Mike McNeill is publisher and editor of

A month ago, we would have said that when it came to lithium production in South Arkansas, we’d prefer, in the words of Elvis Presley, a little less conversation and a little more action, please. In the last few weeks, one would be hard pressed to get anyone involved in lithium to shut up. Now, finally, we’re getting a little more action. We reported yesterday on Standard Lithium’s plans to build its first commercial lithium production facility at Lanxess’ South Plant in Union County. The company continues to experiment with extracting lithium from brine at the Lanxess Central Plant just outside of El Dorado. The new agreement means that the two companies will work on finding the best location for new equipment at the South Plant, leading to construction of a full-scale facility. Standard Lithium officials have said previously that this may not be their only South Arkansas production facility. We’ll have to wait and see about that but for now, there is action toward commercial production. CLICK HERE to see the story.

Your papers please. Yeah, we acknowledge that we’re unconvinced about the need and the efficacy for Real ID, the so-called enhanced driver’s license promoted by the federal government since the 9-11 Commission published its recommendations in 2005. The government this week decided to delay enforcement of the requirement until May 2025. The most obvious fault with Real ID is that if it takes two decades to implement, it can’t really be a priority with anyone. But still, you’re going to need Real ID by 2025 if you plan to fly commercially anywhere in the United States, or if you’d like to enter many federal facilities. Real ID isn’t going to make anyone safer. CLICK HERE to see the story.

We enjoyed hanging out Tuesday morning with Jodie Arnold’s third-graders at Central Elementary School during the Rotary Club of Magnolia’s annual distribution of dictionaries. Rotarians hope all third-graders in Columbia County get good use from the dictionaries, which were purchased by Rotarians using funds from club fundraisers.

We’re happy to help churches, clubs and others publicize their Christmas holiday events. Be sure to send us details about these activities that go beyond time, date and place. Who is performing? What’s the plot? Names make news. Email .

Charlotte Young beat incumbent Julian Lott in a runoff election on Tuesday night for mayor of Camden. During the general election in November, Paul Choate beat incumbent Veronica Smith-Creer. So, both of our key, neighboring Golden Triangle towns will have new mayors.

We’ve recorded 0.18 inches of rain this month, raising the year-to-date total to 53.43 inches. We’re expecting much more rain in the coming days.

About 75 percent of readers voting in our recent online poll predict that Magnolia will have no measurable snowball by January 1. Dunno. Just have a feeling. Seems like we’re in a decent pattern of wet weather. All that is required are a few days of cold temperatures. Winter is coming.

The National Weather Service is already predicting hazardous weather for South Arkansas next Monday night and Tuesday – almost a week out. The last time we received such a warning, it was mostly a non-event in Columbia County. A few miles either way makes a big difference in a weather forecast.

Our current online poll is something of an “evergreen” that’s good at any time of year, but which seems especially fitting at year’s end. Are your personal finances better, worse or about the same as last year? Here’s hoping you can take positive steps in the coming year to improve your circumstances.

One year ago, we reported on the progress that Resolute Forest Products was making with renovations on its El Dorado and Glenwood mills. CLICK HERE to see the story.

Georgia on my mind.

It somehow escaped our attention that with the opening of Cross Liquor Beer and Wine next to the Magnolia Travel Center, North Vine Liquor had been closed. We look forward to the clean-up of the site. Between that property and the old Arkla Feed & Fertilizer property, there’s an opportunity for something nice at a place that’s been run down for years.

Mike McNeill is publisher and editor of Email him at or call him at 870-904-3865. Opinions expressed in this column are his own. Many of our fellow Arkansans are obsessed with the sex lives of other Arkansans, including abortion and sex reassignment surgery, when none of it is their business. Codifying this obsession into law is the real abomination.

CLICK HERE to see past Mike McNeill’s Diary columns.


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