- Associated Press - Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Here are excerpts from recent editorials in Arkansas newspapers:

Texarkana Gazette, Nov. 6, 2016

For nine days, we were all baseball fans once again

In the two Texarkanas, it’s all about football. Pro and college both have their diehard fans. The Cowboys have a lot of supporters, as do the Razorbacks and Longhorns. Some folks dare to like other teams.

But there was a time when baseball was America’s favorite sport and that was as true in the Twin Cities as anywhere else.

Texarkana had its own 1902 Texas League team, the Casketmakers, as well as the Bears, which played in the East Texas League and the Big State League from 1946 until 1953. We even had our own minor-league baseball stadium in Lee Park on Elm Street between West Ninth and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.

As for the Major Leagues, in Texarkana it was all about the St. Louis Cardinals. They were our “home” team in the days before MLB came to Texas.

A big reason for baseball’s popularity up until the 1960s was radio. Baseball works on radio. A great announcer can make you feel like you’re sitting behind home plate. Many older residents will recall walking down Broad Street and nearby avenues and seeing a crowd around a radio at an appliance store, drugstore, barbershop or tavern, listening to the Cardinals and whatever team they were playing.

Football is more visual. Television really brought football into its own.

Maybe the gridiron has eclipsed the diamond here in Texarkana and across the nation, but for nine days beginning on Oct. 25, we were all baseball fans, just like in the old days.

A miracle World Series pitting the Chicago Cubs against the Cleveland Indians made the game “America’s Pastime” once again.

The Cubs hadn’t been to a World Series since 1908. And Cleveland hadn’t won one since 1948. Whichever team came out on top would be one for the history books.

The two teams took it to the wire, playing all seven games. And the last game Wednesday night? Tied as the ninth ended.

But the Cubs came through in the 10th and pulled off their first World Series victory in 108 years. It’s hard to recall a more exciting World Series in recent history.

Yes, we were all baseball fans again for those nine days. And while we might go back to football in the coming weeks, it was a good feeling to be back at the ballpark.

We congratulate the Chicago Cubs and the Cleveland Indians. You gave us a great series.


Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Nov. 7, 2016

Fighting words!

Oh, no they did-int. You know, we have had to put up with Texas football over the years (and A&M; this year), and fans from LSU and Tennessee on occasion. And we’ve agreed to disagree with Texas on which makes the better barbecue, pork or that other, lesser meat, beef. We’ve had to admit that a good crawfish etouffee goes down pretty darn good on a cold February night. And the sauce on the ribs at Memphis’ Rendezvous is worth the trip. But it’s high time that Arkansas got some respect around here, that is, in the South, when it comes to our claim to fame. And somebody’s gonna get a scolding, or worse, if they keep telling tales about us.

Arkansas is the cheese dip capital. Of the world.

Yes, cheese dip. None other than the Wall Street Journal had a front-page article on the matter last week. Most of the story was told with respect, but a few folks from the other, grayer side of Texarkana were quoted, too. Which might warrant a correction in the paper’s next edition, please.

We didn’t know it, but there appears to be some controversy about whether Arkansas’ claim to (semi) fame is legit. Which made us laugh. Of course the center of the cheese-dip world is in the Natural State.

After all, where is the World Cheese Dip Championship held each year? Hint: It’s not in Dallas and it’s in Little Rock. Where is the best cheese dip made? Depends on which Arkansas restaurant you like best. Heck fire, they don’t even call it “cheese dip” in Texas. They call it Something Con Queso, with emphasis on the con.

“Obviously, Little Rock didn’t invent melted cheese,” Arkansas restaurateur Scott McGehee told the Journal. “But our iteration of it as a smoother dip rather than something you put in a tortilla, that’s where a big distinction is made.” And he should know. His Five Families Cheese Dip was one of this year’s winners at the world championship.

Some confused Texans, for their pitiful and pitiable part, claim that they invented cheese dip. Which is (1) sad, and (2) fighting words.

But don’t turn to the PR types at Big Velveeta to set the Texans right. (After all, Texans buy Ro-Tel, too.) When asked about the libelous statements that Texas had a claim to cheese dip’s founding, a spokesman for ConAgra Foods gave this squishy reply: “We’re well aware of the fondness for (cheese dip) in Arkansas. We like to think queso brings people together. Queso doesn’t tear people apart.”

Uh-huh. So why are some Texans putting out this false narrative? Just to get under our skin? First Ted Cruz, now this.

Some restaurateurs in this state keep their cheese dip recipes in safes. (True story.) Recipes are handed down from generation to generation. There is a documentary proving once and for all that cheese dip was first served in North Little Rock. (Another true story.)

Texas can have its Tex-Mex fajitas and its beef brisket and, please, y’all, keep the Aggies.

But here’s a little advice for the state to our southwest:

Don’t mess with Arkansas.

Now pass the chips, please.


Pine Bluff Commercial, Nov. 1, 2016

Litter bugs hurting city

Driving around town, especially at major intersections, it’s easy to spot discarded chip bags, soda bottles, tobacco tins and other trash strewn about.

We can’t help but wonder if the folks who so freely throw their trash onto our city streets live that way at home. Pine Bluff is our community. It doesn’t belong to one person, it belongs to all of us. That’s why it’s important to keep things looking nice and neat. If you want to trash your own home, feel free. But keep it indoors.

We’ve talked about this before, but it bears repeating. When investors visit a community looking to build new industries or businesses, appearance matters. Some folks sneer at that notion. But trust us, it’s true.

Just a few years ago, a major restaurant chain was looking to build in Pine Bluff, we’re told on good authority, but decided against it when they toured several areas that they felt weren’t up to their standard of cleanliness.

The city has been doing its part with major cleanups. And we tip our hat to Pine Bluff Mayor Debe Hollingsworth, the Pine Bluff Police Department, the Clean and Beautiful organization and others who try their best to keep our city looking nice.

They can’t do it alone, however. It takes all of us to pitch in and put our litter in the proper place: a trash can.

So the next time you are driving around town and finish off that bottle of soda, please think twice before tossing it out on the street. You’ll be doing our city proud.

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