Walker Park pond worth improving (05/16/13)
The Walker Park fountain was one of the first Blytheville staples I noticed after moving here in 1992.
High: 88°F ~ Low: 71°F
Monday, May 20, 2013
Walker Park pond worth improving (05/16/13)
The Walker Park fountain was one of the first Blytheville staples I noticed after moving here in 1992.
Lots to do here this Mother's Day weekend (05/09/13)
There will be no shortage of things to do in Blytheville this weekend.
$10.7 million should buy adequate streets (05/02/13)
The other day a local business owner dropped by the office lamenting the half-cent state sales tax that becomes effective July 1, thanks to the passage of Issue 1 last November.
Newpapers reflect good and bad of community (04/25/13)
I've always subscribed to the theory that a local newspaper reflects the community it serves. There will be good news and bad news -- that's just the way it is.
A city jail is an idea worthy of discussion (04/18/13)
Disagreements over jail fees have gone on for years, not just in Blytheville, but around quorum court and city council tables all around the state.
Spring has sprung ... time to play ball (04/11/13)
At last, spring has finally sprung. It's time to pull the tarp off the mower, replace the plants that didn't survive the winter and dust off the ol' baseball glove.
Bus tour sheds new light on rich local history (04/04/13)
Some 60-plus antique buses will be rolling into town today as part of The Ghosts of Highway 61 Antique Bus Tour. In fact, several were already here Wednesday night.
Retail growth is a chicken-and-egg challenge for city (03/28/13)
One of Blytheville Mayor James Sanders' objectives this year is to bring in new businesses to the city.
Let the Madness begin! (03/21/13)
The upsets. The dramatic finishes. The emergence of a star from some obscure school. The expert analysis that Team X will win because they have the prettier uniforms or the better mascot. It all makes the NCAA Tournament the fun event that it is, year in and year out...
Dirt/lake deal will go down as a failure (02/28/13)
During a committee meeting last week, Blytheville city attorney Mike Bearden jokingly asked Council members if they planned to solicit bids for a boat dock at "the Blytheville Recreational Lake."
Months ahead will define Sanders administration (02/21/13)
As we remember great leaders during Black History month, the jury is still out on Blytheville's first African-American mayor.
What not to say to your Valentine (02/14/13)
Saying the wrong thing can get you in the doghouse with your significant other on Valentine's Day.
Baseball sign-ups: A sure sign of spring (02/07/13)
For a lot of people, the first thoughts of spring come when Punxsutawney Phil makes his annual prediction as he did last week.
Former opponents acting as teammates (01/31/13)
Tonight the Blytheville City Council is expected to pass a 2013 budget, concluding a process that has captured its full attention all month.
Chickasaw Gym has a rich history (01/24/13)
I got a call last week from a Little Rock reporter who needed a little help with a project. Sportinglifearkansas.com stumbled on an interesting fact that Arkansas and Ole Miss played a couple of college basketball games at Chickasaw Gym.
City needs rules for police, fire appeals (01/17/13)
Once the Blytheville City Council wraps up the budget process, one item that deserves the attention of the Police and Fire Committee is developing a set of rules for the police and fire appeals board.
Reviewing the state's open government law (01/10/13)
Forgive me if this sounds familiar. I wrote something similar last summer, but it seems worthy of bringing up again given new local leaders have now taken office.
2013 should be busy year for Blytheville city government (01/03/13)
Locally, 2013 offers a fresh start and a renewed sense of hope. The city of Blytheville's IRS matter is taken care of; there is fresh blood on the Blytheville City Council; and there are now dedicated funds available for areas like parks and recreation, streets and police and fire.
Spirit of the season alive on Christmas Day (12/27/12)
I owe a debt of gratitude to Dr. Dean Gurley and Owens Drugstore owner Louie Dudley, who turned a scary Christmas morning into a fairly pleasant Christmas and demonstrated the spirit of the season.
Reflect on loss; don't push agendas (12/20/12)
Six days later, I still can't wrap my head around what happened in Newtown, Conn., and what has transpired after the tragedy.
Christmas wish lists change through the years (12/13/12)
Typing up Santa letters got me thinking just how different Christmas wish lists are now than when I was growing up.
Budget is big responsibility for City Council (12/06/12)
Barring something miraculous, the three new members of the Blytheville City Council will get their feet wet by passing a 2013 budget within a month of being in office.
Lights of the Delta a great community asset (11/29/12)
One of Blytheville's best assets is on display nightly now through Dec. 27. Lights of the Delta's 12th season is under way and the Lights continue to be a staple of the Christmas season.
Taking stock of many blessings (11/22/12)
I know I should do this more often than today. Ephesians 5:20: "Giving thanks always for all things unto God, even the Father, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."
Community's generosity sets it apart (11/15/12)
Every local politician has uttered at least one true statement during their time in office. Most likely, in some form, office-holders of every era have said this area's best asset is its people.
Election produces deja vu moments (11/08/12)
It feels a little like deja vu. Ward 2 made a decisive choice for its representative. The Ward 1 and Ward 3 races are headed to a runoff again. Vera James, Tommy Abbott and Joe Lewis are still campaigning after Election Day. And R.L. Jones is the candidate with the most votes in Ward 3...
A legal murder under the guise of women's rights (11/01/12)
A confused, distraught teenager walks into a clinic to get rid of what she views as a problem. And the doctor commits a legal murder under the guise of women's rights.
Just in time for Halloween: A few tricks and treats (10/25/12)
With Halloween around the corner, here are a few tricks and treats in the news.
Slow pace of IRS probe grows tiring (10/11/12)
A reader called the other day lamenting Blytheville's IRS problem, specifically wondering how a state auditor could say the payroll taxes were not misappropriated -- using payroll taxes for something other than payroll taxes seemed to fit that term in her mind.
County needs to use money to lure retail business (09/27/12)
Carlock manager Thomas Reagan offered up a pretty good idea at a recent East Arkansas Planning and Development District strategic planning meeting.
Thoughts of Grandma weigh heavy on heart (09/20/12)
This is by far the most difficult column I've written. Most reading this don't know the subject, but she's really all I can think about this week.
Community cleanups can be physically, spiritually fulfilling (09/13/12)
Last year around this time, hundreds poured into Cypress Park and disbursed into groups to tackle unsightly and unsanitary areas on the West End of Blytheville.
Fertile soil produces more than just crops (09/06/12)
Blytheville/Gosnell/Armorel-area soil has produced more than cotton and soybeans over the years.
When newsmakers talk, it's always news (08/30/12)
The other day an elected official got a little upset over something in the newspaper. That's not really anything new. What this individual failed to realize is: anything newsworthy said before or after a meeting adjourns is just as printable as remarks made during the meeting.
Water Dept. can't always bail out city (08/23/12)
Constantly relying on the Water Department as a primary funding source should be cause for concern.
City needs plan to solve jail fee issue (08/16/12)
An out-of-court settlement appears to be the best possible outcome in the short term as the county tries to collect overdue jail fees from the city of Blytheville.
Right under my nose the whole time ... (08/02/12)
I often tell my wife I wish I had known her sooner; apparently I did and didn't realize it. Kristy was helping me research something online not long ago and stumbled on some old Courier News editions with the "Spyglass" -- Gosnell's school newspaper page...
Robbery, shooting at Hoops remembered (07/26/12)
News of the old Hoops Drive-in's impending demolition brought back some good personal memories and a nostalgic trip down memory lane. But I'm sure it also revived some not so pleasant memories for some. In fact, one former employee sees the demolition as closure for a horrific, life-changing incident...
Hard to imagine a world without gadgets (07/19/12)
The other day my wife issued an executive order in the house: "Be a Kid Day."
FOIA keeps government business in the open (07/12/12)
For a journalist, one of the most important tools in keeping the public informed is the Freedom of Information Act.
More new faces might be headed for City Council (06/28/12)
As expected, soon-to-be District 55 State Rep. Monte Hodges said he won't seek re-election to his Ward 1, Position 1 City Council post.
Blytheville residents pay twice for jail (06/14/12)
The county and city of Blytheville appear headed to court over the ongoing jail fees saga.
Don't brand cancer patients as losers (06/07/12)
It struck me funny as I started typing the words: they lost their battle with cancer. After more thought, I changed the wording to a more accurate depiction of one dying from the disease.
Sportsplex still boosting local economy (05/31/12)
Blytheville will get a chance to show off one of its best assets this weekend as 32 teams from Arkansas and Missouri converge on the Blytheville Youth Sportsplex to participate in the annual Sports Hall Thunder Bayou Blowout.
Earn citizens' faith to promote Blytheville (05/24/12)
At last Tuesday night's Blytheville City Council meeting, Councilman John Musgraves and Mayor James Sanders both lamented about the poor promotion of the city.
Champions on, and off, the field (05/17/12)
Seventeen years ago, Coach Charlie Brown might have chuckled at the thought of the Armorel baseball program being in its current state.
Through it all, Mom was there (05/10/12)
She was there in anguish as you entered the world. She was there, in the kitchen, blurry-eyed at 2 a.m., warming up a bottle. She was there an hour later, in a shoulder-stained shirt, rocking you back to sleep. ...
Another church involved in an election (05/03/12)
$300 doesn't seem like much when it comes to an organization donating to a political campaign. But it could be quite costly for a local church if the Internal Revenue Service discovers the campaign contribution to one of the candidates seeking outgoing State Rep. Tommy Baker's District 55 seat.
Weekend spent in nice little town (04/26/12)
I was at a town over the weekend most anyone could be proud to call home.
Cleanup effort brings community together (04/19/12)
Matthew 25:40 is a powerful scripture to keep in mind Saturday as the CleanerSafer Blytheville campaign kicks off in the Lake-Lilly-Cherry street area.
Probes ought to make some folks nervous (04/12/12)
Drive down Memorial Drive or Main Street these days and you might sense a hint of nervous energy in the air.
Reading, writing and resolution skills (04/05/12)
Little Johnny throws a backpack over his shoulders and shoves a gun in his pants. In his mind, now he's ready for school and the dangerous walk back home.
Don't underfund Sportsplex; limit Thunder Bayou's P&R money (03/29/12)
It has been 10 years since former Blytheville Chickasaw pitcher Joel Huffman fired the first fastball at the Blytheville Youth Sportsplex; then seven days later, that former Chickasaw cleanup hitter John Blair cranked the facility's first home run.
Planning Commission selective in application of law (03/15/12)
The Blytheville City Council should rip up the zoning regulation book. No need to have a bunch of codes to follow. The Blytheville Planning Commission is fully capable of deciding what belongs where in the city without any guidelines.
A church as a "paid campaign worker"? (03/08/12)
As the political season heats up, rest assured, candidates will push the envelope to get votes. They'll target particular segments with tactics, some of which border unethical, if not corruption. A telling report is a candidate's Campaign Contribution and Expenditure Report, which is designed to give transparency of who contributed and how the candidate used the funds...
Documents offer evidence of financial mismanagement (03/01/12)
For the last several weeks, the Courier News has been delving into a mountain of city of Blytheville financial records.
Should Blytheville secede from county? (02/23/12)
Maybe it's time for Blytheville to secede from Mississippi County. After all, it is Blytheville's fault that the county is in its worst financial shape in years, to the degree justices are asking the legality of a 30-90-day loan for operational expenses...
City's future rides on outcome of election (02/16/12)
Perhaps it's coincidental, but interesting nonetheless, that the IRS filed a lien on all the city owns the same day a story broke that the Greater Blytheville Area Chamber of Commerce asked to delay the temporary 1-cent sales tax election.
City unlikely to postpone election (02/09/12)
On Jan. 25, Greater Blytheville Area Chamber of Commerce executive director Liz Smith emailed Blytheville Mayor James Sanders about the Chamber's request to delay the 15-month, 1-cent sales tax special election.
20 years later, loss of air base still stings (02/02/12)
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the air base closing. According to our archives, the last plane left Eaker Air Force Base on March 16, 1992.
Sorry, Mom ... 1 more shot at dead horse (01/26/12)
Barrett Harrison has to be one of the best pure politicians to ever hold a local public office. He epitomizes stereotypical small-town politico -- he's cunning, slippery, says the right things, yet the results leave something to be desired. Earlier this week, Harrison sent out a text that read: "Please go to blythevillecn.com and vote for me to keep my job."...
City must be careful with Parks and Rec money (01/19/12)
The 1/4-cent parks and recreation tax money should begin making its way to the city coffers in the next few weeks.
Small-town politics stands in way of progress (01/12/12)
The Blytheville Planning Commission strengthened the stigma that small-town politics will always be run by the "Good Ol' Boy" system when effectively denying 4G service to serve the interest of one of its members.
2012 could be a make-or-break year for Blytheville (01/05/12)
2012 has the potential to be a make or break year for the city of Blytheville. Sometime this year, the city will likely enter into an Offer In Compromise with the Internal Revenue Service for the multi-million payroll tax debt.
Selfless deeds epitomize reason for the season (12/22/11)
With five kids in the house, it's easy to get into the Christmas spirit. But a story the other day took it to another level.
If ifs and buts were candy and nuts ... (12/15/11)
There's an old saying: If ifs and buts were candy and nuts, we'd all have a merry Christmas. Blytheville Mayor James Sanders must have entertained a similar thought this year, his first in the mayor's office.
City workers deserve a livable wage (12/08/11)
He hops on the back of the garbage truck early in the morning. Through rain, ice, snow, heat, cold, he tosses can after can and endures foul smells on the ride around town. It's a thankless job for minimal pay.
Just what the county needs -- another old building to maintain (12/01/11)
The first thought that came to mind when hearing the county wants to deal with the city of Blytheville on the vacant Federal Building: Just what the county needs, another old building to maintain.
Being thankful for the things you don't have (11/23/11)
There's an old saying: Any day above ground is a good day. If you're reading this, chances are you fit in that category and have at least one reason for which to give thanks on Thanksgiving.
Community shows its best side this time of year (11/17/11)
The best of the community always seems to come out this time of the year
City should reconsider mayoral retirement benefits (11/10/11)
Since the Blytheville leadership has yet to decide how to repay the $3.2 million delinquent payroll tax debt to the Internal Revenue Service, here is one possible way to bite off a chunk, if it's legal.
Common ground sought in rules for addressing Council (11/03/11)
A Blytheville resident called the paper the other day, perturbed about her water bill. I would be pretty upset, too, if my water bill was $115 when my usage was similar to every other month as she contends.
A few Halloween frights for local leaders (10/27/11)
In the spirit of Halloween, here are a few things that should scare the wits out of local leaders:
Squad plays vital role in community (10/20/11)
The Blytheville Emergency Squad's efforts often go unnoticed, but its role is vital to our community. The Squad serves the area in a variety of ways, from rescue efforts to being on standby at public functions.
Newspapers have responsibility to question public officials (10/13/11)
Often when an embattled politician or public figure finds his name top of the fold in bold type, he will threaten, either subtly or brazenly, to sue the newspaper.
Volunteers again needed for cleanup campaign (10/06/11)
The second big Cleaner, Safer Blytheville cleanup is Saturday in the south part of town.
Museum project wasn't well thought-out (09/29/11)
The Delta Gateway Museum was doomed from the start. Officials only allocated $750,000 for a projected estimated to cost more than $1 million, according to figures from Councilman Monte Hodges, who chairs the City Council's Parks and Recreation Committee.
With clock running down, tax may be the best option (09/22/11)
The clock is ticking on the city of Blytheville. The Internal Revenue Service will only wait so long on the $3.2 million the city owes in back payroll taxes.
Community unity on display at cleanup (09/15/11)
Folks of all walks of life labored together for one goal: A Cleaner, Safer Blytheville. Hundreds -- young, old, black, white, rich, poor -- spent nearly four hours Saturday cleaning up six city blocks on the West End.
Events of Sept. 11, 2001, still a fresh memory (09/08/11)
On Sunday, the Courier News is including a special edition, remembering the tragedy that occurred exactly 10 years ago that day.
Where's the fire station? (09/01/11)
One of the selling points of turning two sunsetting 1/8-cent sales taxes into a permanent 1/4-cent police and fire tax tax in 2009 was the plan to build a new fire station on the west end of town.
Who is lurking in your neighborhood? (08/25/11)
My wife has one of those fancy phones that is capable of housing every app imaginable. One such app is Life360, which allows parents to see where sex offenders live and pinpoint where their children are at any given time.
United, local churches can better community (08/11/11)
A couple of years ago, a once high-ranking local official lamented to me a lot of Blytheville's problems could be solved if churches worked together, not competed with one another.
Family turns to faith during trying times (08/04/11)
"My daughter is laughing, the sun is up and I feel good. I'm blessed." Those are the words of Mitchell Zolman of Leachville, the husband of former Courier News staff writer Christie (Benham) Zolman. Pretty inspirational when one considers he is in desperate need of a new liver...
Is money really the root of all evil? (07/28/11)
I saw a bumper sticker the other day that read, "If money is the root of all evil, why do churches beg for it?" Money is not the root of all evil -- the love of money is the root of all evil. Money can do a lot of wonderful things, or it can control a person, become his god...
Tax-free weekend should help local stores (07/21/11)
A new law will put more cash in local registers next month. Arkansas finally joined neighboring states Missouri, Tennessee and others in offering a tax-free weekend.
More must be done to curb local violence (07/14/11)
He seemed like a good kid. I didn't know Roosevelt Jackson well as a person. Most of what I knew of "Rosie" comes from covering him on the football field and basketball court.
Trip to LeBonheur, cast can't slow down Keaton (07/07/11)
By the time this column hits the streets, my youngest son should be out of the doctor's office for his follow-up visit. Keaton will have an interesting story to tell his kindergarten classmates this fall about his summer vacation. It wasn't exactly the circumstances I'd prefer for his first helicopter ride, a one-way trip from the Great River Medical Center ER to Le Bonheur, courtesy of Pedi-Flight...
Nibco Braves were a fun bunch to coach (06/23/11)
Monday night was bittersweet. Shortly after winning the Coach Pitch Tournament, when parents were snapping photos of the kids with their trophies, it hit that this was the end.
'Brasfield Bunch' provides new perspective (06/17/11)
The phrase "blended family" gets tossed around sometimes when referring to married couples who have children from previous relationships. I'm sure I've used it a time or two in the past. But I have a much different perspective now, being a part of one...
Relay for Life a worthy cause to support (06/09/11)
Cancer doesn't care if you have insurance. It doesn't discriminate on race, gender or socioeconomic status. Cancer could care less if you live alone or have several depending on you.
Take time to remember the fallen this weekend (05/25/11)
This weekend is a time for more than barbecues, family get-togethers and an extra day off of work. It's a time to pay tribute to those who gave the ultimate sacrifice, offering their lives so that we may have freedom.
Harrison administration leaves big obstacle for Sanders (05/18/11)
When he ran for office last year, no doubt Blytheville Mayor James Sanders knew if elected he would have some obstacles in the path of the city becoming fiscally sound.
Sportsplex proving its value again (05/12/11)
Blytheville gets an opportunity to show off one of its best assets this weekend. The top baseball and softball teams in Class 1A, including tournament host Armorel, will be in town for the baseball and softball state tournaments.
Through it all, Mom was there (05/05/11)
She was there in anguish as you entered the world. She was there, in the kitchen, blurry-eyed at 2 a.m., warming up a bottle. She was there an hour later, in a shoulder-stained shirt, rocking you back to sleep.
6-year-old provides Proud Dad moment (04/28/11)
Parker gave me one of those Proud Dad moments the other day. He didn't blast a pitch over the fence, drive in the winning run or get some big award. My 6-year-old did something much greater.
The reason to celebrate this Easter (04/21/11)
It's an Easter tradition ... See what the Easter bunny left. Get dressed up. Go to your favorite church. Eat a nice dinner. Hunt a few eggs. Enjoy the day with family and friends.
Excitement builds for all-star games (04/14/11)
There may be more huffing and puffing than a Three Little Pigs story, but it should be fun to watch. The former Blytheville stars from the 1990s and 2000s have been working their way back into shape for Saturday's Legends Game.
Plenty of positives hold community together (04/07/11)
It's easy enough to point out a town's flaws. As an old Baptist preacher used to say: It takes no size to criticize.
No shortage of jokes this April Fools' (03/30/11)
With April Fools' Day being Friday, it might seem a joke to start baseball before March ends.
Mark Brasfield is managing editor for the Courier News.