October 2022

Texarkana Magazine

OCTOBER • 2022

TEXARKANA MAGAZINE October| 2022 | Volume 3 | Issue 10

56. LIFE Today’s 10,000 60. TXK 411 How to Brush Your Teeth

10. BUSINESS Medical Matching 12. POLITICS 988 Mental Health Hotline


36. SPORTS Running Toward the Competition 48.


ENTERTAINMENT Good Evening TXK 52. LIFE We’re Going There


62. THE MONTHLY MIX Scrub Style 64. SHARE THE LOVE Milestone Celebrations 66. TXK ROOTS Blake Alkire, MD

14. cover/COMMUNITY Fearfully and Wonderfully Made 26. CULTURE The Rocky Horror Picture Show Show Notes



What is your favorite Halloween candy...

CASSY MEISENHEIMER Don’t lay a finger on my Butterfinger!


SHELBY AKIN Anything without peanuts!

LEAH ORR Popcorn Balls

BRITT EARNEST Marshmallow Pumpkins


MATT CORNELIUS Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups


LINDSEY CLARK Snickers and Sour Patch Kids

HILLARY CLOUD I’m a Cookies and Cream kind of girl!





ANDREA LOREDO Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups

PATSY MORRISS Peanut Butter Kisses,

twist-wrapped in black and orange waxed paper




A s those of us who have had children know, pregnancy can be hard! So, can you imagine putting your body through that discomfort, the risks, and the hormonal see- saw required to carry a child for a couple you do not know? That is what it means, most times, to be a surrogate. In recent years, it has become much more common to hear of people, including celebrities, who have become parents through surrogacy. I imagine people have many reasons for choosing this route to parenthood, and it amazes me that modern medicine has advanced to the point of offering hope to couples who

txkmag.com letstalk@txkmag.com 903.949.1460 OFFICE 911 North Bishop Street Building C • Suite 102 Wake Village, Texas 75501 MAIL 2801 Richmond Road #38 Texarkana, Texas 75503


would previously have not had surrogacy as an option. What shocks me even more is the selflessness required by surrogate mothers to help make parenthood a reality for those desperate couples. I am so proud of my little sister, Brittany, who decided she would become the vessel, carrying out this selfless act for someone else. As I write this, she remains in the hospital recovering after having successfully delivered an almost ten-pound baby boy as a surrogate to a couple from Florida. This has been a long two years for all of them. I do not know how long they have been praying for this day to come, but I am so happy to report it has arrived! Brittany did two rounds of In Vitro Fertilization (IVF). The first round did not work, but after it failed, she told this couple she would gladly try again to help them fulfill their dreams of becoming a mom and dad. Her heart is full of the good stuff. This is the little sister I lived with my entire life. We argued with each other, had rooms next to one another, and shared a bathroom. Brittany is the one that was like my little doll. My friends and I would dress her up and make her our accessory. She was in pageants when she was small and was a Jon Benet Ramsey look alike (but even cuter). She had a big personality on stage that won her many crowns, has always had a great sense of style, and she made one heck of a cheerleader! When Fred and I were first married, she lived with us. Brittany is the one who gave me my first taste of parenting teenagers. She taught me it is not for the faint of heart. We have definitely helped shape each other, but she is the better version. As they say, “The proof is in the pudding.” I am in awe of her. There is no doubt in my mind that surrogacy takes a special person to give so fully of themselves, reflecting God’s love through their actions. It is crazy to think that surrogacy did not even become legal in the United States until 1976. The first successful gestational surrogacy took place in 1985! Even today, surrogacy is still prohibited in Louisiana, Michigan, and Nebraska. The advancements in laws and medicine are ever changing, and I struggle to even imagine the world thirty years from now. What might we see in our lifetime? The end of cancer? Breakthroughs for those struggling with mental health issues? With the help of God, it is all within the realm of possibility. October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month. In this issue, we are introducing you to sweet Mallory, whose life can teach us so much about Down syndrome and those whose lives are affected by this condition. My hope this October is that we can all see the world through the eyes of people like Brittany and Mallory. Their focus seems to be clear, and their lives bring joy to those who know them. Happy Fall Y’all!

terri@txkmag.com SHELBY AKIN shelby@txkmag.com LEAH ORR leah@txkmag.com BRITT EARNEST britt@txkmag.com KARA HUMPHREY kara@txkmag.com MATT CORNELIUS matt@txkmag.com






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




From head to toe, the medical field is full of long, obscure names. Medical terminology is derived from the Latin and Greek languages. The root of the word expresses the meaning of each term. Can you match the doctor with their speciality? MEDICAL MATCHING GAME


1. Male and female urinary tract, as well as the male reproductive system

2. Kidney care including kidney disease, renal failure, diabetes, kidney stones, lupus, and hypertension



3. Organs related to breathing, such as the lungs and heart


4. Also known as an ear, nose, and throat doctor

5. Conditions of the nerves, spine, and brain (epilepsy, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, strokes, and migraines)



6. Cancer and cancer symptoms


7. Autoimmune diseases that affect the bones, joints, and muscles

8. Hair, skin, and nails


9. Vision and eye care


10. Preventative care and disease management for female health conditions


11. Heart, blood vessels, and circulatory system


12. Hormone conditions including diabetes, thyroid conditions, infertility, growth problems in children, and hormone imbalances


13. The digestive system and problems related to the esophagus, pancreas, stomach, liver, small intestine, colon, and gallbladder


14. Mental health conditions


15. Diagnoses and treats medical conditions using medical imaging


16. A person’s well-being before, during, and after a surgery via pain medicine, relaxation medication, and putting someone to sleep


17. Allergy-related conditions


18. Blood, spleen, and lymph gland diseases including sickle cell disease and leukemia







988 Mental Health Hotline Makes Connecting


T here is a new way to get help for folks experiencing a mental health or substance use crisis, and it’s as easy as dialing 988. In July, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline launched, ushering in a link to crisis centers nationwide through a toll-free number connecting callers to trained counselors for free and confidential care. This comes as a result of years of hard work by mental health advocates and legislators to expand access to mental health care through this critical service. After studying the feasibility of this initiative, with my support, Congress passed the bipartisan National Suicide Hotline Designation Act in 2020 to establish a quick and convenient way to get individuals the help they need so we can save lives. The stress of the past couple of years only exacerbated the mental health crisis that was already gripping our nation. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports suicide was the 12th leading cause of death for all ages in the United States in 2020. Arkansas ranked 11th in the nation for deaths by suicide that same year. Investments in mental health care are more important than ever. Expanding access to critical care is essential to getting individuals the help they need. The National Alliance on Mental Illness estimates health professionals answering these calls can resolve more than 80-90 percent of the challenges over the phone.

Sen. John Boozman, Arkansas Republican, serves as Ranking Member on the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry. He also serves on the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, the Senate Committee on Appropriations and the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. Implementing a comprehensive strategy to provide mental health care and treatment is essential. The good news is there is support from every level of government. We’ve taken critical steps, but we know this is just the beginning. The 988 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline will save lives and I am committed to working to further improve access to mental health care for Arkansans. Establishing the 988 number that is easy to remember and access during a mental health crisis is a simple way we can save more lives. Preventing suicide and reaching those struggling with their mental health is all about helping them understand they are not alone, and assistance is available. I look forward to the good this new lifeline will do for Arkansans who are at risk and need support.

The new nationwide emergency number continues our commitment to improving services designed to confront the challenges of mental illness and deploying support tools for those at risk of suicide. Men and women who are serving or have served in their nation’s uniform suffer a disproportionately higher rate of suicide compared to the general population. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) estimates more than 20 veterans die by suicide every day. While we’ve increased federal funding to address this national crisis, there has been little to no improvement in reducing that number. That’s why we’ve updated the VA’s policies to support veteran-serving non-profits and other community networks that have proven effective in their outreach and better measure the effectiveness of existing programs. Congress approved my legislation, the IMPROVE Well-being for Veterans Act , two years ago to create a VA grant program to leverage the positive outcomes of these organizations and build on their successes. The VA received applications for the inaugural funding and is currently in the process of reviewing the submissions and awarding millions of dollars in grants to support this effort.



photo by Matt Cornelius


Fearfully & Wonderfully Made BY KARA HUMPHREY


When a child is born, eager moms and dads experience an array of emotions elicited by few other days in their lives. Hearing that first cry brings a sigh of relief as they look to the medical professionals surrounding them in the busy delivery room to give the “all is well” thumbs up. Eight years ago, Kristi and Clint Lachowsky, who were about to be parents for the second time, anxiously anticipated every emotion that would accompany the addition of another daughter to their family. The previous nine months had been full of all the routine prenatal testing ordered by Kristi’s obstetrician, and things seemed to progress smoothly. However, when the day finally arrived, the Lachowsky family received news they were not expecting. As a registered nurse, Kristi worked in the newborn nursery at CHRISTUS St. Michael, so it was her close friends and coworkers

who supported her for the delivery. “My favorite story is Mallory’s birth story,” she said. “We did not find out Mallory had Down syndrome until the moment she was born. The doctor knew immediately. The whole delivery room fell silent, and everyone was in complete shock; the fear of the unknown can just leave you in shock. I cried the first time I held her, and I even told her I was sorry she had Down syndrome. It was my sweet, amazing friend who looked at me and said, ‘Don’t you apologize for that! She is exactly who God wants her to be.’” Down syndrome is a genetic disorder that occurs when abnormal cell division causes a full or partial copy of chromosome 21. The severity of Down syndrome varies from person to person but can cause intellectual disabilities and delays and other medical conditions, including heart and gastrointestinal disorders. It is




the most common genetic chromosomal disorder and affects approximately one in every one thousand live births worldwide or 3,000-5,000 children in the United States each year. Often Down syndrome is caught prior to birth, as there are multiple prenatal screening and diagnostic tests that can be performed. These tests are not all conclusive, with some simply measuring the probability of a Down syndrome diagnosis. Other tests, however, including chorionic villus sampling (CVS) and amniocentesis, which both carry some risks, are nearly 100% accurate in diagnosing Down syndrome, according to the National Down Syndrome Society. (National Down Syndrome Society, 2022) “One of the biggest questions we got was ‘Did you do prenatal testing?’” recalled Kristi. “We did prenatal testing, and it all came back negative for Down syndrome.” Maybe the missing prenatal diagnosis was a blessing in disguise for the young family. “Looking back on it now,” she said, “it would not have mattered what the test said, and I believe God spared us the anxiety of knowing beforehand, so we could completely enjoy the pregnancy.”

cover photo by Matt Cornelius





strong faith pulled us through when we just could not seem to understand everything we were feeling at the time.” Because children with Down syndrome are prone to an assortment of other health issues, the Lachowsky’s most immediate concerns revolved around making sure their daughter was thoroughly screened. Kristi recalled, “We had extensive lab work done and cardiology workups. Eventually, we were discharged home on day three and were instructed to follow up with a cardiologist. The next six months were stressful, and at times emotional, but also, they were times of such joy with our beautiful baby girl.” However, like 40-60 percent of all people with Down syndrome, Mallory fell into the category of those who have a congenital heart defect. So, at that six-month mark, she had open heart surgery. “Of course, we stressed and worried, but Mallory showed out and did awesome. We were at Arkansas Children’s Hospital for a week and then back home. She recovered fast and did well.” Children with Down syndrome also frequently have speech difficulties because of low muscle tone, so the Lachowskys started speech therapy for Mallory right away, and “though she is still difficult at times to understand,” Kristi joked, “the girl never misses a chance to talk now.” The Lachowsky family is a tight group of five, including Clint, who has worked for the Texarkana Texas Fire Department for 17 years and has co-owned Lach-On Construction for the last eight years. As a registered nurse, Kristi currently works for Precision Spine Care. The couple’s oldest daughter, Ally, is now ten years old and is a fifth grader at James Bowie

Mallory as a newborn

As with most life-altering developments, especially those that seem to come with no warning, initially it is hard to know how to feel. In the early days of Mallory’s life, there was a bit of soul searching required for Kristi and Clint, as they needed time to wrap their heads and hearts around the truth of their daughter’s unexpected condition. “Of course, the feelings we had immediately following Mallory’s birth were mostly negative, full of fear, anxiety, and questions about the unknown. We, as a family, did not know what to expect. None of us had ever been around someone with Down syndrome. I will say, for the first few months we felt all those emotions, but we also felt such love and protectiveness, and we were just 100% in love with this beautiful blessing God gave us,” Kristi said. “Family and friends were just as shocked as we were. Some would say to us they were ‘sorry,’ others would say, ‘it will be ok,’ but most just felt awkward, not knowing what to say. After the initial shock of her diagnosis, family and friends were very loving and accepting of her. As a matter of fact, our families’ and friends’

Schools. “Mallory’s relationship with my oldest daughter is a strong bond,” Kristi said. “Through Mallory, she has learned what loving and accepting others is all about. She is very protective of Mallory and is such an awesome big sister.” Since Mallory’s birth, the family has grown by one more when little brother Daniel, now three years old, was added to the mix. “Mallory’s relationship with my youngest, Daniel, is fun to watch. He does not know she is different; therefore, he does not cut her any slack in their sibling fights. They are very close and love to get into everything together. I would say all three of them have such a special bond and absolutely love each other to the fullest.” While the birth of a child with Down syndrome




Mallory, at age 6, with her older sister, Ally (9), and newborn brother, Daniel.

was not something the family expected, it has turned out to be an eternal blessing. “The last eight years have been absolutely amazing for our family,” Kristi said. “Mallory was the perfect addition. I wish I could have told that to myself when we were starting out—to just have faith and trust God through this process. It is hard to believe I ever felt so emotionally defeated when she was born. Now, looking back, I see God placed her in our lives at the perfect time; doesn’t He always? Through Mallory, I have learned so much. She has taught me that the fear of the unknown is okay. Ultimately, we are not in control of anything or anyone, which strengthens my faith and trust in God. Sure, there are some moments of stress and anxiety, but Mallory genuinely loves life, and she lives it to the fullest. She loves everyone unconditionally and judges no one. And anyone who knows her knows she is the life of the party, and will give you the biggest hugs when you need them.” A normal day for Mallory includes attending all-inclusive classes at James Bowie Elementary, where she has been enrolled since Pre-K. She has a great group of friends who have loved and supported her since day one. She receives speech therapy and occupational therapy through the school district with “wonderful therapists” who have also been with Mallory since the beginning. She is currently in second grade, in a classroom “where she is loved,” according to her grateful mother. “She is pulled out for reading and math because she needs just a little extra help in those subjects… They say it takes a village, and I could not ask for a better village for Mallory,” Kristi said.

In the 1980s, October was designated Down Syndrome Awareness Month. It is a time to celebrate people with Down syndrome and recognize all their exceptional abilities and accomplishments. Locally, the Texarkana Down Syndrome Society helps connect and support the families of those with Down syndrome. They host events throughout the year to bring families together to celebrate their loved ones. This year, on October 8, from 10:00 am-2:00 pm, they will be “Rockin’ That Extra Chromosome” through a free event that will include a fun day of activities, music, cotton candy, and, of course, the Awareness Walk. Mallory’s team of supporters at this year’s walk will be known as Mal’s Pals and will each be sporting t-shirts with the verse from Psalm 139:14 that says, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” It is the perfect declaration to describe these precious souls with Down syndrome who bring such joy and love to those they meet. It is our differences that teach us and help us grow, and just like Mallory’s family, if we let it, looking at life through the eyes of a person with Down syndrome can teach us all so much. “Mallory is such a blessing, and she has such a beautiful soul. Through her,” Kristi said, “I have learned how to really love and accept everyone. She ultimately changed my perspective on life. She has shown me how to love unconditionally and to go with the flow. When I see things through Mallory’s eyes, I see the way God wants us to be, living with joy, loving passionately, and dancing like nobody is watching. (And those who know Mallory know she loves to dance!) Wouldn’t the world be a better place if we all had some of that in us?”





1. People who get to know someone with Down syndrome often develop a strong capacity for love and acceptance of someone who is different.

2. People with Down syndrome can have jobs and be productive and contributing members of society.

3. National Down Syndrome Society does not like or use the word ‘retard’ or ‘retarded.’ Period. ( www.r-word.com )

4. People with Down syndrome are smaller in stature. Girls average a height of 4’9” and boys 5’2”. What they lack in size, they make up for in awesomeness.

5. Approximately 45% of people with Down syndrome have a single palmar crease in their hands. This results from hypotonia as the hand was not held in a tight fist while the baby was growing in the womb. 6. There are three ways in which Down syndrome can happen, depending on how the cells divide: nondisjunction (approximately 95%), translocation (4-5%), and mosaicism (less than 1%).

7. IQ scores cannot capture a person’s potential, keep ‘intelligence’ in perspective.

8. 80% of babies with Down syndrome are born to women under 35 because this age group gives birth most frequently. 9. Down syndrome is named after John Langdon Down, the British doctor who fully described the syndrome in 1866. 10. An estimated 90% of parents who receive a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome will choose to terminate their pregnancies.

11. Approximately 40-50% of babies born with Down syndrome will have some type of

heart defect, often easily corrected with surgery. But be careful; they can steal your heart.





12. Down syndrome is also known as Trisomy 21 or T21 because Down syndrome happens when a person has three, rather than two, copies of the 21st chromosome.

13. People with Down syndrome are not ‘always happy.’ They have feelings just like everyone else.

14. People with Down syndrome can lead happy, independent, and successful lives. They can become TV stars, play symphonies, learn to drive, and even climb Mount Everest! Don’t count them out. 15. Approximately 1 in 700 babies will have Down syndrome, making it the most common chromosomal condition. This is true for all races, nationalities, ethnic groups, and classes.

16. In 1983, the average life expectancy of a person with Down syndrome was 25 years old. Today, it is 60.

17. People with Down syndrome cannot be ‘more Downs’ than another. As with everyone else, each person with Down syndrome has their own strengths, weaknesses, talents, and abilities. The syndrome affects each individual differently, but what is the same: people with Down syndrome will make your heart happy!

18. We prefer ‘people first’ language. A person has/with Down

syndrome. Not a Down’s person or the Down syndrome kid because Down syndrome does not define who they are.


Babies with Down syndrome have low muscle tone (known as hypotonia), so it will take them a little longer to talk, walk, and eat the same foods as others. They work extra hard, and they get there.

20. People with Down syndrome will help make you a better person.


There is not a “spectrum” of Down syndrome. People cannot have mild or severe Down syndrome. You either have it, or you don’t.

SOURCE: National Down Syndrome Society, ndss.org About Down Syndrome (2022)




SHOW NOTES BY ANDREA LOREDO PHOTOS COURTESY OF CRITERION PICTURES A re you ready for a night of absolute pleasure? For one night and one night only, join The Perot Theatre as they screen the eccentric cult classic film, The Rocky Horror Picture Show. The Rocky Horror Picture Show is a musical stage show written in 1973 by Richard O’Brien. Later in 1975, the horror musical made its cinematic debut when it was turned into a movie. Directed by Jim Sharman, the movie stars Tim Curry as Frank N. Furter, Barry Bostwick as Brad Majors, Susan Sarandon as Janet Weiss, Peter Hinwood as Rocky Horror, Richard O’Brien as Riff Raff, Patricia Quinn as Magenta, and Nell Campbell as Colombia.

t h e a t r e




The movie follows Brad and Janet as they get caught in a storm with a flat tire. In search of help, they find themselves in a castle that belongs to a transvestite mad scientist who goes by the name of Frank N. Furter. In the castle, Brad and Janet meet many interesting people, including Frank N. Furter’s creation, Rocky. Rocky is Frank N. Furter’s attempt at creating a perfect man and partner. “ The Rocky Horror Picture Show is a super campy cult classic. It is fun, and it is different from what the community of Texarkana is used to,” Director of Marketing and Audience Services Rashinda Hampton said. “It has a huge following, not only with residents here in this community, but outside the community as well.” The Perot Theatre will be screening The Rocky Horror Picture Show on Friday, October 28, at 8:00 p.m. Much like other

classic film screenings, this screening will be an audience participation screening. General admission tickets cost $15, while tickets with the Virgin Kit will cost $25. The Rocky Horror Picture Show is considered one of the first audience participation movies. This means that during certain scenes, audience members will receive props in what is widely known as a Virgin Kit, giving them a chance to interact with what is happening on screen. The theatre will provide props, including bubbles for the wedding scene, newspaper sheets for the rain scene, party hats for the dinner party, and other props. A “How to Use Virgin Kit” will be posted on the theatre’s social media. No outside props will be allowed into the theatre. In 2000, the film won The Gaylactic Spectrum Award Hall of Fame, an award recognizing works of science fiction,




fantasy, and/or horror. Even though the cult classic has only one award under its name, the fanbase behind the film has turned it into the popular classic that fans know and love today. The theatre is also highly encouraging attendees to dress up. Dressing up is not required, but it is highly encouraged for audience members. The dress code for those who choose to participate is to dress according to the eccentric fashion statements portrayed in the movie. The movie introduces us to a variety of different characters, all of which have their own unique and iconic style. “[We are] especially encouraging them [people] to come out in these costumes which are very unique, eccentric, and not your run of the mill type of attire that you would see in a theatre,” Hampton said. “This




Outside props are not allowed. Prop kits are available with the Virgin Kit ticket purchase at the box office. PROPS AND HOW TO USE THEM • BUBBLES (NO RICE): At the beginning of the film is the wedding of Ralph Hapschatt and Betty Munroe. As the newlyweds exit the church you should blow bubbles along with the wedding guests on-screen.

NEWSPAPERS: When Brad and Janet are caught in the storm, Janet covers her head with a newspaper… you should do the same.

• WATER PISTOL: Used by the audience to simulate the rainstorm that Brad and Janet are caught in.

GLOW STICKS: During the “There’s a Light” verse of “Over at the Frankenstein Place,” light up the theatre with your glowstick. RUBBER GLOVES: During and after the creating speech, Frank snaps his rubber gloves three times. Later Magenta pulls these gloves off his hands. Snap your gloves in synch each time to create a marvelous sound effect. NOISEMAKERS: At the end of the creation speech, the Transylvanians respond with applause and noisemakers. Join them and do the same! TOILET PAPER: When Dr. Scott enters the lab, Brad cries out, “Great Scott!” At this point, hurl your toilet paper into the air.

allows people to be more creative, have fun, let go, and just enjoy themselves.” The classic and iconic film has a large fanbase, many of which were younger when the film was first released in 1975. For many fans of the cult classic, there tends to be a nostalgic factor when rewatching and interacting with the film. This screening is also a great opportunity for the young adult audience, who may have only seen the film on DVD. Most of the younger audience will be able to get the full experience and the excitement of an audience participation screening and seeing the cult classic on the big screen. “[The film] brings back nostalgia to a lot of people. [If you] go back and look through some of the Facebook comments, you get to see how people are reacting,” said Hampton. “[The comments] show how people are really getting excited about it.” The Perot Theatre has received a lot of support and excitement from people who are interested in attending and people who are attending. After 47 years of this film being released, it is incredible to see the number of people still supporting this cult classic. “If we do have a good turnout, which I think we will, it will definitely become something that I want to hold annually,” Hampton said.

• ROSE PETALS: At the end of the “Charles Atlas Song” reprise, the Transylvanians throw confetti as Rocky and Frank move toward the bedroom. You will toss your rose petals instead. • PARTY HAT: At the dinner table, when Frank puts on a party hat, you should do the same.

KEYS: During the song “Planet Schmanet Janet,” jingle your keys when Frank sings, “Did you hear a bell ring?” BUSINESS CARDS: During the song “I’m Going Home,” Frank sings “Cards for sorrow, cards for pain”. This is when you will shower the theatre with your cards.

Note: This is a rated-R film that includes partial nudity, sexual innuendos, inferred sexual acts, swearing, and murder.





These are not just words. They define the aspirations of some of Texarkana’s most talented young athletes. Coach Henry Black established the Black Mambas track team three years ago to teach Texarkana’s youth to run toward competition and to never shy away from it. Coach Black aspires to provide kids the opportunity to see a bigger world, and he is using this age-old sport to open the door. The Black Mambas team works on leadership, discipline, and integrity through strenuous practices and accountability. These are skills they will need far beyond track practice and track meets. In a world that sometimes lacks stability and accountability, Black wants to provide a solid foundation and encouragement. “We take any kid who wants to run, and we put them up against other kids who will challenge them and their speed,” he said. The Black Mambas track team allows him to reach kids through running. “We do it to show them what is out there, and that life can go beyond Texarkana.”

(L-R) Greyson, Richard, Taegan, and Peyton Bowers

(L-R) Kassidy Arnold Tonijiah Nard Eric Winkler Derek Coleman Zephaniah Black Zechariah Black Ja’Traven Keener Rhyan Rigsby El’Lanah Black Meisha Johnson








TEXARKANA BLACK MAMBAS TRACK CLUB GOALS Through their involvement in Track & Field, athletes will: • Improve their physical conditioning and overall health as we encourage a healthy lifestyle • Learn skills related to Track and Field: basic and advanced fundamentals • Build a positive self-image through individual and team achievement by setting and reaching attainable and personal goals • Learn to cope with adversity • Be part of an organization that promotes self-esteem, self-worth, a sense of accomplishment and the development of friendships VISION We teach our youth to run toward competition and not to shy away from it. In competing against other children from around the United States, we know there are faster and more advanced athletes; we continue to work harder and push towards excellence as we teach our kids to be competitive in everything they do. Texarkana Black Mambas is staffed with a team of coaches, parents, community leaders, and volunteers who realize children will compete for the rest of their lives in high school, college, and on the job. We are teaching our children how to succeed in life through organized sports, and eventually, our children will compete on a national stage for sports and win in life. OPPORTUNITY Texarkana Black Mambas Track Club focuses on the whole child, physical, social, and emotional. Being a part of a team promotes self-esteem, self-worth, and a sense of accomplishment. Studies have shown that participation in organized youth sports/ exercise promotes improved physical health, helps to maintain a healthy body weight, improves sleep quality, improves memory, promotes better decision making, improves mood, lower risk for depression, increases coping skills, and increases the capacity to learn. As Texarkana Black Mambas Track Club works to cultivate athletes, we will also prepare these youth for the highest level of competition at the AAU Junior Olympics (JO) National Championships. Our athletes will compete at local and regional track meets during the spring and summer in preparation for the National Championships that take place in July. Many of our athletes have had little opportunity to travel outside of the Texarkana area. Texarkana Black Mambas athletes will travel to compete in many states, including Florida, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Texas. This allows the opportunity to compete against other athletes with similar measuring points in Track and Field in preparation for the AAU Junior Olympics (JO) National Championships and to see life outside of Texarkana which we hope in return will motivate them to work harder and develop goals to work towards for their futures. Every year over 8,000 athletes compete at Nationals under media coverage. In 2021, the Texarkana Black Mambas sent 11 athletes to represent our area. Texarkana Black Mambas promotes and encourages excellence in education and giving back to our community. Our athletes are recognized for their academic success at school, as well as excellence in conduct. These athletes are awarded a certificate of achievement that highlights their academic excellence. Texarkana Black Mambas will complete a community service project each summer to learn the value of serving their community.

Meisha Johnson

Beyond the Black Mambas, Coach Black also spends his days with kids, coaching PE at Theron Jones Early Literacy Center. “We try to make a difference in the lives of Texarkana youth,” he said. “They are faced with so many issues at such an early age. We get to act as coaches, mentors, and big brothers and encourage these kids to make good choices. We try to teach our kids to deal with adversity on the track and in life, reaching kids any way we can.” The approach is simple, but profound. “Last year was our first year competing,” Coach Black explained. “We started practicing in January and had our first track meet in Florida in March.” Throughout the season, the team competes in nine track meets. The season ends with the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) Junior Olympics (JO) National Championships. However, not every competitor qualifies for the Junior Olympics, and some do not want to compete at that level. Coach Black feels it is essential for his runners to see the competition beyond Texarkana

and to recognize their potential. Running is beneficial, but that is not all of it. “Most kids do not get to leave Texarkana, and they have never been to Florida. The best part was seeing a mom, dad, and kids excited over seeing different landmarks and experiencing the ocean for the first time.”






El’Lanah Black






Aliyah Sanders






Eric Winkler






Tonijiah Nard

Coach Black has three kids of his own that compete for the Black Mambas. Coaching one’s own children can pose a challenge. “I do not take it easy on them,” Black explained. “There are kids who look to them to be the example. So, they do not get any slack. I hold them to the same expectations and standards as the others, which is not always easy.” However, it was a conversation between Black and his son that was pivotal for them both. It stemmed from his son making comments regarding how tough the competition was. Black was able to use this moment to explain to his son that life will be a series of competitions, whether for class rank, a job, or track. Raising kids who can handle that adversity and to excel in life is what any parent wants for their children. Coach Black hopes to use track as a tool to deliver those experiences to his own kids and his team as an opportunity to push them and help them grow. According to Coach Black, perspective is key in building relationships with these athletes. Their lives are not always easy. “You never know what happened at home,” he said. “I try to remember that, especially during practice, if they are having a bad day.” Each athlete brings a set of obstacles, whether they are physical, mental, or emotional. This team allows the opportunity for strong role models to meet with kids amid obstacles and walk with them as they learn how to navigate. It is a safe place to work through struggles, and they are given a sense of purpose. It is the goal of the program to focus on the whole child, physically, socially, and emotionally. They are building a team of coaches, mentors, and parents dedicated to teaching kids how to succeed in life. Studies have shown that participation in organized youth sports and exercise programs promotes improved physical health, helps to maintain healthy body weight, improves sleep quality, memory, and mood, promotes better decision making, lowers risk for depression, and increases coping skills and the capacity to learn. The Black Mambas track team serves as the vessel for these kids to expand themselves and affect the world around them for good.

Members of Texarkana Black Mambas Track Club







I remember exactly where I was the day I got a text from my friend, Sarah Cooper, that Heritage Home Health & Hospice had created a new job position, the first of its kind. She thought I would be perfect for the job. You rock, Sarah! She told me I should apply for the job as soon as possible, but I was nervous. Up until this point, I had only worked retail jobs. What the heck did I know about home health or hospice? It was 2020, and I felt pretty lost at the time, just wandering aimlessly through life. I was trying to find some solid footing. I wanted purpose or direction for my life, as we all do. I am no nurse. Trust me, you do not want me to be your nurse! I have shaky hands, and everything grosses me out.

the principal’s office, knowing I was in deep trouble in sixth grade. But what I would give to go back and fully appreciate the blessing I was unknowingly walking into on my first day at this new job, trembling knees and all! Hindsight is truly 20/20. My job is to be a bright, smiling face in the community representing Heritage Home Health & Hospice in and out of all their nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and memory care centers. I do my best to bring joy to residents’ days. Yes, that is my JOB! I cannot believe it either; it seems too good to be true. When you think of hospice, you may think of death and nothing else. I say that bluntly because I used to believe the word

The position I was applying for was in marketing. Still, my doubts kept me up at night. How would I market something with which I was unfamiliar? I gave myself a little pep talk, “BAILEY! Step out of your comfort zone if you want your life to change! No one ever achieved anything great taking zero risks!” I knew that millions of people face these doubts every day, and still, they rise, face their fears, learn, grow, and evolve in the process. I applied for the job reluctantly, interviewed twice reluctantly, and accepted the job offer, you guessed it, reluctantly! The last time I had been as nervous as I was on my first day at Heritage Home Health & Hospice, I was trekking down the hall to





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hospice was synonymous with death, too. That can be pretty depressing and quite grim. When I started this job, I thought, how am I supposed to sell what we do to the world as something other than just being depressing? I am here to inform you that hospice does not equal death—some patients live receiving hospice care for years.

I guarantee you that the people I have met through our hospice services in these facilities are far from depressed. The wisdom, love, care, and guidance I have received around a domino table from these wonderful, empathetic, caring humans—not just patients—but human beings, is immeasurable.

We have put together various activities for these residents underneath the Heritage Home Health & Hospice name. We have had a snow machine at Christmas, margaritas, been on “Hawaiian cruises,” and made scarves. I even wore a turkey suit for Thanksgiving last year and let the residents shoot me with Nerf guns. Yes, that happened. I never knew I could learn so much from these wonderful people. I have learned that life is so beautiful, and we should hold everything dear to us while we still have the chance. There are so many misconceptions about what home health or hospice is, which is why I am so proud to work for Heritage Home Health & Hospice. I now work in a different role as the digital media manager running their social media, but I can still see the positive impact our services have on these humans and their families. I am proud to educate my community on hospice and its importance. Hospice is about transitioning from one chapter to the next. We are aid and comfort during the difficulty of that transition for both the patient and family. Before this job, I had never worked in anything healthcare related a day in my life. Through this process, I have learned that empathy and compassion will always be my top priority in any career field I choose in the future. Treating people with love, dignity, and respect is the Heritage Home Health & Hospice way, and I have now adopted it as my way too.

LOCAL EVENTS October 8 University of Arkansas- Texarkana Casino Night Texarkana Arkansas Convention Center, 7 pm-10 pm October 8 Cosplay Crawl Downtown Texarkana, 6 pm October 9 Healthcare Express Fall Market Silvermoon, 2 pm-6 pm October 14-15 Gayble Moss Memorial Golf and Tennis Tournament Northridge Country Club October 14 Downtown Live! Downtown Texarkana, 6-9 pm October 14-16 Watson Team Roping Four States Fairgrounds October 15 Tough Kookie Breast Cancer Race Texas A&M University- Texarkana, 8 am October 15 Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimers Spring Lake Park, 8 am October 15 Oktoberfest on the Line presented by Farmers Bank and Trust 11 am-10 pm

October 1 Hospice of Texarkana Jeans and Bling Texarkana Convention Center, 7 pm-10 pm October 1 Texarkana Museums System Twilight Tours 7 pm October 1 United Way of Texarkana Battle on the Border Dolly Parton Look Alike Contest Battle on the Border, 6 pm October 3-31 Williams Memorial United Methodist Church Pumpkin Patch Sunday-Friday, noon-dark Saturdays, 9 am-dark October 4 National Night Out Block Party for Pinson Park 6:30 pm October 7 HandsOn Texarkana 14th Annual Tapas and Wine Collins Home, 5 pm October 7-9 Lucky Dog Barrel Racing Four States Fairgrounds October 8 Rockin’ That Extra Chromosome Down Syndrome Awareness Walk Downtown Texarkana, 10 am-2 pm

October 20 Book Club Sponsored by Texarkana Public Library, 3 pm-4:30 pm October 21 Haunted Texarkana Ghost Walk Kress Gap, 8 pm October 22 Mutts Gone Nuts Perot Theatre, 5 pm October 26 Orthopedic Specialists of Texarkana Lunch and Learn—Hip and Knee Pain Treatments Silver Star Smokehouse, 11:30 am October 27-30 The Little Mermaid by Silvermoon Children’s Theatre October 28 The Rocky Horror Picture Show Perot Theatre, 8 pm October 29 Bowie County Livestock Club Show Four States Fairgrounds October 29 Haunted Texarkana Ghost Walk Kress Gap, 8 pm October 31 Haunted Texarkana Ghost Walk Kress Gap, 8 pm

LIVE MUSIC October 1 Elvis Redbone Brewery, 7 pm October 2 Michael W. Smith WayMaker Tour Perot Theatre, 7:30 pm October 8 Zuill Bailey with the Texarkana Symphony Orchestra Perot Theatre, 7 pm October 21

Monsterboy Lives The Hideout, 9 pm

For more events visit













All of us girls have to do it. And we all hate doing it. Even those of us who do this for a living hate doing it. What is “IT,” you ask? It is the trip to your friendly gynecologist. But it can be a little less stressful if you try to see the funny side of it all. We want to share some tips, tricks, and general observations to get you through this trying time.

it’s a no-judgment zone because we do not usually have fresh pedicures either! Also, grooming habits vary among women, and we do not judge those either! • No one ever gets as far down the table as they need to on the first try. We spend half our day saying, “just one more scoot!” which is usually three or four scoots after you think you are already in the right place! Exams are a lot less uncomfortable if you are in the right spot on the table. If you feel like you are about to fall off the end of the table, you are there. Always scoot back a little BEFORE you sit up because that is how you fall off the bed. We have had it happen.

• Let’s start with the urine sample. There is no graceful way to go in that tiny little cup in that tiny, little stall (double challenge if you are one of our pregnant patients!) Just do the best you can. If you drop the cup or the sticker, just come out and ask for a new one. It happens all the time.

At the scales, it is okay to take off your shoes, and it is also okay not to look!

• Those paper gowns do not fit ANY body type! No one really knows the purpose of the little plastic tie that comes with the gown. Also, you should leave the gowns open to the front, not the back.

• We cannot check your hormones if you are actually on hormones (birth control counts.)

• It is okay to leave your socks and shoes on, but you WILL have to take your panties off (and usually your bra, too!)

• There are ways we can help you avoid your period while you are on vacation, honeymoon, etc. But we need at least a month’s heads up. Because we typically use birth control to do this, it will not work if you wait until the week before to call us. • Do not cancel your appointment just because you are on your period. You may not even need a pap at your visit; if you do, we can still do it. Pap testing is liquid-based, so red blood cells typically do not interfere with it.

• 99% of women fold their panties and bra and put them under their clothes so they cannot be seen. We do it too, but why? We are about to be seen naked by this other person. Why do we care if they see our bras and panties? • Most gynecology tables have a heated drawer for the speculums (the duck-billed thingies) right under the seat. It is a great idea, but poor design. Because of that, everybody starts sweating, especially in those paper gowns that do not breathe! It happens to almost everyone, so do not fret about it.

Remember, we see patients all the time for abnormal bleeding, and we have delivered lots of babies! Blood does not bother us.

• There is no such thing as boundaries or TMI in the world of women’s health. There is nothing you can say that will shock us. Trust us. We have heard

If you need a pad, pantiliner, or tampon after your visit, they are usually in a drawer or basket nearby. If you cannot find one, just ask!

it all (and more!) before. You can tell us anything; we do not judge.

• Above all, remember we are here to help and listen! We are all in this together. And yes, EVERYONE looks pretty much the same “down there,” so do not stress!

• If you tell us not to look at your unshaven legs or toes badly in need of a pedicure, the first thing we do is look! Once again,

D’Andra D. Bingham, MD, FACOG and Laura Jackson, APRN, NP-C have worked together in Texarkana for almost 20 years. Dr. Bingham joined the OB/GYN department at Collom & Carney Clinic in 2003 right after finishing residency at UT Southwestern and Parkland Hospital in Dallas. They worked on Labor and Delivery at Christus St. Michael for 13 of Laura’s 17 years as a L&D nurse. According to Dr. Bingham “Laura and I have always been a great team. We just gelled from the first time we met. When she finished her NP in 2016, we knew we had to have her at Collom & Carney.” Together with the rest of our department we provide a full range of OB/GYN and women’s healthcare services.



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