College football: Week 1

posted by rexnelson on August 27th, 2014

Here we go. Labor Day weekend approaches and that meant three things when I was growing up in southwest Arkansas: My birthday, dove season and college football season. I love this time of year. Let’s get to the picks for Week 1 of the college football season.

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To St. Francis and back

posted by rexnelson on August 26th, 2014

It was quiet at Jacksonport near the banks of the White River on a Thursday morning, just as it would be quiet more than eight hours later at Chalk Bluff on the banks of the St. Francis River in the northeast corner of the state. In both places, though, you could almost feel the rich history. Like so much of Arkansas, these places were shaped by rivers.

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The Dierks family and south Arkansas timber

posted by rexnelson on July 23rd, 2014

Being a native of south Arkansas, I’ve long been fascinated with the old timber families who owned so much of the southern part of our state in the 20th century. The story of the Dierks family is especially interesting.

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Along Park Avenue

posted by rexnelson on July 21st, 2014

The Majestic Hotel property. The Velda Rose. The Vapors. With a renewed interest in downtown Hot Springs, the prospects along Park Avenue are tantalizing.

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Spa City visionaries

posted by rexnelson on July 17th, 2014

A small group of visionaries is starting to drive development in downtown Hot Springs. Let’s hope that their vision is at last being transformed from a mere dream into a beautiful reality. The Spa City: There may be some life left in the ol’ gal yet.

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My perfect summer meal

posted by rexnelson on July 7th, 2014

What does an Arkansas summer taste like? Here’s a hint: You can save the chocolate gravy for a visitor from up north.

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Dogpatch country: Circa 2014

posted by rexnelson on July 3rd, 2014

For Arkansans of a certain age, Dogpatch USA comes to mind when Newton County is mentioned. Dogpatch, some believed, was the thing that would turn this remote, lightly populated county into the center of tourism for Arkansas.

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The Fragile Five (and the shame of Hot Springs)

posted by rexnelson on May 22nd, 2014

The 2014 list of the most endangered places in Arkansas has been released. The most important sentence in the documents distributed by the Historic Preservation Alliance of Arkansas was this: “Despite general recognition of the importance of the buildings along Central Avenue in Hot Springs, some property owners remain resistant to making required updates and investing to make the buildings safe and suitable for occupancy.” The status quo is no longer acceptable in downtown Hot Springs. Every tool available to government must now be used to force those property owners to act. What they’ve allowed to occur downtown borders on being a crime.

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“Gay Panic in the Ozarks”

posted by rexnelson on May 20th, 2014

Former Congressman Ed Bethune had no idea when he started writing his first novel two years ago — titled “Gay Panic in the Ozarks” — that its release would come in the midst of an Arkansas firestorm about gay marriage.

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A new owner for That Bookstore

posted by rexnelson on May 15th, 2014

Chris Crawley came home to Blytheville to die. Now, he is healed and running the most famous bookstore in the state.

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