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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...

REX NELSON: The sound of children

Subscriber onlyI'm having lunch at Little Rock's Lost Forty Brewing with John Bacon, the chief executive officer of eStem Public Charter Schools. EStem has been in the news lately because of growing pains at its new high school on the campus of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. But it's not the high school that's on my mind this day. I'm instead thinking about the almost 112,000-square-foot warehouse a few blocks from Lost Forty that eStem is transforming into a second campus for students from kindergarten through the ninth grade. That school eventually will serve 1,300 students. Continue reading...

REX NELSON: A conservation ethos

Subscriber onlyThere are few predictions that can be made with confidence these days when it comes to national politics. In Arkansas, though, it's safe to assume that Republican control of state government will continue for a long time. The surprise in this state wasn't that the shift from Democratic to GOP control happened. It was how quickly it occurred. Continue reading...

REX NELSON: The Arkansas Tech story

Subscriber onlyI was raised in a college town. Most of the houses in our neighborhood at Arkadelphia during my formative years in the 1960s and 1970s were occupied by faculty members at what are now Ouachita Baptist University and Henderson State University. Continue reading...

REX NELSON: Priority No. 1: Quail

Subscriber onlyFor the director of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, I have just one word--quail. Continue reading...

REX NELSON: Reforesting the Delta

Subscriber onlyIt's the first truly cold day of winter. We're just across the Mississippi River bridge from Helena, standing in the back of the parking lot at the Isle of Capri casino. I'm with Kyle Peterson and Daphne Moore of Bentonville-based Walton Family Foundation. Continue reading...

REX NELSON: That Wilson vibe

Subscriber onlyStanding in White's Mercantile in the Mississippi County town of Wilson, I feel as if I'm in Nashville, Savannah or Charleston. This place is Southern hip, a bit like stepping into the pages of Garden & Gun magazine. White's Mercantile, whose other two locations are in the Nashville area, is the brainchild of Holly Williams, a singer-songwriter whose father is Hank Williams Jr. Continue reading...

REX NELSON: The Delta food tour

Subscriber onlyWe leave Little Rock no later than 8 a.m. for the Delta food tour. After all, the first barbecue stop is Jones Bar-B-Q Diner at Marianna, and James Harold Jones is known to run out of food early. It will be a 12-hour day. Come hungry because we'll eat at least five times to experience the three Delta food groups--barbecue, tamales and fried fish. Continue reading...

REX NELSON: One at a time

Subscriber onlyIt's like old times. I'm spending the night in Clarksdale, Miss., and thinking about the Delta. I'm in town with Kyle Peterson, who has served since June 2016 as the executive director of Bentonville-based Walton Family Foundation. Continue reading...

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