Free press still needed

April 17, 2009 Thomas Jefferson’s 266th birthday came and went on April 13 without much notice by Americans.At Monticello, Mr. Jefferson’s historic home near Charlottesville, Va., the U.S. Army’s Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps provided music, and wreaths were presented to honor the anniversary of Jefferson’s birth. The relatively modest pomp and ceremony were duly noted in the press.Jefferson famously once remarked that given a choice between government without newspapers and newspapers without government, he “would not hesitate to prefer the latter.”

Spring gushes, trickles

April 16, 2009 Thanks to Roy Goodman of Batesville for bringing in an Oct. 13, 1946, Arkansas Gazette article about an unusual spring on the Strawberry River near Evening Shade.Batesville residents Stanley Hanford and Claude Justus guided Gazette writer Tom Shiras to the “intermittent spring” on the Fourth of July that year.When they reached the spring about noon on that holiday, Shiras wrote, only a trickle of water was flowing from it.

The pyramid scheme

April 15, 2009 I was just a naive kid at the time. That’s how I got snookered.It happened in the spring of 1978. My best friend Ayresie and I had quit our jobs as cooks at the Ponderosa Steakhouse to start a business rebuilding retaining walls. We put an ad in the community paper and some fool — attracted by the cheap labor, no doubt — entrusted his driveway wall to us.

Wait till next year, Part 1

April 14, 2009 I was cursed at birth. Yes, I was born a Chicago Cubs fan. Well, that’s what I claim, anyway. That heavy burden actually arrived a few years later. It’s my father’s fault, regardless.

Table for two, please

April 14, 2009 I wish grown-ups got a spring break, too. True, I know we have that option, just take a week of vacation. But whenever spring break rolls around every year, I get just a little green at all my friends and family who work for schools or colleges and talk about how wonderful it will be to sleep in, go to the beach or whatever it is they’re planning to do.

Future Betty Crocker?

April 13, 2009 I love the Food Network on TV, and I think I’ve gained a cookbook fascination from my mom. I’ve started a little collection of cookbooks and I don’t even have my own kitchen, yet. Still, there’s just something fascinating to me about cooking from scratch, even if I don’t do very much of it. I love to bake. The Thanksgiving dinner I prepared this past year was absolutely scrumptious; and, one evening, while I really didn’t know what I was doing, I made some very yummy pan gravy to go with fried pork chops.

Noted historian dies

April 10, 2009 C. Fred Rydholm influenced many people during his lifetime, including me, and will continue to influence others decades, even centuries, from now.Rydholm died abut 7 p.m. Saturday in his home in Marquette, Mich. He was a noted historian, author, teacher and three-term Marquette mayor.He inspired and influenced the way many people think and relate to history. Born March 11, 1924, Rydholm was a graduate of Albion College and served as a Navy hospital corpsman during World War II.

Downtown focus

April 10, 2009 Downtown property owners have a great opportunity to protect their investments this coming Tuesday, but a couple of naysayers are trying to prevent Batesville from moving forward.The opportunity lies in the ordinance before city council that will authorize Batesville’s Historic District Commission to start operating. When it does so, Batesville will become the 21st city in the state to have such a commission.The role of the commission will be to protect and encourage investment in the downtown commercial district.

Calling government motors

April 9, 2009 Ring. Ring.“Hello, the Department of Government-Backed GM Warranties, may I help you?”“Yes, my new GM car won’t start.”“Hold, please ... Hello, the Department of the Electronic Ignition-Challenged, may I help you?”“I bought a new GM car. It won’t start.”“Does it start and stop or not start at all?”“It won’t start at all.”“Hold, please ... Hello, the Department of New GM Cars that Start then Stop, may I help you?”