Mike McNeill

Mike McNeill is publisher and editor of magnoliareporter.com.

Magnolia High basketball standout Derrian Ford, who was central to the Panthers’ Class 4A state basketball title last spring, is getting a lot of looks from Division I schools. Of course, they’ll have three more seasons to look at him until the sophomore graduates from MHS. Arkansas Razorbacks assistant coach Corey Williams was in Magnolia on Tuesday to watch Ford as the Panthers began their first week of practice for the 2019-20 season. Magnolia High starts its basketball season at home against El Dorado on November 22.

The Magnolia Panthers football team won a lot of respect from fans last week by overcoming a nine-point deficit with 2:30 to play against Crossett, winning 36-30. It is an achievement to win a ballgame that late after being two scores down. Magnolia hosts Monticello tonight before having a rare open date next week, then a trip to TexARKana the next week.

Southern Arkansas will have its first home football game at 6 p.m. Saturday, hosting Oklahoma Baptist. Mulegating starts at 4 p.m. Well, Mulegating usually starts a lot earlier than that, but after 4 p.m. is when the university and Mulegating sponsors begin serving free food and drinks.

The Columbia County Fair is next week. The weather promises to satisfactory. Get out and enjoy the exhibits, shows and special events, rides and food.

Speaking of food. If you’ve been wondering about the faux meat hamburger offered by one local fast-food restaurant, here’s our take. We had an odd day on Wednesday, eating a big lunch much later than usual. This meant that we were having a late fast-food supper much later than usual. So, we decided to try the faux meat burger. Our reasoning was that if we didn’t like it, we weren’t that hungry anyway and could quit eating and write the cost off to a culinary experiment. The Burger King “Impossible Burger” looks just like a regular Whopper and is dressed the same. A Whopper has a tangy taste due to everything BK puts on it. The “meat” had more of an appearance of having been baked, rather than fried or grilled. We took care to eat a couple of “meat” pieces separately from the rest of the sandwich. They had a feel, texture and taste that reminded us more of meatloaf than hamburger. It was also somewhat reminiscent in taste of how we remembered school lunch hamburgers back in the day. Now, we like meatloaf but we’d just as soon have real meatloaf. As for the Impossible Burger, yes, we ate it all but we’d just as soon have a hamburger with meat.

And speaking of hamburgers, we visited the Wade’s Burgers & Fries location on West Main last night. It was absolutely overrun with window help, clerks and cooks, most of whom we presume were there training for the opening we anticipate soon for Wade’s second location on East Main. We were told last week that the opening would be a “couple more weeks.”

Our new online poll asks readers what they think about Arkansas’ new minimum wage. In 2018, Arkansas voters decided that the state’s minimum wage would become $9.25 an hour this year, $10 in 2020, and $11 in 2021. Columbia County voters, by a 60-40 percentage split, approved the higher minimum wage, which passed by a 68-32 margin statewide. Now, it’s pretty clear that our readers are having second thoughts about it. About two-thirds of our readers now say raising the minimum wage was a bad idea in hindsight. More than 40 percent say they’ve noticed significant increases in certain goods and services, such as fast food restaurants. One wonders about the impact after people earning $9.25 now get paid $11 an hour after January 1, 2021.

We last polled on the subject of the state minimum wage law in March. That was when some Arkansas lawmakers wanted legislation to exempt workers in certain jobs from receiving the $11 minimum wage. About 47 percent of our readers said the legislature should respect the decision of the voters. About 31 percent said the voting public should not set wages paid by employers. About 11 percent said some workers should be exempted from receiving a higher wage, while 10 percent said people at the low end of the wage scale need a raise.

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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