LIFT Editorials
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LIFT Editorial: Wren - Keeping Texarkana Beautiful



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LIFT Elevates Strategic Economic Development Initiatives

By Gary Stading, Ph.D.
Dean of the College of Business at Texas A&M University - Texarkana

Motivated by a “what if” proposition in conversation among Leadership Texarkana’s LIFT Team (Leadership Initiative for Texarkana) and the Texarkana Chamber of Commerce, the College of Business at Texas A&M University-Texarkana hosted a forum of multiple groups from Texas and Arkansas on Tuesday, October 27, 2015, to discuss information related to economic development needs and opportunities in the Texarkana region.  The meeting was highly energetic with a strong focus on inclusiveness in bringing regional resources together to increase economic development in the Texarkana region. 

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LIFT: For the Love of Texarkana

by David Orr
City of Texarkana, TX

When we are loved, we thrive. When cities are loved, they thrive as well. For the Love of Cities, a book by Peter Kageyama,explores the love affair between people and their places. One of the central questions in the book is what makes our cities and communities lovable? To answer this question, the book explains we should recognize that we are all in a relationship with the place in which we live.

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LIFT: Dine on the Line

by Lee Medley

One Table.  Two States. One Epic Toast.  This is the essence of Main Street Texarkana’s annual fund raiser and its new event “Dine on the Line”.  Often, we as a community look at the State Line as something that divides us and brings more red tape and hoops to jump through.  We overlook just how unique and special State Line Avenue makes our community.  We want to do something that highlights not how the State Line divides, but how the State Line brings us together.  What better way to bring people together than to sit down and eat a meal, raise a glass, and have a good time.  And while we are at it, do it right on top of the border that joins our twin cities.  

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LIFT: A Focus for our Future

by Ruth Ellen Whitt
LT Executive Director 

Imagine that you own your own business. If you want your business to progress in any way, it is essential that you clearly know where you are headed–what results you are shooting for–so that you can align the actions of everyone in your business to achieve those dreams.  In short, you need a focus for your future.  

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LIFT: Creative Disruption

by Bill Cork
Former CEO, TexAmericas Center

The iPhone or Galaxy or other mobile device you have in your hand is really transforming the world. Most of you who own one of these devices have purchased something on line and had it delivered to your home or office.

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LIFT: Pride in Texarkana

by Julie Tidwell
President, Keep Texarkana Beautiful

Hakuna matata – the song from The Lion King that means “no worries.” That was the carefree life Simba had as a lion cub when he left his home, the Pride Land, after things got tough. Slowly, the Pride Land deteriorated, yet Simba ignored the pleas for help, thinking others were better suited to fix the problem. Soon the spirit of Simba’s father helped Simba realize that to save the Pride Land he must come back and fight. Simba came back and with the help of many others, they took back the Pride Land and restored it to its former glory.

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LIFT Perspectives: Summit Plus One

by Ruth Ellen Whitt
Executive Director, Leadership Texarkana 

As Executive Director of Leadership Texarkana, the question I’m most commonly asked is “What’s going on with LIFT?”

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LIFT: The Formula for Success...Collaboration

by James Henry Russell and Emily Fourmy Cutrer

"The welfare of each is bound up in the welfare of all."
–Helen Keller

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LIFT: When All is Said and Done

by Phillip DuVall, Ph.D.

Earlier this year Leadership Texarkana (LT), and the Leadership Initiative for Texarkana (LIFT), sponsored a City Leadership Summit, bringing together elected officials and supporting staff members in the Texarkana area.  This was a great start towards moving Texarkana forward while working together. Several great initiatives were started and continue today. But, we have all seen several initiatives start and die on the vine for various reasons. Now is the time to continue to put in place necessary things that will help us continue to pull together.

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LIFT Recap

by Ruth Ellen Whitt
Leadership Texarkana Executive Director

Many thanks to everyone who signed on in support of the Leadership Initiative for Texarkana City Leaders’ Summit, and thanks to all city officials and community members who participated! We had an extremely productive summit.  As defined from the outset, our intent was an  LT-sponsored retreat, led by nationally-renowned facilitators, to build trust, respect and a foundation for working together as partners in future endeavors, and it happened!

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LIFT: Two Cities, One Team

by William Morriss
Texarkana Chamber of Commerce Co-Chair

Over the years, Texarkana USA has seen good times and bad. It’s seen both sides of State Line Avenue working together as one, and it’s seen both sides fighting each other vigorously. It seems to come in cycles. Each city does have its advantages in terms of ordinances or taxing systems, so it’s quite natural for one side to stand up for what is best for its own interest. After all, we all do that individually from time to time. But Texarkana USA is one community that has the uniqueness of two cities, and it benefits most when both sides of the state line are working together as a team.

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LIFT: It's Time to Stop Painting Over Rust in Texarkana

by Hayes McClerkin

From my navy days I can still picture the sailors chipping away the rust before they started to paint. The purpose was to create a situation that would not cause the need to keep painting the ship over in the same place. Texarkana has been painting over rust for the past few years. Leadership Texarkana’s Leadership Initiative for Texarkana (“LIFT”) is providing an opportunity for our community to address the problem.

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LIFT: For the People Had a Mind to Work

As a graduate of Leadership Texarkana I was enlightened on all of the history, culture, arts, and other services offered right here, hidden somewhat but here. We must work together to share in what is available and what our real growth potential could be with a united effort. Our community has been talking the talk for years, now let’s join forces and do the walk that we have been talking about. Texarkana can be and will be as great as we (the citizens on both sides) allow it. My perspective is from someone who was not born here, did not grow up here, did not attend schools here; but have been here over fourteen years as a pastor, as an educator, as a community leader, and I can see the vision of a strong, flourishing, industrial, educational, and united city. Let us work together in bringing Texarkana as a leader in both states and in this region, and sign on to the LIFT Initiative for Texarkana. “…For the people had a mind to Work”

 Terry Taylor is the Senior Pastor of the Church of the Living God, Associate High School Principal located at Washington 4-A, and a member of the Board of Trustees of Texarkana College

LIFT: What Do We Want Our City to Become?

by Brian Goesl
Executive Director, Texarkana Regional Arts & Humanities Council, Inc.

I have been reading with interest the previous columns in Friday’s Texarkana Gazette in support of LIFT: “Leadership Initiative for Texarkana” and I have to admit that I signed on fairly early in support of this idea. I certainly feel that this is a worthwhile endeavor on the part of our two cities and those of us who live and work in Texarkana. All of the articles that I have read were extremely well written and I can’t say that I have any new ideas to express that haven’t already been better stated. However, and isn’t this how major dissenting statements often begin? The point that I want to make is that I have been a participant at several of these types of retreats over the years, and what I’ve discovered is that during the time of the retreat every participant is almost passionately convinced that this event will change his or her life. They have “Drunk the Kool-Aid, “Seen the Light” and “Rededicated Their Life” in some sort of fashion. Two weeks later many of us then begin to fall off the wagon and renege on our promises of commitment and a month later we have most often returned to our previous lives.

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LIFT: A Small Group of Thoughtful, Concerned Citizens

by Bix Rathburn

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, concerned citizens can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has
-Margaret Mead

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LIFT: The Visible Invisible State Line

by Sonja Hubbard

As residents of Texarkana, we rarely are even conscious of our movement back and forth across the state line dividing the Arkansas and Texas side of the city. There is no distinct wave of change that washes over one as you move from one side of State Line Avenue to the other. It is just another busy street in our unique city. But while we can’t see a distinct line or even feel one, this invisible delineation is evident in the operations and decisions that influence our Texarkanas and changes our daily lives.

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LIFT: Not Just Another Editorial About Working Together

by Jeff Sandford
Former President & CEO, Texarkana Chamber of Commerce

Ok, so here it is – another editorial on working together. Just by reading this, many of you have probably already made a conscious decision to move ahead to the sports page, or the comics. After seeing my picture, many more of you have rolled your eyes thinking, ‘we’ve already heard this story!’

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LIFT: Tear Down This Wall

by Larry Sims
Associate Pastor, First Baptist Church Texarkana
President & Board Member, Hospice of Texarkana Foundation

My very first recollection of Texarkana was seeing that famed postcard of a man  on the photographer’s island in front of the downtown post office. The caption read: “A man standing in Texas with his ‘donkey’ in Arkansas.” There was another such card where the man was standing in Arkansas and his “donkey” was in Texas! That was the first thing I knew about our fair city but the existence of the two cards did indicate a “slight” state rivalry.

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LIFT: Showdown of the Season

by Russell Sapaugh, Superintendent, Texarkana Arkansas School District,
and Paul Norton, Superintendent, Texarkana Independent School District

This editorial was originally published on August 31, 2012, the day of the yearly football game between Texas High and Arkansas High.

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