Mike McNeill Diary for Thursday, May 26, 2022: News on the News | Diary of Mike McNeill


We started picking up news articles produced by an online website, Louisiana Illuminator. It is one of a growing number of websites affiliated with States Newsroom. States Newsroom is funded by private donors and does not accept advertising, nor does it accept corporate donations or subscriptions. Philanthropic funding of news stories has become fashionable with the collapse of print newspapers, while the need for high profile reporting remains. State Newsroom Affiliates focus on state government politics and policies. Our interest in Louisiana Illuminator articles is, and will remain, relevant news for southern Arkansas. For example, we’ve taken over website coverage of Louisiana’s efforts to decommission abandoned oil wells. Another is the Louisiana legislature’s decision to end the practice of tenure at state universities. The United States Newsroom doesn’t exist in every state, but we’re excited about the recent announcement of its expansion to Arkansas later this year. Sonny Albarado, former projects editor at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, has been tasked with hiring three reporters and launching the Arkansas site by the third quarter of this year. Having a new online news organization available to cover the Arkansas government is extremely important in keeping it honest. Magnolia Reporter LLC has supported and will continue to support the nonprofit Arkansas News Network. But ANNN is woefully underfunded and therefore doesn’t have a lot of story production. The United States Newsroom in Arkansas will have enough money to have boots on Capitol Hill every day. We look forward to picking up articles relevant to Southern Arkansas.

It is with sadness that we learned of the death on Tuesday of Ann Bridges, literally and figuratively, one of the most colorful people to ever grace the campus of Southern Arkansas University. She was the assistant to the president for 33 years covering all or part of the administrations of Harold Brinson, Steve Gamble, Louis Blanchard and David Rankin. Which means she had a lot to do to make sure things got done at SAU for three decades. Ann also loved cats. Her obituary indicates that she cared for and fed cats around her home and SAU. This included bowls outside Overstreet Hall, within sight of the President’s office. His work also included cat feeding sites around the city. We’ve often seen her feeding cats at remote sites on the SAU campus, including a few places we wouldn’t consider the safest places. But, it was her calling and bless her for it. Ann will be missed by the entire SAU community and alumni.

Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy.

We’ve heard a lot of buzz from people planning to attend Southern Arkansas Baseball Super Regional matches Friday and Saturday against Augustana, here at Walker Stadium. The best-of-three series will send the winner to the NCAA Division II World Series. Click here for more details.

Ten years ago, we reported that members of the First Presbyterian Church were traveling to Cameroon for the dedication of a church they had funded. CLICK HERE to see the story.

We have read many accounts from the Magnolia Weekly Newspapers of the 1890s about bear hunting. This was a big deal at the time, because by then bears had already become rare in the “Bear State”. Now there is new excitement as a week-long limited bear season will return to southern Arkansas in December after a decades-long absence. The limit is extreme – just 30 bears in the southern third of Arkansas – but the limit ensures that bear numbers will continue to grow and become an even greater opportunity in the years to come for hunters in southern Arkansas. Arkansas. Click here to see more.

Mike McNeill is publisher and editor of magnoliareporter.com. All opinions expressed in this column are his own. Queso qualifies as part of the nectars of the gods. Contact McNeill at [email protected] or call him at 870-904-3865.


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