Lincoln’s new role

September 14, 2009 LITTLE ROCK (AP) — Blanche Lincoln’s ascendancy to lead the Senate Agriculture Committee doesn’t assure her an easy ride to re-election next year.But it may at least level the playing field.The announcement last week that Lincoln is taking over as the chairman of the powerful committee was a spot of bright news for the Arkansas Democrat after a summer of troubling signs for her re-election bid. Between public opinion polls showing weak support for her bid and a virtual parade of Republicans crowding the field to take her on, good news was in short supply for Lincoln.

Real, unreal neighbors

September 14, 2009 “Your weeds are in violation of section 3A of our neighborhood covenants.”The letter was stuck in my friend’s mailbox. She opened it late one night after returning home from visiting her husband who had taken a job out of state.The husband had lost his job the previous year, and taking a position six hours away was a last resort in order to keep making the mortgage payments.

Goodbye Poplar Tunes

September 14, 2009 It opened its doors following World War II, and just about everyone, including Elvis Presley, bought their favorite music there.On Thursday, after more than 60 years Poplar Tunes at 308 Poplar and a second location at 4622 Faronia has closed its doors.The decision to close is the result of a number of econmic factors, according to Music City Record Distributors of Nashville, Tenn., which bought the music stores in 2001. Internet digital downloads and different musical tastes are two such reasons.

Credit scores have impact on insurance

September 11, 2009 LITTLE ROCK — Consumers’ credit scores influence the premiums they pay for most of the insurance policies written in Arkansas for motor vehicles and homes.In the past 12 months,  almost half the people who bought car insurance got lower premiums because of  their good credit scores. More than a third of those who bought homeowners insurance had lower premiums because of good credit.

News of Other Days

September 10, 2009 Editor’s note: This column ran previously in the Guard on Sept. 23, 1996.

Little House story continues

September 10, 2009 Reading “the Rose years” books by Roger Lea McBride brings back not only memories of reading the Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder but also of my own upbringing in the rural area between Sandtown and Cushman.Feeding the chickens, hoeing the garden, killing a hog during cold weather, tending to the cows — these were all things that I did down on the farm. Reading about Rose Wilder Lane’s growing up on Rocky Ridge Farm near Mansfield, Mo., brings back many memories.

Rick’s big save

September 9, 2009 Where did the summer go? With Labor Day past, 22 weeks of the baseball season are in the books, and the big leagues enter the final four weeks of play.Other than the resurgence of the Detroit Tigers from last place to first, the division leaders are hardly surprising. The two most successful teams in major league history, the New York Yankees and the St. Louis Cardinals, both lead their divisions.

The real sacrifice

September 8, 2009 It’s easy to lapse into a feeling of knowing what true sacrifice is all about, especially for a soldier who deploys to the Middle East. After all, I’ve left my family and the comforts of being an American to spend a year in the harsh elements of Iraq, braving the hot summer temperatures, along with dust in my face and rainy, cold fall and winter weather, along with ankle-deep mud. Sacrifice, right?

Our autumn ‘staycation’

September 8, 2009 I don’t care what the calendar says: Fall has arrived. To me, autumn’s arrival is marked by the first cooler days, football games, Halloween candy in the grocery store aisles, no more white after Labor Day, the sequences of gunshots around our house heralding the opening of dove season and birthday shopping for the many fall birthdays in our family. Technically fall begins on Sept. 22, which is still two weeks away, but you wouldn’t know it by the temperatures outside or the retailers’ stock inside.