Fayetteville Arkansas, University of Arkansas--Old Main Overview

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

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Veterans Day

Whether you’re old enough to recall November 11 as Armistice Day or young enough to know it only as National Veterans Day is not the point. What truly matters is that we take time from our busy lives to pay tribute to all the men and women who have served our country.

Please consider honoring all our veterans, living or dead, at a ceremony near you. I’ve listed some below. Be sure to check dates and times:

Veterans Health Care System of the Ozarks (aka VA Hospital) Fayetteville. The annual Veterans Day Ceremony will be held on Friday, November 9, 2012 at 11:00 a.m. in the auditorium of Building 3. It will feature the National Anthem, presentation of the colors by U of A ROTC, patriotic music by Fayetteville High School Band, placing of the Memorial Wreath and a speaker. The public is encouraged to attend.
Northwest Arkansas Veterans Day Parade, Fayetteville Square, Sunday, November 11. Parade starts at 4:30 pm from 401 West Mountain Street and ends at 5:30 pm at 303 West Center.

Rogers, Saturday, November 10. Events begin at 9:30 am at Pig Trail Harley-Davidson, 2409 West Hudson Road Rogers and include a parade. Donations from this event will benefit Disabled American Veterans.

Springdale, Sunday, November 11. NW Arkansas Veterans Day Parade begins on Emma Street at 2:30 pm. After that, everyone is invited to a free concert called “Bellows, Brass, and Bells!” from 4:00 pm to 5:15 pm at First United Methodist Church, 206 W. Johnson Avenue, Springdale. Red, white and blue cookies will be served.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Next Weekend is Craft Fair Weekend in NW Arkansas

Come join the throngs of vendors and buyers at arts and crafts extravaganzas throughout NW Arkansas next week, October 17 - 21. But don’t wait until the last minute because the best items will already be gone.

These shows attract people from hundreds of miles away and from surrounding states. Each year the shows grow larger and new vendors vie for available slots to show and sell their handmade, unique items. It’s estimated some 200,000 people will flock here next weekend – and the weather is usually cooperative. Just in case, some shows are indoors and that eliminates weather concerns.

All shows offer free admission.

Days and hours are listed below:

War Eagle Mill Fair -- More information 
(The "grand-daddy" of them all).
11045 War Eagle Rd (east of Rogers)
October 17-21
Wednesday – Saturday 8 am – 5 pm
Sunday 8 am – 4 pm

Sharp’s Show of War Eagle -- More information
(next to War Eagle Fair – see above)
October 17-21
Wednesday – Saturday 8 am – 5 pm
Sunday 8 am – 4 pm

Bella Vista Arts and Crafts Fair -- More information
1991 Forest Hills Drive (intersection of AR 279 and AR 340)
October 18-20
Thursday - Saturday 8 am – 5 pm
Sunday – closed
(479) 855-2064

Spankler Creek Farm -- More information
8334 W. McNeely Rd., Bentonville
October 17-21
Wednesday – Saturday 8 am – 5 pm
Sunday 9 am – 4 pm

Frisco Station Mall (Indoors) --More information 
100 N. Dixieland, Rogers
October 18-21
Thursday – Saturday 10 am - 9 pm
Sunday 10:00 am - 4:00 pm

Ozark Regional Shows (Indoors- 2 locations) --More information 
John Q. Hammons Center
3303 Pinnacle Hills Pkwy, Rogers
Holiday Inn Convention Center
1500 S. 48th St., Springdale
October 19-20
Friday – Saturday 9 am – 5 pm
Sunday - closed

Jones Center Festival (Indoors) --More information  
922 E. Emma Av., Springdale
October 18-20
Thursday - Friday 9:00 am - 8:00 pm
Saturday 9:00 am - 6:00 pm
Sunday - closed

And for those who may want to put a booth at one of these venues, it's much too late for this year, but fill out an application for next spring or fall to participate in this traditional event.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Bikes, Blues & BBQ Starts September 26, 2012--Bigger Than Ever

The huge Bikes, Blues and BBQ event is a little earlier this year so polish up your bike and make plans to be in Northwest Arkansas September 26-29th.

BBBBQ (plus or minus some B’s) has added even more ‘Bs’ this year, as in Bikes, Babes and Bling. In addition to the free music, juried BBQ cook-off competitions, poker runs, thrill shows, and other events, there will be special events just for ladies who ride and those who want to ride. They can try out a variety of bikes and practice on a simulator.

Also new this year is the ladies fashion show. I’m betting a large number of men will be in the audience.

I don’t want to omit anything such as the beer gardens and vendors galore but there’s only so much space. If you’ve been to BBBBQ in years past, you know I can’t list everything. Suffice it to say that it’s bigger than ever and is even expanding from Fayetteville to neighboring towns with events such as the Arenacross and Extreme Freestyle show at the Parsons Stadium in Springdale.

As always, BBBBQ is family friendly. Safety is the number one priority. Secondly, profits all go to support local charities.

Autumn in the Ozarks is a great time of year. Weather and foliage combine to show off the best of our ancient mountains. People are friendly and welcome you no matter where you stop.

For schedules of events, registration and lodging details, concert schedules, ride maps for surrounding areas, and other information check the official BBBBQ website and get ready for an awesome event.

Saturday, September 01, 2012

Skyline Report for the First Half of 2012

In local and state publications, the official announcement of the most recent Skyline report happened last week. Actually, the Washington County preview for real estate agents and others was a couple of weeks ago at the now-biannual (used-to-be-quarterly) breakfast in Fayetteville. I was there; I just didn’t get my blog post written before the official announcement.

Anyhow, things are looking up in the NW Arkansas housing market, according to economist Kathy Deck, director of the Center of Business and Economic Research at the U of A, which is in charge of preparing the report for Arvest Bank.

In her presentation, she contrasted the positive economic outlook in NW Arkansas to that in the country as a whole, which she described as “slow, slogging steady growth.” She said that employment in NW Arkansas in June was at an all-time record high of 211,100 jobs, which equals what it was during the peak of the housing boom about 5 years ago. The importance of good employment opportunities is a constant theme in Deck’s presentations, since jobs are what draw people to the area and thus stimulates the housing market here.

Another positive highlight from the report was the lowering of multifamily vacancy rates in the area, which now generally are near 5%. Just a few yours ago in the 4th quarter of 2009 these hovered between 15% and 20%. In Fayetteville particularly, these positive numbers have resulted from the increase in enrollment at the University of Arkansas, which now has about 25,000 students. Recent university announcements have set the new goal for projected growth at 28,000 students. Although there are a number of projects in the pipeline, based on building permit applications, there is some room for expansion of multifamily dwellings.

As to residential building permits, there has been a small increase, but this is warranted as the existing inventory of single family homes is absorbed (that means that people are finally out there buying houses). Another factor is that more expensive homes are being built. Nevertheless, the number of so-called “spec” homes is still relatively low, unlike the boom years when too many homes, especially expensive homes, were being built.

The bottom line is that home prices in NW Arkansas appear to have bottomed out in many price ranges. It also varies according to town. In Bentonville, for example, absorption is up compared to Washington County, where it has remained somewhat flat.

Deck also suggested that interest rates will probably remain low for the foreseeable future, as the Federal Reserve tries to stimulate the economy. With continuing low interest rates and with continued absorption of inventory, prices may continue to rise—a definite turnaround from recent years.

For some of the more detailed data in the report, articles in the NW Arkansas Business Journal and the Arkansas Business Journal have some specifics.

I am a big fan of the Skyline report, and I think we NW Arkansas real estate agents are very fortunate to have such a wonderful resource at our disposal. Basically, it gives me facts and figures to support what I’m seeing on an anecdotal basis in my daily business of selling homes. Most realtors I talk to are in agreement that the market has picked up significantly this year, starting last spring. The new Skyline Report supports that perception.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Arkansas State Sales Tax Holiday – Don't Miss It!

This coming weekend is the one time each year where anyone in Arkansas can purchase a multitude of items without paying sales tax. The offer is good for two days only: Saturday and Sunday, August 4-5, 2012. That’s 48 hours starting at 12:01 a.m. Saturday and ending at 11:59 p.m. Sunday night.

Surrounding states have enjoyed similar sales tax holidays and Arkansans living near a state line would often take their money to merchants out of state. Obviously, Arkansas did not receive sales tax on those purchases. But it also meant Arkansas merchants could not compete on an even basis.

That’s why it is such a good thing that Arkansas passed a law giving our residents and merchants the same opportunity. The sales tax holiday is primarily meant for back-to-school supplies and clothing. However, the categories are so broad, people from all walks of life can avail themselves for two days of buying without sales tax added on.

Here’s a brief list of eligible purchases:

• All the usual school supplies, including calculators and art supplies, without limit.
• All clothing, footwear, underwear, coats and jackets, swimsuits, up to $100 per item.
• Diapers, disposable and non-disposable.
• Jewelry, handbags, briefcases, sunglasses, accessories, hair notions, cosmetics, up to $50 per item.
• Wedding apparel, up to $100 per item.

Here’s a complete list, but also note that there are still items that remain taxable.
Get your shopping lists prepared. This bonanza will not be back until August 2013!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

A good idea as the University grows...

Student enrollment at the University of Arkansas Fayetteville is at a record high. It currently stands at more than 23,000 students, which is some 34% higher than it was only eight years ago.

Needless to say, the corresponding need for housing is also at an all-time high. UofA has been building new housing and has plans to build more. But many students wish to live off campus. That’s where the strains begin to show up – more traffic, more complaints from neighborhood residents about students, and complaints from students about landlords.

Fortunately for Fayetteville, the mayor has proposed and UofA’s chancellor has accepted a plan to form a joint committee to address these issues. Committee members would come from the city, the university, and the community.

They will have a lot on their plates as they consider such things as university growth, regulations on the number of students allowed to live together in certain types of housing, and overlay districts governing where and what can be built in the future.

The committee is a sound idea. Everyone wants good neighbors and attractive, quiet, safe neighborhoods. The city and university have worked well together in the past to formulate positive plans. There are good reasons to believe they can do it again.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

There is something happening all the time in NW Arkansas. It’s no wonder our corner of the Ozarks is known for its high quality of life. Many of the offerings are free or low cost.

Tonight, for example, is the first of a 6-concert chamber music series sponsored by the university and KUAF, the local public radio station. Like all of the concerts in the series, it is free and starts at 7:30. Tonite’s concert is at the Stella Boyle Smith Concert Hall at the University, as are all of the concerts except next week, when it is at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church on Dickson St. For a glimpse on works to be played and map on how to get to the concerts, click here.

Here’s a brief rundown of some other upcoming events so you won’t miss anything:

The First Friday of every month through November, beautiful Bentonville Square has activities for the whole family. June 1st and 2nd will be a two-day affair in conjunction with ArtFest (see below). July 6th and 7th will feature arts and music – both Blues and Rock. August will celebrate back-to-school time with toys and a meet-and-greet session with teachers.

Bentonville is hosting Artfest during the month of June. It starts May 31 with Art Fete at Peel Mansion. Activities continue through June 30 with music, food, art presentations and a film festival.

No mention of Bentonville would be complete without a nod to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. Open every day except Tuesdays, the museum is a must see. One exhibit costs $5; all the other galleries are free. Beautiful trails surround outstanding architecture.

Fayetteville’s Artosphere has many unique events throughout May and June at a wide variety of locations, including Crystal Bridges Museum in Bentonville. There will be six days of chamber music concerts in renowned chapels such as Thornecrown Chapel in Eureka Springs and Cooper Chapel in Bella Vista. Dates are June 14th to 21st. The Artosphere Festival Orchestra will perform classical works June 17th, 18th and 22st at various NW Arkansas venues. Some concerts are free and prices for others will be $10-$25.

August 23rd to 26th will be four days of music and food by the Fayetteville Roots Festival. Their slogan is “A mountain town in its natural state” and it promises to be a great time in the Ozarks. Walton Arts Center will be the main stage with happenings all around Fayetteville.

Outdoor musical presentations will continue throughout the summer at Arkansas Music Pavilion (“The AMP”) in Fayetteville. Be sure to note a temporary change of location this year. While awaiting completion of the new pavilion at NW Arkansas Mall, the venue is Washington County Fairgrounds. There is a great lineup of artists including Ted Nugent, Luke Bryant, Gavin DeGraw and Pat Benatar.

Downtown Fayetteville welcomes everyone to the town square on the First Thursday of each month, except in the winter. The square becomes a vibrant scene celebrating art, artists, music and fun for all members of the family. Best part, it’s all free.

And finally, the Gulley Park Summer Concert series begins May 31 with free entertainment, as always. The presentations are extremely popular family fun. Bring your lawn chairs and blankets.

There's probably more that I haven't thought of, but this will give you a start. Have a happy, safe , and fun summer.

Monday, May 07, 2012

Siloam Springs, Arkansas – Another Great Place to Live in NW Arkansas

I came across an article recently in the online version of Smithsonian Magazine that I wanted to share.

According to the article, Siloam Springs, Arkansas, was rated #14 on Smithsonian’s list of the top 20 small towns in America. That’s a pretty good rating on any scale. I’ve written previously about excellent rankings for cities in NW Arkansas, but this may be the first for Siloam Springs.

Geographically, it is a small town at only about 10 square miles, situated on the border with Oklahoma. Population growth has been dramatic, increasing more than 500% since the 2000 census.

The town has churches everywhere. A creek runs through it, and it appropriately got its name from the many springs in the area. Siloam Springs has been recognized by the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program for efforts to preserve and revitalize the city's historic district.

The town hosts parades, a rodeo and festivals, notably the annual Dogwood Festival, and fireworks on Fourth of July. The aquatic park is outstanding. A brand new hospital just opened.

John Brown University draws students from around the country and overseas. Each December the university presents Candlelight Christmas Concerts which are simply beautiful. Tickets go very quickly.

Considering the quality of life enjoyed by its citizens, it seems to exemplify small town life in America. And it's not far from Fayetteville (University of Arkansas) and Bentonville (Crystal Bridges), and other amenities and business venues of NW Arkansas.

Congratulations Siloam Springs.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Will Our Butterfield Trail Be a National Historic Trail?

Just imagine – St. Louis, Missouri to San Francisco, California in only 25 days. It may sound like a trip you hope never to make, yet the Butterfield Overland Trail was highly rated back in 1858. It changed both transportation and commerce.

Moving people and U.S. mail was an amazing undertaking back then. The need was great and. John Butterfield, Sr. and his Butterfield Overland Stage Company proved it could be done. The route started in St. Louis and passed through Benton, Washington, Crawford and Sebastian Counties in Arkansas. At Ft. Smith, Arkansas it turned southwest through Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and onward to Los Angeles, California where it turned north to San Francisco.

Mr. Butterfield lived for a time in Fayetteville and built major stables for the company in Fayetteville. Remnants of the original Butterfield Trail are adjacent to the 8th hole at Butterfield Trail Golf Course in Texas. I know of one roadside marker in Springdale commemorating the Butterfield Trail and it is located appropriately on the corner of Butterfield Coach Road and US Hwy. 412. And there is a well in the back yard of a residence in Fayetteville where supposedly where the stagecoach used to stop for refreshment  (I used to live across the street).

Now the National Park Service is studying whether to include the route as a National Historic Trail. It certainly qualifies in my mind.

If you care to comment on the subject, you may do so by May 18, 2012 by contacting:
Gretchen Ward
Outdoor Recreation Planner
National Park Service
National Trails Intermountain Region
P.O. Box 728
Santa Fe, NM 87504

If you prefer, you may comment online at the National Park Service Public Comment and Planning website.

For more information:

National Park Service Information on Butterfield Trail
Butterfield Trail Golf Course in Texas

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Bobby Petrino Situation--what next for the Razorbacks?

One does not need to be born in Arkansas to know Razorback football is big news most of the time. It is also big business. Thus I am as saddened as anyone to learn of Head Coach Bobby Petrino’s motorcycle accident and the events preceding and succeeding it. Radio, TV, newspapers and just about everyone has been talking about it.

I am not going to judge Coach Petrino’s actions – there is plenty of that going around without me weighing in.

I am, however, very concerned about the players, remaining coaches, backers, fans, and the University of Arkansas as a whole. I understand the search has already started for the next head coach.

In the meanwhile, the public seems to be lining up to take sides over Petrino’s firing. There is no doubt Bobby Petrino is an effective coach. He proved it several times, culminating in taking U of A to the Cotton Bowl earlier this year. Hopes were running high for even more successes in the near future. So it is easy to understand why many fans hoped a way could be found to retain Coach Petrino.

Another group of fans and the public felt honesty, integrity, living up to one’s contracts, and upholding the prestige of the university were of the utmost priority. Ultimately, the university leaders took this position and Bobby Petrino was fired. Fallout today has the young lady resigning her position at the U of A, the Arkansas Children’s Hospital canceling their Bobby Petrino Charity Golf Classic (originally scheduled for June), and the University getting two separate donations totaling $1.25 million for “doing the right thing”.

A sad situation.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Will Benton County Finally Become “Wet?”

A new effort is underway to give voters an opportunity to decide the question of whether to make Benton County "wet."

The petition will require signatures equal to 38% of the voters in the most recent general election. In Benton County that means nearly 40,000 valid signatures. That is a huge number and is the biggest reason why voters have not had the opportunity to vote on the question since 1944.

The difference this time around is money, organization, experience and the support of some members of the Walton family. An experienced professional firm has been hired to gather the signatures, which must be turned in to the county clerk’s office by August 28.

I’m all for it and while I respect differing opinions, I think the overwhelming majority of residents will agree the time has come.

The backers, with good reason, are calling their initiative “Keep Dollars in Benton County.” The economic benefits of going “wet” are far reaching. In addition to the direct sales tax revenue to the county and the resulting trickle-down effect, it would place the county more favorably in the minds of prospective businesses and visitors alike.

Locals know how to overcome the lack of packaged liquor stores in Benton County. They drive a few miles to Washington County or McDonald County, Missouri. Those counties are more than happy to have thriving businesses within their borders that send sales tax receipts to their local county governments. I’d be willing to bet businesses in these counties will be in direct opposition to Benton County going “wet.”

Arkansas liquor laws are arcane, outdated, even ludicrous in many respects. Some restaurants become "private clubs". Those who purchase a permit and serve food can serve alcoholic drinks to their members – and any adult can become a member by simply signing their name in a register. But restaurants per se cannot serve alcoholic beverages.

Just think of the huge number of people who will come specifically to visit the beautiful Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. My guess is most will find it amazing and disappointing that they cannot have wine or a cocktail with dinner.

If I lived in Benton County, my vote would be a definite yes.

For more details on this, click here.

Monday, January 02, 2012

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art put Bentonville on Travel and Leisure's Top Travel Destinations List

You don’t have to make an appointment any more to visit Crystal Bridges. I found that out recently, when I visited for the first time with my artist/musician son who was home for the holidays. And it’s a wonderful place.

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art is a treat for the senses. There are so many wonderful works of art that I can’t begin to cover them all in my blog, but I hope to pique your interest.

Just to know our little corner of the world is home to this beautiful museum is enough to make us all proud. The brainchild of Alice Walton, longtime art collector and daughter of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton, created much controversy when she announced her plans in 2005. Some of the so-called ‘upper crust’ in art circles were aghast that major works would be somehow ‘lost’ in the Midwest.

The art is far from lost! It is alive and well and displayed in a work of art itself. The 201,000-square-foot museum, designed by the famed architect Moshe Safdie, is set beautifully into natural surroundings. Visitors will find eight linked pavilions bordering two large pools, which are fed by Crystal Spring. The architecture alone would be worth the trip even if it didn’t contain this marvelous collection of art from colonial to contemporary times. The pools are still in the process of being filled, however.

Even a brief glance at the list of art included within the collection shows there is something for everyone: Rosie the Riveter by Norman Rockwell, Asher B. Durand's Kindred Spirits, Maxfield Parrish's The Lantern Bearers, and Andy Warhol’s Dolly Parton. The “Rosie” work is not the famous one that everyone usually sees, however. It’s a different one.

There are eight trails on the wooded 120-acre property. I can’t wait to see dogwood trail in the spring! Also located outside is the sculpture garden.

Some of the educational offerings will include Skyspace Discussions, Shifting Perspectives with Nature, and Wonder World. Wonder World has some really interesting contemporary stuff, including a version of the Last Supper made entirely of spools of thread.

Perhaps one of the most outstanding offerings at the museum is the price of admission. Admission is totally free thanks to a $20 million donation by Wal-Mart Corporation.

Wal-Mart Family Foundation has pledged $800 million towards acquisitions, operations, and capital improvements, not to mention additional monies towards initial construction. Local philanthropists have also made additional generous donations.

This huge endowment puts it on a par with Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art is already creating buzz in travel circles. Travel and Leisure.com lists it as one of the top destinations in 2012. The biggest buzz, of course, is among art lovers in the U.S. as well as overseas. It is such a huge boost to the art scene in NW Arkansas as well as local artists and aspiring artists everywhere.

I can’t sing too many praises about Crystal Bridges of American Art and its effects on the local economy. New businesses have already opened. A sparkling new hotel, 21c Museum Hotel, plans to open in January 2013. It will be similar to the original 21c in Louisville. Out-of-state visitors have already arrived and many more are coming.

You simply must go. If you’ve already been, go again. That’s what my friends and I plan to do. Just don’t go on Tuesdays. That is the one day each week when the museum is closed.

For more information visit the Crystal Bridges Website.

And here are a few informational newspaper articles from Arkansas Business, the New York Times, NY Times Travel Section, and Travel and Leisure magazine. For a great picture of the museum, click here.