experience as soon as they enter the doors of the local establishment.

The golf course itself has a long history, beginning in 1955 when it was created by Wendell and Mary Benningfield, later owned by Chuck and Mike Williams, then Ronnie’s parents Ron and Shirley Boorman. Ronnie officially took over operations on March 1, 2022 and began his efforts to convert the space into a one-of-a-kind entertainment concept.

Of course Alpine remains an excellent place to play a few rounds of golf, but it’s transformed into so much more than that under Boorman’s leadership. He completely gutted and renovated the building and is also working on the course’s infrastructure, like its water, cart paths, flags, tee markers, and more. Once renovations were well underway, he began to consider the idea of starting a restaurant inside the building.

“And that’s when I ran into Michael,” Boorman said.

Boorman and Reyes connected through a mutual friend, and are now working together taking the East Texas food and entertainment scene by storm. Reyes – a Phoenix, Arizona native and longtime chef – had been out of the game for a few years after the pandemic. He wasn’t sure he’d make the choice to get back in the kitchen professionally, but when he and Boorman met, the stars aligned.

“If I was going to do this again, it was real important for me to have a connection with a like-minded person, and Mr. Ronnie and I have that. We broke bread, and the way we connected

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KYLE STALLARD wears golf gear from Dick's Sporting Goods and a Hamilton Khaki Navy Frogman automatic watch from Jim Bartlett Fine Jewelry in Longview.


TYLER OWENS, front, models golf attire from Dick's with a Hamilton American Classic Intra-Matic Auto Chrono watch from Jim Bartlett.

JEFFREY GRIFFITH plays a round while wearing golf wear from Dick's Sporting Goods at the recently revamped Alpine Golf Course. Tyler Owens is seated on a glacier metallic white lifted, high-performance four-oerson club car sold at Golf Car Ranch's Hawkins Holly Lake area and Longview locations.

over music, good times, food – and our affinity for good food – was special,” Reyes said. “That’s where we learned we know who we are and what we want, and that we’re on the same page with our vision, and now it’s all coming to fruition.”

Reyes is the chef at Pazitivo Inspired Kitchen, the restaurant located inside the clubhouse at Alpine. Lovingly called “Chef Paz,” Reyes’ style is described as a fresh, bright fusion that comes together to be something unlike anything else served in East Texas.

When Reyes is in his element cooking up these unique dishes, he’s inspired by good vibes, kindness, and even the natural beauty surrounding him at Alpine.

“My last kitchen in Phoenix, I was landlocked downtown, surrounded by cement,” Reyes explained. “This, though – this is much more special, much different. It was a more organic situation, and we have such a spectrum to work with that is East Texas with the big pines, the water, the greens, the blue skies, and of course, our team. When I was on sabbatical (out of the business for four years), I was just dreaming of food, what I would do and wish I could do.”

And now he’s right where he wants to be, excited to

call that beautiful landscape and a Carribean blue food truck his “office.” The veteran chef’s kitchen is located inside the truck, which stays parked on the property rather than hitting the streets as a traditional food truck.

“We’re a full-service restaurant, our commercial kitchen just happens to be in that truck,” Boorman said. The truck has industrial-grade kitchen equipment, and everything Reyes could ever need to prepare their special dishes, which patrons rave about.

Reyes, with the help of his two assistant chefs, creates small-batch, made-to-order items. Some menu items include Angus Asada with teja’s pico de gallo; Pollo Chacon with pickled onions, cabbage and chipotle crema; Pork Carnitas with cabbage, onion, cilantro and Modela salsa; tempura crusted mahi mahi with pickled onion, cabbage, chipotle crema and avocado crema; Pork Belly with pickled onion and Modela salsa; Mushroom Picadillo with mushrooms, sweet chipotle peppers, brussel sprouts, pico, cotija and avocado aioli; and Hippie Verdure’s with kale, crispy brussel sprouts, house frijoles, pickled onion, avocado and cotija. The restaurant also has tapas like Queso de Paz or

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TYLER OWENS, styled in a golf shirt from Dick's, enjoys the unique dishes from Pazitivo Inspired Kitchen. The modern Mexican cuisine features small-batch, made-to-order dishes that are made with fresh, high-quality ingredients.


Guacamole with chips. It also serves brunch all day.

“Brunch is our signature,” Reyes said. “It’s really our niche and you can get it all day every day we’re open.”

Some of those brunch items include Tres Leches French Toast, made with brioche bread, fresh berries, housemade cream and canella caramel sauce; Pazitivo Huevos Rancheros with free range eggs over easy, crispy tostadas, heirloom ranchero sauce, cojita and frijoles; and Chilaquiles (tinga, angus, carnitas, crema, queso) with mild green or red, tortilla chips, eggs (any style), fresco, onions, cilantro and avocado.

And you’ll only know this because you’re an ETX View reader and now “in the know,” but Reyes will even whip up some livers and onions for you if you request it. The secret menu item came to be just because Reyes and Boorman said their mothers both loved the dish, so they wanted to create their own version.

For Reyes and Boorman, the secret sauce to creating that vibe at Alpine and Pazitivo is “intention.”

“Pazitivo – it’s an intentional word. We don’t do


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In each issue of ETX View, we are fortunate to have a number of supporters who help us bring our fashion shoot ideas to life. For the Men’s Issue, we wanted to style men’s golfwear, golf carts and more on a beautiful course.

We teamed up with the incredible folks at Alpine Golf Course in Longview and spent a beautiful afternoon on the renovated course. From the greens to the revamped clubhouse and new Pazitivo Inspired Kitchen restaurant, this establishment made the perfect backdrop.

Alpine owner Ronnie Boorman, Pazitivo chef Michael Reyes, and the rest of their staff were amazing to work with. Ronnie let us make ourselves at home the entire afternoon, and Chef Paz capped off an already awesome day by whipping up some unforgettable dishes for us to taste. Ronnie and Michael’s team, including Bekah Sasser, Jerry Fudge and Amanda Scarborough, really went the extra mile to take care of us on a day they’re normally closed, and we are so thankful for their hospitality. We gained some new friends that day, and they definitely gained more customers because we will be back.

Our models were Tyler Owens, Jeffrey Griffith and Kyle Stallard, and we can’t thank them enough for being such great sports. Their energy really leveled up the shoot and we have to say, they looked awesome hitting the links in style. Thanks to Dick’s Sporting Goods for providing the clothing and to our friends at Jim Bartlett Fine Jewelry for allowing the guys to wear some stunning watches. We also appreciate Golf Car Ranch for trusting us with their fantastic carts for the day!

Thank you to our ETX View team members who work so hard to put this together. Your brilliant ideas always turn out so amazing on these pages. Most of all, thank you to our good friends at Peters Chevrolet of Longview, who sponsor our bi-monthly fashion shoots. Their team is such a blast to have on location. Visit Peters on social media at PetersLongview and Instagram @peterslongview for some behind-the-scenes shots.

negatrónico, we do positive. It’s a lifestyle, a vibe; it’s our cocktails, good times, kindness – all of these are very important ingredients that make for a pretty good day here for us,” Reyes said.

The pair “leads by example” for their team, doing a little bit of everything when it’s needed – whether that’s sweeping floors, doing payroll, waiting tables or checking on the course – which cultivates an contagious willing spirit for everyone working at the establishment. For their team, it’s all about serving others and enjoying every second of that.

“We’re different, and we’re gonna stay that way,” Reyes said.

Boorman said what makes the establishment stand out is the “love and preparation” behind everything they do. They truly put their all into everything they offer, and Boorman also credits their desire to cater to people who want to have a good time and live a more relaxed lifestyle.

“We’re not just a golf course or a restaurant, we’re in the entertainment business – the fun business. We want to be the neighborhood hangout where you can bring your kids, your dogs (on a leash, outside) and make this a place where you and your friends, or you and your spouse, might want to come and enjoy the entire

day. Brunch in the morning, golf in the afternoon, then cocktails, music, and dinner in the evening – that’s what we’re trying to do,” Boorman said.

Exciting projects are in the works for the local eatery/ golf/entertainment combo, including more with Alpine 55, which was part of the rebranding process and is described by Boorman as an “overall vision” that inspires the property as a whole.

“We want to be an entertainment district and destination place for people to go. We’ve got our restaurant, golf course; we want to do live music and other things are on the horizon. If God keeps blessing us, maybe it’ll happen sooner rather than later,” Boorman said.

The facility has three dining rooms including a private room with a large, round table that seats many and can be booked in advance for larger parties, meetings or celebrations, a bar that serves beer, wine and specialty cocktails, and an outdoor patio.

You can follow the kitchen on Instagram @ pazitivotacos to keep up with their journey. The modern Mexican restaurant is open 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday, and golfers can hit the course five minutes after daylight and until about 7:30 p.m. during the spring and summer hours.

“We look forward to the opportunity to serve you,” Boorman said.

May/June 2023 | 72
PAZITIVO INSPIRED KITCHEN Chef Michael Reyes, left, and Alpine Golf Course Owner Ronnie Boorman work together to ensure their establishment is a destination unlike any other in East Texas.
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Move over Mrs. Barron: It's that time of year when The Mister gets to show off some of his favorite gifts for grads & dads. Drop the tie & forget about silly socks, Brandon says to give them something they actually WANT!

Move over Mrs. Barron: It's that time of year when The Mister gets to show off some of his favorite gifts for grads & dads. Drop the tie & forget about silly socks, Brandon says to give them something they actually WANT!



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A RIBEYE FROM CUT BEEF is cut after being pan-seared in butter and thyme. The ribeye was simply seasoned with sea salt and fresh-ground black pepper.


Local ranchers explain why grass-fed beef is packed with natural flavor

The quality and flavor of grassfed, pasture-raised beef is on another level when compared to cuts bought at your average grocery store chain.

ETX View spoke to local ranches to learn what exactly they do to make this meat taste so good and why it can be that much better for you.

| CONT. ON PG. 78
Jerica Cadman and her husband, Matt, remember taking a sample of pork raised on their Marion County ranch to a farmers market. It was a pork shoulder roast prepared in a crock pot that had been seasoned simply – with a chopped onion and sea salt. Jerica recalled

people raving about how good it tasted, asking them what they did to it.

“It’s nothing,” she said, just onion and salt. “It’s just the meat. It just tastes so good on its own you don’t really have to do so much to it.”

The couple own Shady Grove Ranch, near Jefferson, where they produce grass-fed and pastureraised beef, as well as pastureraised pork, chickens, turkey and eggs. They use rotational pasturing, moving the animals around regularly within fields divided into smaller areas, and they raise their animals without the use of hormones, genetically modified organisms, soy and, with rare exceptions, medications. They started the ranch in 2010, in response to research they had done looking for an

answer to the ulcerative colitis that had become life threatening for Matt. When a change in diet led to significant improvements for Matt, they made a decision to change the plan for their lives. (Matt has been unmedicated for ulcerative colitis for 13 years and symptom-free for 11 years, Jerica said.)

“We did not intend to farm. It was not the plan,”Jerica said, explaining they both graduated with engineering degrees from LeTourneau University and planned to go to graduate school. Instead, they decided they wanted to help other people like Matt by making it possible for them to access what they describe as healthier and better tasting meats and eggs than the products traditionally sold at grocery stores.

That’s how Shady Grove Ranch was born in 2010, after much more

research and even an internship at a farm.

“It’s about stewardship,” Matt said of the way the Cadmans operate their ranch.

The taste of the meat, because of the way they raise it, is better than what is sold in typical grocery stores, he said.

“It’s as good as sold if I can get it in someone’s mouth,” he said of their beef.

Air quality, living conditions and other factors are unique at local ranches like Shady Grove. Air quality is considered “the most important part of a chicken’s health,” Matt said.

“They get moved virtually every day of their lives,” he said of chickens at the ranch. They live in fresh air and have access to a “fresh salad bar every day of their lives.” They also eat non-GMO feed.

| CONT. ON PG. 80

May/June 2023 | 78
JERICA AND MATT CADMAN with their children at Shady Grove Ranch near Avinger.

EARLY VERSION of Cadman's selfpropelled chicken house at Shady Grove Ranch. Cadman says a future version will take advantage of GPS and be controlled with an app on a smart phone.

MATT CADMAN says he has around 120 head of grass-fed cattle at Shady Grove Ranch. The cattle are raised using sustainable methods that benefit the land and reduces the need for chemical use on the property.

79 | May/June 2023
“It’s just the meat. It just tastes so good on its own you don’t really have to do so much to it.”
- JERICA CADMAN Owner, Shady Grove Ranch
GENERAL STORE at Shady Grove Ranch.

All of that translates into nutrients humans need.

“It’s really nice out there,” he said of the animals’ environment where they’re raised at Shady Grove. “There’s no noxious smells, nice breezes, sunshines. Your birds don’t have toxins in the meat that conventional birds do.”

The chickens get to run around, chase bugs, and just be chickens.

“They’re enjoying life,” he said.

Also, they work with a processor that does not use noxious chemicals or bleach in the chill water during processing. They’re processed by hand, which “makes it a cleaner process.”

For the owners of Cut Beef in Tyler, selling grass-fed, pastureraised beef and other products from their store that is now located on old Bullard Road was a gradual transition through a lifetime friendship.

Scott Herod and his wife own

H5 Ranches, which has multiple locations, and Jeff Munn and his family operate Bar Munn. They’re neighbors who grew up together. Herod recalled that Munn’s father would always raise a steer each year that the two families would share.

As adults, they started out in other careers but continued to raise cattle on the side.

“We saw we had a passion for it,” Herod said. Over the years friends and family members started getting meat from them as well.

In 2014, they launched Cut Beef, the brand name under which they sell their products.

“We want people to have a choice of buying directly from the farmer, directly from the rancher and know what they’re actually eating. We like to say, ‘know what you eat eats.’”

They don’t sell under their ranch names because they knew they | CONT. ON PG. 82

May/June 2023 | 80
J SCOTT HERROD and Jeff Munn and ranch dog Walter of Cut Beef Natural Meats at H5 Ranches in Tyler.
81 | May/June 2023

wanted the business to grow.

“We want to keep the brand name something that could employ more ranches,” Herod said. “We wanted it to be inclusive of multiple families as we grew the brand…. We want this to be truly a brand people could look to for natural, no antibiotics, no hormone-meat raised in East Texas.”

Any ranch that signs on must contractually agree to raise their cattle in the same manner, with H5, Bar Munn and the J1 in Athens currently supplying the store’s beef.

Customers also started asking for pork and chicken raised in a similar fashion, and in 2018 Cut Beef teamed up with 1514 farms in Van for pasture-raised chicken and pork.

Cut Beef began to offer a different option in 2014, with grass-fed beef that also was fed whole grains in the last 90-120 days before they are butchered, the “finishing period.” The cattle is still in a pasture, with access to grass, fresh water and has the ability to move around and exercise.

“We knew we raised good beef this way,” Herod said,

but they still thought their primary income would be from the purely grass-fed beef.

He recalled thinking their income would be 75 percent from purely grass-fed beef and 25 percent grass-fed, grain finished beef.

It turned out to be the opposite, Herod said.

“Pasture-raised, grain finished provides many of, if not all, the same benefits of the grass finished,” Herod said. The meat textures, however, are different and the grainfinished is more tender. Totally grass-fed has a more gamey taste, he said.

Jerica said switching to these kinds of meats the Shady Grove provides can come with some “sticker shock.” She thinks, though, that if the trade-offs were really analyzed – people’s health, saving money on medicine by thinking of “food as medicine,” eating out less because it’s less appealing – that people actually are saving money.

“Sometimes it takes a little bit of a culture shift to really shift over,” she said.

For more information about the ranches, visit cutbeef. com and

May/June 2023 | 82
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A RIBEYE FROM CUT BEEF is cut after being pan-seared in butter and thyme. The ribeye was simply seasoned with sea salt and fresh-ground black pepper.

HOW TO GRILL Grass-fed Steak


• Grass-fed Steak or Pork Chop, thawed to room temp*

• Salt & Pepper to taste


Using a charcoal chimney filled with enough coals to snugly fill the bottom of your grill, preheat until moderate (2-3”) flames are peeping out of the top. Spread hot coals evenly on the grill. Replace grate and cover grill with vents wide open. Allow to preheat for several minutes. Distribute steaks, placing bones near the hottest part of the grill. Replace lid and cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until distinct sear lines are present. Flip steaks every 2 to 3 minutes, repositioning as needed to compensate for hotter or cooler parts of the grill. Continue to desired doneness.

Recommended cooking times are as follows for a mediumrare steak:

• Filet — 8-10 minutes total

• Strip — 6-8 minutes total

• Boneless Ribeye or Sirloin — 8 minutes total

• T-Bone — 10-12 minutes total

• Bone-In Ribeye — 12 minutes total

• Pork Chops — 8-10 minutes total

Do not allow steaks to cook to the point of becoming stiff. Let rest, covered, for 10 minutes before cutting.


*It is important not to thermally shock the meat by allowing it to be very cold or partially frozen when placed on the grill.

Pro tip: If you plan ahead, allow the steak to "wet age" in its package in the refrigerator for several days before cooking. This is especially beneficial for ribeye and strip to ensure maximum tenderness.



What makes art “art”? The answer “trash” may surprise most people. However, more and more artists are taking one man’s trash and turning it into another man’s treasure by creating unique and stunning works of art. Google “trash art” and you’ll find seas of artworks made out of repurposed materials.

For one East Texas artist, the trash comes in the form of damaged car parts.

Orlando Guillen has been creating art since he was a kid. Today the mixed media artist is creating works of art from recycled metal car parts.

Owner of Orlando Guillen Art, the self-taught Palestine artist became fascinated with turning trash into treasure.

The progression of trash art is considered to have started with Duchamp and the artists working with Found Art in the early 20th century.

Found art is an unusual type of art that involves creating pieces from “found” objects that are not usually considered to be artistic in any way. Most of the objects used in found art usually have another purpose, and they are usually modified in some way to make them into a piece of art.

Artists that use found objects may use several methods to modify the everyday objects that they use. This can include painting them or cutting them, or even securing several objects together to form a unique sculpture.

ARTIST ORLANDO GUILLEN at his home studio near Palestine.

“My artwork represents my love for bringing trash into masterpieces. I handcraft each work from the array of materials I collect.”

- Orlando Guillen
ROSES FASHIONED from automotive sheet metal by artist Orlando Guillen. WORK BY ARTIST ORLANDO GUILLEN painted on a car door.

ARTIST ORLANDO GUILLEN heats automotive sheet metal to shape into flower petals.

Picasso and other artists working with collage furthered the Found Art tradition, the Junk Art Movement in the 1950s, and the works that used the traditions from both to create a new wave of trash art.

Discarded, recycled materials are repurposed, and these components are used to create a piece that evokes strong feelings from viewers.

“I got tired of working on canvas so I eventually moved to metal and started using my work tools as my paint brushes,” Guillen said. “I am particularly interested in the art you make out of old car parts.”

The discarded parts are given new life as Guillen turns the seemingly useless pieces into masterpieces.

“My artwork represents my love for bringing trash into masterpieces,”

he said. “I handcraft each work from the array of materials I collect.”

To create the unique art Guillen uses anything from car doors, hoods, fenders to bedsides as his canvas.

“Each painting is created from a large piece of recycled metal and then I use some of its damage as the art,” he said.

Guillen’s portfolio is vast with

| CONT. ON PG. 90 | CONT. FROM PG. 86

works including both 2D and 3D art and metal sculptures.

Creating multi-layered metal sculptures is not for the faint of heart. The process is long, detailed, and extremely tedious.

Guillen creates the 3-D wall sculptures through a labor-intensive process involving their construction which includes hand-cutting metal forms, welding, torching, cutting metal strips with a cut off wheel, smoothing and sanding rough elements with a metal grinder, hand painting, and finished with car clear.

Guillen said his first piece of layered art is his favorite.

“My favorite is definitely ‘Lost in Oklahoma II’. It was my first large piece that was multi layered,” he said.

The artist said his work has evolved from paper and pencil to canvas to now working mainly with recycled metal and credits artists such as JeanMichael Basquiat, Jackson Pollock, Anish Kapoor and Louise Bourgeois as his inspirations.

Guillen hopes to also be an inspiration to aspiring artists and dreams of having his art shown around the world.

“I would like for children to be inspired by my art and create their own,” he said. “I also want to be remembered for my art and my pieces featured all over the world and be featured in museums.”

Guillen said he feels his art has been well

| CONT. FROM PG. 89 | CONT. ON PG. 92
OUTDOOR DOGWOOD TREE sculpture by artist Orlando Guillen.

ARTIST ORLANDO GUILLEN'S wife Sonny holds a bouquet of a dozen metal roses he made for her.

ARTIST ORLANDO GUILLEN uses automotive sheet metal for his canvases at his home.

received as it represents his passion and love for creating unique pieces.

“Each piece represents me and it tells a story, that’s why it’s unique. Art has given me a way to put my heart and soul into each work of art I create,” he said. “Art is my life and I think people can see that through my work.”

The artist said each piece of his work tells a story.

“My job allows me to use discarded materials that inspire my work that I produce in unique and often unexpected ways,” he said. “Each piece of art I produce contains material truly special to me for its ability to tell a story.”

Guillen regularly shows his art at the annual Dogwood Art and Music Festival in Palestine and will be at the Fall into Art Festival this fall in New Braunfels.

For more information or to commission art, visit www.

| CONT. FROM PG. 90 ROSES FASHIONED from automotive sheet metal by artist Orlando Guillen. DOZENS OF DOGWOOD BLOSSOMS fashioned from automotive sheet metal by artist Orlando Guillen.
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Downtown tomato-fest



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St. Paul’s Episcopal Church 314 N. Henderson Blvd. boysgirlsclubkilgore/


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Oil Horse Brewing Co. 101 W. Tyler St. Oilhorsebrewing


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Longview Arboretum

706 W. Cotton St.


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Gregg County Courthouse

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Heritage Plaza

219 E. Methvin St. https://www.visitlongviewtexas. com/


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Maude Cobb Convention Center 100 Grand Blvd. longviewpride


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ArtsView Children’s Theatre

313 W. Tyler St.

https://artsviewchildrenstheatre. com/


MAY 13-14 AND JUNE 11-12

Longview Exhibit Center 1123 Jaycee Drive



12:15 P.M. MAY 19

First United Methodist Church

400 N. Fredonia St.



5:45 P.M. TO 8:30 P.M. MAY 16 Maude Cobb Convention and Activity Center 100 Grand Blvd.

http://maudecobb.longviewtexas. gov/



MAY 6-7

Maude Cobb Convention and Activity Center

100 Grand Blvd.


MAY 21

Longview Exhibit Center

1123 Jaycee Drive


7 P.M. MAY 22

Teague Park Amphitheater 415 American Legion Blvd.



8 A.M. MAY 12 AND JUNE 9

Longview Exhibit Center

1123 Jaycee Drive


MAY 27-AUG. 26

Longview Museum of Fine Arts

215 E. Tyler St.


JUNE 16-18

Maude Cobb Convention Center

100 Grand Blvd.



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Memorial City Hall Performance Center

110 E. Houston St.



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Mineola Nature Preserve


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The Historic Select Theater 114 N. Johnson St.




Discovery Science Place 308 N. Broadway Ave. https://www.



Downtown Tyler Square 100 N. Broadway Ave., Tyler


4 P.M. MAY 7



6 P.M. MAY 8


108 S. Broadway Ave., Tyler GalleryMainStreetTyler/



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Green Acres Baptist Church Crosswalk Conference Center 1607 Troup Hwy., Tyler


MAY 12-13

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7:30 P.M. MAY 13 UT Tyler Cowan Center 3900 University Blvd.


6 TO 8 P.M. MAY 13 Goodman-LeGrand House 624 N. Broadway


3 P.M. MAY 14

May/June 2023 | 96

Texas African American Museum

309 W. Martin Luther King Blvd., Tyler texasafricanamericanmuseum/


11:30 A.M. TO 1:30 P.M. MAY 18

W. T. Brookshire Conference Center 2000 W. Front Street


10 A.M. MAY 20

The Boulders at Lake Tyler 16822 McElroy Rd., Whitehouse


NOON TO 3 P.M. MAY 20 Bergfeld park

1501 S. Broadway Ave., Tyler


11 A.M. TO 4 P.M. MAY 20

Downtown Tyler Square 100 N. Broadway Ave., Tyler



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Cross Brand Cowboy Church 11915 FM 2015, Tyler



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First Presbyterian Church



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14078 State Highway 110 N., Tyler


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Tyler Rose Garden 420 Rose Park Drive


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Tyler Civic Theatre Center 400 Rose Park Drive


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Note: Events are subject to change. Please verify with organizers at tim eof event. Want to see your event on the calendar? Email your submissions to by May 19 for consideration in the July/August issue.

97 | May/June 2023
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