_C1_8439If you’ve never played ultimate Frisbee, let me introduce you: It’s sort of like soccer or football with a Frisbee, and it’s the only way I know of that I can run around for at least two hours.

Teams try to pass the disc down the field into an end zone but can’t move while holding it. If you haven’t played ultimate but enjoy exercise, you should consider it. I’ve started here with the Fayetteville Disc Association’s summer league, which means I’m one of at least a hundred people (and a bunch of dogs) who get together Tuesday nights in brightly colored team shirts. My team includes Wax, Goody (above), Coffee, Aric and several others. We wear green. It’s fun. I have room for improvement.










_C1_8567I will say it’s odd to be older than the mostly university crowd, but it’s awesome to be there. I hope I got a couple decent shots out of it for you tonight, too.

Thanks for looking!



A Call for Compassion

_C1_8252The national rancor over the tens of thousands of Central American children coming to the border has reached Fayetteville.

About 40 people rallied yesterday near downtown to gather donations for a charity near the border and to tell U.S. officials to take care of those kids. From my story:

Gang-related violence reigns in these children’s home countries, according to multiple reports from the area. El Salvador’s murder rate is the second-highest in the world, for example, according to the U.S. Department of State. Children, including infants, have been killed by at least the hundreds, sometimes reportedly by other children.

“These children only have two options now: either flee or die,” said Fernando Garcia, president of Fayetteville’s OMNI Center, which focuses on a range of social justice issues and organized Monday’s rally.

Of course, other people vehemently disagree on how much we should be helping these kids. Many politicians say the border should be tighter, while others have said the children are dangerous and potentially diseased.

It’s a fascinating and revealing discussion, and one I’ve been wanting to cover somehow — this rally gave me the chance. We had a staff photographer there, but I snapped a handful of my own images, too.



_C1_8246(That’s Fayetteville’s mayor, Lioneld Jordan.)


_C1_8236Other news media were also on the scene.

Thanks for looking. I recommend keeping an eye on the politics surrounding this issue. Several charities are also working to help these children and some of their families as they wait for court hearings.


Water and Fire

_C1_8106I dropped the ball last weekend, so you get twice the photos today.

First, some friends of mine guided me to an exceptionally beautiful spot in the Ozark National Forest, almost exactly between Fayetteville and Clarksville. Clear water tumbles down dozens of natural stone steps before falling down a medium-sized waterfall. The falls open to a roughly circular opening in the canopy, where the water turns a cloudy green.

A few other groups came and went while we were there. I didn’t jump in. Some of the others did.











_C1_8153Second, I’ve been working on a bit of a summer project for the Times about the volunteer and rural fire departments in the area. I’ll be writing a story, and they’re also letting me take the photos. It’s sure been a while since I’ve had that chance, so I’m excited.


There’s an overall pattern of connection: Within departments, almost everyone is related to, or long-time friends, with everyone else. Several siblings work in adjoining departments. Many volunteers have uncles or dads or moms who fought fire — some families have been in it for five generations. A bunch of them also work in the professional departments throughout northwest Arkansas. They say they do it for pride, to give back and to have fun.

But some departments are also struggling. Breakfasts or potlucks that used to bring a hundred people are cancelled because no one shows up. Departments that used to have more than 50 members now have a dozen. The same thing’s reported nationwide, and chiefs aren’t sure if the pattern will ever reverse.

So far, I’ve mainly gone to training and other meetings, so I have plenty of work left to do. I absolutely need to get out there when they’re responding to a fire, for example. We’ll see how the story shapes up. It should be running in September, if you’re interested. Now, more photos.










_C1_7121Thanks for looking! I always hope to make this blog worth your time.



Night Lights

_C1_7577Happy 238th birthday to the U.S.A.! May we continue teaching each other about all of that history: how we as a people have failed and triumphed, and have failed and triumphed again, in our struggle for liberty and coexistence.

I took the chance to see two public fireworks shows this weekend: first in Fayetteville, Arkansas, and again with family in Springfield, Missouri. Fayetteville’s mall hosted the display, and families turned out hours beforehand for bounce-house lines, cover bands and explosives, so I came early, too. That’s the source of most of these images, with a handful from a couple hours’ drive north thrown in at the end.













Thanks for looking! I hope your fireworks were awesome, no appendages were damaged and you were where you wanted to be.