Saturday, May 30, 2009

Arkansas officials say 'Don't Do Fescue'

Arkansas “Don't Do Fescue" is theme of AGFC public campaign
JONESBORO - Tall fescue is a widely used forage crop. It is insect resistant, tolerates poor soil and climatic conditions well and has a long growing season. Unfortunately, tall fescue also has a downside.

With approximately four million acres of pasturelands planted in tall fescue, Arkansas has a great deal of this crop. According to David Long, agricultural liaison with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, the agency is working diligently to help the public understand the shortcomings of this type of grass.

"The AGFC has developed a new tool in its effort to educate landowners about the toxic and negative effects of Kentucky 31 Tall Fescue to farm wildlife. A new bumper sticker entitled 'Don't Do Fescue' is now being distributed to agency employees and others interested in spreading the word," Long said. Tall fescue is a common forage grass that has been planted across Arkansas for over 40 years.

Estimates are that about 70 percent-95 percent or 4 million acres of the pasturelands planted with tall fescue in Arkansas are infected with an endophyte fungus. The fungus causes declines in bobwhite quail, cottontail rabbits, grassland songbirds and also limited other game populations such as white-tailed deer and wild turkey.

"The fact that the plant is actually toxic to both domestic livestock and farm wildlife species is accepted by agriculture extension specialists and wildlife biologists alike," Long said. "The plant produces chemicals causing the fescue to have very toxic qualities. The alkaloids are found throughout the plant, but are especially concentrated in the seeds and leaves," he explained.

In cattle, the fungus causes excessive body temperatures, elevated respiratory rates, loss of appetite, body weight loss, lowered fertility rates and abortion of fetuses. Dairy cows often show sharp declines in milk production. Horses are affected also with more aborted fetuses, foaling problems, weak foals and reduced or no milk production. The CES estimates that this endopytic toxin cost American beef producers up to $1 billion a year in lost profits.

"It's very important for private landowners who desire viable wildlife populations on their property to know the effects of planting fescue," Long noted. "Many species of wildlife would directly suffer these same negative effects if they were confined to the pasturelands as are livestock. However, since they are free ranging, they simply avoid the fungus infected fescue pastures, but nevertheless, this results in loss of farm wildlife habitat on these acres. You may have deer and turkey travel through tall-fescue pastures, but they rarely find food sources available they can utilize, since the aggressiveness of the fescue usually results in solid stands of the plant," Long concluded.

The grass is a sod-forming turf with thick matted growth that also limits movement of young bobwhite quail, turkey and cottontail rabbits, provides no nesting habitat for wild turkey or quail, and is extremely poor habitat for many declining grassland species of songbirds. "Bottom line, fungus infected tall-fescue pastures offer little food, cover or nesting habitat to a broad range of farm wildlife," he said.

"Tall fescue has been planted in an estimated 4 million acres of the 5.4 million acres of pasture scattered over the state and for all practical purposes is of no value to farm wildlife. With the widespread establishment of tall fescue pastures, a great loss of wildlife habitat for deer, turkey, quail, cottontails and grassland songbirds has occurred.

Many landowners now recognize this problem and are interested in eliminating tall-fescue on some or all of their acreage. However, many landowners continue to plant tall-fescue, not knowing the detrimental effects it will have to wildlife. (There is an endophyte-free variety of tall fescue available for planting but it is less viable and hardy, and still provides very limited habitat for wildlife.)

We want to educate all landowners regarding this fact because there are other planting options to providing livestock forage and wildlife habitat on their farms," Long explained.

Please help spread the word to landowners "Don't Do Fescue!" by requesting a bumper sticker to place on your vehicle. Especially if they have an interest in managing for wildlife on their farm. For more information contact David Long at 877-972-5438 or

Thursday, May 28, 2009

5 p.m. Friday deadline to apply for appointment to vacancies on Fayetteville, Arkansas, boards and commissions

Apply before 5 p.m. tomorrow at the Fayetteville city clerk's office in city hall.
One Veterinarian Term Ending (Date TBD)
One Business Term Ending (Date TBD)
One Washington County Representative Term Ending (Date TBD)
One Finance Term Ending (Date TBD)
Two Nonprofit Animal Interest Groups Terms Ending (Date TBD)
Three Citizen-at-Large Terms Ending (Date TBD)

One Unexpired Term Ending 03/31/11

One Term Ending 03/31/14
Two Alternate Member Terms Ending 03/31/10

One Community Citizen-at-Large Term Ending 06/30/12
One Unexpired Community Citizen-at-Large Term Ending 12/31/10

One Working Artist Term Ending 06/30/12
Two Arts and Cultural/Citizen-at-Large Terms Ending 06/30/12

Three Terms Ending 06/30/12

One Unexpired Term Ending 12/31/09

One Unexpired Term Ending 06/30/10
Three Terms Ending 06/30/13

One Unexpired Utility Representative Term Ending 12/31/10

One Term Ending 06/30/12

One Term Ending 06/30/12


All applications must be received by 5:00 p.m. on May 29, 2009, at the city clerk's office.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Thousands visit Fayetteville National Cemetery on Memorial Day 2009; new cemetery administrator speaks of concern about apartments coming next door

Please click on image to ENLARGE view of National Cemetery celebration of Memorial Day 2009 in Fayetteville, Arkansas. At right is the Washington County Livestock Auction Barn, which would be replaced by a 500-bedroom student-apartment complex if allowed by Fayetteville City officials. The Planning Commission is to hear the North Carolina developer's proposal during its 5:30 p.m. Tuesday meeting in Fayetteville City Hall. The commission will hear public opinion on the proposed project before whether to vote yes or no on allowing rezoning the land for student apartments.

Please click on start arrow to acivate the short video recorded at Fayetteville National Cemetery on May 25, 2009.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

OMNI Book Forum on Democracy at 6 p.m. Friday at Nightbird Books, which now is at 205 W. Dickson Street

Please click on image to ENLARGE announcement of OMNI's book forum at Night Bird Books.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Watershed groups must join to fight degradation of all area waterways

Please click on image to ENLARGE view of construction site mud being washed down S. Hill Avenue in Fayetteville, Arkansas, on May 11, 2009. Construction machines and dumptrucks put a lot of silt in Northwest Arkansas Streams. Watershed groups must combine forces to increase pressure on all jurisdictions in the region to enforce stormwater regulations to prevent flooding and to protect water quality.

The annual member's meeting of the Association for Beaver Lake Environment is at 6:30 p.m. TODAY (Tuesday, May 12th), at the Rogers Public Library.
We will be electing members for our Board of Directors. Hope to see you there.

IRWP Board of Directors Meeting
Tuesday, May 12, 6pm – 9pm
Rogers, Nabholz Construction Headquarters

Mayor Lioneld Jordan attends Fayetteville High School public meeting on plans for new campus on old site

Please click on image to ENLARGE view of Mayor Lioneld Jordan at the Fayetteville High School cafeteria on May 11, 2009.

The Morning News

Local News for Northwest Arkansas
Questions Still Arise About High School Project
By Rose Ann Pearce
FAYETTEVILLE — A timeline for the construction of a new Fayetteville High School hasn't been developed but planners hope to keep interruption at a minimum, residents were told Monday.
About 50 parents, parents and some school employees attended a community meeting to discuss a campus master plan, developed by a New Orleans planning firm, and two variations put together by central office administrators.
After a brief review of the plan's development and contents, questions arose from the audience about construction, closing Stone Street, parking and the renovation of one portion of the existing high school, built in 1991, to be incorporated in the new construction.
James McGinty, a former school board candidate, said local residents still want more information about the new high school project.
"Parents are concerned about the facilities for their children. We need more discussion," McGinty said. "It's ridiculous to have such a small turnout. We need more information."
When pressed by Jeff Hebert, the Concordia LLC project manager, McGinty noted he wanted to see what student, teachers and district administrators have said they want to see in the new school.
"Sharing the information so everyone can see," McGinty suggested. Hebert said Concordia would consider that suggestion for its Web site.
Fayetteville School Board member Jim Halsell said he doesn't have sufficient information yet to make a decision on the high school project.
Several school board members attended the meeting as did Vicki Thomas, the district's new superintendent who takes over July 1 when Superintendent Bobby New retires.
Halsell predicted more information may be forthcoming on Wednesday when the board holds a workshop to talk about the money side of the project. The meeting is from 5 to 7 p.m.
He also suggested patrons will have "opportunity for input all summer."
One patron suggested the planning firm assemble a three-dimensional model of the campus master plan to help patrons better understand the new high school project. Concordia representatives said the planning process hasn't progressed far enough to build such a model now but consideration would be given down the road.
He agreed attendance was low Monday.
Halsell said attendance may have been impacted by the weather and concerts and other year-end activities going on at the schools.
Bobbie Hill, also an associate of Concordia LLC, said a construction timeline is also too early to develop but noted that the school will be built in phases with "minimal interruptions."
Students will move into new facilities as they are completed, she said.
Still, Hebert noted, "It won't be a bed of roses," adding that this type of phased construction goes on across the country when building new schools.


Cost Of New High School

• The master plan recommended by Concordia LLC is projected to cost $124 million.

• Variation 2 is projected to cost $110.6 million.

• Variation 3 is projected to cost $101.8 million.

Source: Staff Report

Monday, May 11, 2009

Internet committee of the telecommunication board to meet at noon today and all are welcome

Telecommunication Board's Internet Subcommittee to meet at noon today in the PEG Center studio across Rock Street from the Fayetteville Municipal Court and police station.

Meeting Agenda
May 11, 2009
12:00 – 1:30 p.m.

1) Call to order and introductions

2) Use of Internet technologies by city boards and commissions for FOIA complaint communications.

3) Proposed use of Web 2.0/Social Networking media by city entities

4) City WiFi

Monday, May 4, 2009

May is Arkansas Heritage Month: Native species: Only in Arkansas

May is Arkansas Heritage Month.

The Department of Arkansas Heritage
1500 Tower Building
323 Center Street
Little Rock, AR 72201
(501) 324-9150
TDD:(501) 324-9811
Arkansas enjoys a vast wealth of natural and cultural resources. Its physical beauty, musical influence, folk arts, fine arts, social and political history all make for a colorful and unique heritage worth celebrating. That's why the Department of Arkansas Heritage sets aside the month of May each year as a time for Arkansans to recognize and appreciate their heritage. Arkansas Heritage Month is an opportunity to highlight a particular aspect of our state's history or defining features.
View the new Heritage Month Event photo gallery
Future Heritage Month themes will be:
2008 -- Arkansas's Political History
2009 -- Native Species/Only in Arkansas
2010 -- Arkansas Rural Life/Small Towns
2011 -- Centennial of the State Capitol
There are many ways to participate in Arkansas Heritage Month. A Heritage Month event might be a nature walk, research project, pictorial display, museum exhibit, festival or concert. To make it easier for more communities and organizations to showcase their heritage, grants are available to help them develop meaningful Heritage Month events and programs in their area. The Heritage Month grant process opens each year in November, with grants awarded in February for Heritage Month events to be held in May. Grant awards can be up to $5,000 for a qualifying event. For more information about this grant program, e-mail
The Department of Arkansas Heritage helps promote all Heritage Month events on the web site, in the Storyline newsletter and in Heritage Month marketing efforts.
For more information about Heritage Month and how you can get involved, e-mail
Copyright © 2009
The Department of Arkansas Heritage
Designed and Programmed by Aristotle®.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

FarmToTable theme of today's program in the Rose Garden of the Walton Art Center with renewable-energy lecture at Night Bird bookstore at 2 p.m.

Please click on image to ENLARGE view of OMNI Springfest poster.

Please click on image to ENLARGE view of poster.

Solar Power Struggle
Professor Richard Hutchinson of Louisiana Tech University in Ruston will speak on "The Struggle for the Solar Future" at 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 2, at Nightbird Books on Dickson Street in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
An inquiry into environmental change and the obstacles and opportunities in the path of the renewable energy transition.
Sponsored by OMNI Center for Peace, Justice, and Ecology.

Friday, May 1, 2009

White roses among early bloom on south slope

Please click on image to ENLARGE view of white roses on East Avenue.