Infrastructure Problems

daddyEven in bad economy

By Daddy Warbucks

What are city, county and state governments to do? Grabbing all this federal stimulus money for “shovel ready” projects still doesn’t make the human factor any easier.
Case in point, the widening of streets, roads or the use of a rock quarry doesn’t always translate into glowing headlines. Glaring headlines are more like it.
Well, it is great that federal stimulus money for such a project is meant to put more Americans back to work. But still landowners, neighbors and area residents don’t always, it seems, like progress.
For example, out at Drake Field, one home owner doesn’t live in a house. According to the federal government, she lives in “Noise Receptor No. 5.”
“What?” you ask.
With that government designation, the homeowner must decide whether to move from near Drake Field or let the government install soundproofing material in her home at the south end of the airport’s main runway.
The city is apparently moving nearby U.S. 71 to make room for a larger safety zone around the airport. Federal environmental assessments labeled the house as “Noise Receptor No. 5” and the Federal Aviation Administration says the noise increase could be substantial.
But she still hasn’t made up her mind about whether to let the government install soundproofing or move from where she has lived since 1961.
Another mind-numbing issue is the Red Dirt Farm — a proposed quarry that has several sides vying for face time on local TV and skeins of print in the pencil press.
Some say there is no doubt a need for the quarry, but several dispute that.
So even flush with government bailout money, it’s not always an easy decision for landowners and others. Remember Thunder Valley Raceway. A thriving business, but something area residents did not like one iota.

Big Question
How many of your federal tax dollars did the National Guard spend on an ad featuring Kid Rock that aired in some 3,117 movie theaters for only two months in 2008? (Answer at the end.)

Best For Biz
Well, by now, we all know that one of the “Best Spots for Business” atop the Forbes magazine list is Fayetteville. Listed at No. 4 on the Forbes MSA list as one of the top 75 metropolitan areas for business. What an honor this is for the region and our unending self-promotion.

Not Alone
Other areas in the state are on the Forbes list too. And for this, as far down the list as they are, Fayetteville folks are truly grateful. Little Rock is at No. 22 and Fort Smith at No. 72. The list recognizes the nation’s best environments for business and careers.

Duly Noted
The Fayetteville metropolitan statistical area, as applauded in the Forbes list, includes Springdale, Rogers and Bentonville and encompasses Washington, Benton and Madison counties in Arkansas and McDonald County in Missouri. We can’t always grab all the credit, you see.

In A Nutshell
Forbes said Fayetteville was rated eighth in income growth, 16th in projected job growth and 11th in cost of doing business. It ranked 143rd in educational attainment (number of residents with four-year college degrees and high school diplomas). Our median household income is $52,700. And the unemployment rate is 3.6 percent. The U.S. Census Bureau estimated the 2007 population of the Fayetteville metropolitan statistical area is 442,000.

New Location
Nightbird Books has moved. Signs of life have been spotted at the old Ozark Mountain Smokehouse on Dickson Street. The move has been completed. Welcome another retailer to Dickson Street. Good luck in the new location.

Home Sales Sag
The numbers for February home sales are sagging below 2008 levels. That’s not surprising. The spring sounds we hear are birds chirping. Not nailguns thunking, thunking, thunking, in area subdivisions idled by this recession. Still Benton and Washington counties do have home sales recorded — but just not as many as before.

Eyes Have It
Wal-Mart is closing a central Ohio optical lab to reduce costs, eliminating 650 jobs, but the optical lab in Fayetteville on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard may — operative word is “may” — gain some jobs. While this is a boon to Fayetteville, if indeed any new jobs are created, it has to hurt in Ohio. Too bad Stevie Clark, the new job guru and head of the Fayetteville Chamber didn’t crow about these job additions. But he still could.

Chair Takes Over
Matthew T. Moroun, chairman of P.A.M. Transportation Services Inc., has bought controlling interest in the trucking firm, according to regulatory filings. Moroun and his father, Manuel J. Moroun are directors of the truckload, dry-van carrier based in Tontitown. But these folks live in Warren, Mich. Moroun is the president, CEO and principal stockholder of CenTra Inc., a transportation holding company. CenTra is one of the largest privately held transportation holding companies in the United States.

These businesses were found in the bankruptcy filings. Some pretty high profile stuff. Dennis Arnoldussen, dba Neighborhood News, dba Movies And More, dba Wonderful Gifts, and Jennifer Arnoldussen, 11255 Clubhouse Parkway, Farmington; Chapter 13; $259,781 debt filed March 17; $253,202 assets. And North Gulley Development LLC, dba Metro District LLC., P.O. Box 8783, Fayetteville; Chapter 11; unlisted debt filed March 22; unlisted assets. Calls to the Metro District offices were not answered.

Big Answer
The National Guard spent $125,000 of taxpayer money on a preview ad to be shown in movie theaters with Robert Ritchie, oops, Kid Rock, in it.

Categories: Features