Mike McNeill Diary Monday, July 11, 2022: No clear plan for Henderson State | Diary of Mike McNeill


We watched the Thursday morning press conference hosted by Governor Asa Hutchinson, Education Secretary Johnny Key and ASU-Henderson State Chancellor Chuck Ambrose, which was featured as an announcement regarding the Arkadelphia campus. Henderson suffered from massive budget cuts and college degree cuts. We were hoping for an answer to a simple question: “If I graduate from high school in 2022, what is my motivation for attending Henderson State University this fall?” Well, the presser totally failed to provide an answer to that question. Elsewhere, we called the press conference “incoherent.” Our friend Joel Phelps from The Arkadelphian had the best comment. Phelps faulted Ambrose for the latter’s reliance on higher education jargon during the presser, praising him in an op-ed simply titled “What?!” Click here to read this. We don’t need to be taken at our word. CLICK HERE to watch the presser on YouTube. As far as we can deduce from the gibberish, the state hopes to install a new model of education in Henderson – something more than a community college or a trade school, but something less (in terms of requirements and cost) than a four-year university. The focus seems to be on providing teens and adults looking for a new job with a quick path to profitable careers in health care or business. But how the Arkansas State University system hopes to achieve this at Henderson State is unclear. “Unclear” is being generous. We don’t think the ASU system or the state Department of Education has any idea what Henderson State University will offer students two or four years from now. We welcome the opportunity to be wrong. However, if the ASU system gets it wrong, there will be no Hendersons left to save in four years.

Magnolia Public Schools open six weeks from today, Monday August 22. Things like music and playing sports will start much earlier. The first day of football training is Monday August 1st.

Magnolia Panthers Volleyball is in the revamped 4A-West class this season, along with Ashdown, Arkadelphia, Bauxite, Camden Fairview, Fountain Lake, Malvern, Mena and Waldron.

The Old building across from the U.S. Post Office’s outdoor mail depot on Union Street was demolished. Always kind of amazing when a local horror is there one day and gone the next.

We’re going to have a little break in the warm weather, but not much.

Our current online survey asks if readers have a side gig – a second job that you do for money in addition to your usual job. We did not specify that side gigs, in our opinion, are not paid “second jobs”. Rather, they are profitable hobbies.

Ten years ago, we reported that the Magnolia Economic Development Corporation has completed the purchase of a transshipment facility off South Washington Street. CLICK HERE to see the story.

Today is 7-11. We don’t remember ever stepping foot in a 7-Eleven in our entire lives. There are no 7-Eleven locations in Arkansas (or 19 other states). It’s mostly an east coast, west coast, and Texas thing.

We may have convinced ourselves to buy a frozen drink today.

Mike McNeill is publisher and editor of magnoliareporter.com. Email him at [email protected] or call him at 870-904-3865. The opinions expressed in this column are his own. Do not offer pearls before pigs.


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