It's as if there's a big story breaking and Randy Dixon is back in his old job as the news director at KATV, Channel 7, in Little Rock. Dixon is excited.
I'm sipping coffee on the second-floor balcony of the Captain Henderson House in Arkadelphia, one of the best bed-and-breakfast inns in this part of the country. It's quiet on this Saturday morning. There's very little traffic on U.S. 67. The Henderson State University campus to my left is abandoned, the spring semester having ended several weeks ago.
The year 1968 was a fascinating time to be in Conway County. Winthrop Rockefeller was in his second year as governor and had, in essence, moved the governor's office to his ranch atop Petit Jean Mountain, just across the Arkansas River from Morrilton. Rockefeller, the state's first Republican governor since Reconstruction, spent as little time as possible in Little Rock. He preferred to govern from his mountain retreat. The best-known county official in the state was Conway County Sheriff Marlin Hawkins, a Democrat who was doing what he could to ensure that Rockefeller wouldn't be re-elected in the fall of 1968.
At the United Nations headquarters in New York City last week, an event known as the Global Solutions Summit was held a day before the UN's Science, Technology and Innovation Forum convened. One of the issues discussed was a sustainable business model for small farmers, and among the organizations featured was Little Rock-based Heifer International. This nonprofit organization, which dates back to 1944 and began its first Arkansas project in 1949, continues its historic mission of helping communities eradicate poverty and hunger. It has aided more than 32 million families through the decades with sustainable farming practices.
The most important story in Arkansas right now doesn't involve state government. It doesn't have anything to do with this year's elections. It's instead the story of a population shift that will change this state forever.
In 1951, business leaders in central Arkansas learned that the U.S. Air Force was considering building a new base somewhere in the middle of the country.
Everybody who walks by, it seems, has a word for Floyd G. "Buddy" Villines. We're sitting at the table next to the front door of Doe's Eat Place in downtown Little Rock as we visit over lunch.
My speaking engagement is at Drake Field on U.S. 71 in Fayetteville, and it brings back memories--lots of them.
I've reached the top of Mount Gayler during my trip south on U.S. 71. I pull to the side of the road, and the memories of stops here with my parents decades ago come flooding back.
In the wake of recent columns I've written about the future of Little Rock, a friend sent me a note.