Remembering the Matriarch

Carl Carter Jr. laughs a lot, and his father says he gets that from his mom. “He’s always been a joyful kind of guy,” Carl Carter Sr. says of his first son. “He has the same smile his mother had, except hers was a little bigger.” Carl Jr. says he can’t help but laugh when … Continue reading Remembering the Matriarch

The Time is Now

Braelond Simmons could have been the perfect statistic. The J.A. Fair High School graduate’s father died 12 days after his sixth birthday. He and his two younger siblings were raised by a single working mother in Little Rock’s John Barrow neighborhood. His family lived in poverty. Their house was burglarized repeatedly. “We saw things, and … Continue reading The Time is Now

On the Mat

It turns out, mortuary schools don’t have cheerleading scholarships. So when Stacey Kohles had to choose between her two life ambitions — cheer and funeral science — the young adult landed on the mat. Although she dabbled in dermatology, psychology and dreamed of opening a flower shop, the Fort Smith native eventually started Arkansas Cheer … Continue reading On the Mat

Hunter’s Hope — Commentary

"Isn't he just full of it?" Amber Atwood asks with a laugh. "He thinks he knows everything." "I do not. I'm just right, and that's just the way it is," her son, Hunter Phifer, snarks with a grin. It's been six weeks since Hunter received a new kidney, and he is certainly feeling better. It's … Continue reading Hunter’s Hope — Commentary

Hunter’s Hope — Article 5

At 1 p.m., Brian Smothers opens his eyes. He’s groggy, confused and in pain. He’s in a surgical recovery room but isn’t sure why. Before he falls back to sleep, a nurse asks him to rate his pain. “I am going to say a 10,” he replies. “But I’ve never been in this much pain … Continue reading Hunter’s Hope — Article 5

Hunter’s Hope — Article 4

  Hunter Phifer checks in to the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Medical Center at 4:50 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 21. He says he's not nervous, but a slight twitch of his eye suggests otherwise. He hasn't slept and says he's hungry. Brian Smothers arrives at the Little Rock hospital just before 6 a.m. He's … Continue reading Hunter’s Hope — Article 4

Hunter’s Hope — Article 3

Christmas miracles don't always happen on time. Today was going to be an extra special holiday for Rogers resident Hunter Phifer. He was supposed to be recovering from a surgery scheduled on Dec. 10 -- a kidney transplant that would have changed his life, and possibly saved it. Unfortunately, the surgery was delayed indefinitely. "I … Continue reading Hunter’s Hope — Article 3

Hunter’s Hope — Article 2

For most Arkansans, Dec. 10 will be like any other Wednesday in the heart of holiday shopping season -- busy malls, gift wrapping, office parties -- nothing particularly out of the ordinary. But for two local men, it will be the beginning of some drastic changes. At 5 a.m. that day, both will check into … Continue reading Hunter’s Hope — Article 2

Light up the Night

Cody Steussy was in second grade the first time he was raped. "We were out riding bikes when he asked me to come in and play his new Nintendo," Steussy said. "After we played for a while, he said I had to pay for it. That was the first time he assaulted me." For the … Continue reading Light up the Night

Hunter’s Hope — Article 1

You wouldn’t know it by looking at him, but 18-year-old Hunter Phifer doesn’t feel well. “I really don’t know what it feels like to be any different,” Phifer said. “Right now I feel normal, for me. I get more tired than I used to. And I can’t really do what I want, but that’s pretty … Continue reading Hunter’s Hope — Article 1