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Emma's makeover

Subscriber onlyTom Lundstrum was quick to admit that he and business partner Brian Moore weren't sure exactly what they were getting into when they purchased the building that had once housed the Apollo Theater on Emma Avenue in downtown Springdale. Continue reading...

REX NELSON: Peach time in Arkansas

Subscriber onlyOnce more, they'll celebrate Arkansas peaches in Clarksville. The annual Johnson County Peach Festival is scheduled for Thursday through Saturday of next week, continuing a tradition that began in the community of Ludwig on June 26, 1938. Several thousand people showed up for that first festival, including Gov. Carl Bailey. The festival was sponsored by the Johnson County Fruit Growers Association. Continue reading...

REX NELSON: The Berry Man

Subscriber onlyIn March, I had the honor of serving as emcee for the annual Arkansas Agriculture Hall of Fame induction banquet. One of the inductees was John Clark, a distinguished professor at the University of Arkansas who's probably the world's foremost expert on blackberries. I simply referred to him that day as the Berry Man. Continue reading...

REX NELSON: Putting out the paper

Subscriber onlyI pulled out from the University of Arkansas' Fruit Research Station north of Clarksville, where I had gathered column material, and began the winding drive up Arkansas 21 to Berryville. My ultimate destination was Eureka Springs for the annual meeting of the Arkansas Press Association. Continue reading...

REX NELSON: A fierce Fourth of July

Subscriber onlyHeat and humidity are the hallmarks of an Arkansas summer. The summer of 1863 was no different. Union troops stationed at Helena described it as "hell in Arkansas." Continue reading...

REX NELSON: A win for Little Rock

Subscriber onlyThis is one way to look at the recently signed agreement between the University of Arkansas and the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism: In 2020, the Arkansas Razorbacks will miss playing a football game in Little Rock for the first time in decades. Continue reading...

REX NELSON: The Brewer art legacy

Subscriber onlyLittle Rock financial advisers Lou and Larry Graham have joined me for lunch in downtown Little Rock, and they're loaded down with materials. No, we're not discussing my finances. I work in the newspaper business, after all, meaning I don't have anything to invest. The subject of this discussion is art and their family's legacy. Continue reading...

REX NELSON: A writer's life

Subscriber onlyMy first job after college was in the sports department of the Arkansas Democrat. When you write sports for a morning newspaper, you learn to write quickly. There are few things I enjoy more than sitting around with former colleagues and exchanging stories about bad press boxes, tight deadlines and standing at pay phones while dictating stories following high school football games on hot September nights. Continue reading...

REX NELSON: An Arkansas overview

Subscriber onlyI'm sometimes asked for a two-day itinerary that will provide a better understanding of Arkansas history. That's not an easy assignment, given the fact that I'm constantly learning new things about the state while still finding interesting spots in all 75 counties. Continue reading...

REX NELSON: UALR comes downtown

Subscriber onlyIn 2016, the Central Arkansas Library System opened a 160-space public parking deck adjacent to its main campus in downtown Little Rock's River Market District. The five-story deck is at the corner of Rock Street and Clinton Avenue. It provided needed parking for the booming neighborhood, but one thing was missing. The ground floor wasn't being used. Continue reading...

REX NELSON: Preserving state history

Subscriber onlyIt'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. Continue reading...

REX NELSON: The Pragmatist

Subscriber onlyI'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. Continue reading...

REX NELSON: The St. James sound

Subscriber onlyThe 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. Continue reading...

REX NELSON: Heifer plugs on

Subscriber onlyAt 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. Continue reading...

REX NELSON: Arkansas' big shift

Subscriber onlyThe 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. Continue reading...