Saturday, December 20, 2008

Aubrey Shepherd's focal point for display of Labrador retrievers, natural-resource conservation, English language word use, outdoor sports, recreational sports and athletics

First printed in
The Morning News
of Northwest Arkansas

Aubrey's Notebook:
Old Duck Hunts Still Best
Shivering so hard his teeth chattered, the sub-teen boy kept his face down, his cold hands on the barrel of the shotgun that was almost as tall as he was and hoped his father's persistent calling would bring the small group of mallards down in front of the willow-covered blind. He and his father never had top-quality hunting clothes in those days.

In fact, the state of the art in hunting clothes wasn't especially high at the time. So being cold was an accepted part of duck hunting. His father always kept a small charcoal fire going in a big metal bucket inside the blind, but it was good only when one of the hunters took a break from watching for ducks to appear above the ring of cypress trees that hid the horizon on the northwest Louisiana lake.

Inside, the blind was cozy. Made of wood with a tar-paper roof and a canvas curtain between the sitting area and the shooting porch on the front, the blind was built high above the water, allowing part of the boat the hunters used to reach the blind to slide underneath. A brush-covered tin roof sloped back from the blind to hide the boat and limit the amount of rain that entered it while the hunters were in the blind.

The boat, the blind, the clothing, the 100 or so decoys anchored in 4 feet of water in front of the blind, the guns and the shells ‹ all of theequipment was the best the man could provide, given the fact that his wife wasn't interested in hunting, didn't like to cook or eat ducks and questioned every expenditure the man made for outdoor sports.

All of it was good. All of it would be acceptable to most duck hunters today, except the paper-bodied shells. Ammunition for shotguns had to be protected from moisture or shells would swell and hang up the guns after the first shot. That happened often enough that smart hunters kept their shells in metal containers that were easy to seal. Later, they used coffee cans with handy plastic replacement tops or sealed their extra shells in plastic freezer bags and put them in their coat pockets. But, in the 1940s, such cheap, convenient items weren't available. Shells got wet. Serious hunters also kept a stick trimmed off to the right size to ram down the barrel of a gun and force a lodged shell out of a gun's chamber. Usually, of course, the malfunction occurred when ducks were still in range.

That's why learning to make the first shot count was extremely important. There seldom were as many ducks on the lake as there were duck hunters. In fact, there were more blinds than ducks most days. Blinds were required by law to be 500 feet apart. A person who figured out a good spot to locate a blind and had success there quickly was surrounded. Others would build blinds 500 feet away, roughly in a circle around the prime spot.

This was the pattern all over the big lake, created a couple of decades earlier as a water supply for Shreveport. Less attractive blind sites might not be crowded by other blinds, but the only truly isolated blinds were the few placed far out in the open lake, where deep water had long before drowned all the timber. Such locations seldom attracted mallards, regardless of the number of decoys around them, the thoroughness of the brushing done on them or the quality of the calling from inside. They were "blackjack" blinds, where diving ducks such as ringnecks and scaup were the main targets.

When the hundred or more blinds in the shallow, cypress-studded parts of the lake were full of hunters on weekends, the open-water blinds could be the most productive places on the lake. Ducks that quickly became cautious when a barrage of calling sounded through the woods were likely to decoy readily to a big spread in open water, especially on nearly windless days, when decoys in the woods floated like the wooden chunks they were and open-water decoys seemed lively in even the lightest of breezes. Wind, however, was the factor that kept most hunters from bothering to build open-water blinds, even though sites on the lake could be claimed for a $10, one-time fee. The small, flat-bottom boats used in those days had low sides. Most were 12 feet long with a pointed bow and no decking to keep out heavy seas.

The boy and his father used such a boat until 1953, when they got a 14-foot Skeeter boat. No, not the popular bass boats bearing that name today. The original Skeeter was so named because it was a lean, low, light plywood boat with sides in the kayak style, capable of skimming over still water at high speeds with a 5-, 10- or 16-horsepower engine. Few outboard engines were larger in those days. Such boats could handle fairly large waves safely. But those at-the-time prestigious fishing boats weren't made to handle the storms that could arise on such a lake in winter. And life jackets were rare. Most hunters had a Kapok-filled cushion or two and could have survived the capsizing of their boats only if rescued quickly. The boy shook more when ducks were near. He shook the same way when ducks approached even when he was 20 and 30 years old. Somewhere along the line, after he had mastered the sport and taken enough limits to know he was an accomplished duck hunter, the shaking stopped. His clothes were better. He learned to wear insulated leather boots even when hunting ducks from a boat. Finally, he learned to wear wool sweaters under his cotton or nylon coats. In the 1970s, he got his first pair of neoprene waders and camouflaged stocking caps with openings for his face. He could take the cold without shaking and he could watch ducks approaching without fear that he might fail to call them close enough for a shot. His shells were plastic-bodied and less susceptible to water damage and almost never swelled in a gun, although they could hang up!

He didn't shake any more, but he still loved to hunt ducks. He knew many ways to hunt successfully, had hunted ducks in so many different types of habitat that he not only had a plan in mind as soon as he saw a field or stream or lake or flooded forest but also could tell a credible story of past success in some similar spot. He knew the lack of shivering meant he had lost something he had enjoyed about those early hunts with his father. But he couldn't say he missed the shivering itself. Besides, as he grew older, he was likely to shiver in his living room, unless he turned up the heat or put on some of his hunting clothes. The main thing he missed were the days in the blind with his father, and the smell of dried willow leaves, charcoal burning in a bucket and strong dark-roast coffee from a thermos.

[Click here to email Aubrey]
Aubrey James Shepherd
Fayetteville, AR © 2003, 2004, 2005

Site design by Lauren Hawkins' LDHdesign

Decade-old story of duck hunting south of Stuttgart near Lodge Corner

Aubrey Shepherd's focal point for display of Labrador retrievers, natural-resource conservation, English language word use, outdoor sports, recreational sports and athletics

First printed 1/16/98 in
The Morning News
of Northwest Arkansas
Decade-old duck-hunting story from Stuttgart trip

Aubrey's Notebook:
El Nino duck season frustrating
to some but not a washout
STUTTGART – Mallards and wood ducks came sailing into Wayne Hampton's favorite flooded timber 30 minutes before sunrise. Dr. Ed Green of Baton Rouge, La., Bounty Grant's Aubunique Egg and I hadn't been there in five years; so we thought the action was wonderful.

Green and I knocked down three mallards and a woodie within 15 minutes after legal shooting time arrived in the Arkansas County bottomland a few miles south of Lodge's Corner.

Egg – a 75-pound, 7-year-old Labrador retriever who got his nickname when I first saw him at Joan Koty's Bounty Grant Farm near Beebe when he was only four weeks old and looked like a big chocolate Easter egg – retrieved happily.

My duck season was a success because of that few minutes. Missing five years of duck seasons – for three previous decades I had seldom missed five days of any duck season – made me easily pleased, I suppose. We spent most of the rest of that morning in a duck blind not far away, in one of Wayne's favorite openings in the timber. The blind wasn't there five years ago. Hampton had told us that he had allowed Henry Gray, retired former director of the Arkansas Highway Commission, to build the blind there a few years back; and, despite wearing Neoprene waders, I was as anxious as Egg to stand out of the water as much as possible. We put out eight decoys and got a few bunches of mallards in, carefully picking our shots to add three more mallard drakes and finally a single shoveler to our bag for the morning.

Then we headed to Hampton's house in Stuttgart, where his wife, Virginia, had lunch ready and duck-hunting stories filled the air. Hampton showed us a news story about congressmen from Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana calling on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to extend the season a week. And no doubt the hunting has been relatively poor in these Deep-South states. El Nino is the reason for the poor season, many people believe. Hampton's friends in the Dakotas told him the weather hadn't been cold enough to freeze up the northern water and force the ducks to head south as expected by January.

Hampton explained that hunting had been fine early in the season but that ducks that arrived early had become wise to hunters' tricks and no longer decoyed readily. Hampton said that the extremely long season exhausted him – at age 79 – and that he hadn't hunted since New Year's Day, explaining why ducks were not extremely wary in his special spot. Hampton, Green and I agreed that extending duck season might get congressmen some votes from frustrated hunters but that in the long term no good could come from the proposed extension.

Remember, Hampton and his son Rick own some 4,000 acres of Grand Prairie wetland. Their main crop is rice, attracting ducks and geese in uncountable numbers. People such as Jerry Jones, owner of the Dallas Cowboys, and the governors of both Arkansas and Oklahoma are among the many who choose to hunt with the Hamptons. The Hamptons manage the land for the benefit of waterfowl as well as deer, squirrels and other wildlife.

Wayne Hampton had hunted practically every day of the first two-thirds of the season. Green and I had hunted one day in 1998 and none in 1997. But there is no way to determine which of us loves ducks or duck hunting the most. I can't imagine either of them or anyone else loves ducks or duck hunting more than I.

But that brings out the pivotal question in the effort to extend the hunting season. Who really cares about the ducks? As much as the three of us love hunting ducks, we love the ducks more. I started hunting ducks with my father in 1948. No single activity, not even baseball, has held my imagination more since then.

The existence of healthy waterfowl and the habitat they need to continue to exist, whether hunted or not, is an extremely important aspect of life to me. The recent nesting success of waterfowl on the northern prairies has increased waterfowl numbers to a level I never saw during my childhood.

Limits are extremely generous and the 1997-98 season was exceptionally. El Nino may have saved some duck's lives by letting them stay in the northern states long after those states' seasons ended. That can only help insure the success of future seasons. Let's be grateful.

[Click here to email Aubrey]
Aubrey James Shepherd
Fayetteville, AR © 2003, 2004, 2005

Site design by Lauren Hawkins' LDHdesign

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Audubon Society to meet at 6 p.m. today at Fayetteville, Arkansas, public library

Northwest Arkansas Audubon Society (NWAAS) will have an important
meeting Dec 17, 6-7:45, in the Williard & Pat Walker meeting room of
the Fayetteville Public Library. Because of the short time available,
please come a little early. The only business of this meeting will be
whether or not NWAAS will continue to function. I urge anyone with an
interest in the outcome -- whether or not you are currently an Audubon
member -- to come. If you think NWAAS should dissolve, your voice will
be welcome. If you wish to see NWAAS continue into the future, your
voice will also be welcome.
Joe Neal

Saturday, the Highlands chapter of the Ozark Society will bushwhack into Dismal Hollow in Newton County, visiting an abundance of waterfalls, bluffs and deep gorges. Although the distance is less than 5 miles, the route is rated difficult because of steep slopes.
Participants are to meet at 8 a.m. at FirstCare Medical in Fayetteville or at 9:30 a.m. at the country store in Deer.
For details, call Bob Cross at (479) 587-8757.
On Sunday, the group will explore the trails at Pea Ridge National Military Park. The trail is nine miles long and is rated easy. Participants are asked to meet at 9 a.m. at Root Elementary School in Fayetteville or at 10 a.m. at the park's visitors center in Pea Ridge. E-mail martykerns@juno. com for details.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Mallard drake swimming after two hens on December 6, 2008

Please click on image to ENLARGE photo of mallard drake swimming after two hens on December 6, 2008

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Northwest Arkansas Times reports that Coody breaks tie to approve Southpass sewer cost share

Balanced budget : Aldermen pass budget that leaves reserves untouched
BY DUSTIN TRACY Northwest Arkansas Times
Posted on Wednesday, December 3, 2008
2009 budget balanced Coody votes for Southpass

In October, Fayetteville Mayor Dan Coody presented the City Council with a proposed 2009 budget that involved dipping into the city’s reserve funds to the tune of $ 535, 000.
Two months and three budget meetings later, on Tuesday night, the council voted unanimously to pass a budget that didn’t require reserve money to have a balanced general fund.
“This year it was a little tamer than last year, but I think then we did a little more venting, which paved the way for calmer discussions this year,” Ward 2 Alderman Kyle Cook said.
The council started hacking away at the original proposed budget by trimming $50, 000 marked for speed tables at its first budget meeting in November. Later on, staff found $59, 000 in unallocated capital-improvement budget funds, and the council saved $10, 000 by cutting proposed Dickson Street kiosks. The city also found out its workers' compensation bill was $ 100, 000 less than expected.
Finally, the council decided to cut its road-overlay program by about $300, 000 to make up the difference, which meant the city would be able to pave only about eight miles of street instead of 11 to 12 miles. But, on Monday, City Engineer Ron Petrie said that there was a $ 249, 000 surplus in the city’s bridge-construction fund, which was recently discovered after state bids came in lower than expected. Petrie proposed using that money to help balance the budget and taking only about $50, 000 out of the overlay program. The council agreed Tuesday night.
Paul Becker, director of finance for the city, said that the city would take all the cuts it made from the capital improvement budget and make a one-time transfer of $ 417, 900 to the city’s general fund budget, which would balance it.
The last thought for the 2009 budget came from Ward 4 Alderman Lioneld Jordan, who is also the mayor-elect. He asked Becker if the council could revisit the possibility of using any excess money in 2008, if the city finishes 2008 in the black, for a cost-of-living adjustment for city employees. Becker said he wouldn’t know the end results of the 2008 budget until April of 2009, after the city’s first financial quarter of 2009 ends.
The council decided to send a $2. 15 million cost share with developer Tracy Hoskins to reroute Arkansas 112 back to the street committee. The cost share would partner the city with Hoskins to reroute Arkansas 112 just south of Sam’s Club diagonally northwest and reconnect it at Howard Nickel Road. Hoskins would then build his proposed mixed-use development, Park West, in the area.
The $2. 15 million would pay for only a quarter of the whole road. Petrie said that, if the contract passed, the road would essentially end in the middle of Park West. The contract guarantees that Hoskins will give the city the right of way to finish the road. City Attorney Kit Williams said the contract will be void and the money will be refunded to the city if Hoskins has not begun construction of Park West by November of 2010. Jordan, chairman of the street committee, said he felt more comfortable taking the issue back to the committee because the committee was given the cost for the whole reroute and not the $2. 15 million cost for a quarter of the construction. “We agreed we liked the realignment but we wanted to know what the cost was going to be, but we were never presented that until the past couple of weeks,” he said. There were some protesters and supporters who spoke about the development.
Aubrey Shepherd asked the council to turn the agreement down to protect the wetland prairie area the road and development is proposed to be built over. “If there’s a road built across that wetland prairie it should be on stilts, and we shouldn’t be doing it to encourage development,” Shepherd said.
Steve Rust, director of the Fayetteville Economic Development Council, asked aldermen to pass the agreement and encourage the development. He read part of a letter from an individual Rust said represented a prestigious hotel chain; Rust would not disclose which chain. The section of the letter Rust read stated that the hotel chain was interested in building a hotel in the area near Sam’s Club but it would not be interested if the road wasn’t redirected or the Park West development was not built.
Ward 4 Alderman Shirley Lucas expressed some concern about spending so much money to build half a road when there’s no guarantee more development will come to the city.
“What’s the phrase? ‘If we build it, they will come.’ We don’t even know if they’re going to come or not, and we’re spending a lot of money,” Lucas said.
The council also barely passed the tail end of the SouthPass development. Coody broke a 4-4 tie that entered the city into a $ 1. 4 million sewer infrastructure cost share for the 900-acre mixed-use development proposed for the south side of town.
“If this is for the contract, I don’t get a choice on how to vote because I don’t want to see the city get tied up in a lawsuit,” Coody said before he cast the final “yes” vote.
He was referring to the fact that the city (HE) had already signed a contract with developers John Nock and Richard Alexander for the SouthPass agreement and the council was advised at its Nov. 6 meeting by Williams that, if they failed to pass the development, the city could be subject to legal ramifications.
Jordan, Lucas, Ward 2 Alderman Nancy Allen and Ward 3 Alderman Bobby Ferrell voted against the cost share.
Copyright © 2001-2008 Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Inc. All rights reserved. Contact:

The Morning News reports that Geesepeace group offers to scam some money from Bella Vistans

Geesepeace knows what it is talking about. But why the big prices? Just eat the eggs when you find the nests and save money on breakfast. Kill a goose and cook it if you have a license during the season. The plan sounds as though it might work. But why spend thousands of dollars on a border collie?" Get one cheap from the pound, borrow one or just use a neighbor's Labrador retriever. Heck, even an Irish setter probably can do the job. They love to swim and chase big birds and never run out of energy.
What happened to the plan to invite people in other rural areas to adopt the geese? Volunteer conservationists are great. But professional conservationists sometimes get greedy. This ain't rocket science! And what is so bad about a golfer getting a little something messy on his cleats. Are they all just weak-kneed pansies or what? Is golf more important than wildlife?

The Morning News
Local News for Northwest Arkansas

Organization Delivers Bella Vista Goose Plan
By Anna Fry
A goose population control program suggested by GeesePeace would cost the Bella Vista Property Owners Association $10,860 initially, then less than $5,000 annually, according to a report released Tuesday.
GeesePeace, a Virginia-based nonprofit group, promotes nonlethal methods for controlling Canada geese. The Bella Vista Property Owners Association invited GeesePeace representatives to visit after residents complained about a board decision to use a federal permit to shoot 100 geese. The board revisited the issue and decided to pursue different methods.
The village has an estimated goose population of 1,000. Many say geese droppings foul the community's lakes, parks and golf courses.
GeesePeace's suggestions change from community to community, but the formula is similar and uses the same techniques, Director David Feld said.
GeesePeace suggests the association oil eggs in April. That means coating eggs with corn oil to seal pores so oxygen can't get in and biological processes stop. That's only done to eggs in which the embryos haven't developed lungs. Treated nests are taken down.
The association should do intensive "site aversion" between mid-May and early July, according to the report. Site aversion means making areas inhospitable to geese. Bella Vista could use one border collie to chase geese but a second dog would be helpful in the first year, the report states. The border collie should flush the geese from parks and golf courses during the first week of May. Handlers should transport the collie by boat to flush geese from lakefront properties and the lakes.
The intention is to make geese feel the area isn't safe so they'll move elsewhere. The collies don't need to flush all lakes every day, but the collie should return on a random cycle.
A border collie would cost $4,500 and can live with a host family, who would receive a monthly stipend of $110, the report states.
GeesePeace also suggests the association buy handheld lasers for $80 a piece. Workers can point the lasers around geese, who will fly away, Feld said. Border collies are much more effective, but the lasers are quiet, he said.
Site aversion stops between early July and mid-August because the geese can't fly when they are molting. After molt, site aversion with the border collie starts again and continues until geese begin looking for nesting sites, in February, Feld said.
The report gives a brief history of the nation's problem with resident Canada geese. In the first half of the 20th century, they were captured and had their wings clipped or legs weighted so they could be used as live decoys that drew other geese to bodies of water. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and some state agencies started a repopulation program and required the release of captive geese in the early 1960s because hunting threatened the population with extinction, the report says.
The descendants of captive geese and those born from the repopulation program don't migrate to Canada because geese nest in the area of their birth.
The association doesn't have money set aside in next year's draft budget for goose population control, Chairwoman Roberta Dale said. The board was waiting for GeesePeace's report to make a decision about implementation and could make one at a quarterly budget review next year after consulting with the Lakes Committee, she said.

Fast Fact

Canada Geese
If Canada geese can find open water when the temperature is 10 degrees Fahrenheit, they'll stay warm enough because they have down on their stomachs and chests that insulates them.
Source: GeesePeace Report

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Corps of Engineers ignores needs of migrating waterfowl

Once again, the U.S. Corps of Engineers is planning to open the gates to allow water to drain from Beaver Lake just as the migration of waterfowl from the north occurs.
The conflict among the official purposes of the reservoir and the needs of fish and wildlife often becomes obvious. I wrote about this problem as far back as the early 1970s. The cold front spitting snow on northwest Arkansas today reminds us that duck season is here and that only a few days of good hunting on Beaver Lake are likely before the habitat becomes unattractive for waterfowl to pause to feed. Not many people actually hunt ducks on Beaver, of course, but a lot of waterfowl use the lake when conditions are right and it can be helpful to the birds in their migration.
Spawning fish need high water up in the brush and grass along the shoreline in spring and early fall. Waterfowl need high water up in the brush and grass and live trees along the shoreline in fall and winter. Rain, of course, is unpredictable. The power companies need plenty of water during times when the need for electricity is high. Recreational boaters and such probably want a stable water level that allows them never to have to slow down for logs or hilltops in the White River valley to be too near the surface for safety.
Flood-control problems would require having the lake maintained at as low a level as possible at all times.
Boat-dock owners want the lake perfectly stable.
For fish and wildlife, the water level needs to be lowered during the growing season to keep vegetation alive. Shoreline trees and brush survive winter, spring flooding but die during years when high-water lasts through the growing season.
These and some related problems exist everywhere a dam stands across a river.
And cities continue to grow and demand that more rivers and creeks be dammed to provide water.
Arkansas is fortunate that a few streams such as the Buffalo River have been protected from dams. If population growth doesn't stop, the push to destroy the most productive farm land and wildlife acreage will continue.

Corps ready at last to pull the plug on bulging Beaver Lake
Posted on Sunday, November 30, 2008

GARFIELD — Over the next two weeks, the water level of Beaver Lake is projected to drop 5 feet, and Wayne Launderville will spend those days easing 40 boat docks out farther into the lake to make sure they don’t become grounded.
Launderville normally checks the docks weekly, but the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers plans to lower the lake to 1, 120 feet by Dec. 13. Such a rapid drop could leave docks on dry ground if they aren’t monitored daily and moved often.
“You have to watch it every day, sometimes twice a day,” said Don Andreasen, owner of Beaver Fever Striper Guide Service in Garfield. “If your dock’s on dry ground, it’s a lot of work to get it back in the water. You’d have to wait until the water comes back up. They ain’t light.”
Boats moored to the docks also can become grounded when the lake level drops.
On Monday, the Corps of Engineers will begin releasing additional water through the turbines at Beaver Dam. The lake has been higher than usual since it was swollen by spring rains. The Corps said conditions at Table Rock and Bull Shoals lakes, which are downstream from Beaver Lake on the White River water system, now can allow the floodwaters being stored in Beaver Lake to be released.
At this time last year, the water level at Beaver Lake was 1, 113 feet — 12 feet lower than its current level of about 1, 125. On April 1, the lake crested at 1, 130 feet.
Water will be released 18 hours a day beginning Monday, according to the Corps. If heavy rains fall during the next two weeks, the release of water could be extended. From about Dec. 10-13, the release will be cut back to 12 hours a day until the lake reaches the top of the conservation pool, which is 1, 120. 4 feet.
Bob and Joyce Bauer, owners of Lost Bridge Marina, said it takes eight hours to push the eight docks at the marina out farther into the lake, where they’ll be safe when the lake level drops. During a prolonged drop in the lake level, like the one scheduled for early December, Bob Bauer said he will move each dock a few feet every other day.
“We just have to keep moving them out,” Joyce Bauer said. “It can be an all-day job. You have to continuously do a little bit at a time.”
The large commercial docks at Lost Bridge Marina have eight to 16 winches per dock so they can be cranked out farther into the lake, then retrieved when the lake level rises. The marina has five docks that are 300 feet long each. About 200 boats can be stored at Lost Bridge Marina. Commercial-dock owners are used to the routine of moving them in and out.
“Private-dock owners need to make sure they’re out as far as they can go so they don’t end up on the ground,” Bob Bauer said.
Launderville said he’s one of several people who works moving docks along Beaver Lake.
“This is my main job,” he said. “I take care of docks.”
Originally from Minneapolis-St. Paul, Launderville moved to Rogers in 1999. His services allow dock owners to rest without having to worry about fluctuations in the level of Beaver Lake. Because the Ozark hills allow much rainwater to drain into the lake, a 1-inch rain can raise the level by a foot, Launderville said.
Launderville said a few of his clients live in Northwest Arkansas and just don’t want the hassle of constantly moving their docks, but 95 percent of them live outside the area, including one in Alaska. In his spare time, Launderville also helped Lost Bridge Village launch a recycling business.
“I’ve never advertised,” he said. “I’ve got too many [docks to maintain ]. I can’t advertise.”
Launderville said he tries to move the docks a small distance at a time — about 3 feet — to avoid big problems later on. Some private docks have cranks and winches, but many require him to pry them out of the mud with a board and physically push them farther into the lake. Launderville makes his rounds by boat to check on the docks.
“You’ve got to go on calm days,” he said while checking a double-slip dock at Horn Cove. “You’ve got to pick your time. You can’t go out when there are whitecaps out here.”
Andreasen said that the lake level began dropping slightly a few days before Thanksgiving and that he’s been pushing his dock out about a foot a day since about Tuesday.
“Always make sure your electrical line has enough slack when you push your dock out,” he said.
Copyright © 2001-2008 Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Inc. All rights reserved. Contact:

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Polls close at 7:30 p.m. Vote for Lioneld Jordan for mayor

Please click on image to Enlarge photo of woman with her grandson holding signs at South School and Martin Luther King Boulevard, formerly Sixth Street.
Time is short to vote. Don't miss the chance to help elect an honest, steadfast mayor with a heart big enough to value everyone.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Aubrey Shepherd supports Lioneld Jordan in the Nov. 20, 2008, Fayetteville Free Weekly

Lioneld Jordan offers fair and open government

In the general election, Lioneld Jordan got votes from people from all political parties. Independence of thought and freedom from prejudice are two important qualities people admire about Lioneld Jordan.

Some said they follow city-government meetings on Government Channel and respect Lioneld for his work in eight years of City Council, committee and ward meetings.

Several said his work for neighborhoods made them trust him more than any other official.

Others said they met Lioneld years ago and respected his integrity in private life. Some said they had worked with him and recognized his consistently good judgment and kindness as he rose to a supervisory management position.

Some city workers have said privately that after years of interaction with Lioneld they felt more comfortable working with him than with any other elected official.

People who care about the fertile soil, clean air and water, trees, tall-grass prairie, wildlife, streams and all things living in Fayetteville said they voted for Lionel because of his consistent support of trails and parks and especially his voting to protect Wilson Spring and to create World Peace Wetland Prairie.

Some people said they voted for Jordan because of his support of well-planned developments and because he invites developers to his Ward Four meetings to interact with constituents BEFORE developers commit to projects with flaws easily recognized by people who live near the projects.

Most important is that many long-time Fayetteville residents recognize that Lioneld is dedicated to improving life for everyone in our city, regardless of economic status. He is a working man who reads constantly, listens to everyone and learns every day.

Early voting begins November 18 at the Washington County Courthouse. The county Website lists polling places for runoff election day, November 25.

Please vote to elect Lioneld Jordan mayor of Fayetteville.

Aubrey James Shepherd

Fayetteville, Arkansas

Marsha Melnichak's passing leaves an empty spot in the hearts of Fayetteville residents

Please click on image to ENLARGE photo of Marsha Melnichak (right) and friends visiting the Fayetteville Farmer's Market on October 25, 2008.

Marsha Melnichak died in her sleep Thursday night November 20, 2008, or early this morning, at Washington Regional Hospital in Fayetteville, Arkansas, I was told.
Having visited her Wednesday night at the hospital, I knew her time was short. During the meeting of the Telecommunication Board on Tuesday night, several people spoke off camera of their sadness that she would likely never again attend such meetings and report on them with her clear sense of reality and highly developed ability to sort through the chaff and find the significant points of such city meetings. She earned universal respect from city workers, public officials and area residents who read her news stories.
Few people reach Marsha's high level of competence and integrity in reporting the news.
She covered the beginning of the mayoral campaign well, and it was clear in brief conversations in the weeks since she found herself unable to work that one of her concerns was not being able to continue her work and be on hand next Tuesday to report on the final chapter.
Maybe she realized that she would not be with us by this time. Most of us did not.
Her absence should be a reminder that, whatever goals we set, pursuing them with honesty, good humor and grace is as important as the result.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Steve Clark's endorsement of Lioneld Jordan on Google video

Please click the "play" arrow to view video of Steve Clark endorsing Lioneld Jordan.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Steve Clark endorses Lioneld Jordan for mayor of Fayetteville, Arkansas

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette endorses Lioneld Jordan in the runoff for mayor of Fayetteville, Arkansas

EDITORIALS : Still for Lioneld Jordan
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Northwest Edition
Posted on Wednesday, November 19, 2008

conscientious alderman, is in a run-off for
mayor of Fayetteville. He’s trying to unseat Dan Coody, the two-term incumbent who’s seeking a third term. Mr. Jordan was our choice in the general election earlier this month. He remains our choice in Tuesday’s run-off.
Lioneld Jordan has much to recommend him. In his eight years as alderman, he’s never missed a city council meeting. He’s held monthly meetings in his ward to stay in touch with those who elected him to the city council. Known for his open approach, he listens to all. Even when he disagrees, he’s straightforward enough to explain why. He takes the time to master the difficult issues that come before a city council, and he’s been willing to admit he was wrong when he’s decided to change his mind.
He’s in a tough runoff. His opponent, Mayor Coody, has been a fixture in Fayetteville politics for many years, long predating his first election as mayor in 2000. And the mayor has got lots of supporters to show for it. But his opponent in this runoff has put together a notable coalition in his campaign to become Fayetteville’s next mayor. Mr. Jordan has won the endorsements of Fayetteville’s police officers and firefighters, as well as that of the Sierra Club and the local Green Party. In addition, three other candidates for mayor in the general election have now offered their support to him.
Mayor Coody has had his share of difficulties over the years. He bears ultimate responsibility for the $ 60-million-plus cost overrun for the expansion of the city’s wastewater system. The project came in three years late and had to be rescued with an increase in the city sales tax. He pushed hard for putting up a big hotelplus-condo at the site of the old Mountain Inn. But it has yet to materialize. Instead, the city has gotten a parking lot on the site.
The mayor has also disappointed with his heavy-handed take-over of the city’s Government Channel, which resulted in the cancellation of its public opinion forums. Those forums had been a popular way to provide non-partisan information about issues of interest to anyone who lives in Fayetteville.
Nobody expects Lioneld Jordan to do everything right if he’s elected mayor. But the city can be confident he’ll approach city government with a willingness to hear all sides and take all opinions into account before making the decision he believes is best for Fayetteville. He’s shown commendable openness in his years as an alderman. Based on his record, voters can expect the same from him as mayor. Which is why we’re endorsing him—again.
Copyright © 2001-2008 Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Inc. All rights reserved. Contact:

Monday, November 17, 2008

November 17, 2008, mayoral debate in The Morning News

Please click on image to ENLARGE view of laptop view of video being recorded during the November 17, 2008, debate between Dan Coody and Lioneld Jordan sponsored by the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce at the UA Continuing Education Center.ñ

The Morning News
Local News for Northwest Arkansas

Mayoral Candidates Trade Quips
By Skip Descant
FAYETTEVILLE -- If elected, Lioneld Jordan aims to have an economic development plan within 90 days of taking office as Fayetteville's next mayor.
"After eight years we still do not have an economic development plan for this city. And that needs to change," Jordan told a nearly packed auditorium Monday night during a mayoral debate between Jordan -- a council member -- and incumbent Mayor Dan Coody. The debate was sponsored by the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce.
The discussion followed eight topics as diverse as growing collegiality on the council to how to mange building impact fees to how to "Keep Fayetteville Funky."
Coody, in his own calm style, spent much of his time explaining various aspects of the last eight years and the vision he holds for the future.
"We've worked to rebuild infrastructure. We're rebuilding the very basics on what you can build economic development," Coody said.
Jordan, who at times sliced the air with his hand to get his point across, reiterated many past segments of his stump speech, such as growing job training and being a better manager of the public's money.
"I don't plan on bringing a millage increase in 2009," Jordan said. "If I'm elected mayor of this city, we will have a balanced budget."
Coody also did not propose a millage increase, but his proposed budget dips into the city's reserve funds.
But when the evening's final question came up -- how to fund cost of living raises for city staff -- Jordan, a union member, reiterated that he does not plan to unionize the city work force.
"If I wanted to unionize this city, I've had eight years, and I never did it," he told the room flatly.
The issue was raised at the last debate and Coody stoked that fire a little further when he recalled a prior conversation he says he'd had with Jordan.
"He (Jordan) did say that if he had the chance, that he would unionize this city so fast it would make my head spin," Coody said.
Jordan denied the accusation, adding that if he did say something to that effect, it was an off-the-cuff joke.
"Let me tell you, I didn't come to unionize this city," Jordan said, and added, any such move would require City Council approval.
But the two men also quipped back and forth around economic development, even though both want to grow green-tech jobs. But Jordan wants to see less dragging of feet and fewer "outside consultants" brought in.
"I'm ready to hear from the business community of this city," Jordan said, subtly hinting at one the main themes of his campaign -- communication.
"And set down and hammer out an economic plan that will protect the businesses that we have and move this city forward," he added. Though Jordan did not offer any specifics to what that plan might include.
"This city needs to move forward economically, and we have not had a plan in eight years," Jordan continued.
"Sounds easy doesn't it?" said Coody, who then went on to call this approach "unrealistic."
"It is not 'unrealistic,'" Jordan said. "It takes attitude."
Coody then embarked on a his own dossier of his work with the Fayetteville Economic Development Council and the recent economic development strategy planning session the city held jointly with the university by bringing in Eve Klein and Associates, an economic development consulting firm.
And it would be almost impossible in this election to not touch on the Westside Wastewater Treatment Plant, which upon completion, was three years behind schedule and ended up costing some $60 million more than planned. Coody has half-heartedly taken the blame for the debacle, but adds that part of the problem was his office not having all the information regarding how wrongly the project was heading.
"If there's going to be a project going out of whack, I'm going to know about it and the people will know about it," Jordan said. "The buck always stops at the mayor's office, and when I'm mayor, the buck will stop with me."
"The reason the buck stops with me, is because everybody gets to pass it," Coody said.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Letters supporting Lioneld Jordan for mayor on November 16, 2008

Letters to the editor
Northwest Arkansas Times
Posted on Sunday, November 16, 2008

Jordan can be trusted

Early voting for the mayoral runoff election begins on Nov. 18, and Election Day is Nov. 25. I urge you to get out and vote and, when you do, to vote for Lioneld Jordan. Here are three of the many reasons why I will be voting for Lioneld: 1. We need a mayor who believes in balancing the city budget and living within our city income. Last year, it fell to Vice Mayor Jordan to lead the City Council through this difficult task while the mayor was off in Europe doing other things. This year, Jordan joined the Council in passing a resolution directing the mayor to submit a balanced budget, which the mayor refused to do. Lioneld will not need that kind of direction. 2. We need a mayor who believes in closely monitoring large multi-million dollar city projects right from the beginning, not after they have fallen years behind schedule and are running millions of dollars over budget. Contrast the initial mismanagement of the sewer and trails projects by the Streets Committee under Lioneld Jordan’s chairmanship. 3. We need a mayor who not only believes in regular two-way communication with the people, but actually practices it. Contrast Lioneld’s 110 face-to-face Ward 4 and other meetings with the number of such appearances by our mayor over the past eight years. Again, please get out and vote during this runoff, and when you do please remember: Lioneld Jordan — Experience You Can Trust !
William A. Moeller

Incumbent’s campaign disappoints

The Sunday, Nov. 9, Northwest Arkansas Times illustrates strongly why Lioneld Jordan should be Fayetteville’s next mayor. In the article about the runoff race, incumbent Mayor Coody disappoints, but hardly surprises me, by resorting to the politics of fear to down Mr. Jordan. Coody uses the buzzwords “ union, ” the Wal-Mart bogeyman, and “ radical, ” which actually translates as from the roots, to frighten people worried about the city budget. Check the record. Mr. Jordan has certainly had a grassroots campaign, but he has never proposed unionizing city employees. It is Coody who defied the elected city council’s directive to present a balanced budget. Dr. Nick Brown, in a letter the same day, eloquently defines “ sustainability, ” one of Coody’s favorite terms, as including social justice. I believe that if the mayor treats city employees well, they will not need to unionize; the fact that two of the largest, most visible and most depended-upon groups of city employees, namely our firefighters and police, support Lioneld Jordan speaks volumes. As mayor, Lioneld will not throw away money on fancy consultants, when we have plenty of expertise here in town. How difficult can it be for the mayor to put the UAF chancellor on speed-dial ? Lioneld will not direct the city attorney to fight a private howeowner over a sewage mishap, when simply fixing the problem would cost less than 10 percent of the eventual legal bills and settlement. Lioneld has learned that illconceived real estate dealing, such as the Mountain Inn / TIF fiasco, the Wilson Springs purchase, and the Tyson Building saga, are budget drains and not economic salvations. Join with me to return our city to the citizens. Vote for Lioneld Jordan Nov. 25.
Rick Belt

Regarding the runoff

Although two of Lioneld Jordan’s former mayoral opponents (Eilers, Fire Cat ) have now endorsed Jordan, his runoff opponent informs us that the “ dynamic of the campaign will change as mayoral forums allow more time for two candidates to answer questions than was possible with six. ” (Northwest Arkansas Times, Nov. 6 ) Jordan’s opponent asserts that the more “ in-depth ” answers provided in debates will allow voters to “ delve more deeply into issues and public records and history of leadership ” However, those of us who’ve long appreciated Lioneld Jordan’s leadership in Ward 4 and as vice mayor are sure that Lioneld has already outlined the best long-term approaches for Fayetteville’s future development. His mayoral platform and track record build on proven experience, hard work and accountability, rather than rhetoric. And his strong backing and endorsements by Fayetteville’s police and firemen and the Sierra Club, clearly affirm his competence and leadership skill, as well as his working knowledge of how the city operates. Thus we can agree that debates between the two candidates will allow Fayetteville voters to delve into the deeper needs of our community and to judge the two candidates’ respective track records over the past eight years. And we’re certain that voters will agree with us — and his former opponents — that Lioneld Jordan is our best “ in-depth ” candidate to lead the city staff and City Council toward a sustainable, economically-sound future for all of Fayetteville. His honesty and hard work have earned our trust and yours. Please join us in voting for Lioneld Jordan on Nov. 25 — or better yet, vote early, beginning Nov. 18.
Jim Bemis

Copyright © 2001-2008 Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Inc. All rights reserved. Contact:

Friday, November 14, 2008

Lioneld jordan means green business

Please click on image to ENLARGE for reading.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Melissa Terry explains why she supports Lioneld Jordan for mayor of Fayetteville, Arkansas

Why I support Lioneld Jordan

In the 10 years I've know him, Lioneld Jordan has consistently been the kind of leader who lets the facts speak for themselves. When we organized the first Scull Creek Clean Up, Lioneld came and worked with us all day pulling tons of trash out of that creek, whereas others showed up only in time for press opportunities. Additionally, when the question came to the city council about ways we can improve our city's recycling program, Lioneld Jordan is the only elected person who ever came out and did a day's work with our awesome recycling crew to see what really needs to be done to improve our current waste reduction program. Lioneld's the kind of guy whose principles are his politics, rather than the other way around. He can bring diverse points of view to tough issues and not burn bridges along the way, as evidenced by the fact that he enjoys the same supporters today as when he ran for office eight years ago. This consistent support base is because Lioneld Jordan understands how to treat people with the respect of an individual and the professionalism of a leader.

Most importantly, Lioneld's a dad. In few other forums are your powers of diplomacy more tested or more tried. He's brought up four children on a state employee's salary for 26 years, so we know he understands about managing a budget.

As an example of making the most of a limited budget, Lioneld had a third the amount of his primary opposition's campaign budget, yet he still managed to wage a successful campaign. Additionally, he garnered the support of both the Fayetteville Police Department and the Fayetteville Fire Department. These are people we trust with making lifechanging decisions and their endorsements are a decisive call for new leadership. The Sierra Club's endorsement also shows that Lioneld can work with our vibrant conservation community to ensure that Fayetteville's local economy and ecology thrive together.

Lioneld can help lead Fayetteville toward being a training hub for the emerging green collar economy by working with technologies incubating at the Genesis Center and by forming a working partnership with John Brown University's Renewable Energy degree program. Building a bridge between these partnerships and service programs like CityYear, AmeriCorps and VISTA can help our community grow more sustainable - without draining our coffers.

And, most importantly, I support Lioneld Jordan because I like him. What he says to your face is what he says behind your back. When he tells you that he supports your program, cause or concern, he actually does. When he doesn't like your position, he tells you. As a downtown property owner, a transparent city government that stands on principles rather than politics sounds pretty good to me. I encourage you to support Lioneld Jordan.
Melissa Terry / Fayetteville

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Walt Eilers endorses Lioneld Jordan for mayor of Fayetteville, Arkansas

Please click on image to ENLARGE view of Walt Eilers and Lioneld Jordan after Eilers threw his support to Lioneld Jordan in the runoff for mayor of Fayetteville, Arkansas.

Walt Eilers to endorse Lioneld Jordan for mayor at 10 a.m.

Breaking news.....

Former mayoral candidate Walt Eilers will be publicly endorsing Lioneld Jordan at a press conference Saturday morning @ 10:00am at the Urban Table steps (Old Post Office). All are welcome to attend.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Land-preservation tax incentives subject of meeting sponsored by League of Women Voters

League Discusses Using Tax Incentives for Land Preservation

If you’ve wondered about how to set aside land for preservation and do it with economic concerns in mind, then there’s a free program you’ll want to attend. The League of Women Voters of Washington County invites the community to hear presentations on the use of tax incentives for land preservation from 6-7 p.m. on Nov. 19 in the Walker Room of the Fayetteville Public Library. The discussion is part of a statewide League study on this topic. Presenters will be LWVWC member Joyce Hale, Bob Kossieck representing property rights concerns, and University of Arkansas graduate student Dorothy Effa, who will discuss her survey on conservation easements. League members will participate in a consensus exercise following the public program. For more information call 527-2777.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Please vote for Lioneld Jordan for mayor of Fayetteville, Arkansas

Please vote for Lioneld Jordan for mayor

Lioneld Jordan has been my choice for mayor of Fayetteville since the beginning of discussion of the upcoming election more than a year ago.
There is no one in the race who can be expected to do more to protect the environment of our city, the people of our city or make better decisions for the future of our city.
Lioneld was born in Fayetteville. I wasn't. I have never been able to call any other place home even when I worked in Little Rock for a few years. But, if anyone loves Fayetteville more than I do, it is Lioneld.
And no one in public life since I first attended graduate school at the University of Arkansas in 1966 has more consistently earned my respect.
I have found him always willing to listen to the concerns of everyone. The fact that he understands and relates to working people in my Town Branch neighborhood in south Fayetteville has been very important to us in recent years.
He supported our effort to save a parcel of wetland prairie from an intense development as we raised money to make the land a city nature park. The project would have wedged 48 apartments into a beautiful and old single-family neighborhood with no concern for the sensitive environment.
He voted to protect the Wilson Spring property, a much bigger and more unusually delicate ecosystem than almost any place this side of the Buffalo River,
He earned the endorsement of the Sierra Club in part for those votes and for his support of parks and trails and the steep, timbered hillsides of our city.
He has earned the endorsement of the firefighters and police officers of our city. He has earned the endorsement of the union of members of the staff and faculty of the University of Arkansas, where he has worked for decades.
He has earned the respect and endorsement of the local Green Party.
Among people I know, he has strong support among those whose statewide and national votes will be for candidates of both Democratic and Republican parties. His record stands on its own. He is the kind of person that most members of both major parties want to see on their ticket.
And he has been endorsed by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
As a member of the OMNI Center for Peace, Justice and Ecology, I am only one of many who have voted for Lioneld, because he is strong in all the areas of OMNI's concern.
I am among the members of the Carbon Caps Task Force who support Lioneld.
I have friends who support the Nature Conservancy, Ducks Unlimited, the Arkansas Wildlife Federation, Audubon Arkansas, the National Audubon Society, Quail Unlimited and many unaffiliated hunters and fishermen and bird-watchers and nature lovers who have expressed support for Lioneld.
Most important, however, are the working people of Fayetteville who know and respect Lioneld and believe that he will continue to give them a voice in city government, even as he works to create new jobs in the city and housing for low-income residents and to protect the environment while negotiating the best possible development plans as our city continues to grow.
Lioneld respects everyone and shows no prejudice toward anyone. He listens to all and learns and strives to make decisions fair to all. He is indeed the real deal.
Aubrey James Shepherd
1101 South Duncan Avenue
Fayetteville, 72701

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Aubrey James Shepherd's third video supporting Lioneld Jordan for mayor

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette editorial endorses Lioneld Jordan for mayor

For Lioneld Jordan

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Northwest Edition

Posted on Tuesday, October 28, 2008


LIONELD JORDAN has a reputation for working hard. He’s the city alderman in Fayetteville who’s never missed a city council meeting in his nearly eight years in office. Alderman Jordan has brought the same dedication to the monthly meetings he’s held in his ward.
He’s also known for his thorough knowledge of city government, for his ability to understand complicated city business, and his just plain love of his hometown.
One of the candidates Lioneld Jordan is running against is the incumbent, Dan Coody. Mayor Coody is winding up his eighth year as mayor with a mixed record. He’s certainly done some good things for Fayetteville. Like establishing the current system of trails in the city. And he talks up environmental issues, even if he hasn’t always lived up to his own standards.
But the Coody administration has had some notable shortcomings, too. There’s the $ 60-million-plus cost overrun for the expansion of the city’s wastewater system. The project came in three years late and had to be bailed out with an increase in the city sales tax. Then there’s the stalled development the mayor backed on the site of the old Mountain Inn. Instead of a big hotel, the city got a big hole, which is now to become a big parking lot. That’ll be an improvement, but not much of one.
The mayor’s also presided over a takeover of the city’s Government Channel. The biggest result has been an end to its forums, where issues were discussed openly and fairly. A fear of fair and open discussion is not a good sign in a mayor, especially a mayor of a town as freespirited and open to argument as Fayetteville. What a shame.
Mayor Coody, maybe reflecting what he learned in the military, says a city’s chief executive is responsible for what happens during his administration. We agree. The wastewater project, the downtown hole in the ground, the canceling of issue forums... he must take responsibility for all of them along with the city’s accomplishments during his tenure.
As an alderman, Lioneld Jordan hasn’t always been right. But he’s consistently shown a willingness to dig into issues and take every side into account. As his supporters have noticed, when he disagrees with anybody, he tells them why. And his explanations tend to be well thought-out. (It’s hard to imagine him shutting down any public forums. )
His long service on important committees, such as the Street, Water-and-Sewer, and Equipment committees have given him a thorough understanding of how the city works. He does his homework. And he’s served as vice mayor, which would be good experience for the top job.
If it’s time for a change in Fayetteville, and it is, its name is Lioneld Jordan. That’s why we’re endorsing him today.

Copyright © 2001-2008 Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Inc. All rights reserved. Contact:

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Mark Kinion the clear choice for Ward 2 seat on City Council. He has built a resume of actual service to this community.

Mark Kinion
AGE: 51
EDUCATION: University of Arkansas, BS, food science and technology
OCCUPATION: Retired senior executive for GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals
COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: Fayetteville Housing Authority, board of commissioners, past vice-chairperson;
National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials, member;
Partners for Better Housing, board of directors, founding board member;
Fayetteville Council of Neighborhoods, past chairman; Wilson Park Neighborhood Association, past coordinator;
Humane Society of the Ozarks, past president, past finance committee chairman, lifetime member;
Ozark StageWorks, board of directors, financial development chairman; Planned Parenthood of Arkansas/Eastern Oklahoma, advisory board;
University of Arkansas Alumni Association, lifetime member;
United Way of Pulaski County, former vice president of campaigns;
No. 1 issues: Transparent government, open communication, mutual respect and trust.

No citizen should feel disenfranchised from local political activity. All residents should feel they have an avenue to be heard and know their opinion is respected and valued.
I will have regular Ward 2 meetings to let people know relevant information in a timely manner regarding issues facing our city. Additionally, I will encourage open and mutually respectful dialog between the constituency, other members of the City Council, city officials and city administrative divisions.
Trust will be built by promising transparent and measurable actions in regard to economic, environmental and social impact of city projects.
By open dialogue, transparent action, and measurable benchmarks accountability can be established.
This open communication model will be applied to every issue and concern.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Fayetteville police and firefighters urging people to vote for Lioneld Jordan for mayor

Please click on image to ENLARGE Firefighters and Police officers' endorsement of Lioneld Jordan for mayor.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Fayetteville police organization endorses Lioneld Jordan for mayor

Please click on image to ENLARGE for easy reading of the Fayetteville, Arkansas, chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police's endorsement of Lioneld Jordan for mayor.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Firefighters endorse Lioneld Jordan for mayor

Fayetteville Fire Fighters Association endorses Jordan
Northwest Arkansas Times
Posted on Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Fayetteville Fire Fighters Association IAFF Local 2866 has endorsed Lioneld Jordan for mayor of Fayetteville in the Nov. 4 general election.
Other endorsements by the association:
• Don Conner — Ward 1, Position 2
• Mark Kinion — Ward 2, Position 2
• Craig Honchell — Ward 4, Position 2
Copyright © 2001-2008 Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Inc. All rights reserved. Contact:

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Good idea only if using waste material from agriculture and timber production and without decreasing wildlife habitat. Clearing land pollutes air

Summit promotes growing high-energy plants
Posted on Saturday, October 11, 2008
Northwest Arkansas Times Fayetteville’s first ever Sustainability Summit brought more than 300 people to the city’s center to talk about ways organizations can become more environmentally friendly. One way discussed was a switch from conventional diesel fuel to the use of bioenergybased fuel. Jim Wimberly with BioEnergy System LLC in Fayetteville talked about the energy-efficient idea at a small breakout session during the summit. “ Agriculture and energy are so intertwined, ” Wimberly said.
He said the idea is to start promoting the growth of high-energy yielding plants that can be processed and manufactured into a full spectrum of energy projects, including fuel for automobiles.
“ In essence, plants are batteries, ” he said. “ They store energy through photosynthesis. ”
Arkansas provides a large amount of natural resources to make bioenergy manufacturing a reality, Wimberly said, and if the state takes an active interest in the concept, it could cut in half its yearly 1 billion gallons of petroleum used each year.
“ It would take just under a million acres of herbaceous energy crops (crops high in energy ) to displace half of that diesel used, ” he said.
Wimberly said a lot of research is being done on soybeans to create biodiesel, and that it’s a good fuel. However, he said fuel users need to broaden their horizons.
“ We need to quit being worried about planting a future around traditional approaches to biofuel, ” he said.
The state has the forest and farmland to support biofuel operations, which makes it already an attractive location to bioenergy companies, Wimberly said, but Arkansas and its cities need to work towards sealing the deal with the green fuel producers.
“ We are in competition with neighboring states, ” Wimberly said.
Financial incentives as well as getting state landowners and far mers on board with the idea could be the key, Wimberly said.
“ It’s not going to happen unless (farmers ) can make at least as much money as they do growing traditional crops, ” he said.
Copyright © 2001-2008 Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Inc. All rights reserved. Contact:

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Governor's commission on global warming tentatively says NO to new coal-fired power plants

The Morning News

Local News for Northwest Arkansas

Panel Tentatively Endorses Ban On New Plants

By Peggy Harris
LITTLE ROCK -- An Arkansas commission studying ways to reduce global warming tentatively endorsed a ban Thursday on new coal-fired power plants, saying a proposed $1.5 billion facility in Hempstead County shouldn't open until at least 2020.

The preliminary proposal would allow the John W. Turk Jr. plant near Fulton to open eight years later than planned, when new "sequestration" technology presumably would be available to capture harmful carbon dioxide emissions and store them in the ground. The plant could open sooner if the technology becomes available.

Under the proposal, the $1.3 billion Plum Point plant being built near Osceola could open as planned in 2010 but operators would have to retrofit the plant with the new anti-pollution technology once it becomes available.

Any other new coal-fired power plants in Arkansas would have to have the new technology when they open.

Currently, sequestration is not in use at any commercial power plant in the country. But the new technology is among the many innovations being discussed nationally and worldwide to reverse global warming.

State Rep. Kathy Webb, who chairs the Governor's Commission on Global Warming, said the draft proposal was one of about 50 the group has analyzed over the last several months with the help of consultants. The panel expects to have its final recommendations in a report to Gov. Mike Beebe by Oct. 31. Legislators could consider the measures when they meet in regular session next year.

Webb, D-Little Rock, said the proposed ban has been among the most controversial of the draft recommendations.

Coal-fired power plants and automobiles are the leading producers of carbon dioxide, the chief culprit of global warming. They also are a primary generator of electricity in the U.S. and considered essential to economic growth.

Commission members from the energy industry Thursday voiced opposition to the proposed ban.

Gary Voight, chief executive of Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation, said scrapping plans for new plants would mean using "dirtier" inefficient plants that produce more pollution and fail to meet consumer demand.

He said a ban would effectively make it more difficult for utilities to produce electricity economically and free up more money to invest in energy-efficient technology. In addition, Voight said, the Arkansas Public Service Commission has already imposed conditions on Southwestern Electric Power Co. to address pollution at the planned 600-megawatt plant in Hempstead County.

"This is a bad plan. It's retroactive regulation," said Voight, whose cooperative plans partly own the SWEPCO plant. "The commission has already ruled that SWEPCO must evaluate all carbon sequestration and capture technologies as available in the future so this (proposal) is pointless. It's a waste of time, and we should all vote against it and get it off the table."

Other commissioners spoke of the seriousness of global warming and the need to take strong action.

"This is what Congress is talking about. This is what a lot, a lot of scientists are concerned about. New coal plants, we're talking about moratorium until sequestration," said Art Hobson, a physics professor at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville.

Commissioner Kevin Smith, the former state senator from Stuttgart, said without a moratorium Arkansas could become "the new Pittsburgh -- not the Natural State." And commissioner Rob Fisher, executive director of The Ecological Conservation Organization, said the proposal was the most important recommendation the panel could make.

"If we don't pass this option, everything else we do is pointless," he said.

The commission endorsed the recommendation by a vote of 11-10.

Kacee Kirschvink, a spokeswoman for SWEPCO, said the Turk plant would be one of the cleanest coal plants in North America. She said it would use "ultra-supercritical" technology that requires less fuel and produces less carbon dioxide. In addition, she said, the plant could be retrofitted for newer technology once it becomes available.

"It would not be good public policy to change the rules now after much planning and investment has been done to meet the energy needs of SWEPCO's customers," she said.

Shreveport, La.-based SWEPCO wants to open the plant in 2012 and has begun site work, while awaiting an air-quality permit from state environmental regulators. SWEPCO is a part of Columbus, Ohio-based American Electric Power Co.

David Byford, a spokesman for Plum Point developers Dynegy Inc., said the commission proposal was in the early stages and Dynegy might comment later after further study.

Web Watch:

Arkansas Governors Commission on Global Warming

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Big, blue hose takes water beyond nasty construction site

Please click on image to ENLARGE photo of view northeast from W. Center Street where Sweetser crew members are rapidly replacing an old rock-walled storm drain with a new concrete culvert. The big, blue plastic hose is designed to collect water flowing from the Dickson Street area to be pumped across the street to reenter Tanglewood Branch downstream. This reduces the load of mud from the construction site and thus the load of silt flowing toward Beaver Lake.

Clear water pumped from upstream of the construction site enters Tanglewood Branch to thin out the silt-laden yellow water that escaped the site on Monday and Tuesday. The 70- or 80-year-old rock-lined tunnel recently collapsed under the north lane of West Center Street, creating an emergency repair need on a busy street near the University of Arkansas.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Epa stops the destruction of wetland in the Yazoo River watershed of Mississippi

September 5, 2008
Outdoorsmen and environmentalists win a major battle. Now, how about some help with the equally bad project in Arkansas that would pump water from the lower White River basin to farms on the Grand Prairie. The late Wayne Hampton of Stuttgart, a former legislator, highway commissioner and Game and Fish Commissoner and a farmer who protected the environment by "keeping the water where it fell" and storing it for irrigation and to flood the hardwoods for waterfowl in tanks or ponds on his own 4,000-acre farm near Lodge Corner. He fought hard all the way to congress to stop that project and another environmentally destructive navigation lock and dam where the White River enters the Mississippi on the north side of Big Island.
For more on the Yazoo drainage project, please see
Wayne would have applauded this victory for the wild things and I hope it is now dropped from all planning.
Dear Aubrey,
I am thrilled to report that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a Clean Water Act veto for the Yazoo Pumps, putting an end to this outrageously destructive project once and for all. This historic victory would not have been possible without your help in speaking out against this project.
I hope you will help us again and thank the EPA for its historic and environmentally responsible decision.
The EPA’s decision is a victory for clean water, natural flood protection and taxpayers and it proves that the actions of individuals like you make a difference. The EPA received more than 47,600 emails and comments and more than 99.9 percent urged the EPA to stop the Yazoo Pumps. This outpouring of public support was critical in the face of the tremendous pressure placed on the EPA to approve this wasteful project.
The Yazoo Pumps would have used $220 million of your federal tax dollars to drain and damage up to 200,000 acres of some of the richest wetlands in the nation, an area larger than all 5 boroughs of New York City, that have the capacity to store roughly 200 billion gallons of floodwaters.
Eliminating this free natural flood protection would have been unconscionable, especially when we know that climate change is causing more frequent and intense storms and floods.
Please let the EPA know that you support their decision and appreciate their leadership in protecting these wetlands.
Rebecca R. Wodder
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American Rivers ©2008

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Monarchs reproducing on World Peace Wetland Prairie

Please click on image to ENLARGE photo of caterpillar of a monarch butterfly on a tropical milkweed in the peace circle of the World Peace Wetland Prairie in Fayetteville, Arkansas, on September 1, 2008.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Making peace with local geese a problem for citified folk

The Morning News
Local News for Northwest Arkansas

Who is GeesePeace?
By Anna Fry
BELLA VISTA -- GeesePeace is a name bandied about in Bella Vista since June, but residents may be unfamiliar with the Virginia-based nonprofit.
The organization works with communities to promote nonlethal methods for controlling Canada geese, Director David Feld said.
The Bella Vista Property Owners Association planned a GeesePeace visit after residents complained about a board decision to use a federal permit to shoot 100 geese. The board recently revisited the issue and will pursue peaceful methods.
Many residents say geese feces foul the community's lakes, parks and golf courses.
Feld and possibly another expert will visit in October to suggest a plan for controlling the estimated 1,000 geese. Feld said he examined aerial photographs and will inspect sites where geese congregate.
Until he has done so, he can't give a specific recipe to solve Bella Vista's problem, he said. But the organization has some basic methods that he'll suggest.
It's up to communities GeesePeace helps to implement their own control methods.
The first component of GeesePeace's plan is stabilizing the population by oiling goose eggs from the end of March through April.
Eggs are dropped in water to test whether embryos developed lungs. If the eggs float, the embryos have lungs and are left alone.
"You want people to know it's humane and there are limits to the interruption of life," Feld said.
If the egg sinks, the embryo has no lungs. The egg is coated with corn oil to seal pores so oxygen can't get in and biological processes stop.
The second component is "site aversion," which means making areas inhospitable to geese. This should be done in May to mid-June because geese need a safe place when they molt in mid-June, Feld said. During molting, geese lose and replace feathers and cannot fly.
GeesePeace suggests using Border collies to chase geese both on land and water. Volunteers put the collies on boats, then the collies swim and chase geese in the water. The collies return to land to chase geese again. The process is repeated until the geese feel the area isn't safe, Feld said.
Site aversion should also be done in the winter and fall because Arkansas has mild weather, Feld said.
Darrell Bowman, the association's lake ecology and fisheries manager, said he doesn't advocate scare tactics, which he doesn't see as viable.
"It amounts to moving the problem around, and I think we're just going to chase geese around in our own areas," he said.
Bowman questions where geese will go because many Northwest Arkansas cities have the same problem, he said. Bella Vista's geese are considered resident geese because they no longer migrate.
Feld said geese can be moved to areas that don't bother people if communities coordinate their efforts.
"There's lots of places geese can go that nobody cares," he said. "They don't have to be at your favorite golf course."
The association's golf division tried methods such as chasing the geese with dogs, but nothing worked, said Christy Attlesey, communications manager.
Bowman said he's read GeesePeace's Web site, and it proposes methods that are already part of a goose management plan the association board approved in February. Obtaining the federal permit to shoot 100 geese was one of many strategies, he said.
"As a manager, you want to use every tool in your toolbox," Bowman said.
Two other possible aversion tactics won't work in Bella Vista because its grassy areas and lakes are too large, Feld said. Some communities use repellents to discourage geese from eating grass and plant tall grass around water bodies to give the impression predators could be hiding.
The final component of GeesePeace's plan is educating the public that feeding geese is bad because it keeps them in the area, Feld said. The City Council passed an ordinance in May prohibiting feeding any migratory waterfowl.
Oiling eggs requires registering online with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, but GeesePeace's other methods don't require permits, Feld said.
The key to a community's success is good leadership and it seems Bella Vista has that, Feld said. GeesePeace's program was successful in numerous cities including Hempstead and Oyster Bay in New York and Stratford-Upon-Avon in England, he said.
Feld cofounded GeesePeace in the late 1990s when his hometown, Lake Barcroft, Va., experienced a similar situation. The Washington suburb had about 120 geese that stayed year-round.
George Waters, who was then president of Lake Barcroft's homeowners association, said feces fouled the community's five beaches and about 250 lakefront homes.
"Lawns and beaches were just completely covered with goose poop," he said. "You could literally go out there and slip on it. Who wants to go to a beach and be surrounded by goose poop?"
A fight arose in the community about whether to use lethal options to control the geese. At a community meeting, the decision was made combine harassment techniques with egg oiling.
Lake Barcroft whittled its resident goose population to about 20, Waters said. Volunteers still go out with Border collies to chase the geese.

What's Next

Public Meeting
David Feld, director and co-founder of GeesePeace, will speak at a public meeting at 6 p.m. Oct. 22 in Riordan Hall.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Diverse plants and wildlife call World Peace Wetland Prairie home on August 29, 2008

Please click on images to ENLARGE photos of butterflies and flowers and tall grass on August 29, 2008, on World Peace Wetland Prairie.

First and second photos above feature a monarch butterfly nectaring on native thistles on World Peace Wetland Prairie. Native thistles are NOT outlawed and are exceptionally valuable to butterflies, bees and numerous species of birds.
The following two photos (below) feature Centaurea Americana, the American basketflower, surrounded by Demaree's gaura or Gaura demareei, and Dematree's gaura is seen up close in the fifth photo.

Gaura demareei above.
A small, pale butterfly rests on tall grass in the sixth photo (below).

Florida lettuce above (Latuca floridana) above.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Benton County Quorum Court votes FOR watershed protection

The Morning News
Local News for Northwest Arkansas

Quorum Court Approves Curtis
By Scarlet Sims
BENTONVILLE -- The Benton County Quorum Court appointed environmentalist Mark Curtis to the Planning Board on Thursday night over the objection of property-rights advocates.
Curtis, 57, of Rogers will begin serving next month.
"I'm very happy," said Planning Board member Bill Kneebone. "He's going to be a good addition."
The Quorum Court rejected County Judge Gary Black's recommendation last month 6-5. Black decided to ask the Quorum Court to reconsider Curtis after receiving calls from supporters.
Several residents spoke for and against appointing Curtis on Thursday.
Black picked Curtis from about 19 applicants who submitted resumes last year after a board member resigned. Curtis works in public and private finance, according to his resume. He has a degree from University of Minnesota in urban geography. He studied city and regional planning at Memphis State University from 1977 to 1979, according to his resume.
Curtis is the Association for Beaver Lake Environment treasurer. The group is dedicated to preserving the lake's quality.
Curtis supported a watershed ordinance about two years ago opponents say would have greatly restricted property owners' ability to use their land. He also sued Benton County after the county approved 15-story condominiums to be built on the lake.
Curtis said Thursday the watershed ordinance is a tool to protect the lake. As the county grows, the county must plan to protect agriculture, residents and resources, he said. Planning may mean more regulations or changing current regulations, Curtis said.
He said he had opinions but would change his mind if his opinion is proven wrong. Other planning board members have opinions, Curtis said. He said he stood by his past decisions.
Beaver Lake association members said wanting to protect Beaver Lake should be an asset, not a drawback, to the Planning Board.
"How is it that someone who is interested in protecting the environment should be disqualified when Planning Board regulations promote protecting Beaver Lake?" asked Doug Timmons, Beaver Lake association president.
Opponents worried Curtis has an agenda to increase regulations around the lake and push the association's issues.
"We do not need a man as polarized as Mr. Curtis on the Planning Board," said Bob Kossieck, a property-rights member.
Whether to appoint Curtis to a board that may influence land use ideas that go before the Quorum Court is at the heart of the issue. In the days leading up the Quorum Court meeting, property rights advocates pressured justices of the peace to vote against Curtis, while environmentalists pressed justices of the peace to vote for him.
Justice of the Peace Frank Winscott, R-southeastern Benton County, said whether to approve Curtis is a "lightning rod issue." The nuisance abatement ordinance is the only other issue that provoked so much response among constituents, he said.
Winscott voted against Curtis both times. He made a motion to table the vote early in the meeting but the motion failed.
"My concern was: Can he be objective on the board due to his past with land-use issues?" Winscott said. "I want him to be objective."
Justice of the Peace Debbie Hobbs, R-Rogers, voted against Curtis in July but changed her vote to support Curtis on Thursday. She said she is still concerned about potential bias on the board but pointed out developers can appeal the board's decision. Curtis is only one of seven on the planning board, Hobbs said.
Justice of the Peace Bobby Hubbard, R-northwestern Benton County, and Justice of the Peace James Wozniak, R-Bella Vista, left the meeting shortly after the Quorum Court approved Curtis. Hubbard said the Quorum Court made a mistake in approving Curtis.
Curtis supported the watershed ordinance that included fees for homeowners and would have hurt farming communities by not allowing farmers to move dirt on their property, Hubbard said. What a committee or board recommends to the Quorum Court is usually approved, which could mean more or increased building or planning fees, he said.
"This county is taking a step backward in helping agriculture in this county -- especially on the western side," Hubbard said. "(Curtis) is an extremist, I don't care what anybody says."
How They Voted
The Benton County Quorum Court voted Thursday to appoint Mark Curtis to the Planning Board. Justices of the peace Frank Harrison, R-Rogers, David Hill, R-Bentonville, Debbie Hobbs, R-Rogers, Kurt Moore, R-southwestern Benton County, Bob Stephenson, R-southwestern Benton County, Beverly Williams, D-Bella Vista, Tim Summers, R-Bentonville, and James Wozniak, R-Bella Vista, approved Curtis. Justices of the peace Bobby Hubbard, R-northwestern Benton County, Craig Brown, R-Rogers, Chris Glass, R-northeastern Benton County, and Frank Winscott, R-southeastern Benton County, voted against Curtis. Justice of the Peace Marge Wolf, R-Rogers, was absent.