Sunday, May 31, 2009

Pinnacle Foods' wet prairie displays burgeoning array of native wildflowers on May 30, 2009, adjacent to west edge of World Peace Wetland Prairie

Please click on start arrow to see portion of Pinnacle Prairie south of the Hill Place student-apartment development site.

Please click on image to ENLARGE view of construction drawing of meandering trail route through a portion of Pinnacle Prairie south of the Hill Place student-apartment development site.

A 12-foot-wide, meandering asphalt trail is soon to be built by the Hill Place contractors through Pinnacle Prairie as one of the conditions of approval of the Hill Place project. It will connect wheel-chair users, walkers, joggers, bicyclists and nature lovers with W. 12th Street to the southeast and with sidewalks in the apartment complex leading east to W. 11th Street and S. Duncan Avenue to provide a circular paved route around the nature area and the new area of city park connected to World Peace Wetland Prairie's Northeast corner. From the prairie trail, pedestrians and non-motorized vehicles also can travel about four blocks north inside the apartment complex, crossing a new traffic bridge over the Town Branch of the West Fork of the White River and reaching the Indian Trail that roughly follows the old right of way of the east-west railroad. A former railroad tunnel will allow trail-users to go northwest to Fayetteville High School and the University of Arkansas. Eventually, the trail to the east is expected to connect to the Frisco Trail that leads north along Tanglewood Branch and the E. Faye Jones nature park by the Fayetteville City Library and provides easy access to Dickson Street and the Scull Creek Trail northbound.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Budd Saunders shared this letter to the editor with friends more than a week ago and it was published Saturday

Gotta give the newspapers first shot or they might think it is old news.
So here is what the Times published Saturday, pretty much as Budd wrote it.
Letters to the editor
Northwest Arkansas Times
Posted on Saturday, May 30, 2009
Veterans could use the land
By the time this is published I will have attended the Memorial Day ceremony at the Fayetteville National Cemetery. The ceremony is to honor those who have served our country with honor. Many fought in our country's wars.
I was standing near the flag pole talking with a friend. He looked around and asked me how many friends of mine are buried in the cemetery. I thought a moment and said, "All of them." That sounds like false patriotism but it's quite true. I didn't know most of them personally, but attending memorials and funerals honoring their service makes them friends of mine.
Several years ago vandals sprayed red paint on 60 headstones. I went to see the damage. My eyes were burning with tears as I walked along looking over the scene. That act dishonored that garden of stone which is hallowed ground. The cemetery's crew and the volunteers worked in freezing weather, with a cold north wind blowing sleet into their faces. It was hard work, and it took three days to clean the bright, red paint from the headstones.
I wrote in an open letter to the Northwest Arkansas Times that I wanted to talk with the young boys who had done this terrible deed. That's all I wanted to do. Let them walk with me through the cemetery. I would read the headstones to them while I explained what they meant. For example, there's Clarence B. Craft, U.S. Army, Medal of Honor for Valor Above and Beyond the Call of Duty. There are veterans buried there from the Civil War, the Mexican border war, World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, and more recently Afghanistan and Iraq. Many are unknown but still honored for their service.
Fayetteville has one of the few national cemeteries with room to grow, and the old sale barn area beside the cemetery is for sale. I am a member of the Regional National Cemetery Improvement Corporation. We raise money any way we can to buy land around the national cemetery. Earlier this year Milo Cumpston, one of the founders of our organization and a Marine survivor of Iwo Jima, arranged to purchase enough land to have burials until 2023. Milo was the last of the five veterans who founded the RNCIC.
Developers want to build student housing on the sale barn land. I don't know that students living near the cemetery will desecrate the cemetery, but there's a good chance they will. When we lived in Fayetteville years ago our home was across from Evergreen Cemetery. That is close to the University of Arkansas campus. Regularly I had to go over there and break up parties. Students damaged the headstones and grave markers. They meant no harm, but being young they didn't give it a thought if it was fun.
The RNCIC wants to purchase the land for the cemetery, but we don't know where to turn for the money. Can you help?
Budd Saunders

Fescue fungus and cattle symptoms discovered in 1977. Soon wildlife biologist realized that fescue was hurting deer, quail and other wildlife

In 1977, microbiologist Charles W. Bacon in the ARS Toxicology and Mycotoxin Research Unit in Athens, Georgia, working with ARS chemist James K. Porter, ARS animal scientist Joe D. Robbins, and University of Georgia colleague E.S. Luttrell, made the first direct link between the fungus and cattle symptoms.
A farmer had asked them to find out why cows in one area were spending most of their time in a pond instead of in the field. Bacon and Porter took fescue samples from the field where the cows didn't seem to be eating and from another field where the cows were grazing. They found the fungus only in the field with the fasting cows.
The main problem farmers have with fescue toxicosis is in the summer. When the weather is hot, the alkaloids from the fungus cause "summer syndrome." When cows that are already hot eat infected fescue, they get even hotter because the alkaloids change their ability to regulate body temperature. The cows stop eating and seek shade or a pond to cool off.
Later, scientists found out that fescue's good qualities were also attributable to the fungus-fescue relationship, although they didn't understand how it worked.
The discovery by ARS agronomist David P. Belesky, at the Appalachian Farming Systems Research Center, in Beaver, West Virginia, of one way the positive side of the relationship works adds momentum to fescue toxicosis research. Belesky's work is described in the article The Grass Farmers Love To Hate (p. 4).

Arkansas officials say 'Don't Do Fescue'

Arkansas “Don't Do Fescue" is theme of AGFC public campaign
JONESBORO - Tall fescue is a widely used forage crop. It is insect resistant, tolerates poor soil and climatic conditions well and has a long growing season. Unfortunately, tall fescue also has a downside.

With approximately four million acres of pasturelands planted in tall fescue, Arkansas has a great deal of this crop. According to David Long, agricultural liaison with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, the agency is working diligently to help the public understand the shortcomings of this type of grass.

"The AGFC has developed a new tool in its effort to educate landowners about the toxic and negative effects of Kentucky 31 Tall Fescue to farm wildlife. A new bumper sticker entitled 'Don't Do Fescue' is now being distributed to agency employees and others interested in spreading the word," Long said. Tall fescue is a common forage grass that has been planted across Arkansas for over 40 years.

Estimates are that about 70 percent-95 percent or 4 million acres of the pasturelands planted with tall fescue in Arkansas are infected with an endophyte fungus. The fungus causes declines in bobwhite quail, cottontail rabbits, grassland songbirds and also limited other game populations such as white-tailed deer and wild turkey.

"The fact that the plant is actually toxic to both domestic livestock and farm wildlife species is accepted by agriculture extension specialists and wildlife biologists alike," Long said. "The plant produces chemicals causing the fescue to have very toxic qualities. The alkaloids are found throughout the plant, but are especially concentrated in the seeds and leaves," he explained.

In cattle, the fungus causes excessive body temperatures, elevated respiratory rates, loss of appetite, body weight loss, lowered fertility rates and abortion of fetuses. Dairy cows often show sharp declines in milk production. Horses are affected also with more aborted fetuses, foaling problems, weak foals and reduced or no milk production. The CES estimates that this endopytic toxin cost American beef producers up to $1 billion a year in lost profits.

"It's very important for private landowners who desire viable wildlife populations on their property to know the effects of planting fescue," Long noted. "Many species of wildlife would directly suffer these same negative effects if they were confined to the pasturelands as are livestock. However, since they are free ranging, they simply avoid the fungus infected fescue pastures, but nevertheless, this results in loss of farm wildlife habitat on these acres. You may have deer and turkey travel through tall-fescue pastures, but they rarely find food sources available they can utilize, since the aggressiveness of the fescue usually results in solid stands of the plant," Long concluded.

The grass is a sod-forming turf with thick matted growth that also limits movement of young bobwhite quail, turkey and cottontail rabbits, provides no nesting habitat for wild turkey or quail, and is extremely poor habitat for many declining grassland species of songbirds. "Bottom line, fungus infected tall-fescue pastures offer little food, cover or nesting habitat to a broad range of farm wildlife," he said.

"Tall fescue has been planted in an estimated 4 million acres of the 5.4 million acres of pasture scattered over the state and for all practical purposes is of no value to farm wildlife. With the widespread establishment of tall fescue pastures, a great loss of wildlife habitat for deer, turkey, quail, cottontails and grassland songbirds has occurred.

Many landowners now recognize this problem and are interested in eliminating tall-fescue on some or all of their acreage. However, many landowners continue to plant tall-fescue, not knowing the detrimental effects it will have to wildlife. (There is an endophyte-free variety of tall fescue available for planting but it is less viable and hardy, and still provides very limited habitat for wildlife.)

We want to educate all landowners regarding this fact because there are other planting options to providing livestock forage and wildlife habitat on their farms," Long explained.

Please help spread the word to landowners "Don't Do Fescue!" by requesting a bumper sticker to place on your vehicle. Especially if they have an interest in managing for wildlife on their farm. For more information contact David Long at 877-972-5438 or

Walker Park picnic noon to 6 p.m. today a great place to bring family and talk to south Fayetteville residents about neighborhood concerns

Saturday, May 30, 2009
noon to 6:00pm
Walker Park
Off 15th St
Fayetteville, AR
Free Community Picnic
Food, Fun, and Fellowship
Moon Bounce for kids, D.A.R.E and Fire Dept
BBQ, Cakes..etc..etc

Help SAVE the National Cemetery from apartment project proposed to be built adjacent to eastern edge of cemetery.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Elder berry wine possible if you have the patience to pick the little things and follow the recipe

Please click on image to ENLARGE view of elderberry flowers in bloom.

Baby bird one reason not to destroy hollow dead trees. Free picnic announcement below

Please click on image to ENLARGE view of baby bird peeking out of hollow in tree butchered and killed about 5 years ago by a crew trimming for powerline protection. Keeping dead trees standing for as long as possible helps many species of living things survive and succeed in reproducing.

Saturday, May 30, 2009
noon to 6:00pm
Walker Park
Off 15th St
Fayetteville, AR
Free Community Picnic
Food, Fun, and Fellowship
Moon Bounce for kids, D.A.R.E and Fire Dept
BBQ, Cakes..etc..etc

Seven Hills demonstration raingardens show sample of what grows wild on the many acres of prairie to the south and west

Please click on image to ENLARGE view of Seven Hills Transitional Shelter and the prairie to the southwest.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

5 p.m. Friday deadline to apply for appointment to vacancies on Fayetteville, Arkansas, boards and commissions

Apply before 5 p.m. tomorrow at the Fayetteville city clerk's office in city hall.
One Veterinarian Term Ending (Date TBD)
One Business Term Ending (Date TBD)
One Washington County Representative Term Ending (Date TBD)
One Finance Term Ending (Date TBD)
Two Nonprofit Animal Interest Groups Terms Ending (Date TBD)
Three Citizen-at-Large Terms Ending (Date TBD)

One Unexpired Term Ending 03/31/11

One Term Ending 03/31/14
Two Alternate Member Terms Ending 03/31/10

One Community Citizen-at-Large Term Ending 06/30/12
One Unexpired Community Citizen-at-Large Term Ending 12/31/10

One Working Artist Term Ending 06/30/12
Two Arts and Cultural/Citizen-at-Large Terms Ending 06/30/12

Three Terms Ending 06/30/12

One Unexpired Term Ending 12/31/09

One Unexpired Term Ending 06/30/10
Three Terms Ending 06/30/13

One Unexpired Utility Representative Term Ending 12/31/10

One Term Ending 06/30/12

One Term Ending 06/30/12


All applications must be received by 5:00 p.m. on May 29, 2009, at the city clerk's office.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Tuesday's Planning Commission meeting to rerun at 6:30 p.m. on government channel City 16 on Cox Cable

For a complete schedule of programs for this week on City 16, please scroll down the right side of this page for the link to the Government channel blogspot.
The video connection to the planning meeting on the official city site did not work last night, but maybe the meeting will be available there soon, also.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Neighbors, veterans turn out to protest plan for student apartments next to Fayetteville National Cemetery

The Morning News
Local News for Northwest Arkansas

County Sale Barn Site Gets Rezoned
By Skip Descant

FAYETTEVILLE — Despite nearly universal public opposition to a possible student apartment complex, the Fayetteville Planning Commission approved the rezoning of the Washington County Sale Barn to a multifamily land-use.
The property was rezoned from heavy commercial and light industrial use to downtown general. This was viewed by the commission as a "down zoning" in terms of the impact the land-use could have on the area.
But the commissioners were quick to note an endorsement of rezoning should not be read as an endorsement of the proposed project for the nearly 9-acre site on the south side of town.
"I want to emphasize that this is a rezoning request and the development will come at another time," said Christine Myres, a commissioner.
In the meantime, developers say they intend to meet with residents and find some sort of middle ground.
"We have a lot to do on this, and we're about trying to make concessions and see if we can have the problems worked out," said Dave Jorgensen, of Jorgensen and Associates, the design firm leading the project. Campus Crest, a Charlotte, N.C.-based developer, wants to develop the property for a 192-unit apartment complex. The apartments would be rented on a per-bedroom basis and bring some 500 residents to the area.
However, those at the meeting Tuesday night said there seems to be too much distance between what's been proposed and what they could live with.
"We've met with them at the ward meeting and they didn't seem to want to change their plans," said Michele Raine, a resident in the area.
But it wasn't just residents who were opposed to the project. Veterans also turned out to speak against any development that would border Fayetteville National Cemetery, which they say needs both more space and more respect.
"To have a sale barn removed and have an RMF-24 coming there and occupy the property right next to the cemetery is offensive to us veterans," said Jim Buckner, a retired lieutenant colonel and a representative of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, which represents some 600 Purple Heart recipients in the state.
"This is sacred ground," Buckner added. "This is almost holy ground to us veterans."
He plans to rally veterans groups to raise the money needed to buy the property from Billy Joe Bartholomew, who owns the barn, but says today's economy makes his multigenerational business no longer viable.
"I'm going to have to sell the sale barn," Bartholomew told the commission. "It's outlived its uses."
Whatever new use the sale barn site takes, residents are not rooting for apartments. Most said the city already has its fair share. And still many seem opposed to the model presented by Campus Crest, with its standard building plan and leased bedrooms.
"I feel that renting apartments out by the bedroom is, I guess, just asking for trouble," said Kathy Kisida, of West Avenue.
"This apartment complex is what I'm against," she added. "I know that progress is going to happen there. I would just like to find something else."

Sale-barn rezoning coming up soon. Meeting under way already. Come on down!

The planning commission meeting is on channel 16 of cox cable right now.
The sale-barn/national-cemetery issue will be coming before long,
Please come on down. Casual attire or work clothes fine. Don't bother to dress up.

Miller Williams to read from "Time and the Tilting Earth" at 7 tonight

Please click on image to ENLARGE view of Jordan and Miller Williams at Nightbird Books on May 16, 2009.

Miller Williams is to read from his latest book of poetry, "Time and the Tilting Earth" at 7 at Nightbird Books on Dickson Street. This will be the perfect experience to help calm down from the 5:30 p.m. Planning Commission meeting at city hall..

Monday, May 25, 2009

Thousands visit Fayetteville National Cemetery on Memorial Day 2009; new cemetery administrator speaks of concern about apartments coming next door

Please click on image to ENLARGE view of National Cemetery celebration of Memorial Day 2009 in Fayetteville, Arkansas. At right is the Washington County Livestock Auction Barn, which would be replaced by a 500-bedroom student-apartment complex if allowed by Fayetteville City officials. The Planning Commission is to hear the North Carolina developer's proposal during its 5:30 p.m. Tuesday meeting in Fayetteville City Hall. The commission will hear public opinion on the proposed project before whether to vote yes or no on allowing rezoning the land for student apartments.

Please click on start arrow to acivate the short video recorded at Fayetteville National Cemetery on May 25, 2009.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Threat of rain and future construction of multistory student apartments may dampen celebration of Memorial Day at Fayetteville National Cemetery

The Veterans Administration's annual Memorial Day ceremony is to begin at 10 a.m. Monday at the Fayetteville National Cemetery at 700 Government Avenue south of Martin Luther King Boulevard (former Sixth Street) west of South School Avenue in the Town Branch neighborhood of Fayetteville, Arkansas.
The keynote speaker is to be Vic Walker, a retired Veterans of Foreign Wars commander.
Everyone is welcome.

Please click on image below to ENLARGE 2005 view of the Fayetteville National Cemetery next to the Washington County Auction Barn. The bare ground at right is the former Aspen Ridge site where student apartments for more than 800 students are nearing completion now.
A 500-bedroom student-apartment complex of multistory buildings likely would be under way on Memorial Day 2010 if the Fayetteville Planning Commission on Tuesday night approves rezoning the adjacent property of the Washington County Sale Barn.
The buildings would overshadow the historic cemetery created in 1867 after the Civil War.

Monthly business meetings of the Regional National Cemetery Improvement Corporation are at 10:30 a.m. on the second Saturday of the month at the American Legion Post No. 27, 1195 S.Curtis Avenue, Fayetteville, Arkansas.
The group meets next at 10:30 a.m. June 13. 2009. Visitors are welcome to attend to discuss the proposed Livestock-auction land sale to allow student apartments to be built adjacent to the east side of the national cemetery.
For information, please call President Roger McClain at 479-306-6459 or visit the group's Web site at
Fayetteville National Cemetery has conducted close to 8,000 interments of veterans and immediate dependents. The cemetery has laid to rest six soldiers from Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.

START TODAY to raise money to protect the Fayetteville National Cemetery from being overshadowed by student-apartment complex!
The Morning News had a good but far too short article on the upcoming 5:30 p.m. Tuesday May 26 meeting of the Fayetteville Planning Commission where a public hearing on the future use of the Washington County auction barn property is to be discussed. A developer wants to put more than 500 bedrooms in multistory buildings next to Fayetteville's National Cemetery, where U.S. military veterans have been buried since the end of the Civil War.
The many ways the proposed development and the construction of it would hurt the neighborhood and the watershed of Beaver Lake can't all be listed completely in even many paragraphs. But the incredible insult of even proposing such a project adjacent to a national cemetery for veterans is all that needs to be considered for the city planning commission to reject the proposed rezoning of this land.
A major fund-raising campaign must be started to allow the Regional Cemetery Corporation to buy the sale barn for expansion. It is not too late, but it must begin on Memorial Day 2009.
For more information and a Town Branch neighborhood view of the proposal to build apartments on the sale-barn property next to the cemetery, please scroll down past the flower photos below.

Native. noninvasive honeysuckle, Lonicera flava, struggles for space against Japanese honeysuckle on World Peace Wetland Prairie

Please click on images to ENLARGE view of Lonicera flava, the so-called "yellow" honeysuckle native to several states in the central U.S. Like the Lonicera sempervirens, flava is not invasive and struggles for sunlight as the Lonicera japonica, Japanese honeysuckle overwhelms almost everything in natural areas such as WPWP.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Memorial Day 2009: Time to raise the money to buy the auction-barn property for expansion of the National Cemetery

The Morning News had a good but far too short article on the upcoming 5:30 p.m. Tuesday meeting of the Fayetteville Planning Commission where a public hearing on the future use of the Washington County auction barn property is to be discussed. A developer wants to put more than 500 bedrooms in multistory buildings next to Fayetteville's National Cemetery, where U.S. military veterans have been buried since the end of the Civil War.
The many ways the proposed development and the construction of it would hurt the neighborhood and the watershed of Beaver Lake can't all be listed completely in even many paragraphs. But the incredible insult of even proposing such a project adjacent to a national cemetery for veterans is all that needs to be considered for the city planning commission to reject the proposed rezoning of this land.
A major fund-raising campaign must be started to allow the Regional Cemetery Corporation to buy the sale barn for expansion. It is not too late, but it must begin on Memorial Day 2009.

The Morning News
Local News for Northwest Arkansas

Apartments Planned For Sale Barn Site
By Skip Descant
FAYETTEVILLE — A proposal to build student apartments where the long-running livestock sale barn operates will come before the Fayetteville Planning Commission on Tuesday.
Before the 8.9-acre Washington County Sale Barn property can become a 192-unit apartment complex, the area has to be rezoned. Right now, most of the area is zoned for heavy commercial and light industrial uses. Campus Crest, a Charlotte, N.C.-based developer, wants to rezone the property as RMF-24 — the standard zoning for apartment complexes. Campus Crest plans to build less than 24 units per acre.
Fayetteville planning staff is not supportive of an RMF-24 zoning. However, multiuse development and multifamily housing could work here, officials say.
“It is staff’s opinion that the RMF-24 zoning district in this area would permit a development form that would be contrary to the city’s adopted land-use planning objectives and principles of City Plan 2025,” wrote Dara Sanders, a city planner, in her opinion to the commission.
In short, the city’s master plan wants development that’s more pedestrian-friendly.

Sale-barn vs student apartments vs National Cemetery

Washington County Auction Barn or 500 rooms for students next to Fayettevill National Cemetery for U.S. veterans

The Downtown General zoning district allows for the same uses as RMF-24 but is more likely to result in the types of traditional town planning building forms the city planners would like to see.
“Before public comment, we want it to be known that we are good with downtown general,” Dave Jorgensen, of Jorgensen and Associates, design firm for the project, told the commission during its agenda session Thursday.
“Though naturally, we have to work out a bunch of details, and we’ll do that,” he added.
Campus Crest met with Ward 1 residents in early April to answer questions and introduce the project.
Critiques included questions about whether Fayetteville needs more apartments. Residents at the Ward 1 meeting said, no, citing issues like increased traffic that come with concentrations of college students.
"I just don't think that this property is conducive to the neighborhood," said Michele Raine, a resident in the area, speaking during the April Ward 1 meeting.
Another resident, Scott Hill, said he’s not opposed to student housing or apartments, but said he is “opposed to the way they are built in Fayetteville.”
Hill urged developers to build student communities much like the Cotton District in Starkville, Miss., a leafy neighborhood where apartment buildings edge up next to narrow streets that are usually filled with bikes and pedestrians.
At A Glance
Zoning Designations
Downtown General
Permitted Uses: Single, double and three-family dwellings, offices, studios, eating establishments, neighborhood shopping locations and government facilities.
Density: No set density
Building Height: 56 feet
Permitted Uses: Single, double and multifamily dwellings.
Density: 24 units/acre
Building Height: 60 feet
Source: Staff Report
Meeting Information
Fayetteville Planning
When: 5:30 p.m., Tuesday
Where: Room 212, City Hall, 113 W. Mountain St.

Red-veined Asclepias viridis on May 22, 2009

Please click on image to ENLARGE view of red-veined leaves of Ascelepias viridis growin in shallow, dry soil in clay- and gravel-bottomed ditch on May 22, 2009.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Book forum focuses on the misuse of patriotic fervor to justify acts of aggression

Please click on image to ENLARGE view of panelists at the OMNI Center for Peace, Justice and Ecology book forum at NIght Bird Books on May 22. 2009.

Edrene McKay (from left), who teaches history at NorthWest Arkansas Community College, Tom Kennedy, emeritus professor of history at the University of Arkansas, Nancy Miller Saunders, author of Combat by Trial, and Lisa Corrigan, assistant professor of history at the UA, are pictured. Kennedy was the moderator. In the top photo, Saunders and emeritus professor of English Dick Bennett pause for a portrait after the discussion. The other scheduled panelist, Larry Woodall, a Springdale businessman and local leader in progressive thinking, was unable to attend Saturday's forum.

OMNI patriotism forum begins at 6 p.m. at NIghbird. Don't dress up, just get there!

Please click on image to ENLARGE announcement of OMNI's book forum at Night Bird Books.

Public hearing at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday to consider rezoning sale-barn property to allow multistory apartment buildings next to National Cemetery

Please click on images to ENLARGE and read.

Please click on images to ENLARGE and read.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Late-breaking announcement of a public meeting set for 6 p.m. Thursday

Partners Board Members:

The Fayetteville Housing Authority Board has scheduled a Special
Board Meeting for Thursday, May 21st, 2009 in the Fayetteville
Housing Authority office, 1 North School Ave., Fayetteville, Ar
at 6:00p.m.

This meeting is in reference to an upcoming competitive grant
opportunity to apply for Recovery Act - Stimulus funds for the
Morgan Manor Property project and the 7.9 acres development
project. The Housing Authority Board will need to pass a
resolution authorizing the submission of application and
Mr. R. J. Stidham (our consultant) will be present
to discuss the grant and give an update. Mr. Earnest
has expressed that there is a need for Partners Board members
to be present since it is in relation to Partners involvement in
these projects.

Please let me know if you will be attending so that I can a good
count of who will be present.

Thanks, Fredia Sawin

Council meeting on City 16 at noon today and at 6 a.m. Thursday

In recent months and years, the Tuesday-night council meetings were shown at 9 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday after the meeting. I placed the schedule on a few days ago but failed to read it for changes so I faithfully tuned in at 9 this morning to see the parts of the council I did not see last night. I guess I can skip my noon routine and watch it or get up and tune in at 6 a.m. tomorrow and enjoy with my first cup of coffee.

For those who want to watch and listen online, the meeting video has been posted at

Silt removal an expensive side effect of construction in Northwest Arkansas

Please click on image to ENLARGE view of southside of 15th Street as a highway-department worker used a Ditch Witch to scrap silt from one of the three box culverts through which the Town Branch of the West Fork flows from the northwest. The silt was scooped up by machine sitting on the edge of the bridge and loaded into dump trucks and hauled away. Silt from construction sites is the major pollutant in urban streams in Northwest Arkansas.

Ditch Witch rented by Highway Department dredges silt out from under Town Branch Bridge at 15th Street

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Quick quiz: Guess where this silt originates

Please click on image to ENLARGE view of Ditch Witch rented by the state highway department being used to dredge silt out of the concrete box culvert that allows the Town Branch of the West Fork of the White River to flow southeastward under Fifteenth Street in Fayetteville, Arkansas, on May 18, 2009.

Joe Neal and Joe Woolbright attended Fayetteville water and sewer committee meeting ready to support Woolsey Prairie plan

Please click on images to ENLARGE photos from Monday May 18, 2009.

The two Joes didn't get to speak in support because there was no opposition!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Whose responsibility is it to warn EVERY resident of the southside of the city that fireworks will sound late on the night of the final game?

Please click on image to see aging gander swimming behind his wife and two goslings. This pair of geese has raised a family since the second year that the detention pond was at Baum Stadium. Two is the smallest brood I have ever seen them with. Will they be around in the morning? I hope so. I wish everyone cared. I love baseball more than anyone I know. Sadly, I love waterfowl more than almost anyone I know.

I did forget the pets in the shock of the moment. I remembered the geese because I drove by baum and saw them today. But I remember two incidents from a year or two ago with special power. One was a guy driving past my house and circling the neighborhood calling his dog's name. I never learned whether he got his golden retriever back.
The second was a story told to me by a woman whose dog was in the yard and jumped the fence and ran away and was captured a couple of months later by the shelter workers about 2 miles from that woman's house.
Sorry for the oversight.

Fireworks shake hundreds of homes and wake up thousands of old folk at 10:30 p.m. Friday

OK, it is 10:30 and the big boom boom boom shook the house and I ran to get a shotgun, some duck shells and a flash light and started out the door to defend the neighborhood from the Nazis, Commies or new-age terrorists when I suddenly remembered that it was the night of the final Hog baseball game and that fireworks would be allowed at Baum Stadium at George Cole Field. The only victims will be the pair of Canada geese and their two goslings on the detention pond outside right field. The old ones probably have led the goslings across 15th Street and may not return. They did that two or three years ago but survived.

Joyce Hale to present program on rainwater storage and use at 9:30 a.m. Saturday

Joyce Hale of Fayetteville, a long-time environmental activist and leader in the League of Women Voters, will present a program on use of cisterns and other methods to store and use rainwater at homes and businesses at 9:30 a.m. Saturday at the Northwest Technical Institute

709 S Old Missouri Rd
Springdale, AR 72764
(479) 751-8824

View Larger Map

Endangered species day and other items of interest today

(I momentarily overlooked MAY 13, BIRTHDAY OF RACHEL CARSON, one of the inaugurators of the modern ecological movement.)
Tomorrow is PEACE ACTION DAY, an appropriate alternative to ARMED FORCES DAY.
And the 17th is the DAY Brown v. Board of Education was decided, and World Shift DAY.
We should pay more attention to these days. Contact OMNI if you will.
Dick Bennett

Annual War Eagle celebration Saturday near Huntsville

Please click on image to ENLARGE view of Audubon Arkansas invitation to the third annual War Eagle celebration tomorrow at Withrow Springs State Park.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Telecom Board special meeting designated as a brain-storming session begins at noon TODAY. Everyone welcome to attend

The brain-storming special meeting of the Fayetteville Telecommunication Board begins at noon TODAY at PEG Center on Rock Street across from the Police Department. The public is welcome to attehd.
Walt Eilers is to serve as moderator.

New York Times article on a true watershed warrior

RONALD GATTO is an unlikely environmental hero. A former power-lifter, he once bench-pressed 595 pounds and his left biceps bears a tattoo of a police bulldog with handcuffs and a nightstick. He loves cars, and has two vintage Chevrolets in his garage, a green 1960 Impala and a bright red 1971 Chevelle Supersport.

But to many environmentalists, Mr. Gatto is a prophet crying out in the wilderness of the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, where he works as a police captain, charged with protecting the reservoirs that serve New York City and Westchester.

For the rest of the story, please click on
New York Times article on a true watershed warrior
and follow the links at the bottom of each page online to read the next one.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Jordan appoints Fayetteville Economic Accountability Council

The Morning News

Local News for Northwest Arkansas

Fayetteville Forms New Accountability Body

By Skip Descant
FAYETTEVILLE — Oversight and accountability were top concerns by the Fayetteville City Council, as the city inches forward on an economic development strategy.

What is clearly an outgrowth from the too-often result of studies and strategic planning — fancy glossy documents that sit on a shelf and collect dust — Fayetteville has put together a 16-member Fayetteville Forward Economic Accountability Council made up of key figures from the summit and the community.

"So, our plan is ... to get this group together really quickly," Don Marr, Fayetteville chief of staff, told the City Council during its agenda session Tuesday. "We're getting a lot of feedback from citizens who want to get working,"

"We got to start somewhere, and it's time to get going," said Bobby Ferrell, a council member.

And like other city commissions and boards, the accountability council will meet regularly and establish staff reports, Marr said.

Another idea near the top of the list of items the council decided was important, is establishing a sizable nest egg of money the city can access quickly to use as incentive money.

"All five of you voted to establish a $5 million closing fund," Marr told the group. However, given the current economic climate, the administration admits that this clearly a "long-term goal."

But a number of other items on the list are either short-term or have already been put in place. For example, the Fayetteville Planning Commission is already moving forward on establishing "form-based zoning codes," which take into consideration how development in particular land-use zones appears. Conventional zoning simply addresses the use of the property. Form-based zoning was ranked sixth by the City Council.

Each of the 38 items on the list will be considered in some fashion by the administration. And each of these items have been placed in the lap of a City Council member and representative from the city staff to begin working through the range of issues and whatever road-blocks need to be cleared.

For example, drafting a low-impact development ordinance — which received five council votes — will be lead by City Council member Sarah Lewis and Jeremy Pate, who serves as Fayetteville's planning director. Lewis has been an outspoken advocate for drafting public policy that encourages low-impact development.

"Well, we said after 90 days we'd get going, so here we go," said Fayetteville Mayor Lioneld Jordan. "Its going to be a lot of work, but with this group, I know they can get it done."


Fayetteville Forward Economic Accountability Council

City of Fayetteville Representative: Mayor Lioneld Jordan

City Council Representative: Shirley Lucas

Chamber of Commerce Representative: Steve Clark, Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce CEO

University of Arkansas Representative: Michele Halsell

Economic Incentives & Job Growth: Eva Madison

Land Use & Green Infrastructure: Fran Alexander

Transportation & Light Rail: Larry Driver

Green Economy: Keaton Smith

Health Care: Jayme Smith

Public Education: Susan Norton

Creative Economy: Sonia Gutierrez

Citizen Empowerment & Volunteers: Marta Gwyn Collier

Questioning the Assumptions on Growth: Susan Jenkins (pending)

Historic and Heritage Resources: Paula Marinoni

Local Food Economic Initiative: Teresa Mauer

Inclusion: Pattie Williams (pending)

Source: City of Fayetteville

Watershed groups meet separately tonight in ROGERS

The annual member's meeting of the Association for Beaver Lake Environment is at 6:30 p.m. TODAY (Tuesday, May 12th), at the Rogers Public Library.
We will be electing members for our Board of Directors. Hope to see you there.

IRWP Board of Directors Meeting
Tuesday, May 12, 6pm – 9pm
Rogers, Nabholz Construction Headquarters

The Northwest Arkansas Times story on plans for new high school quotes board member saying three proposals much alike but...

NWA Times story on Fayetteville High School plans
The fact is that the plan that would preserve the most old buildings and disrupt the environment the least would be my preference because every shovelful of dirt moved costs taxpayers money and every structure destroyed wastes money and overloads the landfills and the noise, dust and silty, muddy runoff to the Town Branch of the West Fork of the White River damages the region's drinking-water source, Beaver Lake. The wear and tear on the area's streets and highways will have to be repaired at taxpayer expense after construction and the stress of months of construction will disrupt the lives of area residents and those who travel through the area in countless ways.

Mayor Lioneld Jordan attends Fayetteville High School public meeting on plans for new campus on old site

Please click on image to ENLARGE view of Mayor Lioneld Jordan at the Fayetteville High School cafeteria on May 11, 2009.

The Morning News

Local News for Northwest Arkansas
Questions Still Arise About High School Project
By Rose Ann Pearce
FAYETTEVILLE — A timeline for the construction of a new Fayetteville High School hasn't been developed but planners hope to keep interruption at a minimum, residents were told Monday.
About 50 parents, parents and some school employees attended a community meeting to discuss a campus master plan, developed by a New Orleans planning firm, and two variations put together by central office administrators.
After a brief review of the plan's development and contents, questions arose from the audience about construction, closing Stone Street, parking and the renovation of one portion of the existing high school, built in 1991, to be incorporated in the new construction.
James McGinty, a former school board candidate, said local residents still want more information about the Fayetteville High School plans
"Parents are concerned about the facilities for their children. We need more discussion," McGinty said. "It's ridiculous to have such a small turnout. We need more information."
When pressed by Jeff Hebert, the Concordia LLC project manager, McGinty noted he wanted to see what student, teachers and district administrators have said they want to see in the new school.
"Sharing the information so everyone can see," McGinty suggested. Hebert said Concordia would consider that suggestion for its Web site.
Fayetteville School Board member Jim Halsell said he doesn't have sufficient information yet to make a decision on the high school project.
PLEASE CLICK ON IMAGE BELOW FOR LARGER CLOSER VIEW OF Fayetteville High School from the south on May 11, 2009.

The Morning News also reported that several school board members attended the meeting as did Vicki Thomas, the district's new superintendent who takes over July 1 when Superintendent Bobby New retires.
Halsell predicted more information may be forthcoming on Wednesday when the board holds a workshop to talk about the money side of the project. The meeting is from 5 to 7 p.m., according to The Morning News.

The Morning News' Skip Descant reports on meeting of the Fayetteville telecommunication board's Internet committee

The Morning News
Local News for Northwest Arkansas
Officials Consider Policy For City's Use Of Online Tools
By Skip Descant
FAYETTEVILLE — The Fayetteville Telecom board wants to exercise caution before clicking onto common social media tools like Facebook and Twitter. The board is considering a city policy regarding how City Hall can use these "Web 2.0" tools to distribute information.

"Don't we give up some degree of control of that information, by the public," said Andrew Mayes, who chairs the Telecom Board's subcommittee on Internet use.
The committee wondered about what legal and ease-of-management considerations must be weighed before moving too quickly down the Web 2.0 road.
"If you use some of the Google tools like Gmail or Google Maps, and Google comes in and makes changes, well that's a consideration that constantly comes up with those tools," Mayes elaborated after the meeting.
The measure was brought forward by City Council member Matthew Petty, who wants the city to explore areas to engage the public on a larger range of platforms. But he went on to stress that he is not advocating any abandonment of the standard modes of communication like postings on the Web site, advertisements in local newspapers or e-mail.
"We need to make sure we don't make the mistake that these social media tools are the only way to access city information," said Petty.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Register today for rain-barrel workshop and get help building your own or find out how to buy one as a charitable donation

Pre-register for a rain barrel building workshop to build a rain barrel and start harvesting rainwater. The Saturday, June 13th, workshop will be held at the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service (CES), Washington County offices at 2536 N. McConnell Ave. (across from the east entrance to the Washington County Fairgrounds).
Workshops will be held at 9 a.m., 10 a.m., and 11 a.m. The limit is 15 people per workshop. Each participant will help build his or her rain barrel to take home with them at the end of their session. The cost is $35 per person. This fee covers the materials needed for your rain barrel. All materials, tools, and assistance will be provided. The event is co-sponsored by CES and Beaver Water District.
You must pre-register by phone. Registration will be guaranteed once payment is received. Registration is first-come, first-served. Call Joyce Mendenhall at UA Cooperative Extension, 444-1755, to register.
Amy Wilson
Director of Public Affairs, Beaver Water District
P.O. Box 400, Lowell, AR 72745

Internet committee of the telecommunication board to meet at noon today and all are welcome

Telecommunication Board's Internet Subcommittee to meet at noon today in the PEG Center studio across Rock Street from the Fayetteville Municipal Court and police station.

Meeting Agenda
May 11, 2009
12:00 – 1:30 p.m.

1) Call to order and introductions

2) Use of Internet technologies by city boards and commissions for FOIA complaint communications.

3) Proposed use of Web 2.0/Social Networking media by city entities

4) City WiFi

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Baby robin waits for worms being gathered by its attentive parents

"The trouble with building a nest where your friends can see it is that your enemies also can see it." Rough translation of what a mother bird said after a hawk raided her nest to capture small things to feed its own hungry brood. Just following a law of nature.
Please click on image to ENLARGE view of baby robin in nest.

The trouble with having human beings around is that they remove your safest habit (vine-covered saplings and understory vegetation in thickets where nothing can find them) in order to create a "clean" yard that will pass the English lawn test. Sure, they put out feeders, but you can't raise babies or find earthworms and insects in a "neat" yard that is mostly a turf-grass monoculture, especially if it has been sprayed with pesticides and herbicides or had chemical fertilizer added. Diverse vegetation provides healthy habitat.

What mothers do

Please click on image to ENLARGE view of mother robin holding an earthworm for her fledglings in a nest below while waiting for photographer to turn his attention elsewhere on Saturday, May 9, 2009, in a callery pear tree near the east entry to World Peace Wetland Prairie.

Please click on image of rabbit grazing on World Peace Wetland Prairie on May 9, 2009. Mammalian mothers must feed heavily to provide milk to their young.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Audubon outing on Mother's Day

Northwest Arkansas Audubon Society hosts a field trip to Ninestone
> Land Trust in Carroll County for Sunday May 10 (Mother's Day). Meet at
> 9 AM. Free & open to the public. Mothers are welcome! Everyone is
> welcome! You do not need to be an Audubon member or an experienced
> observer to participate. The field trip will be part of International
> Migratory Bird Day activities; observations will help document
> migration through Carroll County. Lunch will be pot luck style,
> accompanied by the waterfalls, so bring your lunch or something to
> share. Habitats: Piney Creek, classical Ozark upland fields, sandstone
> glades, blufflines, shortleaf pines, etc. and the Ozark birds and
> transients associated (Blue-winged Warblers, etc).

Friday, May 8, 2009

Sign explains history, purposes of World Peace Wetland Prairie

Please click on image to ENLARGE in order to read the sign.

This is reposted on this blog because someone asked about nonnative species planted on the half-acre entry area. Only the 2 acres to the west are devoted to native species. The front portion is an international garden open to "improved" native species and species from around the world, in keeping with the World Peace theme of the park.
The butterfly garden and the peace-circle garden are open to decorative species that bloom early in the season. At least 90 percent of the true natives on the back acreage do not bloom until late May or June. Some bloom for the first time later. Most native species fit the climate and stay dormant until their natural growing season is at hand. Some bloom deeper into fall than the nonnatives.
Most years, the native honeysuckle blooms early but the nonnative Japanese honeysuckle and the China honeysuckle bloom even earlier and go even later into early winter. That is one of the reasons they outcompete so many native species and are considered invasive and are being gradually irradicated.
Unfortunately, in the Northwest Arkansas climate, few species of any kind bloom in time for the annual celebration of Earth Day. The daffodils usually are gone by then and some tulips are past their peak, while the Irise reach a peak afterward. There are some native irises in an isolated thicket of World Peace Wetland Prairie. They have not yet bloomed! We may transplant a few to the front for people who don't visit the whole area to see. They were already growing there when the property became a park and they are among the special treasures. The rich, black soil and the native plant roots and seeds that were in the ground before white settlers came to the area in the early 19th century are the items that deserve the most protection on the WPWP.
The reason that extreme means have been avoided in the "restoration" process is that WPWP is a minute sample of functioning wildlife habitat with housing to its north and south. While most of the yards have the rich soil, as does the Pinnacle Foods, Inc., prairie to the west, the 30-acre development site to the north has had 99 percent of its soil replaced by nonorganic red dirt or mixed, clay and silty dirt and will never again support native plants.
Our WPWP sets of photos on the Flickr site are designed to provide a way for people to see what lives on a native prairie at different times of the year without having to compact the soil by walking the land repeatedly. And, by noting the date when a certain flower was in bloom or when box turtles were moving about to find nesting sites, a person can get an idea of when to visit WPWP and have a chance to spot a particular species.

Milkweed growing fast from old roots on rainy morning at World Peace Wetland Prairie

Please click on images to ENLARGE view of spider milkweed (Asclepias viridis) with milkweed bugs on the soon-to-bloom inflorescence in the top photo, another spider milkweed in the second photo and a swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) that will grow another 4 feet tall before blooming. The three dead stems at right in the third photo are last year's swamp milkweed stems from the same root. If you want to read more about these plants and their significance to the continued existence of the monarch butterfly, please use the Latin name in searching. Spider milkweed is also the common name of a very different species as well.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Irises and mushrooms of May on World Peace Wetland Prairie

Please click on images to Enlarge view of mushrooms on World Peace Wetland Prairie on May 6, 2009,

Please click on images to ENLARGE.