State Sen. Joyce Elliott coming to Batesville

Lyon College and the University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville (UACCB) are partnering again to this year to provide the community with a celebration of the legacy and contributions of African Americans.

The Fourth Annual Black History Month Celebration will be held at 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 23, at UACCB.

State Sen. Joyce Elliott will be the keynote speaker.

Dean of Campus Life and Diversity Lai-Monté Hunter said the event brings Batesville together for a community-wide celebration of African American traditions and culture. It will feature music and ministry.

“The church is very prominent in African American culture, so we’re bringing those elements together,” Hunter noted.

Musical groups from various churches in the Batesville area will perform, as well as the Lyon College Gospel Choir.

The event will be student-focused, with participation from Lyon’s Black Student Association and UACCB’s Multicultural Student Association.

The event is free and open to the public.

Father Stephen Gadberry reflects on Valentine’s Day: When does love ‘stick’?

Father Stephen Gadberry answers: What is love, and when and how does it last for the long haul?

Dinner with Georgeanne: Veggie S’ghetti

This Christmas, Carter and I received a gift we didn’t even know we wanted… an Instant Pot! I’ve seen recipes and heard from friends for years how amazing these are, but I never thought I had a use for one. Man was I wrong… It cuts down on cook time, the house smells so fragrant, and most importantly it cuts down on dishes!!!! To say we’re obsessed is an understatement.

So let me share one of our go-tos: Veggie S’ghetti.

Y’all know by now that I try and cram as many vegetables into my picky-eating children as possible. Everyone in my house loves this recipe, and even my youngest vegetable refuser consistently asks for seconds!
*Note: I usually use chickpea noodles, but with the Instant Pot, the Barilla veggie noodles seem to cook better. 


1/2 cup frozen chopped onion
3 carrots, peeled and diced
1 green pepper, diced
5 stalks celery, diced
1 lb. ground beef
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1 12 oz. box Barilla rotini veggie noodles
1 24 oz. jar spaghetti sauce
3 cups water


1. Put InstantPot on saute mode for 5 minutes. Let veggies saute and soften.

2. Add 10 minutes to the saute mode; push the veggies to one side, and add the ground beef.

3. Brown, and after 10 minutes drain the fat. Cancel saute mode.

4. Add spices and stir into beef/vegetable mixture.

5. Add noodles, then sauce, then cups of water. Make sure noodles are completely covered by sauce/water mixture.

6. Place lid on Instant Pot and put on high pressure for 8 minutes.

7. After the 8 minutes, do a 5-minute natural release, and then finish with a quick release.

8. Stir to mix together and then serve!

*My crew loves this topped with cheese, surprise surprise. But you can also top with fresh basil!

If you also love your Instant Pot, please share your favorite recipes in the comments!

Librarian Vanessa Adams’s must-read list

The book you should read if you haven’t already: Librarian Extraordinaire Vanessa Adams answers

By Vanessa Adams

I have eclectic tastes in just about everything, and particularly in books. While I lean toward literary classics and literary fiction, as long as it’s well-written, it can be from any genre.

Because Valentine’s Day is upcoming, I wanted to share my love of stories. Check out some of my favorites below…

The Grapes of Wrath, by JOHN STEINBECK, will always be my number one favorite book because of his descriptions of human suffering and the will to survive.

Mother Joad is one of the strongest female characters in literature and probably the character who influenced my reading tastes more than any other.

Jane Eyre, by CHARLOTTE BRONTE, is the story of a strong woman who maintains her virtue and courage while trying to survive in a man’s world of the nineteenth century. It is a work of art. 

When I read A Moveable Feast by ERNEST HEMINGWAY, I feel as if I’m inside Hemingway’s head and experiencing what it’s like to be a great writer. Yes, the title is misspelled because Hemingway wasn’t a good speller. He was a brilliant writer; however, and this is his nonfiction account of his expat days in Paris.

I love Southern writers, I really love Southern Gothic, and FLANNERY O’CONNOR is the queen of this genre. Her short stories are genius!

I highly recommend Wise Blood.

JAMI ATTENBERG is known as the “Queen of Dysfunctional Family Fiction,” and The Middlesteins, published in 2012, is probably her best. I loved it, and will plan to read it several more times just to pick up some of the humor I’ve forgotten.

Once in a while, I need an exciting thriller or mystery that keeps me up all night. I read A Small Town, by THOMAS PERRY, in January of this year, and could not put it down!

It’s suspenseful from the first page and I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to be hooked from the beginning. 

Vanessa Adams is the classy lady who directs the local library in historic downtown Batesville, Ark. In addition to reading books, she also enjoys acting with the Batesville Community Theatre. She has a Master’s of Arts in English from Arkansas State University, and a Master’s of Arts in Library Science from the University of Missouri. Originally from Jonesboro, she now calls Batesville home.