Texarkana, Texas, started a curbside recycling pickup, and the participation was more than anyone dared hope. David Orr, quality and sustainability coordinator, said 64 percent of Texas-side residents recycled in the program's first week, compared to just 4 percent during the same time in 2009.
"The average weekly collection in 2009 was 5.2 tons a week. The week of Jan. 4 through 8, 2010, 32.7 tons of recyclables were collected," he said.
The 628-percent jump just includes recyclable material sent away for processing and does not include green waste collected for compost by Texarkana Water Utilities.
"As you can imagine we are very excited with the results so far," Orr said then.
Vicki Melde, communications manager for Texarkana, Texas, said Brian Conditt, Waste Management's regional manager, was been very complimentary of local efforts.
"He's been told that when the Texarkana, Texas, recycle load hits the floor at the sorting center in Shreveport, the workers immediately know where it has come from due to the low contaminate rate," she said then. "Not only are Texarkana residents recycling, they are taking that bit of extra effort to do so correctly."
n Sonja Hubbard, Texarkana-based E-Z Mart's convenience stores then-chief executive officer, was the first woman inducted into the Convenience Industry Hall of Fame in November.
n The birthplace of former President Bill Clinton was designated a National Historic site in mid-December. The deed was transferred to the federal government to allow for management by the National Park Service.
President Clinton comes home
For the first time in more than a decade, Bill Clinton came home.
The 42nd president returned to his birthplace to rechristen his boyhood home as the President William Jefferson Clinton Birthplace Home.
Clinton was joined on stage by then-U.S. Rep. Mike Ross, D-Prescott; Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar; and National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis in the sunlit courtyard adjoining the white clapboard home where he was raised.
Calling his ascent from small-town Arkansas to Washington, D.C., a "symbol of a story that many millions of Americans have lived on their own," he spoke about the values he learned growing up in Hope.
"The worst mistake you could make when I was a kid was to think you were better than anyone else," he said.
It took several years for the federal government to get on board with the preservation efforts.
Legislation designating the house as a National Historic Site was twice shepherded through the U.S. House of Representatives by Ross, only to die in the Senate.
The third try was more successful. With a stroke of President Barack Obama's pen, the house became the National Park Service's 394th site and its 33rd presidential site.
Fire ravages dry, brittle region
A long dry spell coupled with high heat and gusty winds turned the Texarkana area into flash points throughout the summer. It was one of the region's hottest and driest summers in decades, with multiple weeks of triple-digit temperatures and a dearth of rain.
Cass County was designated as one of Texas' worst wildfire-stricken areas after the Bear Creek fire. The 12-day blaze, which burned between Sept. 4 and 16, incinerated more than 41,000 acres and destroyed about 100 homes in Cass and Marion counties. The wildfire also charred about 17.3 million cubic feet of timber valued at nearly $8.8 million and potentially worth up to $159 million in forest products. Such production could have spawned $349 million in economic activity for East Texas, according to Texas Forestry Service records release in October of that year.
With wind gusts up to 25 mph, sparks from the initial Bear Creek fire gave birth to other fires that eventually merged to create an inferno. Families packed what groceries and clothes they could carry as they fled their homes and farms. Multiple fire departments from as far away as Abilene, Texas, came to the area's aid.
Churches in the affected areas set up shelters and refreshment stations as homeowners and neighbors joined firefighters and took up garden hoses to battle blazes inching closer to houses.
Excluding droughts, Texarkana, Texas, is no longer dry
Voters in Texarkana, Texas, turned down the sale of beer and wine two times before, but this time voters approved the sale of these items within the city. Super 1 Foods on Richmond Road was the first to complete the process in mid-December and began selling on Dec. 18. Since then, this retail landscape has changed dramatically.
On the same day Texarkana said yes, Wake Village voters said no.
In Texarkana, results showed 4,086 voters approved the measure while 3,392 voted against it. It was the third try since 2006 to allow package beer and wine sales.
"We are very pleased with the results and we saw that the voters have spoken," said Derrick McGary, campaign treasure for the It's Our Time Texarkana, Texas Committee.
McGary attributed this success to Nash's successful November 2013 vote for beer and wine sales.
"I think the people in our city were able to see the success Nash had and Texas-side wanted the same," he said. "They saw that crime didn't go up in Nash and littering didn't go up—the only thing that went up for Nash was sale tax receipts and Texas-side wants that to happen."
McGary said the extra taxes realized from beer and wine sales tax revenue would be able to help the city fund improvements for public safety, roads, parks and city services.
Neither measure allowed for liquor or package stores.
Texarkana United for All and Texarkana Strong organized campaigns against the proposal.
Issac Pitre, chairman of Texarkana Strong, said "We felt like the people who didn't want beer and wine sales in the city needed a voice and we were their voice."
Wake Village residents voted was 783 for and 829 against.
Nash legalized the sale of beer and wine the previous November and stores were allowed to begin selling at year's end.
Nash City Administrator Doug Bowers the sale of beer and wine has had a tremendous effect on sales taxes in the town of about 3,000 with a six-month average increase of almost 55 percent.
Many believe Nash voters giving the go ahead is what rekindled interest in Texarkana putting the measure on the ballot a third time.