Mike McNeill

Mike McNeill is publisher and editor of magnoliareporter.com.

We’re told about the local mom who drove past the currently flattened McDonalds location. The kids in the back seat, not having heard the news about the reconstruction plans, burst into tears. We will admit to having had a recent late-night craving for McNuggets. We’ll just have to wait until September.

On a somewhat related note, we have observed that the new splash pad at Square Park is becoming popular with Magnolia mothers. It may turn out to be an inspired idea – opening the small-scale splash pad to create some buzz and support for a much larger facility later. We do know that the splash pad in El Dorado is drawing Magnolia business.

Yes, we would have liked to have seen Magnolia build an aquatic center. It was not to be. However, we’ve spent a career reporting news in small towns and we know this: Change comes slowly, but it comes. Often, it comes in ways that proponents of an idea could not have envisioned five or 10 years earlier. This might be a bad example but one local poster remembered that five years ago, you couldn’t buy a beer in Columbia County. Now, you can buy hemp-based pain relief products.

Or at least you can for now. Arkansas Times notes the recent passage by the Legislature of Act 571 of 2019. It changes the ratio for the number of liquor store permits allowed per wet county. The old ratio was one store per 5,000 residents, which meant that Columbia County was authorized four liquor store licenses. The new ratio is one store per 7,500 residents. Depending upon how the ABC might have interpreted the law and Columbia County’s population, had the new ratio been in place a few years ago the county might have seen only three liquor stores authorized, or maybe only two. It’s not clear how Columbia County would be affected if one of the four existing liquor stores closed. A trade association official told Arkansas Business that the bill was designed to increase the value of liquor store permits, which were damaged when the state allowed grocery stores to sell wine. Our general view is that the state should not regulate the number of liquor licenses in a county. This is a matter for the free market to decide.

Amber Thompson has purchased and reopened Superior Tumble & Cheer at 106 U.S. 79 North.

The burned-out Yeller Hawk wrecker service on West Union Street is being demolished. We look forward to Yeller Hawk coming back better and stronger.

The argument is almost as old as the automobile. So long as we’re going to tax vehicles, what’s the best way to do it? Tax vehicles at a flat annual rate, or on miles traveled on public roads? Taxing vehicles based on mileage has been a largely hypothetical issue until recent years, which has availed vehicle owners with the ability to track vehicle travel precisely. Why shouldn’t people be taxed based on the number of miles they travel? We do this indirectly through a tax on motor fuels. But there’s something to be said for taxing based on actual road usage, even for taxing drivers based on the time of day they drive, and the route they choose. There is enough to this issue to merit a new online poll.

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

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