August 17, 2016 Edition

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Historic week

John Bland
Publisher

It was a historic moment on Thursday, Aug. 11, when the ribbon was cut at 10 a.m. to open the last 16-mile section of U.S. Hwy. 67, that runs from approximately nine miles east of Swifton to the Hoxie/Walnut Ridge bypass. Hwy. 67 is now completely four-lanes from Little Rock to Hoxie and Walnut Ridge.

Reporter Dalton Sullivan wrote, "Less than an hour after the 10 a.m. ribbon cutting, the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department (AHTD) had collected all the orange barrels and taken the covers off of the new signage, and traffic was zooming at 70-miles-per-hour on the new 16-mile section of four-lane freeway." See full coverage on 16A.

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Catherine Richey writes in her Eaton news, "What a weekend of rain we have had across northern Arkansas, as well as other places. Our rain gauge overflowed, so that means more than six inches fell between Saturday and Sunday afternoon."

Fortunately, we have not had the flooding seen in Louisiana, especially near Baton Rouge. A farmer friend told me that as far as he was concerned, the harvest season is upon us and he would be happy with no rain until the harvest is complete in the fall. Prior to the start of rains on Saturday, mowers were spewing more dust than cutting grass, so I know our yards and gardens have needed this rain. Now though, all would agree that we have had enough.

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Tuesday marked the end of earthly life for my aunt, Mary Nell King of Pocahontas. She was 97 years old and lived a remarkable life. She outlived two husbands and her youngest daughter, Sara Spikes Heflin. She was always full of spunk and energy and was still hosting, entertaining and cooking up a storm of wholesome, delicious food and homemade Monkey bread for extended family until just a few years ago.

After a mini-stroke or two limited her activity, Mary Nell continued to enjoy watching Razorback football and basketball, as well as the St. Louis Cardinals, on television.

Aunt Mary Nell was my mother's only sister, and when Beth and I were growing up, the sisters and families alternated celebrating Thanksgiving lunch or dinner and Christmas breakfast at each other's homes.

This was at the height of the rivalry between the Pocahontas Redskins and Walnut Ridge Bobcat football teams. The big game was then played on Thanksgiving Day. Cousin Steve Spikes played football for the Redskins, while cousins Ginger and Sara marched in the Redskin Band. Signs hung in yards, and I even remember a Bobcat or Redskin dummy hanging from a noose tied to a tree.

I also remember a few somber Thanksgiving meals, when the wrong team lost. The sentiment was that the losing team generally had the superior band or vice versa.

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