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Stories by Rex Nelson

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REX NELSON: Thank you, Arkansas

Subscriber onlyThanksgiving is my favorite holiday. For someone who was raised in Arkansas with a love of eating, visiting with folks and watching football games, it's hard to beat the annual combination of food, family and football. Continue reading...

Arkansas' Grand Prairie

Subscriber onlyMy mother was a native of the Arkansas Grand Prairie. She was born at Des Arc in 1925, two years before the Great Flood of 1927. That flood would inundate much of east Arkansas and bring hundreds of evacuees to live in tents in her hometown. Continue reading...

Duck season dawns

Subscriber onlyAnother Arkansas duck season begins today. While there were far more Arkansans (as many as 500,000 according to some estimates) who participated a week ago on the first day of modern gun deer season, duck season is more associated with Arkansas' history and culture. The state's current deer population is the crowning achievement of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission in a state where the deer herd had dwindled in the decades prior to World War II. Continue reading...

REX NELSON: Magnolia blossoms

Subscriber onlyAs a connoisseur of Arkansas place names, I can't help but love the name Frog Level, which seemed fitting for a swampy spot in far south Arkansas. I have to admit, though, that Magnolia sounds a bit more stately for a county seat. Continue reading...

Isn't that cool?

Subscriber only"Isn't that cool?" Kyle Parker asks. Continue reading...

REX NELSON: The ties that bind

Subscriber onlyMy sister retired as a public school administrator several years ago and began what was in essence a new full-time job, cleaning out our family home at Arkadelphia. I wouldn't have been good doing what she did. I would have wanted to read every newspaper clipping. I would have wanted to save those things that really aren't worth saving. Continue reading...

REX NELSON: Battle of the Ravine

Subscriber onlyFor years, Paul Greenberg would write an annual ode to the Bradley County pink tomato. It's a worthy subject, and I speak as a man who could eat his weight in Bradley County pinks. I decided that I needed a similar column that would come around at the same time each year, and what better subject than the Battle of the Ravine football game between Ouachita Baptist University and Henderson State University at Arkadelphia? Continue reading...

Chaffee Crossing

Where it came from, and where it’s going

Subscriber onlyIt was an important day in the history of western Arkansas. On Sept. 30, 1941, ground was broken between Fort Smith and Barling for what would become Fort Chaffee. Continue reading...

From Elvis to Denzel

Subscriber onlyIt was March 25, 1958, and Elvis Presley was being given a buzz cut at Fort Chaffee after having been inducted into the U.S. Army. Continue reading...

REX NELSON: Clinton wins

Subscriber onlyIt's hard to believe that it has been a quarter of a century. My memories of that week remain vivid. On this date 25 years ago, one of the most famous newspaper front pages in Arkansas history landed on doorsteps across the state. Continue reading...

REX NELSON: News and fake news

Subscriber onlyI was surprised when I was invited to deliver the annual Birkett Williams Lecture at my alma mater, Ouachita Baptist University. I spend a lot of time on the Ouachita campus, especially at this time of year when I broadcast the school's football games on radio. Continue reading...

REX NELSON: Lessons from Pine Bluff

Subscriber onlyThere are just three people in the office, which is part of the Simmons Bank complex in downtown Pine Bluff. Still, it's a beehive of activity on this Thursday afternoon. Ryan Watley is the chief executive officer of Go Forward Pine Bluff. Lee Cockrum serves as office manager, and Mildred Franco directs an innovation hub. They're working feverishly to coordinate various efforts that, if successful, could change the trajectory of Arkansas' most maligned city. Should it occur, the rebirth of this historic city will be one of the biggest stories in Arkansas during the next decade. Continue reading...

REX NELSON: Hollywood comes to Piggott

Subscriber onlyThis year marks the 60th anniversary of the release of A Face in the Crowd, the Elia Kazan-directed movie that starred Andy Griffith in his first motion picture role. The film was partially shot at Piggott, and those in the town of about 3,800 residents still recall the excitement that was generated when Hollywood came to town. Continue reading...

REX NELSON: Little Rock's tech pitch

Subscriber onlyI first knew Brent Birch as a youth baseball coach, and a good one at that. He had lettered in baseball at the University of Arkansas from 1990-93 and played for the school's legendary coach at the time, Norm DeBriyn. Continue reading...

The city whisperer

Subscriber onlyI call him the City Whisperer. Daniel Hintz of Bentonville didn't set out to play that role, but he's helping drive what I consider the most encouraging trend in economic development in Arkansas these days. After years--often decades--of neglect, more and more Arkansas cities are rediscovering their historic downtowns. Continue reading...

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