Mike McNeill’s diary for Wednesday, June 1, 2022: Road trip | Diary of Mike McNeill


We served as medical transport on Tuesday, taking someone to a medical appointment in Little Rock. Took US 79/167 into town, and Interstate 30 and US 371 to Magnolia. Wild swings in gasoline prices, from the high of $4.35 in Magnolia, to just over $4 in a few places. We filled up on the return trip for $4.20 in Arkadelphia. Dollar General stores are proliferating at an incredible rate and most of them are new or nearly new. Lots of road construction in Little Rock, but we noticed the recently rebuilt stretch of I-430 south in Bryant is already falling apart. There are asphalt patches in hundreds of places. Reconstruction of the freeway between Benton and the US 70 branch for Hot Springs continues. We wonder how many traffic and construction worker deaths have been factored into the costs – we had a scary moment between a temporary barrier wall and a truck we were trying to pass. We backed up and let the truck hold the lead. An incredible number of places to eat in Little Rock. We don’t know how our friend Rex Nelson gets to each of them. Sheridan’s new college is impressive. Both Sheridan and Grant County seem to be booming. Almost got a bite of a hawk rising from death on the road near Laneburg. That said, while we’re happy to help, the trip to Little Rock should have been completely unnecessary. Our patient’s doctor insisted that a test be done in Little Rock which could easily have been done closer to home. It’s a huge burden that rural Arkansas continues to pay – the expense and wasted time associated with out-of-town medical procedures that are, or should be, available in southern Arkansas.

There may be something good in the works for University Square mall. Doesn’t sound flashy from what we know, but a positive development. We will know more later.

Ask our readers about their point of view on freshly cut grass may seem overdone. However, many of our online surveys are based on things we hear. Some people suffer a lot from the pollen and dust kicked up by mowing. So we’re trying to figure out how true that may be.

The results of our published polls always indicate that our method of polling is unscientific. But we always believed that our poll results are a good reflection of how our readers think. We are confident that our community’s scientific polls on most of our poll topics would return results close to our non-science polls.

We appreciate that people want to keep their homes and properties clean through grass cutting. But there is a small movement which is ask the public to delay or defer the cut at the places and times of the year when pollinators – bees, wasps and other insects – are most active. They need vegetation. We need pollinators for the total health of the entire food chain and fiber.

Brittany Bara, director of theater and assistant director of musical theater at Southern Arkansas University, announced the imminent departure of her family from Magnolia. She holds a position as Assistant Professor of Musical Theater at Viterbo University in La Crosse, WI. Bara has done great work with the SAU program since taking over in 2018, including the recent series of “Guys and Dolls” at the new Magnolia High School Performing Arts Center.

We remember the old theater at SAU Overstreet Hall and attended several events there. We remember the construction of the Harton Theater, which was practically new when we attended SAU. One imagines that with the influence of the new MPAC, there will be increasing pressure for SAU to create a similar facility in keeping with its status as the primary state university in Southern Arkansas.

see instead than to be a.

It’s kind of a newsroom anniversary. On July 5 of last year, magnoliareporter.com began systematic publication of Columbia County real estate transactions. We started by publishing the list of transactions for the month starting June 1, 2021. CLICK HERE to see the article we published last July detailing our plans for the real estate section.

One year ago, we reported that three people were injured in a shooting at Magnolia Park. CLICK HERE to see the story.

Mike McNeill is publisher and editor of magnoliareporter.com. All opinions expressed in this column are his own. Email him at [email protected] or call him at 870-904-3865.


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