Epic experience at latest half-marathon
The Little Rock Marathon/Half-Marathon is billed as "Arkansas' Race for any Pace." The theme for this year's event, which was held Sunday morning, was "Epic" -- a fitting theme, considering the race was run as a winter storm descended on the region.
One man's long journey through the cola wars
When it comes down to it, I've only been drinking soda for a little over 20 years.
Renaming streets should be rare, but not impossible
Once upon a time, I opined in this space about renaming streets in Blytheville. I made a number of suggestions, most of which I never intended for anyone to take particularly seriously.
Still a little hope for aging Olympic wannabes
I was encouraged to learn earlier this week that a couple of the medal winners at this year's games are in their 40s. Ole Einar Bjoerndalen of Norway won gold in the biathlon, while Armin Zöggeler of Italy took the gold in the luge.
Not sure how to celebrate this month
Apparently, this month is "Ford Truck Month." This is a factoid I learned Sunday night, while watching the Super Bowl (at least until I got bored with the game and started reading a book instead).
Am I the only one who skipped the Grammys?
Reading through my Facebook news feed Monday morning, I felt kind of like the only guy who had just missed a good party.
Mother Nature not very nice these days
We're three weeks into January now, so if there's a time to start griping about the winter weather, this is it. (If you haven't already.)
Coaches deserve support from parents
I have a new pet peeve. It's something that's been growing for several years, but only recently have I been able to identify it as a persistent irritant.
City can't please everybody with parks & rec money
One of the big issues in the months ahead will be what the city of Blytheville will do with its $561,000 parks and recreation fund.
The top stories of 2014? We will see
With this being the first issue of 2014, it's interesting to think about what the top stories of the coming year will be.
How about a nice doll for Christmas?
One of the endearing things about Christmas is that there are some toys that always seem to stand the test of time.
Hooray! We survived the ice-pocalypse
The big joke on Twitter and Facebook last week was people posting pictures of empty milk aisles at area grocery stores -- evidence of the inevitable rush on bread and milk that occurs every time there is snow in the forecast.
The perfect holiday song for any occasion
Christmastime is officially here, and with it comes the onslaught of Christmas music, played 24/7, at pretty much any public place you go.
NBA basketball, no; brown overpass, yes
So it looks like the new overpass is going to be brown. The new coloring appeared sometime over the last week or so. Those in the industry apparently refer to it as a "tex-coat."
There can be more than 1 sound of music
Come Dec. 5, NBC will be airing a new version of "The Sound of Music," -- this rendition being performed live, and starring country superstar Carrie Underwood in the role of Maria.
Other groups deserve appreciation, too
It was good to see the way our community stepped up for Veterans Day in the past week, honoring those who have served our nation in the military.
Doubts raised about American supremacy
The question was posed to me the other day about whether or not the United States is the greatest country in the world.
Oh say, can you see I need some more snacks?
Between college football and the World Series, I've been watching a lot of sports lately. And though I have been a sports fan for several decades, there are still some things I don't understand.
Looking for something good on TV
What do the TV shows "Walking Dead," "Breaking Bad," "Game of Thrones" and "Downton Abbey" have in common? Don't know? Here's some more shows that contain the same common thread: "Vampire Diaries," "Mad Men," "The Sopranos" and "Arrested Development."
Consolidating city parks could save city money
If you want to know why the city of Blytheville is having financial problems, you only need to look at Census data.
IRS debt satisfied, but could it happen again?
With the city of Blytheville's $3.2 million debt to the IRS seemingly satisfied, Blytheville citizens can breathe a sigh of relief that the ugly financial crisis is at last concluded.
Maybe it's supposed to be a passing lane
Has anyone else noticed that the lane markings on Ward Avenue in Caruthersville are the wrong color?
Threats challenge newspaper industry
I am a newspaper editor. To hear people talk, this means I am no more than an endangered species on the brink of extinction; an occupational dinosaur, simply biding time until my professional existence is wiped from the face of modern society.
A look back at the news of Sept. 11, 2001
The lead story in the Sept. 11, 2001, edition of the Courier News was originally going to be a story about the old Blytheville city incinerator.
Three votes of Olympic importance
When folks think about upcoming elections, the first things that no doubt come to most minds are the next presidential election (in 2016), the next congressional elections (in 2014) or even the not-so-far-off municipal elections (also in 2014).
Is there hope for the "group project"?
About the worst kind of assignment I could ever get back when I was in school was the group project.
School's start signals summer's end
If I had to guess, I'd say Shel Silverstein wrote the above poem at the dawn of a new school year. I can certainly say it pretty much sums up my feelings this week.
Wisdom found in the unlikeliest of places
Today's topic is Ashton Kutcher. Kutcher is well-known for his roles on the TV shows "That '70s Show" "Punk'd" and "Two and a Half Men," as well as movies like "Dude, Where's My Car?" and "What Happens in Vegas." His most recent role is as computer mogul Steve Jobs in the upcoming flick, "Jobs."
Camping has always been about making memories
I went camping last weekend. Camping ranks high on my list of things I wish I could do more often. Instead, I end up going about once a year. If that.
The evolution of thought on a complex issue
One summer when I was in high school, my school's show choir traveled to the International Thespian Festival at Ball State University in Muncie, Ind.
Suspicions and confrontations on dark nights
One night, not long after I moved to Arkansas more than 13 years ago, my dog went missing. Bailey was a black dog, and it was a dark night, so spotting her was no easy task. I went outside, called her name, and eventually took to my car see where she had wondered off to.
Actor's epiphany offers a wider lesson
One of the viral videos making its way around the social media world in the past week is a vignette from actor Dustin Hoffman, explaining what he learned while filming the 1982 movie "Tootsie."
A state of contemplation on US travels
I got to thinking the other day about the number of U.S. states I have visited. I'm not sure why this thought popped into my head.
Nothing is more American than blowing stuff up
Among holidays, there are few better than the Fourth of July.
Outsider's perspective on Blytheville insightful
In any discussion of the things going right and the things going wrong in our community, one of the problems is that we all live here.
Is it time to rethink the Chickasaw mascot?
In Idaho, a high school recently dropped its long-held "Redskins" school nickname, and plans are underway to revamp the school's uniforms, logos and signs.
Harrison missteps in request for reimbursement
Not long ago, I swore I was done writing about Barrett Harrison and the city of Blytheville's IRS situation. I'd said everything I had to say on the subject, and anything more was just an exercise in redundancy.
It's a long way down the holiday road ...
The summer travel season is upon us, and no doubt many readers are planning family trips of one sort or another in the weeks ahead.
New birds provide sweet song and a life lesson
A fact of life for those of living in the Greater Armorel Metropolitan Area is that our neighborhoods don't tend to have a lot of trees.
Finding a good movie not so easy anymore
This weekend, my wife, Jena, and I will celebrate our 16th wedding anniversary. As luck would have it, we have a break between softball tournaments, school functions and other child-related activities, giving us a chance to mark the occasion with some mom-and-dad time.
Advice for new grads -- and everyone else
This is the time of year when people who deem themselves older and wiser find it necessary to dole out advice to new graduates.
Students deserve choices in education
Talk to most educators, and one of the things almost all will agree on is that when it comes to teaching kids, one size does not fit all.
A new reason to visit Dallas
With much fanfare last Thursday, the George W. Bush presidential library was dedicated on the campus of Southern Methodist University in Dallas.
Boston bombers turned triumph into terror
Of all the images and video that has been seen since last week's deadly terror strike at the Boston Marathon, there is one bit of footage that has stuck with me the most.
What kind of retail growth can we expect?
Among the conversations you tend to hear over and over in the Blytheville area these days is on the notion of retail growth. In simplest terms, folks want to have more places to shop and more places to eat.
Just a few questions ...
I've got a few questions ...
Impact of new steel mill mostly guesswork
I am no expert on the steel industry. When it comes to knowing what will work and what won't work, I defer to those who have been in the business for years -- companies like Nucor Steel, or individuals like John Correnti.
Cactus, Canadians dominate spring break trip
I guess I'm just not that big of a fan of cactus. That was among the things I learned during my recent spring break trip.
Legislators wasting time making a point
One thing I've always liked about living in Arkansas is that our State Legislature, for the most part, has concerned itself more with the business of running the state government than with making headlines.
Believe it or not, government can be good
One of the most popular pastimes in America these days is government-bashing. The government is too big. The government is inefficient. The government taxes too much. The government is a monstrous bureaucracy.
Media coverage of pope sure to be criticized
When it comes to the resignation of Pope Benedict and the soon-to-be-named new leader of the Catholic Church, the mainstream news media is pretty much damned no matter what it does.
Wrestling deserves a place in the Olympics
From the files of "things that annoy me but nobody else really cares about" is this week's news that the IOC -- the board the governs the Olympic Games -- has voted to drop wrestling as an Olympic sport, beginning in 2020.
Community transformation not a done deal
Writing about Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe's announcement last week that Big River Steel will build a 525-job mill south of Osceola, Associated Press writer Andrew DeMillo said, "The deal will transform an impoverished region into an economic engine."
Super Bowl XLVII: The good and the bad
So I guess there's some kind of football game or something being played this weekend. You'd never guess. The NFL really needs to think about doing a little marketing for this so-called "Super Bowl" -- you know, let people know it's coming.
Conjuring a fake reality can be kind of fun
Around the time I graduated from college, I was in a band. We called ourselves "Red Dot," a name we came up with after wandering around the woods one weekend following a Boy Scout trail marked by red dots spray-painted on trees.
Would the Bill of Rights be ratified today?
The current national flap over gun control -- a dialogue that most recently began in reaction to the Newtown, Conn., school massacre -- recently got me thinking about how it came to be that citizens of our country got the right to own guns in the first place.
A few predictions for 2013
With the new year still in its infancy, it's not too late to think about what 2013 will bring. Here are a few of my predictions:
Taking action in response to Sandy Hook
It has been nearly two weeks since the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., when 27 lives were snuffed from our world in a matter of minutes.
What if classic Christmas songs were written today?
I've made no secret through the years of the fact that one of my favorite parts of the Christmas season is the music. The many vintage tunes and timeless classics, written and recorded through the years, each evoke different memories of holidays gone by.
City out of the woods on IRS crisis
I'm a believer in giving credit where credit is due. And that's why this week, I am giving credit to Blytheville Mayor James Sanders for negotiating a deal with the IRS for the city of Blytheville to resolve its multi-million dollar payroll tax debt.
Christmastime: 'Tis the season to be jolly
An angry post appeared in my Facebook News Feed over the weekend, echoing a theme that seems to be common this time of year.
These are a few of my favorite (Christmas) things
It's hard to say exactly what it is that makes the Christmas season so special. So instead of trying to fully explain it, I have compiled here a list of a few of the things I most look forward to during the holiday season.
Is a skateboard board the best plan for Blytheville?
The problem with the city of Blytheville's parks and recreation tax is that nobody has every really defined how it was to be used.
Sky holding its position in the heavens
With the 2012 presidential election now a little more than a week behind us, I find myself particularly proud of the voting record in the Weld household.
Can Facebook get back to normal now?
A few random thoughts, in the wake of the 2012 election ...
Happy Halloween? More like "bah, humbug"
When it comes to holiday-related movies and specials, Halloween falls short. Sure, there's the annual rebroadcast of the classic "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown," as well as the handful of teen slasher flicks that are sure to be aired leading up to the big day. But that's about it.
Blytheville community still capable of great things
The Blytheville area has a lot of problems, and anyone who would argue otherwise clearly has his or her head stuck in the sand. But despite the many challenges ahead of us, this community is still capable of some pretty great things.
Flying cars? Not likely anytime soon
Driving home from church with my the kids the other night, the conversation quite naturally turned to flying cars.
Are city finances back on the right track?
According to an article in Friday's Courier News, the city of Blytheville was recently late with its quarterly insurance payment to the Arkansas Municipal League. The payment was due at the end of September, but apparently was not made until early October.
No easy answers on population decline
I was witness to a debate a couple of days ago that dealt with Blytheville's ongoing population decline. Obviously, it wasn't the first time that topic has been discussed, nor will it be the last.
Political yard signs signal arrival of fall
As of last Saturday, fall is officially here. The air is a little cooler, the leaves are starting to change colors and farmers can be seen getting their crops out of the fields. But perhaps the surest sign of autumn has been the arrival of political yard signs.
Remembering our nation's bloodiest day
There were no ceremonies held on the Blytheville Courthouse lawn Monday. American flags were not flying throughout the community. The banks were open, and the kids were in school. There was no moment of silence; there was no commemorative edition in the local newspaper. By all accounts it was a typical, ordinary Monday.
Plenty of great community events in coming weeks
Last Friday's thunderstorms brought with them some cooler temperatures, ending what had been several days of humid, muggy weather. We can hope that last week's heat wave was summer's last stand, and that the days of sizzling summer temperatures are behind us, at least for a few months.
Political loyalties resemble school loyalties
A lot of my friends have been spending a lot of time over the past couple of weeks watching the national political conventions. The Republicans had their day in the sun last week, while the Democrats are taking their turn this week.
How does our Sportsplex really stack up?
Talk to a lot of the people who play baseball, softball or soccer at the Blytheville Youth Sportsplex, and they will tell you what a fantastic facility we have here in Blytheville.
Elections mean more big changes for Blytheville
2012 in shaping up to be another watershed year when it comes to Blytheville city government.
Olympics reveal the brighter side of life
Three weeks ago in this space, I wrote about some of the things I was most looking forward to in the Olympic Games in London.
Western expedition generates stories
This column is going to be boring. I apologize in advance. It's boring because all I'm going to do is talk about my recent vacation to Colorado. I'm not sure how much folks want to read about my vacation, but I've still got Rocky Mountain air in my brain, so it's pretty much all I can think about these days.
6 things that make the Olympics awesome
Everybody loves the Olympics, right? Well, mostly everybody. Whether its the Winter Games, or the Summer Games, there's something uniquely positive about the Olympics that sets it apart from everything else.
Community clutter often goes unnoticed
The difference between what is considered an "eyesore" and what is considered "normal" is often no more than a matter of one's daily habits.
Not hard to notice local gas price increases
I suppose if local grocery stores regularly posted the price of milk or bread on giant plastic signs outside their stores, consumers would pay a lot more attention to ongoing fluctuations.
A beautiful manifestation of Title IX at Sportsplex
It is fitting that last Friday marked the 40th anniversary of Title IX -- the landmark legislation which, among other things, paved the way for schools and universities across the United States to start up girls sports teams.
Highway beckoning with its annual call
Once again, the highway is calling to me. It's a pretty typical occurrence this time of year. Summer is the time for family vacations, and hitting the road just seems like the right thing to do.
Disappointing events in run-up to runoff
I guess I'm a little naive. I'd like to think that the winners of elections are the people who voters think will do the best job.
Whatever happened to the family sitcom?
I read an article the other day lamenting the death of the family sitcom on primetime network TV. Indeed, it seems like a genre that has pretty much become extinct.
Gas prices, the runoff and pronunciation
An interesting factoid: On Saturday night, gas prices at the Osceola convenience stores just off Interstate 55 were $3.49. Just a few miles up the road in Blytheville, the same gas was selling for $3.15.
A few more words of advice for the new grads
All the local graduation ceremonies are now behind us, and for those involved, the thoughts have no doubt turned to college preparations, work plans and summer fun.
Construction zones: Something to feel good about
Campuses were always under construction during college visits. There would be sidewalks torn up, streets blocked off and buildings being assembled and remodeled. Tour guides would always complain loudly about the construction
Time to decide who to vote for
Seeing as how early voting is already under way for the May 22 Primary, it's probably about time for me to figure out who I'm going to vote for.
Mayor must be straightforward with public
Maybe it was a communication breakdown. Maybe it was a matter of semantics. Maybe it was an intentional effort to mislead. Call it whatever you want, but the way Blytheville Mayor James Sanders handled last week's departure of city water plant manager Matt Mosley was a disappointment,
A dog bite and a trip up the interstate
I like to consider myself a disciple of the "shop local" ideology. The idea is that when local people buy locally, local people benefit. That's why I couldn't help but feel a little guilty Saturday afternoon as I left town to seek medical care. But when it really comes down to it, I had little choice.
Why isn't the Blytheville area booming?
I got an email from a reader one day last week that wasn't all too dissimilar from comments I've heard from folks around town for years.
Internet now an integral part of daily living
I still remember when I was in college, and our university got access to a brand new service. It was called the "Internet," and when students first gained access, use was limited to about a half-dozen computers in the back row of the computer lab at the campus library.
City needs plan for using parks and rec money
Perusing some old newspapers the other day, I came across a Feb. 11, 2011, article about a city of Blytheville Parks and Recreation Committee meeting.
Longing to travel into community's past
One of my favorite places to run in recent weeks has been the Arkansas Aeroplex. I'll usually start on Memorial Drive, then venture either into the Westminster Village residential area, or into the more industrial-looking section of buildings that once served the Eaker Air Force Base.
Holding mayor's, Council's feet to the fire
It's been a week since Blytheville voters OK'd a 1-cent sales tax to bail out the city from its multi-million dollar debt to the Internal Revenue Service. I've heard it said more than a couple of times that the tax was the "easy way out" for Mayor James Sanders and the City Council.
It's good to have a few goals
Perusing the backpack of my son, Drew, the other day, I came upon an interesting sheet of paper. The 9-year-old had written in bold letters across the top: "Things to do before I'm 30."
Another Sportsplex season arrives at last
Another season at the Blytheville Youth Sportsplex is under way. For the Weld family, this marks our eighth consecutive season of playing some combination of t-ball, baseball and softball.
Maybe what we need is a common enemy
A friend of mine was lamenting the other day about the overall lack of community unity within the city of Blytheville, a problem that has existed for many years.
Time to get serious about solving IRS mess
Well, it looks like the IRS came to play. That point was made clear last week when the federal tax agency placed liens on all city property, including city bank accounts.
Andy Weld is editor of the Blytheville Courier News.