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It wasn't a surprise because, when the chips are down, the big old boy always comes through. Well ... almost always.

Since this is being written during the last week of January, I'm sure it's safe to bet he put on a good show. I'd at least bet a milkshake or a dish of snow ice cream (if it even snows). With all the planning and preparation, his performance didn't disappoint the huge crowd that came together in spite of the bitter weather that recently blanketed the north and east. The cameras were rolling, the hand clapping was almost a roar at times, and the holiday-like spirit added to the performance. Did you see it? Did you notice the old geezer grinning as he responded as "his honor" should?

It's amazing how a town with an unpronounceable and unable-to-spell name, in Pennsylvania, once again, I'm sure, pulled off the top historical performance for the entire month of February ... that is, unless a wall can get approved by a malcontent government. Thanks, Phil ... for showing us how it's done. We know you probably squinted a little to see the flashes from cameras. It was enough light to remind you on the darkest of days that it's time to hurry back to your den for six more weeks of snoozing. Just don't forget ... next year, same day, same place.

Let's get down to another Tidbit of news that made headlines recently, the cold snap which gripped most of the country. But it was the weather reporters who reminded us of the ice storm that paralyzed a large part of Northwest Arkansas 10 years ago. It was Flip Putthoff, Outdoor editor of the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, who best described it in his stories, how the storm brought a huge area to a standstill on Jan. 27, 2009.

His descriptive story, with an accompanying picture, described it this way: " A heavy coating of ice snapped trees as if they were Popsicle sticks. Falling timber took down charged power lines; and some houses, in some areas, were without power for days or weeks."

Such was the ice storm of 2009 ... but let's back up a couple of years to the second week of January 2007. It was that year a two-century ice storm hit the extreme northwest section of Benton County and neighboring northeast Oklahoma and southwest Missouri. More than three inches of freezing rain fell during a three-day period and trees were coated with ice as much as an inch and a half, almost double the ice of the storm two years later.

Power outages in parts of Gravette lasted as many as five days; most rural areas were repaired by the end of the month. Because temps hovered around the freezing point, that was much better than in the later storm when it dipped to 15 above zero. The cafeteria in the new Gravette school was converted into a relief center and the Salvation Army was on hand to serve. There were numerous houses and other structures damaged, mostly caused by falling limbs. Fortunately, the area escaped such damage in the later storm, and the entire area has been favored with good weather in recent years.

What other little Today's Tidbit could we talk about? How about the stump dump fire that is causing problems for areas of Bella Vista? The problem is not new, but the EPA is now involved. The state has pledged about a million dollars to help pay the cost of extinguishing the blaze and smoke and cleaning up the site. A final plan is still being considered and one estimate of the potential cost is more than seven million dollars. Some things aren't cheap and simple, especially when environmental requirements are involved. It's just not as simple as flooding the area with water.

The last Tidbit this week involves a news item in the Democrat-Gazette about the action of the Arkansas Senate voting to join other states seeking to hold a federal Constitutional Convention to change or amend that historic document which has carefully and favorably guided our Republic for more than two centuries. That famous document, considered one of the world's most remarkable and workable creations, provides how it can be amended or changed. And such has happened numerous times.

Can you imagine the fireworks and explosions that will occur if fifty states get together to change this document ... or create a new one? Heaven forbid! Hopefully, the Arkansas House of Reps will put a kibosh to such a suggestion which could, and might be, the cow that kicked over the lantern leading to the destruction of our precious Constitution ... and nation. Too many people don't seem to understand or care about the subject. We've come a long way, baby ... and it ain't been uphill the past 20 or 30 years.

A final Tidbit, written today, Feb. 1, involves the heavy fog and clogging mist on vehicle windows which reminded me of one of the resolutions I vowed to repeat this year: that I would not write a word about turning on your headlamps. This morning, while driving about six blocks from Main Street to the Post Office in Gravette, five vehicles whizzed by with their lights off. Come on, gang, the state law says lights on when windshield wipers are needed (and, of course, when it's foggy as it was this morning.) Get your heads out of the clouds and turn 'em on. Sometimes it seems a little unnecessary and sometimes it's simply forgotten (I confess). Just remember an old geezer's eyes might not be as sharp as you know yours are. Help him along with your lights. That doesn't run up the gas consumption, does it? That's enough preachin' ... you can take up the collection.

Dodie Evans is the former owner and long-time editor of the Gravette News Herald. Opinions expressed are those of the author.

Editorial on 02/06/2019

Print Headline: There will be no surprise this year!

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