November 2020

POLITICS LET ’ S MAKE A DEAL BY CHARLES JORDAN

CULTURE RENAI SSANCE MAN MICHAEL ULMER

TXK ROOTS SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS

NOVEMBER • 2020

TEXARKANA ICON DEAN BARRY

November | 2020 | Volume 1 | Issue 1

10. c o v e r / B U S I N E S S Dinner’s REDI 18. P O L I T I C S Let’s Make a Deal 20. C U L T U R E Renaissance Man

40. L I F E Say Yes to the Mask 42. S T Y L E Styled for the Season

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30. S P O R T S Rivalry 36. E N T E R TA I NM E N T Page 36

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44. S T Y L E Hunter’s Paradise 50. T X K R O O T S Sarah Huckabee Sanders

28. C OMMU N I T Y A Sarine Thought... or Two

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2801 Richmond Road • Suite 38 Texarkana, Texas 75503 903.949.1460 letstalk@texarkanamonthly.com texarkanamonthly.com Publisher C A R D I N A L P U B L I S H I N G Staff C A S S Y M E I S E N H E I M E R cassy@texarkanamonthly.com

CASSY MEISENHEIMER loves Jesus, pop art, goldendoodles, and

TERRI SANDEFUR loves music, sci-fi and the beach.

KARA HUMPHREY loves yoga, traveling, stand-up comedy and reading.

queso. Oh, and Ross Perot (RIP)!

Prefers coloring outside the lines.

T E R R I S A N D E F U R terri@texarkanamonthly.com

K A R A H U M P H R E Y kara@texarkanamonthly.com

LEAH ORR loves Halloween, her two cute kids and having a glass of wine with family or friends.

MOLLY KENDRICK loves George Strait and Jesus, but not in that order.

MEGAN GRIFFIN loves her baby boy, dogs and the Arkansas Razorbacks!

L E A H O R R leah@texarkanamonthly.com

M O L LY K E N D R I C K molly@texarkanamonthly.com

M E G A N G R I F F I N megan@texarkanamonthly.com

Local Sources M AT T C O R N E L I U S B A I L E Y G R A V I T T T O N J A H AY S C H A R L E S J O R D A N V I C K I M C M A H O N P AT S Y M O R R I S S E M I LY S A R I N E J E F F S A N D E F U R J O N AT H A N W E A V E R W E B P R O J O E

MATT CORNELIUS loves playing the guitar, wood carving, videography and helping people have those “aha” moments.

BAILEY GRAVITT loves eating at Ironwood Grill,

TONJA HAYS loves Texas High football games, Williams Church, 7 dogs, 2 alpacas, 3 children and John!

Justin Bieber and his mom.

C R A F T E D I N T E X A R K A N A . E M P L OY E E OWN E D A N D L O C A L LY S O U R C E D .

CHARLES JORDAN loves the Bible, his family, the military and the news!

PATSY MORRISS loves her grands, Sauvignon Blanc and crossword puzzles.

EMILY SARINE loves the Lord, her husband, her kid and all the funny things. All. Of. Them.

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P U B L I S H I N G

Texarkana Monthly is a multimedia publication showcasing the Texarkana area and is designed and published by Cardinal Publishing, LLC. Articles in Texarkana Monthly should not be considered specific advice, as individual circumstances vary. Products and services advertised in the magazine are not necessarily endorsed by Texarkana Monthly .

JEFF SANDEFUR loves Texarkana. Hates homework. Prefers to dance about architecture.

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“LIFE IS LIKE A COBWEB, NOT AN ORGANIZATION CHART.” —H. ROSS PEROT

I f someone had told the younger, teenage version of me I would one day be doing this, I probably would not have believed them. As a self-proclaimed country girl, growing up in Cass County, I was only familiar with the Pine Country Bulletin and The Citizen’s Journal. Nonetheless, I remember always taking the time to check out the local stories and photos published each week. Any vague plans I may have had to become a nurse would never have prospered as I have discovered needles scare me to death, and I have always had a mind that never stops dreaming of new ideas and stories to tell. I have decided that my spiritual gift is talking, but somehow, I have ended up in a place where

and second-guessed until we ran out of time and had to send it off to the printer. What you see here is not a new formula, but it’s our beginning, imagined out of big dreams, and brought to life by acting on them. I didn’t arrive at this place via the most linear route, I’m up for detours, but I had determination, and an absolute passion for my hometown. There is a vital purpose in serving and celebrating this amazing community. So, I sit back and marvel that I am doing this. Even with the initial timing seeming “off,” I wonder if this outstanding team—Leah, Terri, Kara, Molly, and Megan—and the many others who have made this possible, has been moving toward this exact moment for a long

turning all that gab into written words on a page has become my destiny. It’s fun how sometimes life leads you down a path where, even along the journey, you are lucky enough to recognize the irony of the timing of things, but you are also fully aware that the perfect puzzle is being pieced together before your eyes. I once heard somewhere, “Timing is everything, but there is never a perfect time for anything.” Let’s just say that the start of Texarkana Monthly from a timing perspective was pretty terrible. With a business proforma and spreadsheets in place, not a single formula accounted for a global pandemic. Like everyone else, we paused for a moment to re-evaluate the situation. During that pause, it was inspiring to see how many businesses were able to completely transform their operations overnight and how school districts pivoted to provide remote curriculum to students and continued to feed the families that counted on the meals they provided. Many local

time. Maybe the stage was being set long before I could have ever known, pulling us towards each other for the past 15 years, to celebrate this moment together. The month of November leads us into a season of giving thanks. I cannot even come up with adequate words for the gratitude I have for countless people that have made this possible. So I will just say THANK YOU (yes, in all caps!) to my husband, Fred and our boys, my dad, the best coworkers ever (Terri, Leah, Kara, Megan, Molly and Matt), all the incredible writers (Bailey, Charles, Emily, Jeff, Patsy and Tonja), Mr. Dean Barry and his lovely wife LaCrecia, Michael Ulmer, Dwight Pruett, and every single advertiser. Please give them all hugs or elbow bumps and do business with every single one of them. And to you, the reader, thank you for taking time to enjoy the product of so much love and prayer. That guy on the cover? He’s Texarkana’s very own Dean Barry. Yes, some may “love Agent Barry, because

restaurants created new “To-Go” service platforms they launched overnight. Local retail made an immediate turn to make merchandise available online and allow shoppers to safely shop in person. Local medical providers remained on alert for emergencies so they could continue to provide their patients with the same care and attention we have become accustomed to receiving, even while being forced to change their practices. Texarkana, you are incredible! This November issue of Texarkana Monthly is our first print issue. The timing is finally right, and we’re excited about its release. It’s special because it’s a nod to the many voices that represent our community. Getting people talking is what this magazine is about. We will endeavor to create a mix of stories, some meant to inform, others meant to entertain, and some that straddle both objectives. Every tiny aspect represents a decision we debated, sweated over

he’s cheap, cheap, cheap,” and some may know him because of his selfless and consistent service to our community, but anyone who really knows him knows that he is noble, giving and someone who brings joy to everyone in his presence. He is rooted in his spirituality, wise as an owl, and his stories could fill a library. Success like his may be simple in theory, but it’s much more difficult to execute. Sometimes in life, you’re forced to take action with little planning and unexpected roadblocks but watching icons like Dean Barry and witnessing all of you conquer a year like no other, has taught me that action is everything, and timing is mostly irrelevant. Stay Famous,

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T E X A R K A N A M O N T H LY

Dinner’s REDI

BY JEFF SANDEFUR

WHICH CAME FIRST, THE CHICKEN OR THE EGG?

This is a long enduring paradox first proposedby philosophers inAncient Greece to describe the problem of determining cause-and-effect. Today, it is still fun to ponder this age-old question. Now consider a similar question as it relates to our regional economic viability. Which comes first, supply or demand? What does your gut tell you? Traditionally home cooks have been serving up eggs for breakfast and pot roast for Sunday dinner. Yet in modern times we just read the menu and order what sounds good. Some ravenous eaters are looking for the all-you-can-eat buffet, while more discriminating diners are searching for the true, organic, farm-to-table dining experience. But behind both kitchen doors, a lot of orchestration goes into the preparation to ensure that patrons

enjoy their meal. So, it is no surprise when we are asked, “Where do you want to eat tonight, honey?” we find selecting which restaurant is often the hardest part. The same is true for companies considering site selection to expand or relocate. Texarkana is blessed with an abundant supply. We have all the right dishes on our menu to bring new businesses to our table. We are also blessed to have the determination of Dean Barry to stir up demand. Dean’s vision is to support all community partners by allowing them to do what they do best. It’s a large undertaking for sure, but Dean knew Texarkana was in need of a new recipe to showcase our rich supply. He gathered up a passionate group of like-minded folks to form a public-private partnership to focus on creating demand.

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JEFF SCHREVE

The trend of public-private regional partnerships is happening all over the United States. It is a response to redefining the roles each stakeholder contributes to the economic development playing field. Dean states, “We can all work together to make this happen. We all have different needs, but we all have the common goal of making our community better!” Dean observed, with a level of frustration, the flat line trajectory of attracting new businesses to our area. The unintended consequence of decades of division and fragmented responsibility has blurred the roles of who is leading in job recruitment. By the natural forces of being a border city, our duplicate government structures are often forced to do everything twice. Dean suggests there is a better way. In this modern world of immediacy, the need to streamline the process of attracting companies requires a clear line of responsibility. The world is changing before our eyes and we must adapt quickly. This was the genesis for establishing AR-TX Regional Economic Development, Inc. (REDI), a non-profit group born from a unified vision for the future of Northeast Texas and Southwest Arkansas, committed to helping business connect with economic development opportunities throughout the region. So why incorporate a public-private partnership? There are many advantages for corporations to work with private developers when searching for future sites to expand operations. Corporations need one point of contact to quickly assess their needs. It can often be confusing when working with multiple municipalities and governmental groups to determine who is in charge. Each entity has their own priorities and constituents. With a private developer, there is a clear executive chef and a concise set of goals which can be easier to negotiate. Another advantage is that private developers and corporations speak the same language. Everyone wants to avoid bureaucratic platitudes that tend to produce vague answers. When private parties are allowed to engage in meaningful discussion, decisions can be made quickly and accurately. Genuine progress can be made. A third advantage is that private developers are engaged in specific markets and have access to extensive networks. Private developers are experts in their field, and they can use this expertise to access key decision makers who may be interested in our region. In addition, private developers make calls, instead of waiting for the phone to ring. They are more responsive in their efforts to circumvent red tape and expedite creative solutions to overcome obstacles. Finally, they keep private conversations private. Most businesses are not looking to become part of the public record while negotiating and making final decisions on the best site selection. Dean declared, “I want Texarkana to grow. I guess, more than anything else, I want everybody’s kids to want to live back in Texarkana. Several years ago, Chris Karam and I were doing a class out at A&M. The kids were there talking to us and they said, ‘We don’t have any reason to stay in Texarkana. We’ve got to leave here. There’s nothing for us.’ I kept telling Chris, ‘This has got to change.’ I said, ‘We want kids to stay in Texarkana.’” Our region, as with most rural communities, has always been challenged with the “Brain Drain” phenomenon of young adults seeking better professional opportunities

TALKS ABOUT DEAN BARRY

Dean is a trash talker on the golf course. He is good enough to back it up. A number of years ago, Dean, Matt Reynolds and I would play together nearly every Friday afternoon. Matt was good enough to give Dean a run for his money (I was not much competition). One Friday, Matt was playing really well, and it was close. So Dean and I kept telling Matt how great he was playing and how victory was in sight. Matt proceeded to shoot an 11 on the next hole, ending the competition. Dean and I got a big kick out of the good-natured ribbing. (Matt was not as thrilled about it!). How do you feel witnessing Dean’s good deeds? e.g. Dean teaching Sunday school to special needs adults for 15 years. Dean has a great heart for people, especially those with special challenges. He and LaCrecia are very generous with their time, talent, and resources, always looking to help someone in need to better the church and the community. You developed a true friendship with Dean Barry on and off the golf course. When did you become fully aware of Dean’s unselfish devotion to our community? What can we all learn by following Dean’s example? Dean loves Texarkana. He wants to see the twin cities thrive with economic development and oppor tunity. He is always ready to lend his support, expertise, and financial participation to further the cause. I am always impressed with his generosity and selflessness. He is a dear friend who has partnered with me in a great way in sharing the gospel around the nation and the world through From His Heart Ministries.

NO CHICKS WERE HARMED IN THE PRODUCTION OF OUR COVER. We found them a wonderful home with Brixton Barr (L)

and Haven Casteel (R).

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T E X A R K A N A M O N T H LY

outside the region. Dean has sought to reverse this trend. His enthusiasm for enticing more students to town is revealed through investing in higher education. “I think, A&M, Texarkana College, University of Arkansas, all these institutions are going to be just fantastic for Texarkana because they’re going to bring people. There’s no doubt, we’re going to get jobs to Texarkana that use the people educated at those institutions.” The catalyst will come

talking about the Avenue; we are talking about the visible and ever-present impression that our two sides do not work well together. Optimism continues to strengthen however, as our two mayors seem committed to writing a new story. According to Dean, “We’ve got the best mayors on Earth right now. We’re going to make it happen.” While strides have been made toward the development of the Texas side over the past few years, Dean believes that Arkansas is due. “Everybody

The Barry Family circa 1972—Susan, LaCrecia, Gina and Dean.

from bringing the cities and the counties together to pull on the rope in the same direction at the same time. Dean recalls area citizens rallying in support of Texarkana College to overcome financial crisis. “Well, it all started when we got the election successful for Texarkana College to keep the college open. That was a huge,

huge win for everybody in this area. No doubt the college would have been gone if that hadn’t happened. When we were successful in keeping the college open, it proved to me we can work together to overcome any obstacle.” Either real or imagined, our area is challenged by the state line. We are not

realizes that Texarkana, Arkansas, has got to be a huge part of this deal. Allen Brown is doing a fantastic job. He really is against overwhelming odds, but the odds are changing big time. I’d give anything in the world if the first business that we bring in would be on the Arkansas side because it will make us all stronger. It will benefit us all.”

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T E X A R K A N A M O N T H LY

ALLEN BROWN TALKS ABOUT DEAN BARRY AND THE LIVE UNITED BOWL Established seven years ago the Live United Bowl is a successful event for the United Way of Greater Texarkana and the community. Economic impact comes in many surprising forms. How

Dean’s admiration for Brown has fostered other major partnerships for Texarkana. From 2015 to 2019, Dean and his wife, LaCrecia, signed on to be the title sponsor of the Live United Texarkana Bowl. When asked why, Dean said he was drawn to supporting the bowl because of the impact it has and the economic draw it produces for the town he loves. Grandmothers are fond of saying, “A watched pot never boils.” Dean advises us to have patience with our development. “It’s going to take time. It’s going to take a lot of time. It’s going to take a lot of money to do what we’ve got to do, but we’re going to do it. The best thing we’ve got right now, in all of this area, is we’ve got Miller and Bowie counties and both cities cooperating together in the effort to do this.” That cooperation includes the buy-in of our County Judges, Cathy Harrison and Bobby Howell, as well as the Commissioners and Quorum Courts and all the surrounding cities. “I don’t think in all of my years involved in Texarkana, this has ever happened before. Right now, we’ve got the best people focusing on what we need to keep kids in Texarkana.” Generally, most people do not realize how competitive the business recruitment world can be. Pick up the Dallas Morning News and read any story about how the Metroplex offers millions of dollars in tax abatement to entice businesses to Dallas. States are competing on an unprecedented level to land the “Big Fish.” Remember the headlines about cities fawning over themselves to attract Amazon HQ2? The city of Austin, Texas, recently offered over $60 million in abatements and other incentives to recruit Tesla. We all know the Ark-La-Tex is not the same market as Dallas or Austin; however, our market can be just as competitive. It seems like our corner of the state is often overlooked by our State Capitols. Nevertheless, REDI, with the combined support of our county and city officials, is well received in both Little Rock and Austin. Dean recalls the warm reception he had when meeting Texas Governor Abbott while he was in town. “Five of us met with him at TAC Air when he landed. We met with him for an hour, and the governor said, ‘Y’all get the property. We will get you some money; we will get you started.’” Dean has also met with Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick in Texarkana during a luncheon. “I take comfort knowing the Governor’s office and the economic team are well aware of our mission.” Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson and his economic development team have been encouraging as well. “You can’t believe what they’ve offered us in help as far as all this is concerned.” All players seem to see the benefit of what REDI is doing and are coming to the table with their resources. “People just don’t understand that it takes money to make money. I read something not long ago by the guy that saved IBM. He said, ‘The most successful person in the world is the most persistent person in the world.’ The one word that you’ve got to use is persistence. It’s no different than selling an insurance policy. I always said I’ve got to call on ten people to sell one, and the guy that ran IBM said the most successful person in the world is the one that has the most failures.”

many ways does hosting a NCAA Division II sanctioned football bowl game contribute to the Texarkana economy? What surprised you most about our community’s response to hosting the game? The eagerness of individuals to help. It takes an army to put on a large event like this and it was refreshing to have people calling to see how they could be involved. Probably the most special part has been the community involvement with the United Way agencies. Having the football players visit the agencies and see what our community is all about and then seeing the folks from those agencies in the stands waving their pom poms is heartwarming to say the least. The local economy benefits in a number of ways. The most obvious is the weekend of the game with out-of-town fans coming in for one or two nights. But we have made an impression on the universities we have hosted over the years, and have had overnight stays as they have traveled through Texarkana to their other games. It has put Texarkana on their radar as not just a pass-through town, but a community with friendly, welcoming people.

You developed a true friendship with Dean Barry in the early days of securing sponsorship. When did you become fully aware of Dean’s unselfish devotion to our community? What can we all learn by following Dean’s example?

It didn’t take me long to realize that Dean Barry was a unique individual and he genuinely wants Texarkana to be the best it can be, whether it is Arkansas or Texas. Dean is a Texarkana supporter, as is his wife, LaCrecia. He first came to me wanting to be a financial supporter but in short time, it was obvious that he wanted to help make the Live United Bowl a success and something that would draw people to Texarkana as well as give our community something to be proud of. I have always thought of myself as someone who wants to give back, but Dean has taught me so much. When he gives himself to a project, he is all in! Whatever needs to be done, he is going to do with a glad heart. His faith is a big part of who he is and he has a servant’s heart. In our first conversation, he said God has blessed him and he wants to give back. He doesn’t just talk the talk, he walks the walk. He is a special man married to a special woman and Texarkana is fortunate to have them fighting for us to be the best we can be as a community.

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I want everybody’s kids towant to live back in Texarkana. ” —Dean Barry

Known famously for brilliantly branding his insurance company as, “…cheap, cheap, cheap,” Dean is the exact opposite. He is overflowing with faith and generosity. On many occasions, Texarkana has benefited from this generosity. “If you do the right things with your money, He [God] will take care of you. I’m a firm believer that to whom much is given, much is expected. I just want to do whatever we possibly can to help Texarkana. I just want to do whatever’s necessary for a better town. LaCrecia feels the same way.” For years Dean’s wife, LaCrecia, has helped women fighting cancer with her wig ministry. She buys high-quality wigs and provides them at wholesale prices to women undergoing chemotherapy and suffering from the side-effects of hair loss. It’s her passion and why she believes she was put on this earth. Together, this great couple continues to offer their money and time to secure a legacy of progress and development for our growing community. So, when asked where to eat… Dean Barry will always choose the one place that will satisfy the whole family… right here at home.

View a few Dean Barry Insurance commercials on MrWillBarry YouTube channel.

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T E X A R K A N A M O N T H LY

LET’S MAKE A DEAL BY CHARLES A . JORDAN

CAN WE JUST FACE IT?

President Donald Trump is a centennial figure who will be talked about by his detractors with annoyance, anger, and hatred for the foreseeable future, maybe even the rest of the century. They see him as racist, careless and incompetent in every way. To his supporters, the President is the no-nonsense, tell-it-like-it-is New York outsider who popularizes America, patriotism, and the American way while building the wall and wrestling the swamp. President Trump is the voice of millions of Americans… between 47-51%, to be more accurate. Either way, President Trump is the topic of conversation from churches to salons, from ballparks to backyards, on buses, in break rooms, and all places in between. President Trump is iconic. Multiply the intensity of the President’s support tenfold to account for the energy of this election year, add a Supreme Court appointment battle, and we have a polarized environment akin to the lead up of the Civil War. North versus South, almost 150 years later, with cities pitted against towns, police against criminals, urban areas against rural areas, Blacks against Whites, and all divisions between, prepared to battle. Nevertheless, “Let’s Make a Deal.” Yes, just like the classic game show in which contestants receive the option to choose which prize they would like best, let’s make a deal! Let’s pick the outcome that best suits our families, friends, communities, and nation. Let’s do so from an apolitical, unbiased, and impartial perspective — a clean slate. Let’s look at the options before us and make the best decision without coming up empty or going home with six cans of dog food like the poor guy on the show who picks the wrong door. Although there are many sub-options and smaller choices, two major alternatives have emerged. Here is your envelope, aptly labeled “Status Quo.” Inside this envelope is the tense, fearful, COVID-19 infested environment that has resulted in masked workplaces, handshake anxieties, and fist or elbow bumping becoming trendy. This highly politically charged envelope is filled with rhetoric, racist epithets, and flat out lies. It has the potential to turn longtime friends into social media enemies. Inside this envelope are conservative media and progressive broadcasting outlets focused on destroying neighborhoods and the nation, one viewer at a time, while stacking awards and boasting high ratings. You can take this envelope, accept it, and go home feeling hopeless, alone, and desperate, questioning why we live in a nation that is filled with raw deals, privilege, and no opportunity and a nation where everyone appears to have drawn the short straw for past generational sins passed down like badges of affliction. Will one man’s or woman’s vote change the nation or hurl us closer to

conflict? Before we make any choices, good or bad, left or right, take any risks, or resolve to stick with the Status Quo envelope, take a moment to breathe. Look at the evidence before deciding to keep the envelope instead of looking behind one of the doors. First, consider that regardless of your political views or what you hear on news broadcasts or from your favorite legislator, Congress agrees on most issues most of the time. That’s right, the whole of Congress agrees on over 80% of all legislation through the uses of unanimous consent, voice votes, and lastly, roll call votes. Before his death in 2017, a longtime friend of President Barack Obama, conservative icon Jim DeMint lamented that 94% of all bills in the Senate were not even debated or contested. Plainly stated, politics in Congress is a one-party affair, with Ted Cruz, Republican from Texas, and Bernie Sanders, Democrat from Vermont, watching legislation move to the President’s desk with a simple nod and tip of the cap. American voters only receive the snippets and highlights designed to feed on emotions such as anger and hopelessness. Next, before making the deal of the century, ask yourself, “What is the problem with simply agreeing to disagree?” Consider, “Why does civility or community matter so much, especially for our local area?” Well, it’s simple. An important deal like this can often turn into a raw deal for smaller communities, where we see each other in our grocery stores and at our gyms. Members of smaller communities can’t avoid each other and blend into the crowds. Inevitably, voters from one side of the isle are going to be disappointed, frustrated, and possibly even fearful about the future when this election is over. So, before making a choice or choosing a door, realize that 2020 has been a rough year for us all. No one could have ever predicted that the Fall of 2020 would be this contentious, but very little surprises us anymore and maybe whatever is behind the door isn’t more important than the other contestants.

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Lastly, let’s state the obvious. The natural state of most Americans is happy and content. Regardless of income or station in life, most of us find someone or something to laugh about and enjoy. Even the poorest of Americans imagine a bright future in which our children won’t remember all the horrible memes we liked or professional sports we boycotted. Our children will never hear the bad jokes we told, and best of all, our children will never know that we were willing to gamble our freedom and theirs for three minutes on prime-time television. The current state of things will not be the permanent state of things. Things will get better. So, “Let’s Make A Deal.” Give back the envelope and choose door number one. Choose peace in the community after the election. Choose to build relationships and friendships, regardless of the Supreme Court composition. Choose to tolerate neighbors who are aggravating, as you realize they are also tolerating aggravation which seems to come at us all from every side. Choose door number one. Take the risk. That’s the deal where we all win, especially when we understand what is really at stake.

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T E X A R K A N A M O N T H LY

W hen we think about a Renaissance man, most of us think of those great men of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, whose brilliant plays and poetry we’ve studied in books and whose breathtaking works of art we’ve seen on chapel ceilings. Centuries later though, right here in the year 2020, you still occasionally run across those rare individuals who seem to become an expert at every task they set their hands to. Michael Ulmer may be Texarkana’s very own version of a Renaissance Man, living as “a digital nomad,” and finding inspiration in the fascinating people, exotic food, and peculiar sights he experiences during his adventures around the world. “Growing up in Texarkana I was involved in a little bit of everything; [that’s] a common theme my entire life,” he said. “My parents are pastors, so I was always at every church event, and by the time I was a senior in High School at Redwater, I played football, ran track, acted in the school play, was president of the National Honor Society, created a film study club, went to UIL state in photography, and started a weekly news show called Dragon Breath. I was fortunate that I was surrounded by amazing teachers and coaches who helped me pursue all my different interests and didn’t force me to stay in one lane. My parents, teachers, coaches, and everyone around me always believed in me more than I believed in myself and that drove me forward to achieve things I didn’t think I could. I don’t say all of that to brag, or to say ‘look at how much I did,’ but to show how all that set the stage for my path towards a very eclectic future where I let my passion and curiosity drive me forward into new ideas and new fields.” For a short time after graduating from high school, acting was the focus of Michael’s pursuits. After gaining some experience and success in that arena, he wondered if he may be on the wrong road, headed in the wrong direction. “I had been doing videos and photos since I was in 7th grade, just playing around with the cameras and computers that were at church. After deciding to let all that go, and to pursue acting with full force, I realized that I wasn’t as passionate about acting as I was about creating. So, I started making videos again, short films and short documentaries, and over time people started contacting me wanting work, and it just took off.” These days, you can find Michael spending his time traveling the world, looking for the inspiration to his next work of art that may come in the form of a photograph, a short film, a commercial, or a pyrography art piece. “I work as a freelance filmmaker and artist or a Visual Creator. In simple terms I create visuals, video, photos, and graphics for clients and for my personal artist portfolio. I’ve had the pleasure of doing video work with global brands like WD- 40, National Geographic, Bissell, Green Giant, Melitta Coffee, and many more. It’s a fun blend of creative work and strategic marketing work that I love.” Though the world is Michael’s home, and he lives at no permanent location, Texarkana and Redwater remain a couple of Michael’s favorite backdrops for his filming and photos.

NEGATIVITY by Michael Ulmer

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GROUNDED by Michael Ulmer

“I filmed my entire WD-40 campaign in the Texarkana area, and I have taken most of my monthly photos in Texarkana, Redwater, and the surrounding area. I stay in the area often to visit family and to film because there are so many amazing spots that I never appreciated when I was growing up.” Though he may spend time in Paris and Vienna, Texarkana has that special way of drawing you back

don’t explore those ideas, just for myself, I don’t feel complete. So, I made a New Year’s resolution of sorts to do a monthly photo series for all of 2019, to explore what I call my ‘On-Again Off-Again Relationship With my Brain.’” He spent time at the beginning of each month doing some “self-assessment” and exploring the areas within himself that needed some attention and work, then developed a

home. It’s a magnetism many of us have experienced. “Growing up in Texarkana specifically gave me a love of nature that I didn’t realize until later in life. Something I took for granted as a child is how beautiful East Texas is. There is so much varying terrain in the area. I didn’t realize how nice it was to always be surrounded by trees and to be able to disappear into a forest until I lived in Los Angeles for a few years, where there are barely any trees.” The entire year of 2018, Michael worked on amazing commercial projects. On paper, the year appeared to be a complete success, but he noticed a feeling of dissatisfaction and an itch to do more. While he felt fortunate for the steady flow of work, something seemed to be missing. “I have a million ideas and stories inside me that fight to get out, and if I

visual to accompany it. “It’s been such a therapeutic process and feels like it’s given me a language to communicate these ideas in my head that I could never put into words. That’s why, when 2019 was over, I wrapped up that series, but continue to do monthly pieces and plan on continuing for the foreseeable future.” The reception of this project has been incredible by so many. What started out as an outlet for self-expression quickly became deeply relatable works of art that dig deep into the truths of our inner-struggle and bond people by the recognition of those shared human connections. The On-Again, Off-Again Relationship With my Brain series tackles topics like “Self-Sabotage,” “Loss,” “Addiction,” and “Ego.” “While I don’t have a favorite, my very first piece ‘Grounded’ is really special

Michael Ulmer

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UPSIDE DOWN by Michael Ulmer

T E X A R K A N A M O N T H LY

hours to complete and they are all done entirely by himself. He works meticulously, using a tripod, to get each angle and pose just the way he wants them and then works the rest of his magic with his computer. “I always try my hardest to be true to myself and honest and pursue ideas that challenge me mentally and as an artist.” As has been true of many of the Renaissance Men of the past, Michael’s skills have been self-taught. Besides a handful of graphic design classes in college, he’s never had formal training for photo, video, or editing. Life, exploration, and a willingness to try new things were all the ingredients necessary to set this high-tech mastermind on his way. “I learned how to shoot and edit videos by just playing around with the equipment at my church in 7th grade. Back then, YouTube didn’t exist, and the internet wasn’t anything like it is now, so I didn’t have too many resources or tutorials to help me learn. It was a long process. I’m continually learning new things and one of my mantras

COMFORT by Michael Ulmer

to me. It was my leap into the unknown and I remember looking at it after I finished it and being like, ‘I made that?’ and feeling so accomplished. It has my child (dog), Aria, in it, who passed away a few months after the photo, so it’s even extra special.” Michael

said. “I also love the piece ‘Comfort’ from this year, because the message is so much bigger than myself. It caused me to do a lot of self-reflection, and I had no clue if I could actually pull it off. It was a huge challenge.” On average, each piece takes Michael 12-20

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RECHARGE by Michael Ulmer

is to always be a student, humble and willing to learn; there are endless opportunities for everyone who is willing to take the time to learn these days.” Inspired by Vincent Price’s old school horror movies, Michael says he’s most often drawn to projects that lean toward the darker side and describes his preferred work as “a touch macabre.” For the most part, he simply prefers any project that challenges him to do new things. “A project that I am really proud of is my one-man short film ‘Number 44.’ I wrote, shot, and edited it completely on my own, and it won some awards from different film festivals. I’m most proud of it because it was a moment in time where I put all my excuses aside and just made something. Watching it now would be a torture, cringe fest for me, and I was very naïve in my abilities back then, but I’m still proud of it because I didn’t just let another idea die. I actually went out and did it.” When you are brave enough to try, and the entire world is your office, inspiration could be around any corner. Michael is that rare type of person who keeps his eyes and ears fine-tuned, staying connected to the people, nature, and conversations around him, waiting to come in contact with the inspiration for his next masterpiece. “That’s why travel is such a huge source of inspiration for me. When I visit a foreign country, everything is new and my brain begins to buzz and swirl with new sights, sounds and tastes and I’m always overwhelmed with ideas.” Though the fifteenth century doesn’t resemble the twenty-first century in many ways, our appreciation for creativity is still as keen. While Shakespeare had his stage, Michael has Social Media. While DaVinci had his paint brushes, Michael has Photoshop and while Michelangelo had the Sistine Chapel, Michael has Television and the World Wide Web. It’s a different world, but thankfully, The Renaissance Man didn’t die with the Renaissance. Michael and others like him are all the proof we need.

Michael Ulmer in…

Paris

Seoul

Dubrovnik

View more of Michael Ulmer’s work on his Behance page www.behance.net/MichaelUlmer

Kyoto

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A SARINE THOUGHT… OR TWO BY EMI LY SARINE

Thanksgiving, Traditions, and the Like

NOVEMBER. A thirty-day month full of gratitude, joy and, for some, appropriately timed Christmas shopping. For me and my family, this month marks the beginning of a fairly complete transition to cooler weather, celebrating a wedding anniversary with my stud of a husband, continuing to watch PG and A&M football, being able to wear my UGGS in public with less self-awareness and my favorite American celebration: THANKSGIVING! Thanksgiving has become our favorite holiday spent with the whole family, and we are all refreshed once it is over. In light of what we have experienced, I would like to share with y’all the keys that my family and I have found to bring about a successful Thanksgiving holiday. 1. Wear your tightest jeans to the Thanksgiving feast... skinny if you got ‘em. I used to wear stretchy pants to this event but have recently stopped. My working theory had been that if I felt comfortable while eating, I was winning. However, after much research,

the uncomfortable feeling that no longer existed during the Thanksgiving bounty would rear its ugly head the entire week (month) afterwards when wearing pants with buttons and zippers. I also felt significant knocks to my pride when just a few short weeks later the clothes I had asked for on my Christmas list were now incapable of being buttoned across my newly begotten food baby. Ugh! With these things in mind, for your own happiness, be sure to wear your button-up pants to Thanksgiving to lessen your future discomfort and shame. Or if you value eating comfortably above self-image, you can go up a clothing size on your Christmas wish list, or just ask for shoes. 2. Enjoy keeping, discarding and creating traditions together. Thanksgiving is full of traditions for us. Some, we have continued since combining our families at First Baptist Church, Sulphur Springs on the evening of November 1, 2003. Some we practiced for a season but have since been left by the wayside. Some we need to add to the list of “Things We Will Definitely Do (Maybe).”

One of our longest-held traditions is to have Thanksgiving lunch with my extended family on Thanksgiving Day and then have second Thanksgiving lunch on Friday with Ross’ family. There are a couple of positives to this tradition. First, we get to spend equal amounts of time with each family. For those reading this who don’t have children, the concept of “Shared Time Equity” may be foreign to you. For those who are reading and do have children, I know you are totally feeling me on this one. Another perk to this practice is that we also get to have four Thanksgiving meals. You read that right. Four! This is because we like to keep the southern tradition of “making yourself a plate” to lessen the burden on the hostess of the distribution of leftovers. Since we have two different lunches, we make two different plates. A tradition that we have discarded as of late has been the running of the Turkey Trot. We have run several, which is enough for me to have a complete wardrobe of multi-colored long-sleeved Turkey Trot t-shirts. We have run 10K’s and 5K’s galore. We ran for both a cause and the

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ability to feel less guilt about the calories soon to be consumed. They were thrilling endeavors but running also meant getting up early on a holiday and then returning to shower after the ENTIRE family had already done so. The hot water was as meager as my 9-minute mile running pace earlier that morning. So last year we slept in (not much though, because I wanted a completely hot shower). It was so nice. A slower pace to start the day wasn’t half bad. I’m not saying we will never “trot” again, but we are ok not doing it for now. And then there are those traditions that need to be, or have recently, started. I realize this on a more personal level as our son, Jack, is getting older. While Ross and I are still carrying on the traditions of our childhoods, and we don’t really want to give those up because we really love sharing them with Jack, we have no new ones started for him. We have made some efforts to eradicate the situation of only old traditions. For instance, we have started trying to have a short vacation at

the beginning of the Thanksgiving school holiday (P.S. Shout out to whichever school dignitary elected to change the school calendar from a two-day holiday at Thanksgiving to a whole week. Mad props to you!). This has proven to be a really sweet time to make memories for our family of three before we descend upon all the grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. 3. Whatever you do, always, always, always find something to laugh about. There is nothing more therapeutic than a hearty laugh with people you love. Those moments when the cousins remember that crazy time you pranked the grown-ups at Christmas. Or everyone goofs on the person who claimed to make a pie from scratch for this year’s meal but is exposed at the hand of a Walmart price tag on the bottom of the pie plate. These times are the best. They’re the ones we always like to recall. Even if your holiday looks different this year because of unforeseen circumstances, or if

you are having a rough go of it, try to find something to laugh about with those who know you the best. 4. BE THANKFUL. Now, I understand that Thanksgiving 2020 is giving us all a run for our money in the gratitude distribution department, but there is always something to be thankful for. The Lord has blessed me beyond measure with salvation, a loving family, sustained health, fabulous ride- or-die friends, a thriving church family, etc… I could fill an encyclopedia with my blessings, but even if you can only think of one thing to be thankful for, be thankful for that one thing. More than likely, once you say thanks for that one, you will find that ten more things will pop into your mind and fill your heart with gratitude. Take or leave these little tidbits as you will. They work for me and I can’t wait to put them into practice on the 26th! Happy Thanksgiving!

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RIVALRY R ivals for 110 years, it stands to reason that both sides of Texarkana’s State Line would agree, “Texas/Arkansas Week” is festivity of the highly anticipated hometown rivalry showdown. At the game’s onset in 1910, the tradition ARKANSAS vs. TEXAS BY TONJA HAYS

was for it to be played on Thanksgiving Day, when Texarkana would rush through turkey dinners and rally as a split community to watch the Texas and Arkansas sides battle it out. From that time until now, this game has been a cornerstone moment in the life of generations of Hogs and Tigers marking the passage of deeply held loyalties and time-honored traditions. A graduate of Texas High in 1996 and a member of the Texas High football team, Roy Vasher remembers, “The Texas and Arkansas game was always what I looked forward to, all of those

the most highly anticipated and spirit filled week of the whole school year for both Texas High and Arkansas High students and possibly even the entire cities of Texarkana. The traditions of frying bacon on the school lawn, chomping Tiger Tail doughnuts, stealing mascots, and driving down State Line with the Texas and Arkansas state flags unfurled and flying proudly from the beds of pick-up trucks, all add to the flare and

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summer workouts leading to that first game of the year. We had friends from the Arkansas side that we loved to hate that week. It was just all good fun.” This highly anticipated tradition has tragically been robbed from the students of 2020 by COVID-19. While the loss may be devastating to many, they are not the first nor the second generation to experience this theft. From the rivalry game’s inception, it has been canceled only a handful of times, in 1913, 1914, 1921, and 1954, with causes ranging from the threat of problems due to the intense rivalry between these two hometown teams, to a World War which understandably caused the game to be side-lined until better times. It was also canceled in 1952, but this time not for an unfortunate reason like the War, COVID-19 or intense rivalry threats. This time it was because Texas High was in the state playoffs and was simply unable to make it to the Thanksgiving Day game. Arkansas High had to settle for a faceoff against the Hope Bobcats as the replacement to their traditional “Battle of the Axe.” Dale Works was a senior running back at Arkansas High in 1952 and when recalling the feeling of having to replace the Tigers as opponents he said, “It just wasn’t the same. When we played Texas High the whole town turned out, all the ladies dressed up with big corsages, and both sides had a game queen. Not playing the Texas/Arkansas game was not just a loss to the football team, it affected everyone that had a part in the game. It was a tradition the whole community looked forward to. Everyone always hurried to have Thanksgiving so they could get to the big game.” In recent years, the game has drawn crowds of up to 10,000 spectators. The school districts bring in large amounts of revenue from ticket sales alone. “The cancellation of the Texas High vs. Arkansas High annual rivalry game affects many different groups for many different reasons,” said Tina Veal-Gooch, Executive Director of Public Relations. “In terms of annual ticket sales, when it is a home (Tiger Stadium) game for Texas High, we generate around $30,000 in revenue.” Add to that booster club donations, concessions, programs, T-shirts and other spirit related items from this matchup and the losses could top $70,000. “Needless to say, everyone is disappointed,” Veal-Gooch said. “However, it is our senior students that really suffer the loss more than others. In a time where so much seems to be taken away from them, this is just one more thing to add for our senior students. No doubt that AHS is as disappointed at the cancellation of this game as THS is. I know that both teams have looked at ways to consider playing it another time but, unfortunately, it is just not possible for either team this year. We look forward to those sporting events against AHS that remain on our schedule.” “This football season is unlike any other that we have experienced. There have been so many changes in the way everyone goes about their daily lives and football is no different. The loss of the Arkansas High vs. Texas High game was a part of the crazy 2020 year,” said Arkansas High’s Athletic Director, Barry Norton. Norton has a unique perspective of this game having coached both hometown teams throughout the years. “I have many great memories of the game as do many others. The kids were disappointed in not getting to play that game; however, we are very thankful to be getting to play this fall. In the grand scheme of things, losing that

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