Daddy Warbucks

Daddy Warbucks

Northwest Arkansas, heck all of Arkansas from Eudora to Maysville, is a winner with Dick Trammel on the State Highway Commission. And yes, Dick Trammel, an executive with Arvest Bank, is a Wal-Mart man, a Tyson man, a UA man, whatever hat he is expected to wear, tip it at a jaunty angle and flash that million-dollar smile, that’s Dick Trammel. He is the only guy Daddy knows who can get as excited about 45 jobs in Dierks as 450 jobs in Little Rock or the influx of 4,500 folks into Northwest Arkansas.
Gov. Mike Beebe missed out on a governor’s forum with the President-elect, but made it to Trammel’s roast, benefiting of course, a local charity. Trammel has taken the podium to help raise money for endless charities in NWA. The appointment announcement was made in Fayetteville in front of a well-heeled audience and the crowd loved it.
The governor said he didn’t know anyone in NWA who was more revered and then echoed what most Arkansans already knew by calling Trammel “Mr. Northwest Arkansas”, a walking, talking chamber of commerce.
Trammel will replace Jonathan Barnett on the commission. Barnett will step down in January to become a member of the Arkansas House of Representatives.
Good appointment. Good choice. Some really good news in these bleak economic times.

Big Question
An Italian study showed which country’s paper currency carries the highest level of illegal drug traces? (Answer at the end of this column.)

Movin’ Inside
First Night Fayetteville, that dry-as-a-powder-house party for all ages on New Year’s Eve is moving from the downtown square to the Northwest Arkansas Mall. It will be indoors out of the weather, but…. For details check out

Job Loss
Sixty-two folks found out recently that they will be out of work. North American Pipe Corp. of Van Buren laid off 46 employees last week and the remaining 16 will be let go when the plant completes its closure over the next few months.

More Layoffs
The Trane Co. in Fort Smith plans to layoff about 100 production workers. Yikes. The downturn in the economy has affected the heat and air company. More bad news for the River Valley, just over the mountain from NWA.

No, No Cell Phone
A Jonesboro lawmaker has filed a bill that would prohibit people in Arkansas from using cell phones while driving. Rep. Ray Kidd contends that the drivers should not use handheld cellular telephones, except in emergencies. Just don’t be driving while the emergency is going on. People performing official duties as such as certified law enforcement officers, firefighters, ambulance drivers and emergency medical technicians would be exempt.

New Job
The Arkansas Teacher Retirement System, which has suffered from the downturn in the economy and the embarrassing news that its former director traveled out of state with little or no receipts for trips, has hired a former state senator to watch the retirement fund. The board of trustees hired George Hopkins as the system’s new executive director. Hopkins, a former state senator from Malvern, is expected to start work pretty quickly. The board also interviewed Sen. Jim Argue, D-Little Rock, for the post.

Skyline Says
The economic downturn does have a silver lining, but you have to look very close to see it, at least that was the gist of the recent Skyline Report from Arvest Bank. The downturn has caused construction and home sales to slow, but the hint that lower interest rates will soon become reality, may make it all start back up again.

Dillard’s One
Rumors are flying that the two separate Dillard’s stores in the Northwest Arkansas Mall might soon be combined into one store. Stay tuned as this develops. The rumors are flying that the Little Rock-based retailer is reeling with internal and external problems.

William Dillard II, CEO of Dillard’s Inc., is on the 24/7 Wall St. blog list of “CEOs to Go in 2009.” New blood is needed, the site says.

Good CEO
Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott, who will retire in February, is among the nominees for the 24/7 Wall St. blog site’s CEO of the year. Scott gets gold stars for admitting that the retailer took its plans for upscale apparel and upscale items too far. He axed most of that and moved back to giving customers value in the form of ingenious programs like the $4 prescription, the blog said.

Big Answer
It is American currency.

Categories: Features