Thumbs: Bielema's mouth, eminent domain, Vilonia's outgoing superintendent

Early indicators. Temperatures were in the high 20s a couple of mornings ago when we spotted blooming daffodils in a Conway yard. Too early? Maybe, but it is a sign that spring is approaching. Soon it’ll be time for a visit to Wye Mountain, and if you haven’t experienced this treat, make a point to do it this year.


Getting it right. There have been noticeable problems with Conway’s new Rogers Plaza, what with the giant Christmas tree that did not work right and the fountain that did not function as planned. The fountain has been fixed. Sure, there have been criticisms, but the project is and will continue to be an asset for Conway.

Talking too much. Razorback football coach Bret Bielema is taking heat in state and nationally for some comments, including social media remarks, about slowing down games. He apologized for some of it, but our take is the naysayers will not be so harsh on him if the Hogs produce a winning season in 2014.

Understand the procedure. Eminent domain is a well-rooted legal procedure in which a public entity can “take” privately owned land for essential purposes. This nearly always draws heavy flak. In the procedure, owners of these lands are paid court-approved appraised values. The biggest bugaboo is the forced sale aspect, however.

A job well done. Vilonia school superintendent Frank Mitchell is retiring, and Missourian David Stephens is replacing him. Mitchell’s lengthy tenure has been in a period of much growth for Vilonia. Certainly, some problems have cropped up as they always do. It’s called growing pains. Mitchell has done well over the years as a school and community leader.

New in sports. Get out to Hendrix soon and watch a lacrosse game — men or women. It’s an ancient game with Native American origins but not at all familiar in this area. Our limited knowledge is that lacrosse is not for the timid or the out-of-condition folks. Maybe it’s a good prelude to crowded shopping malls and such.

“It’s just amazing to be a part of a school where we really are just one big family.”

— Sarah Luyet, about a fundraiser

for St. Joseph student Keegan Smith.