Rex Nelson

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REX NELSON: Brightwater's promise

Subscriber onlyFor a fifth consecutive year, Matthew McClure, executive chef at the Hive restaurant in 21c Hotel at Bentonville, has been named a semifinalist for a James Beard Foundation Award in the Best Chef in the South category. The Beard Awards are to the food industry what the Grammy Awards are to the music industry and the Academy Awards are to the film industry. Continue reading...

REX NELSON: Pine Bluff thinks big

Subscriber onlyOn Feb. 12, I wrote a short post on social media to note that it was on that date in 1984 that the University of Arkansas' Charles Balentine hit a baseline jumper with four seconds remaining to lead the Razorback basketball team to a 65-64 victory over the No. 1 team in the country, the University of North Carolina. The game was played at the Pine Bluff Convention Center. In a famous photo of that shot, North Carolina's No. 23--a fellow named Michael Jordan--looks on helplessly. Continue reading...

No reason to lie

Subscriber onlySoon after I was appointed by President George W. Bush to the Delta Regional Authority in 2005, I was invited to speak at the annual chamber of commerce banquet in a tiny Delta town. The DRA region includes parts of eight states. Like so many towns in the region, this one had its problems. The population had been falling for years. Most of the buildings downtown were empty. The school system was struggling. Race relations were bad. Continue reading...

REX NELSON: Missing the mark

Subscriber onlyThe Arkansas Legislature is back in town. You can break out the stale old jokes about hiding the women and children. Continue reading...

REX NELSON: Taking out the trash

Subscriber onlyI'm in a bad mood by the time I reach the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette newsroom in downtown Little Rock most mornings. It's not because of anything that has happened at home or work. It's because I drive Cantrell Road (which doubles as Arkansas 10) from west Little Rock. From the top of Cantrell Hill to the Episcopal Collegiate School, I must look out my window at the mounds of trash along the road. Continue reading...

REX NELSON: To Stuttgart and back

Subscriber onlyI'm often asked for a one-day itinerary that will provide an overview of how Arkansas developed through the decades. That's almost impossible to accomplish in a single day. But if limited to one day, a trip from Little Rock to Stuttgart and back is as good as it gets. That route will allow you to combine educational stops with good eating, a requirement for all of my road trips. Continue reading...

REX NELSON: Conway gets it

Subscriber onlyDuring the Christmas holidays, with our two sons home from college, my wife and I decided that the four of us would go out for a nice dinner. We live in far west Little Rock. Our destination: Downtown Conway. Continue reading...

REX NELSON: Checking in with new owner of Hot Springs' historic Arlington Hotel

Subscriber onlyIt was August when we last checked in with Al Rajabi. I had breakfast with Rajabi at the Sheraton Four Points on South University Avenue in Little Rock, a hotel he purchased in May 2014. Rajabi completed a multimillion-dollar renovation of the hotel. Shortly before our breakfast meeting, he bought the historic Arlington Hotel and immediately went into battle with the city of Hot Springs. Continue reading...

REX NELSON: Hailing Slovak's heritage

Subscriber onlyThey'll gather on the Grand Prairie of Arkansas this Sunday for the fourth annual Heritage Day at Slovak. Many of those in attendance will attend the 11 a.m. Mass at Sts. Cyril and Methodius Catholic Church. Mass will be followed by a potluck lunch. The parish hall will be filled with people who have brought photos and other memorabilia concerning one of Arkansas' most fascinating communities. Continue reading...

REX NELSON: Quality of place

Subscriber onlyWhen speaking about the new approach to economic development, I sometimes use this line: "Ten years ago, I would have called you crazy if you had told me that craft breweries are an important part of the development puzzle. Now, I believe that to be true." Continue reading...

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