Mike McNeill is publisher and editor of magnoliareporter.com .

The annual Poetry Week reading at the Magnolia Arts Center has become a “thing” during the past couple of years. Our schedule is a bit packed today, but we will make it if possible and we encourage all to check it out. CLICK HERE for more details. Even if you swear that you “hate” poetry, you’ll love the readings presented by Magnolia Junior High School eighth-graders. They’ve been working this past week under the tutelage of four accomplished poets. Eighth graders are famed for both their energy and their angst, which makes for great artistic expression.

Of course, if you say you "hate" poetry, you've never enjoyed a vocal musical performance in your life, which seems unlikely.

Willisville native and Southern Arkansas University graduate Joyce Elliott, a Democrat, officially kicked off her campaign on Thursday for the 1st Congressional District seat held by Republican incumbent French Hill. She is a retired educator and a current state senator representing a portion of Little Rock.

De Queen is making a big change in its football program. Jonesboro assistant Brad Chesshir has been hired as the new head football coach. Chesshir has run the offseason program for the Class 6A Hurricanes – a playoff contender in 2019. De Queen was 0-10 under Justin Kramer last year, including a 56-7 crushing against Magnolia. The Leopards have done no better than .500 since 2009, and are 16-65 overall since 2012. That includes two 0-10 and two 1-9 seasons. Magnolia has had bad years recently, so we appreciate a school district that’s had a lot of gridiron frustration wanting to turn it around.

We can’t give you a direct link for legal reasons, but we can tell you that Stars & Stripes published today an article written by Slobodan Lekic headlined, “Army cancels $45 billion Bradley replacement competition after only one bid qualified.” It goes into detail about the cancellation for now of the “Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle.” There had been two bidders for the work – General Dynamics, and a partnership involving Raytheon, the German arms maker Rheinmetall, and others. The Raytheon-Rheinmetall partnership was disqualified late last year because no prototype was ready by a deadline, and that left General Dynamics as the only remaining bidder. There was never any mention where Raytheon-Rheinmetall planned to build its version, but we note that both companies have facilities in East Camden. One thinks that South Arkansas might have gotten at least some part of the OMFV. So, bottom line, the Army is going to have to replace the Bradley someday. Both bidders, and maybe other bidders, now have an opportunity to circle back and refine their proposals. This might still be a thing for South Arkansas in the next decade. People should not confuse this with the $30 billion Joint Light Tactical Vehicle project. Lockheed Martin had proposed to build the JLTV – 55,000 units as replacements for the Humvee – but lost that contract to Oshkosh Defense in 2015.

Mike McNeill is publisher and editor of magnoliareporter.com. Email him at news@magnoliareporter.com or call him at 870-904-3865.

CLICK HERE to read previous installments of Mike McNeill’s Diary.


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