Rex Nelson

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REX NELSON: Welcome to cotton country

History of state reflected in crop’s cultivation

Subscriber onlyRay Benson of the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture is pointing out the various varieties of cotton as we drive alongside the runway of the Manila Airport in Mississippi County. Continue reading...

The Rust cotton picker

Subscriber onlyBen Pearson, who was born at Paron in Saline County in 1898, became known as the Father of Modern Archery. In the 1920s, Pearson made his first bow. He finished next-to-last at the 1926 state archery championships, but worked each day to become better. Pearson won the state championship the next year. In 1938, he placed seventh in the national tournament. Pearson began manufacturing bows and arrows in his garage at Pine Bluff in 1931. From that humble beginning, he would build the largest archery equipment company in the world. By 1963, Pearson was selling almost 3,000 bows and 4,000 arrows per day. More than 800 employees worked at a 15-acre site in Pine Bluff. Continue reading...

REX NELSON: The quiet lake

Subscriber onlyHarris Humphreys was born in my hometown of Arkadelphia in 1878. He attended what's now Ouachita Baptist University and moved to Hot Springs in 1909. Humphreys began buying land and bought a milk cow. By 1911, he had two cows and had established Humphreys Dairy. Continue reading...

REX NELSON: Manila moves forward

Subscriber onlyManila is an anomaly in the Arkansas Delta, a region where most small towns have been losing population for decades. Continue reading...

REX NELSON: Little Rock could learn lessons from city in Oklahoma

Subscriber onlyIt's a Thursday night in downtown Little Rock, and the Ron Robinson Theater is almost full. Well-known writer James Fallows is delivering the annual John Netherland Heiskell Distinguished Lecture for the Central Arkansas Library System. Continue reading...

REX NELSON: Bountiful Big Lake

Subscriber onlyIt's late September, but the temperature is in the 90s and the humidity is high. It's too hot to be in a canoe or kayak. Indeed, there's no one on Big Lake on a Tuesday afternoon as I ride through the Big Lake National Wildlife Refuge with a couple of Manila residents. The water is still, and the huge lily pads have turned brown. Continue reading...

REX NELSON: Reviving Capitol Avenue

Subscriber onlyMy frustration level rises immediately as I exit Interstate 30 and enter the River Market District of downtown Little Rock. Continue reading...

REX NELSON: Buffalo ribs with Dr. Cam Patterson

Subscriber onlyIt tells me a lot about Dr. Cam Patterson, the new chancellor at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, that he wants to meet for lunch at Little Rock's Lassis Inn. It tells me that he's getting a feel for Arkansas. And it tells me that he has good taste in food. Continue reading...

REX NELSON: Les Biffle's Senate

Subscriber onlyDuring the years I lived on Capitol Hill in the 1980s, I met a number of native Arkansans who went to the nation's capital to work at a young age and wound up spending most of their careers there. One of them was Marcus Hollabaugh, a proud native of Searcy County who was born at Marshall in 1913, graduated from Arkansas Tech with a degree in history and political science in 1935, and moved to Washington in search of work since there were few jobs in Arkansas during the Great Depression. He became an FBI agent and earned a law degree. Continue reading...

REX NELSON: The Piggott Boys

Subscriber onlyWhen we last checked in with Joe Cole last fall, he was busy practicing law and operating the Inn at Piggott in a downtown building constructed in 1925 to house the Bank of Piggott. Along with his wife Tracy, he also had opened the Piggott City Market on the courthouse square. It's a coffee shop, bakery and a place to showcase northeast Arkansas products such as art, furniture, jewelry, toys, pecans and honey. I spent the night in a two-bedroom loft above the market that the Coles rent out to visitors. Continue reading...

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