BITS & PIECES: Readers Choice Awards to be announced June 26

By JOEL PHELPS | The Arkadelphian

As we wrap up arkadelphian.com’s inaugural Readers Choice Awards this week, we’re met with a sense of major accomplishment, ideas to improve next year’s contest (for both us and the recipients), and just a tad of doubt. As for the accomplishment, doling out a stack of some 140 awards to businesses and citizens across the community is not a task for the faint of heart — especially when the person handing out the certificates and taking the pictures has a daily news organization to operate. The real accomplishment here, though, is seeing the recipients light up when they’ve just learned their community picked them as the “best” of something, even on the occasion when there’s little to no competition in their field. Next year, we’ll scale back on the number of categories so as to avoid repetition, and we’ll add other categories we just plain forgot (the perfectionist in us can’t believe we left out Best French Fries). Several have said they weren’t aware of the contest, but we promoted it fairly heavily: on Facebook and with a pair of house advertisements that sent readers directly to the form. Next year we’ll promote it more heavily. The results will be in list form, with an accompanying slideshow gallery of the winners, and will be posted to our website and Facebook page on Monday, June 26.

We recently rolled out the Community Calendar in hopes that the community will use it as a place to announce upcoming and ongoing events. With so many churches, businesses and organizations using their own Facebook pages, there seems to be only a handful of sources of events news — namely the Arkadelphia Chamber of Commerce’s Wednesday Weekly email and the Events in Clark County page on Facebook. Continue using these existing avenues and others, but know that we’re here to serve as a central hub of information for the community. When folks are checking out the police blotter or some big news story, they’re apt to click around on our site and read about your event. To access the Community Calendar, select it from the Community tab in the homepage menu.

There was an elephant in the room at the latest quorum court meeting, but nobody mentioned it.

Please take a moment to participate in our Reader Poll. We’d like to know what the community thinks about urban bowhunting for deer. There are nine Arkansas municipalities with an archery season regulated by the Arkansas Game & Fish Commission. Arkadelphia isn’t one of them, but we’ve certainly heard complaints over the years of there being too many Cervidae running out in front of motorists.

Among our many Readers Choice Awards stops was Mary & Martha’s Florist & Gifts, which recently moved from its Main Street location and into a renovated garage on Clinton Street. The former shop was eloquent, but we’re highly impressed with the new setup, inside and out. If you haven’t been to Mary & Martha’s since the move, do so soon: you’ll be glad you did. The proprietors, David and Karrie Goodman, also own the storefronts north of the shop and have plans to improve those locations as well. Good to see folks invested in downtown. In a similar move, Claire Gehrki has recently relocated Knit Unto Others into the heart of downtown, at 628 Main St., just three blocks west of the former location. We dropped in on a Saturday morning a few weeks ago to find the place abuzz with shoppers and folks busying themselves with needlework.

We’ve done away with the four featured stories found at the top of the homepage. Mainly regular features like real estate transactions, Week in History and monthly lottery sales, we’re not doing away with the stories themselves, but simply redesigning the appearance to rid the site of stale, four-day-old stories. Love the idea or hate it? Let us know your thoughts at editor@arkadelphian.com.

The Caddo Center at Henderson State University was approved recently for another $1.2 million renovation project. The historic building, located southwest of the university’s landmark fountain, is expected to be a space for various student activities. A sign out front says Student Tours Start Here. The Arkansas State University System Board of Trustees made the decision in its most recent meeting, also approving HSU’s budget for the upcoming fiscal year and leaving tuition rates the same. CLICK HERE to read more about the budget.

The best way to make a PR person respond to you is to call them out in an article when they have a day off but you don’t, like Juneteenth. Emergency number be damned!

Joel Phelps is editor of arkadelphian.com. Any opinions expressed in Bits & Pieces are his own but should be considered facts. He can be reached by phone at 501-304-2134 or email at editor@arkadelphian.com. C’mon, Joe, let ‘em be proud.

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3 replies »

  1. I’m glad you did the reader’s choice! I think it’s so kind to nominate people/businesses and to recognize their hard work!

  2. I love your new Community Page, but can I suggest it have a calendar type format as well? the List format currently just doesn’t register in my brain quite as well…

  3. Your Community Calendar would be an excellent place the the City of Arkadelphia to let us know ahead of time when there will NOT be trash pickup!! That information would be most appreciated.