Archive for October, 2012

In my most recent blog entry I recognized Dave and Jeanette Fitton as local heroes.  Below in his own words is a tribute by Dave recognizing another hero from Harrison, Arkansas.

The Ultimate Volunteer … Ken Bailey

Ken is one of those rare individuals that seeks out community needs, identifies solutions and then puts those solutions into action through his own efforts.

In 1996 The Historic Lyric Theater was in need of rescuing. It had been an operating movie theater from 1929 – 1976 but had remained fairly dormant for the better part of 20 years. During that time it had fallen into a state of considerable disrepair. Ken was one of the founders of the Ozark Arts Council with the Mission to enrich lives by promoting the arts in Harrison and North Arkansas through exhibitions, performances, and education. Ken headed up the drive to raise money to purchase the Lyric and completely renovate this historic treasure.  In addition, he served as the initial Executive Director of the Council without pay for several years. Today the restored Lyric serves as the venue for 6 – 8 community produced & directed plays, the Ozark Children’s Choir, concerts, children’s’ workshops, films and other special events.

As if that was not enough for hero designation, Ken’s most recent community project has been the establishment of Harrison’s first homeless shelter, The House of Hope.  Again, Ken has been the primary catalyst behind the successful opening of this facility. He was able to secure a city owned building and headed up a successful fund raising effort to equip and operate The House of Hope. He currently serves as director on a volunteer basis.

The House of Hope provides showers, laundry facilities, two wholesome meals per day, internet access, job search/contact assistance and transportation for Harrison’s homeless population. This is why I proudly join Dave and Jeanette in congratulating and thanking …

The Ultimate Harrison Volunteer … Ken Bailey … our man from Art to Heart.

Note from lastpairofboots:  Don’t miss a visit to the Lyric Theater … a walk down history’s lane.

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In a previous blog entry, I wrote about the importance of downtowns.  Important because they represent the community heart.  Important because they usually reflect the history, the architecture, the “sense of place”, the place where people come together. Important as well as a center of Commerce and Trade.

Harrison has a long history as a regional trade center drawing from as far away as 50 miles.  Over the past 15 – 20 years It has lost some of that energy due to the growth in Fayetteville area and the huge retail development and tourist industry growth in Branson, Missouri. Harrison was losing ground, was on a downward spiral and the future was looking pretty bleak. Well, “enough of that” became the battle cry from a few motivated, energetic folks who decided “to do something about it.”

From a few… now many… the leaders, businesses and citizens of Harrison have come together and are reversing the trend.  They have formed a group called CORE with committees, weekly and monthly meetings, specific action steps to improve, revitalize and build for the future. They are now capitalizing on the obvious proximity of our nation’s first National River … The Buffalo National River … and are promoting Harrison as “The Gateway to the Buffalo”.

To my earlier point about the importance of downtowns, this community is successfully bringing new retail business development and entertainment events to the historic downtown square. For my money, “Harrison is coming back”.

How do Dave and Jeanette Fitton get my nod as heroes.  Very simple … not only have they been advocates, not only have they been leaders and organizers but every day, every week, every month they have been the glue that has held this movement together.  There are bigger names involved, but no one has done more to stay consistently engaged, to send the reminders, to publish the minutes, to follow up than this couple.

Harrison is on the move once again thanks to a bunch of people but my choice for the hero designation goes to:

Dave and Jeanette Fitton of Harrison Arkansas

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In a previous blog I alluded to the annual hiking trip I and three other guys take to one of the National Parks.This year from September 27 to October 2 we ascended and descended in and about Teton National Park and Yellowsone National Park with our base in Jackson Hole.

This post may be more pictoral than written because there is virtually no way to describe the incredible beauty and majesty of the Teton Mountains, the uniqueness of Yellowsone Geysers in our first National Park and the attractions of the Historic downtown and square in Jackson, Wyoming.

First the Tetons … and were we ever treated to beautiful weather:

Hiking the Summit:

And then there is the unmatchable Yellowstone with its upper and lower falls and the iconic OLD FAITHFUL GEYSER:


And then, there were the … well …  kleidoscopic colors at their peak:



















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