As I was checking in at the Best Western Inn of the Ozarks in Eureka Springs, I picked up copies of the Lovely County Citizen and the Eureka Springs Independent to read in the room. I've long been fascinated by the brand of politics practiced in this small town (population 2,073 in the 2010 census) where the top industry has always been tourism. It's the most gay-friendly community in Arkansas. It's a place where buses from evangelical Christian churches show up to watch The Great Passion Play. It's a town that traditionally has attracted artists, writers and aging hippies. It's an interesting and sometimes volatile mix.
Technology transforms downtown Springdale
I was a high school student in the 1970s when the citizens band radio craze was at its height. C.W. McCall came out with his song "Convoy" in 1978. Television programs such as The Dukes of Hazzard in 1979 and movies such as Smokey and the Bandit and Breaker! Breaker! in 1977 helped fuel the CB craze.
Tom Lundstrum was quick to admit that he and business partner Brian Moore weren't sure exactly what they were getting into when they purchased the building that had once housed the Apollo Theater on Emma Avenue in downtown Springdale.
Once more, they'll celebrate Arkansas peaches in Clarksville. The annual Johnson County Peach Festival is scheduled for Thursday through Saturday of next week, continuing a tradition that began in the community of Ludwig on June 26, 1938. Several thousand people showed up for that first festival, including Gov. Carl Bailey. The festival was sponsored by the Johnson County Fruit Growers Association.
In March, I had the honor of serving as emcee for the annual Arkansas Agriculture Hall of Fame induction banquet. One of the inductees was John Clark, a distinguished professor at the University of Arkansas who's probably the world's foremost expert on blackberries. I simply referred to him that day as the Berry Man.
I pulled out from the University of Arkansas' Fruit Research Station north of Clarksville, where I had gathered column material, and began the winding drive up Arkansas 21 to Berryville. My ultimate destination was Eureka Springs for the annual meeting of the Arkansas Press Association.
Heat and humidity are the hallmarks of an Arkansas summer. The summer of 1863 was no different. Union troops stationed at Helena described it as "hell in Arkansas."
This is one way to look at the recently signed agreement between the University of Arkansas and the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism: In 2020, the Arkansas Razorbacks will miss playing a football game in Little Rock for the first time in decades.
Little Rock financial advisers Lou and Larry Graham have joined me for lunch in downtown Little Rock, and they're loaded down with materials. No, we're not discussing my finances. I work in the newspaper business, after all, meaning I don't have anything to invest. The subject of this discussion is art and their family's legacy.
My first job after college was in the sports department of the Arkansas Democrat. When you write sports for a morning newspaper, you learn to write quickly. There are few things I enjoy more than sitting around with former colleagues and exchanging stories about bad press boxes, tight deadlines and standing at pay phones while dictating stories following high school football games on hot September nights.