Mike Dougherty's Blog

Happy Birthday to my bride

June 1, 2012
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My wife, Nancy Elizabeth McQuary Dougherty, turned 56 today, which is remarkable, considering that I met her sometime after she turned 14 when she and her family moved to Little Rock in 1970.

Her father, A.L. “Spider” McQuary, moved the family from Brownfield, Texas, after just a year with Farm Bureau, to take a sales management job with company’s state office. They had lived in Helena, Ark., for a decade before that.

Her older brother, Vaughn, who had been a promising high school quarterback until 1970, was moved to tight end the day Mike Malham Sr. (and a number of us running backs and receivers) met him on the McClellan High School campus. A few days after that, he became an offensive tackle, a position where he excelled, making all-state and joining the Arkansas State University football program briefly before injuries ended his football career. He is a senior vice president with RPM Realty (the old Rector-Phillips-Morse) and had a stint of about 10 years as the chairman of the Arkansas Democratic Party.

The McQuary parents, Spider and Nancy, became our UMY sponsors at Mabelvale United Methodist Church soon after the move to Little Rock. (Nancy the elder was on one of her sojourns away from the Catholic Church.) Through that association at church, I came to know Nancy (or Sissy as most of the family and early friends know her) and the other siblings, Jack McQuary (now a special prosecutor for the State of Arkansas) and Mary Virginia “Boogie” McQuary Olson (now manager of the Little Rock Athletic Club).

I didn’t marry into the family until Dec. 23, 2006, after Nancy and I became re-acquainted over the telephone in late 2004. Mr. and Mrs. McQuary had passed away by then (both to cancer), so I did not know them as my in-laws, but I certainly was glad to have known them from 30 years before. That helps when the family stories, tall tales and legends are told whenever the siblings gather at holidays.

It is my wonderful wife’s day, and I hope she has a great “birthday festival” through the weekend, but I am the lucky one, to finally have connected with her — later in life as it may be — and her amazing, loving family.

Happy Birthday, Honey!


Does Gus Malzahn rule?

May 31, 2012
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A friend was telling me this week that he heard about a discussion on Bo Mattingly’s afternoon radio sports talk show in which a caller suggested that perhaps, for the first time, the Arkansas State University head football coach was better known than the head football coach at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville.

Going strictly from hearsay, the word was that Mattingly disagreed with the premise.

Don’t know if any of that happened, but it IS an interesting supposition.

It is an amazing thing even to ponder, looking how far back the Razorbacks have dominated the rather provincial psyche of the sports fan in the state, at times to an unhealthy extent, in consideration of the fan, the player and the institution.

Before the Razorbacks have played a down under John L. Smith as head coach, Gus Malzahn, formerly a highly touted assistant at Arkansas, has been storming through the state on behalf of Arkansas State University in Jonesboro, including stops by the Red Wolves staff at every football-playing high school in the state. It’s true that the fanatical follower of college football who spends every waking hour listening to sports talk shows knows all about John L. Smith. But the casual fan who likely goes to a game or two as a social event in the fall may not have a clue about who replaced Bobby Petrino.

At this particular time of the year, ASU’s much-discussed new coach, Gus Malzahn may, indeed, be better-known than the Razorbacks’ one-season-and-done head man.

Pulling page program another ridiculous stunt by Congress

August 8, 2011
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Just heard that John Boehner and Nancy Pelosi had agreed to end the congressional page program, which costs about $5 million per year.

The leaders of the two parties in the U.S. House cited all the jobs once performed by pages (carrying documents from one place to another, delivering phone messages to representatives, etc.) as now being unnecessary because of all the information that congressmen send and receive via their personal electronic devices.

Yes, $5 million will solve our financial problems — how many trillions of dollars are we in debt?

Many a youngster has been exposed to the excitement and noble calling of public service during their days as a page.

It seems to me that we would much better get our money’s worth from our congressmen if we kept the page system and banned our elected representatives from using PDAs and cell phones while they are on the floor of the Capitol. Better yet, why don’t we ban them from using them while they are in Washington. If they worried less about their personal Twitter accounts and what provocative photos they can send with their phones, maybe they would concentrate on what’s good for the country instead of check their poll numbers and how many friends and followers they have on their various social media sites.

We’re not electing them to be popular on the Internet, but most (on both sides of the aisle) seem to have forgotten that.

Let’s just pull the plug on the Wi-Fi service in the U.S. Capitol. How much worse a job would our congressmen do if they were forced to pay attention to their jobs?

Cabot Quiz Bowl team wins Class 7A state championship

May 18, 2011
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Congratulations are in order for the Cabot High School Quiz Bowl team that won the Class 7A state championship of the Arkansas Governor’s Academic Competition, Quiz Bowl 2011, late last month against Fort Smith Southside High School.
The team won the championship trophy and a check for $3,200.
“We are going to nationals [competition] at New Orleans,” quiz bowl coach Sarah Cantrell said of how the winnings will be used.
Team members are Layne Bernardo, Tony Cardillo, Will Otter, Daniel Carman, Harrison Cardillo, Emily Riley, Jordan Reed, Celina Miranda, Zayne Derden and Rose Arnold. Each member developed areas of specialty.
Coaches are Jana Smith and Cantrell.
The title match was televised on Arkansas Educational Television Network at the AETN studio in Conway.
That’s a wonderful conclusion to a difficult, challenging quest the team started early this year.
Coming up with the correct answer to random questions on statewide television likely involves much more pressure than does playing a sport in which an athlete has performed for hundreds, if not a thousand hours, over the course of a childhood.
The Quiz Bowl students have prepared for their season a few hours a week for a couple of months.

Buzz-B-Q on May 14 to benefit Camp Sunshine, pediatric burn survivor camp funded by local firefighters group

May 6, 2011
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The seventh annual Buzz-B-Q, hosted by KABZ-FM, 103.7 The Buzz, will be Saturday, May 14, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., at the North Little Rock RV Park on the North Shore of the Arkansas River.

The Buzz-B-Q barbecue and music festival benefits the Arkansas Professional Firefighters’ project, Camp Sunshine.

“Camp Sunshine is an annual four-day camp for pediatric burn survivors completely funded by the Arkansas Professional Firefighters and is free for the camper,” said Capt. Mark Warford, president of IAFF Local No. 35. “By partnering with The Buzz on Buzz-B-Q, we are able to help fund this camp and assist the kids’ transition from being a burn victim to burn survivor through fun activities with other kids who are going through a similar situation.”

Camp Sunshine is held every August at Camp Aldersgate in west Little Rock. Counselors and volunteers are firefighters, adult burn survivors and Arkansas Children’s Hospital personnel, such as the Burn Center nurses. Volunteers participate in many activities with campers including fishing, swimming, canoeing, arts and crafts, a dance and even a trip to Magic Springs amusement park near Hot Springs.

“The atmosphere is relaxed and happy. Kids can catch up with old friends and meet new ones, all having survived the same devastating experience,” Warford said. “We get as much out of the camp as the kids themselves. It brings it home, and to the heart, as to why we do the job we do.”

Tickets to Buzz-B-Q are on sale now. The public may buy one ticket for $10 and get one free at participating ticket locations before the event. Ticket locations are listed online at http://www.1037thebuzz.com. Tickets are $10 a person at the door on the day of the event. Children 12 and under are admitted free.

More than 90 local barbecue teams will compete in the barbecue contest for $5,000 in cash and prizes in the categories of pork, ribs and chicken. Forty-five teams are competing in the Average Joe Division for the laid-back griller. Forty-seven teams are competing in the more competitive Pro Division.

Half of the teams will be handing out free samples of their barbecue to the public. These teams will be competing for the People’s Choice Award that will be judged by a random sampling of Buzz-B-Q attendees. Teams also will be voted on for a showmanship prize for originality of the barbecue team space. Teams giving free samples and participating in the showmanship contest will display signs in their team space.

Live music will be featured on the music stage by Josh Green, The Moses Tucker Band, Jeff Coleman and the Feeders, Taylor Made Rocks and Canvas. The Kids Zone will feature options such as a rock-climbing wall and the Buzzaritaville will offer food, drinks and entertainment for the whole family. KABZ personalities Tommy Smith, David Bazzel, Roger Scott, Justin Acri and Pat Bradley will be among those serving as masters of ceremony.

The night before, the Buzz is hosting the Kick-off to Buzz-B-Q party from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the RV Park that is free to the public. Buzzaritaville will be open and live music will be provided by Steele Jessup, Breaking Eden and Sharpe Dunaway and the Meanies.

Archarcharch draws Post Pos. 1 for Saturday’s Kentucky Derby

May 4, 2011
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It’s not the spot they wanted, but Bob and Val Yagos drew Post Position 1 for their 3-year-old Archarcharch in Saturday’s Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville.
The Derby is the first leg of horse racing’s Triple Crown.
The Pulaski County couple, who own JB’s Auto Salvage near Jacksonville, were in attendance along with other owners, at the drawing Wednesday afternoon in Louisville. The horse is trained by 70-year-old Jinks Fires of Hot Springs, Ark. The jockey is Jon Court, 50, of Louisville..
The drawing was televised by Versus cable network.
The Morning Line established Archarcharch as a 10-1 shot. Dialed In, at No. 8, was named the favorite at 4-1. Uncle Mo, starting from No. 18, was the second favorite at 9-2. Nehro, who nearly caught Archarcharch when he won the Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park on April 16, will start from No. 19, with odds set at 6-1. Midnight Interlude, trained by media favorite Bob Baffert, also opens as a 10-1 bet and will start at No. 15.

Storms still show us who’s boss

April 25, 2011
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Monday night was another scary one for those of us here on Pinto Point in west Little Rock. It’s 11:30 p.m. and we’re still without power, but as best we can tell in the dark, there is no severe damage.
This will be the second time in 11 days for an extended loss of electrical power for those of us on the south side of the street. This time, though, our neighbors across the street are in the dark as well.
Thank God that we all apparently are OK, We know that some people were not as fortunate, in regard to damage to their homes and surroundings.
Nancy, Daisy (our Lhasa Apso) and I wound up in the closet when the tornado apparently was going over us. We had Ed Buckner of Channel 11 playing on 94.1 FM The Point on our battery-operated boombox, but we didn’t lose power until a few minutes later when Ed was telling us that powerful straight-line winds were blowing through downtown Little Rock.
Oh well, I hope the alarm goes off on my alarm clock in the morning.

Brummett’s Tuesday column worth checking out

April 19, 2011
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John Brummett, a columnist for Stephens Media, nails the absurdity of some of the candidates who seem to be atop the polls as leading GOP presidential candidates in his column written for Tuesday, April 19. His effort lampooning the candidacies of Mike Huckabee and Donald Trump appears in some of Central Arkansas Newspapers’ own weeklies this week and is available at arkansasnews.com, the website of the Arkansas News Bureau.
Brummett is a former Little Rock McClellan High School classmate. In fact, my criticism of the school newspaper 40-plus years ago likely is the reason I am in the business now. Basically, he told me to “put up or shut up” and here we are.
Check out John’s column. You’ll enjoy it.

Travelers hope to get back on track in Game 2 of homestand

April 15, 2011
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The Arkansas Travelers were hot.
Going into their 2011 home opener Thursday night at Dickey-Stephens Park in North Little Rock, they were on a two-game winning streak. They had started the season with four straight losses.
New manager Bill Mosiello’s club was swept by the Midland RockHounds in the three-game opening series of the Texas League season last week. Then the team headed east to Frisco, where the RoughRiders hammered the Travs 11-4 in the series opener before Arkansas snapped back with a 6-4 and 9-4 wins to take the series.
But Thursday, the RockHounds put a stop to the winning streak by shutting down the Travs 3-0 before a crowd of 5,734. Travs starter Trevor Reckling was good in five shutout innings, but the wheels came off in a three-run sixth against Travs right-handed reliever Daniel Sattling.
Friday night the Travelers try to break that 0-4 start against the RockHounds by sending right-hander Orangel Arenas to the mound in a 7:10 start tonight at Dickey-Stephens.

First Presbyterian Church in Argenta hosts Easter egg hunt April 23

April 12, 2011
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First Presbyterian Church of North Little Rock’s downtown Argenta neighborhood is hosting an Easter egg hunt for all children 10-and-under at 10 a.m. Saturday, April 23, in the church courtyard.
No one has to be a member of the church and no recruiting will be done.
First Presbyterian Church is at 201 W. Fourth St. (corner of Fourth and Main) in North Little Rock. Call 501.374.7677 or go to argentapres.org for more information.
The prizes in the eggs will be peanut-free (because of allergies) and chocolate-free (because of melted messiness).

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