Mike McNeill

Mike McNeill is publisher of magnoliareporter.com.

It’s been two years since Magnolia voters rejected – by a 7-3 margin -- plans to construct $16 million in recreational facilities. If they’d been approved, we’d be opening a new aquatic and recreation center, and six baseball and softball fields, right about now. We bring this up because on November 12, voters in Harrison – a city with only slightly more population than Magnolia but no four-year state university – will vote on a ¾-cent sales tax. The City of Harrison is proposing a $39 million community center. It will have six swimming pools, four basketball courts, 3.5 miles of walking trails and other features. We know of no effort to revive or revise the Magnolia proposal.

Today is a bank holiday. In Magnolia, it is also a teacher in-service training day and no students are in class.

This is Homecoming week at Magnolia High School and Southern Arkansas University.

Not happy with the college football team you’ve been rooting for? A reminder that the SAU Muleriders are 5-1 and play at home on Saturday afternoon. Go early, enjoy Homecoming and Mulegating activities, walk to Wilkins Stadium. Enjoy NCAA football in your backyard.

We were at our desk on Friday night when we heard what sounded like a gunshot toward the Jackson-Columbia Street area. A couple of minutes later, Central Dispatch had officers check into a reported gunshot in the Dogwood Street area. We noted the incident on the Magnolia Reporter page on Facebook. It turned out that a blown electrical transformer in the Dogwood-Greene was the apparent source of the sound. Then on Sunday night, readers told us about hearing an explosion in the general area of Warnock Springs Road and the Old El Dorado Highway. We never learned the source of Sunday’s noise. A few people have commented that we have an alarmist attitude when it comes to noting loud noises. We disagree. At about the same time of Sunday’s incident, first responders in East Texas were heading to a report about an explosion at an underground bunker at a deer camp in Red River County, with possible injuries. Things blow up. Sometimes they’re electrical transformers. Sometimes people blow up stumps with Tannerite. Sometimes houses with gas leaks, meth labs or oilfield tanks struck by lightning blow up – all fairly common occurrences in this part of the world. It’s reasonable for people to be concerned when they hear something explode, and to report such incidents to law enforcement and news media. Until the source of an explosion is determined to be the dispatch of a beaver dam, public and media interest is natural and understandable.

We tried something else on our Facebook page this weekend. We invited people who are looking for a job to post something about their experience and the type of job they seek. Almost every major company in our area, along with many smaller ones, need workers. If you have an opening, check out the comment string that we had Friday on the Magnolia Reporter Facebook page. We may do this again. We want every people in Columbia County who wants a job to have one.

Still enjoying the banana pepper mustard we bought at the Second Thursday Market.

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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