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Happy New Year, Mountain Home! We’ve been back in the office since yesterday after a much-needed break away from investigative journalism and daily publishing. We thought we would compile a short list of our top articles and a quick recap of the year behind us for our dear readers.
2023 started with a bang, with the State Board of Election Commissioners issuing letters of warning to both Baxter County Republican Election Commissioners, Judy Garner and Gary Smith. Both would be voted out at the annual meeting and election of officers of the Baxter County Republican Committee, and replaced with Bill Andres and Lynn Weaver.
Weaver did not last the election year and resigned shortly after being caught up in another scandal involving the BCEC and FOIA over the pre-planned ‘audit’ of the school millage election.
Smith, who was welcomed back with open arms at the County, returned to take Weaver’s place after the BCRC scrambled to find a replacement, missing their legal deadline to appoint and confirm Smith.
School millage and FOIA
Another subject that blew up earlier in the year was focused on Mountain Home Public Schools’ millage increase election. While messaging for and against the millage was flawed and oftentimes incorrect, most especially on the ‘no’ side, what stood out with readers was Dr. Long’s resignation and the following investigation by the Observer into the school board’s FOIA violations.
No charges were ever brought against the board. Since the body took corrective actions and conducted FOIA training rather promptly, there is little reason for a prosecutor to press charges since cases like those typically result in a judge ordering FOIA training.
And speaking of Arkansas FOIA! Our own Governor seemed to think the law rather pesky and pushed for the state legislature to gut it, attempting to shield nearly the entirety of the executive branch from public scrutiny. Opposition mounted on both sides of the aisle, with Sanders’ administration pushing false rhetoric on social media claiming that it was only ‘far leftists’ pushing against this change.
We couldn’t help but think back on former Gov. Mike Huckabee’s time in Arkansas and some of the questionably secret things his administration did that left constituents outraged, or at least scratching their heads.
The NABORS landfill
This year-long saga seems to be finally drawing to a close. It was Christmas 2022 when news of the landfill deal was revealed. We followed up with a year-long investigation into the history and lawsuits revolving around the mostly closed but not yet actually closed landfill (thanks, ADEQ).
While the top-read story of this subject was directly after the public meeting that took place literally on top of the landfill here in Baxter County, the entire series puts its ranking more in the top five than anything else.
Local eateries in Mountain Home
We cannot forget the celebrated eateries by our readers for the year. Fontenot’s opening up a storefront was a big hit in Mountain Home, followed by the new Rabbithole Coffeehouse and Brew. Tasty Greens Togo was also popular with readers, as was the now annual ARktoberfest event at Rapp’s Barren. Plus, we can’t forget about Scoop Ice Cream, a lovely addition off the square for those looking for a treat after dinner.
Lastly, but certainly not least if we’re judging based on properly made croissants, is Petite Patisserie, the French bakery on the square.
We’re looking forward to what news comes out of Mountain Home in 2024!
Top articles of 2023 (ordered by views)
- Bass Pro cites economic headwinds, interest rates in decision to move Midway operations to Flippin
- Gov. Sanders’ attempt to hide records with FOIA reforms joins father’s legacy of government secrecy
- Superintendent Long admits to secret school board chat group, texts regularly deleted
- Secrets of the Ozarks: Dateline NBC to cover Rebekah Gould murder on Friday
- New RV Park causes headache for Mallard Point residents, owner potentially tied to Joplin tornado fraud suit
- Fontenot’s goes big by bringing taste of Louisiana to Mountain Home
- ‘Curiouser and curiouser!’ Mountain Home couple brings guests down the ‘Rabbit Hole’ with new coffeehouse and eatery
- Dr. Long resigns as superintendent of the Mountain Home School District
- Editorial: Addressing the allegations against MHPS
- The Lockmans get lean and green at Tasty Greens Togo
- The Dels wins Outstanding Business of the Year award
- Mountain Home prepares to open construction bidding for long awaited Aquatic Center
- It’s a done deal: NABORS landfill sale set to happen, could take on new trash as soon as six months
- ARktoberfest to return to Mountain Home in September
- Scoop Ice Cream brings fun and flavor to downtown Mountain Home
- Long denies knowing which text messages were discovered in lead up to KTLO debate
- It’s time for some Summer fun with the Baxter County Fair!
- MHPS fails to convince voters in millage election, sees landslide loss
- BCRC Chairman’s past loosely tied to Neo-Confederate hate group, addresses allegations
- Bank OZK held in contempt in NABORS Landfill suit, court docs reveal ADEQ/bondholder plot for taxpayer bailout
- BC Election Commissioners found to have violated election law by State Election Commission
- In his footsteps: Lyle Crownover’s journey to building dream homes
- C’est très bien! Petite Patisserie brings taste of France to downtown Mountain Home
- It’s here! Mountain Home’s 23rd Annual Red, White & Blue Festival opens on Friday
- Baxter County’s sole recycling center seeks help in fight to stay open