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Archive for the ‘Mayor Jim’ Category

I have visited Batesville several times in the past two months … once for a speaking event, once for a Regional meeting and last week for a Parks and Tourism Commission meeting.  This energetic city of just over 10,000 is a real winner.  With a strong economy, an excellent educational system, an active downtown with great restaurants, an amazingly restored Melba Theater and maybe the finest community aquatics center in any Arkansas city … Batesville has got it going on. Mayor Rick Elumbaugh  has led the charge with vision and city resources but he is quick to remind us that this positive momentum would not be happening without motivated citizens.

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Interior of the Melba Theater in downtown Batesville.  This was a community effort with volunteers reupholstering the 400 seats … lots of “hands on”.

Following the Commission meeting we went for lunch at Natalie’s.  Wow! some of the best home made sandwiches, salads and personal service. Top left picture in the group above.  

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Above and below are pictures of the awesome Jacksonport State Park Visitor Center.  From the outside, the contemporary glass and steel structure represents a riverboat from the past.  Inside is the historic museum and 360 degree views of the river and natural surroundings.  Personally, I think this will be one of the signature State Park Visitor Centers in the state.

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While I am wrapping up, I would be remiss if I did not remind you that Arkansas has 52 state parks.  If you are up for a rewarding road exercise … that’s just one state park a week to see all of them in a single year.  Happy Trails!

For more information, go to:  Arkansas.com

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Black and white photography captivates me.  I am not that accomplished but thoroughly enjoy creative moments when black and white seems to fit the objective.

In particular the photo of Horseshoe Canyon on the Colorado River or falling snow in a wooded forest or an Historic Train engine. The shot of my granddaughter on a cold winter campout is a favorite as well.

I have mostly taken color shots during some 50 plus years.  However, expect to see more of my black and white in the future.

Enjoy and comment if you wish.  Oh, one other point … you can click on the small pictures and they should zoom in for a larger/closer view.

Finally, there is one picture I did not take … the old picture of me when I was a young president of the National Office Products Association way back in the 1980’s.

 

Aspen trees B&W

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The photo above is obviously not black and white.  However, this photo on the Buffalo National River near Jasper, Arkansas is one of my all time favorites.  In fact the colorless winter scene is only slightly enhanced by the curtain of always green bamboo along the river’s edge.  This will soon be a large photo blowup hanging on my office wall in the Arkansas Tourism Office.

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Patti and I are blessed to have had such wonderful fathers.  Though both are gone, we take a moment on this special day to remember and be grateful.  Both men were loving, hard working Christian role models … as community leaders and as family leaders.  Our world is better because of them.   

Happy Fathers’s Day to Dalton and to Joe.  

With much love and thanks,

Patti and Jim

 

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Amazing what a creative farmer can do with 5 bales of hay!  Amazing what one can see driving the Blue Highways of Arkansas.  

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Searcy, Arkansas is a mid-size city of 25,000 located roughly 50 miles North of Little Rock.

I’ve always appreciated Searcy as a growing center of commerce and education in White County.  My opinion was even more reinforced last week when I was invited to meet with long time Mayor David Morris and other community leaders.  This city has a lot going on.  However, what prompted me to blog about this visit is the City/Community commitment to Historic Preservation … namely restoring and reopening the 1920’s Rialto Theater.

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The theater is open for family friendly movies Monday to Friday in the evening and Saturday-Sunday with show times 2:00 and 6:30.

I was so touched by the leadership that would save and actively reuse this awesome historic building … right downtown on the square across from the County Court House …  that I wanted to feature it.

Well done Searcy … more another day about Pioneer Village, Holiday of Lights etc. etc. 

Now for Higginson, Arkansas …

On my way back to Little Rock, I decided to take the blue highway (remember William Least Heat Moon) and thoroughly enjoyed experiencing Kensett, Mcrae, Cabot and Beebe.  Most of all I enjoyed my visit with Mayor Randell Homsley of Higginson.

I simply love small towns and I love small town Mayors.  In the larger cities, Mayors have staff to run departments and do most of the heavy lifting.  In small cities like Higginson, the Mayor is  “the Mayor” plus part time volunteer fire fighter, manager of the sewer and water and “whatever it takes”.  In Higginson the Mayor and City Council did most of the work building City Hall and managed to do it for $50,000.  Wow!  In my eye, this is a $200,000 dollar building … maybe more and they did it for $50K.  Take a look!

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As the new Arkansas Tourism Director,  I have said that every city has a story to tell. What I hope to do is help share these stories in some meaningful way that relates to tourism and brings visitors to look, listen and learn.  The real heart of America and of Arkansas is in the grit of small towns.  We stand tall on their shoulders!

 

 

 

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Charlie Brown Christmas Camping:

Our annual Christmas camping trip did not happen in December because of burn bans and bad weather.  Thus, the already scheduled camping trip on the Buffalo River just happened to be the place where a few decorations, Santa hats and Glow sticks materialized to adorn the iconic scraggly Charlie Brown Christmas Tree.  Renie B showcased his tent with a string of twinkling battery powered lights.

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Super Bowl Weekend 

For a number of years, Super Bowl weekend has been on our calendars as a designated three day camping extravaganza.  We eat well, sip well entertain ourselves well.  We also embark on a hike or two in the scenic Buffalo River Valley (incidentally, the Buffalo was the first Federally declared National River.  Located in North Central Arkansas, it is a destination for hiking, canoeing and kayaking as well as fishing and sight seeing.  ) On Saturday we hiked to one of the most beautiful and iconic spots in Arkansas … Whitaker Point … aka Hawksbill Crag!

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Cozy Campfire, fine food, beverages and fellowship …

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Awe inspiring Sunset and Sunrise …

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Finally, Jasper, Arkansas and the 100 year old Ozark Cafe …

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Until next time … See you on the trail!

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http://www.buffalonationalriver.com

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Don’t panic … it’s not as bad as it sounds!

This was to be the weekend … the weekend for the seventh annual Charlie Brown Christmas Backpacking/Camping adventure in the Ozarks of Northern Arkansas. However, Mother Nature had another idea … not this weekend … unless you want a camping weekend without a campfire.  Sooo … for the first time in seven years, Charlie is not showing up in December in the Natural State at Richland Creek.

Don’t fret … this unique and special event is rescheduled for mid January.  

To refresh your memory, below are some photos from the past … and, with any luck you will see Charlie Brown twice in 2018.

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As an FYI, you may look at any of these photos full size if you click on the one you want.

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Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!  See you soon … 

Jim D … AKA … Charlie B

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