Fayetteville Arkansas, University of Arkansas--Old Main Overview

Fayetteville Arkansas, University of Arkansas--Old Main Overview
Overview of Fayetteville, AR

Thursday, October 29, 2009

News about News in Northwest Arkansas

I suppose it was inevitable, but the merger of the two major newspapers in Northwest Arkansas has saddened me. Readers and advertisers alike will no longer have a choice of newspapers. Competition is virtually good – keeps everyone on their toes and helps keep prices down.

The merger includes the Northwest Arkansas Times in Fayetteville, Benton County Daily Record in Bentonville, Morning News in Springdale plus several weekly or twice-weekly newspapers, a Spanish language weekly and a monthly magazine devoted to Arkansas Razorbacks athletics.

Another sad result of the merger is the loss of jobs. More than 500 people are employed either full- or part-time by both newspapers. At this point, no one is sure how many will still have a job when the dust settles.

I’m surprised this is all taking taking place so rapidly – Sunday, November 1. The proposed merger was announced less than two months ago (September 3, 2009). Seems like a huge effort and yet the pieces fell into place as soon as the U.S. Department of Justice concluded the proposed merger would not create any antitrust violations. The Justice Dept. used to feel differently about these things but faced with the reality that newspapers have suffered huge losses across the country, the merger was quickly approved.

All versions of the newspaper will include the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette but depending on locality, readers will also receive either the Northwest Arkansas Times, Benton County Daily Record, or the Morning News. It’s possible the Morning News will publish slightly different versions for Rogers and Springdale.

To access the versions not included in a particular area, readers will either have to drive to a newstand in that area or go online. Newspaper subscribers are permitted free access to websites but others must pay a monthly fee for the privilege.

I must say I’m a little put out about that. While I can sympathize with their plight (i.e., subscriptions and advertising way down), if two of the premier newspapers in the country (New York Times and Washington Post), among others, are still free, I sort of resent having to pay to read the local newspaper.

On the other hand, a lot of realtors no longer advertise in the newspaper (or magazines either), contributing to the problem. Statistics show that about 90% of home buyers now find their home on line. With home sales down and limited advertising dollars, the real estate industry is changing. The same is probably true for other industries. And unfortunately our local papers are paying the price.

C'est la vie.

For more information:




Sunday, October 11, 2009

Good Economic News in NW Arkansas

Some thoughts from the Arkansas Economic Issues Breakfast meeting I attended a few weeks ago on September 30…

First, at little background: This was the first in a semi-annual series bringing together Arkansas’s business, community, education and government leaders via video conferencing. There were people gathered in 7 locations, and speakers at three of them. In Fayetteville, the gathering was held at the Sam Walton School of Business at the U of A. The series is sponsored by Arkansas Business to promote economic development by disseminating high-quality information and analyses.

Governor Mike Beebe in Little Rock kicked off the event with good news: "We've added 22,000 new manufacturing jobs in the last 20 months.” Beebe also said we are on the brink of several non-U.S. companies coming to Arkansas.

The general consensus is that Arkansas has endured the recession considerably better than many states. Unemployment rates here never came close to double digits and the housing market did not suffer the huge declines seen elsewhere.

Kathy Deck, director of the University of Arkansas (Fayetteville) Center for Business and Economic Research, stated the recession is technically over, while at the same time acknowledging that the average consumer may not yet be ready to agree. People are still worried about the future in general and continue to be concerned about possibility of unemployment and the decline in value of homes and 401(k) retirement accounts.

On a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being much better and 5 being much worse, the Fayetteville area's economic condition was ranked 2, which is better than all other areas in the state.

To summarize, NW Arkansas appears to have come through the recession better than the rest of the state and Arkansas, better than many other states.

However, there is always room for improvement. Highway construction, transportation, education, improving job skills, and business investment and expansion are at the top of everyone’s list. Other concerns include the overbuilt real estate market and health care.

For more information:


Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Deadline to Pay Property Taxes is October 13, 2009

The normal deadline for paying property taxes and personal property taxes is October 10th each year but because the 10th is a Saturday, 11th a Sunday, and Monday the 12th is a Holiday, there is a small reprieve.

Many homeowners pay their taxes as part of their monthly mortgage payment. The annual tax is divided into 12 and the homeowner pays 1/12 each month. The bank holds the tax portion of the payment and then pays the property tax when due. If this is your situation, you can relax since your property taxes have already been paid.

But if you don’t have a mortgage or don’t pay taxes as part of your mortgage, be aware October 13th is rapidly approaching.

When the bills were sent out last spring, they included an option to pay taxes in three payments. If you took advantage of that, don’t forget the third and final payment.

Personal property taxes on cars, trucks, boats, etc., are also due October 13th.

Late payments incur an automatic 10% penalty plus interest.

You can pay your taxes in person but in Washington County this year that is rather inconvenient due to very limited parking. The parking garage is being demolished and a new one will be operational next year. In addition to paying in person or mailing a check, both Benton and Washington Counties offer an ePayment Service. You can pay by Visa, MasterCard, Discover or American Express credit card. Washington County also accepts payment via eCheck - a method of debiting the funds electronically from your checking account just as though you had written a check.

However, be advised that if you use any of the methods just mentioned, you will incur a processing fee. The county websites state, “Because we are a governmental entity, all costs associated with the convenience of credit card usage and bank account transfers cannot be deducted from your tax amount due.”

The web addresses for paying online are:


Thursday, October 01, 2009

Bikes, Blues and Barbeque in Fayetteville, AR

What a party! The 10th annual Bikes, Blues and Barbeque Rally was held in Fayetteville September 23-26, 2009. If you weren’t there, you should have been. Hundreds of thousands of people made their way to the festivities for music, food, seeing and being seen, parade of power, poker run, and more.

There were all kinds of bike competitions: plenty of conversions, plenty of chrome, and all shining in the sunshine.

I couldn’t count all the bands and musicians that were on hand to provide music and dancing.

The Barbecue cook off saw 53 teams compete and was won by The Smokin Hills of Overland Park, Kansas.

The Ozark Mountain weather certainly contributed to the success of Bikes, Blues BBQ. We’d had quite an unusual spell of overcast weather leading up to opening day. As soon as the rally started, blue skies broke through and temps stayed in the low 70s. Just absolutely gorgeous weather.

The whole purpose of Bikes, Blues & BBQ is to conduct a safe, fun and family-friendly motorcycle rally and all profits go to local charities. It will take about a month for all expenses to be paid at which time the charitable donations will be announced.

Mark your calendar now for next year’s rally - September 29 – October 2, 2010.

For more information and pictures: