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Over the past two weekends, my family — Mom, Dad, my two brothers and my sister-in-law — have visited me in El Dorado. It’s a lot of fun showing them a new town. They enjoyed visiting Norman, Oklahoma, when I worked there for four years, and now that I’ve spent a little bit of time in El Dorado, I have some ideas of where to take them.

Last weekend, I took my mom and dad and my twin brother, Joshua, and his wife Sara to see the sights. Mom and Dad stayed downtown in the Union Square Guest Quarters on the second floor — Mom absolutely loved sitting on a balcony downtown reading in the early mornings. Josh, Mom and I explored the South Arkansas Arboretum, getting quite a few steps in and enjoying the beautiful woods that make up so much of South Central Arkansas.

I took them around the Murphy Arts District, and we had a delicious brunch at The Griffin Restaurant (along with the best deviled eggs I’ve ever had). We had an external tour of the SouthArk campus, and we drove around much of El Dorado, looking at cool old houses and geocaching (if you don’t know what geocaching is, check out my dad’s website, It’s a lot of fun, and there are quite a few geocaches in Union County).

We visited a ton of shops, from PJ’s Coffee to Jefferson Street Books to the Southern Hippie. We had great meals at the Black Cat Cafe and Johnny B’s. They had a blast. This holiday weekend my little brother, Nathan, who lives in Little Rock, is down to explore. We’ll be hitting a lot of the same highlights.

There’s a lot still left to do — Spudnuts (half of us are on Keto, so it didn’t quite work out this trip), the Newton House Museum, Sweet Mama T’s, etc. But that’s okay. It means they have quite a few reasons to come back!

I received a wonderful call Friday afternoon from a woman telling me she had resubscribed to the paper due to all the local content in the Sunday edition. It was quite a pick-me-up. My staff has been working hard the past month on local stories, putting out three special sections and covering a wide variety of events, meetings and breaking news. And help is on the way! Over the next month, I look forward to introducing you all to three new full-time staff members in the newsroom. The new journalists will enable us to continue to improve on delivering high quality content across print and digital platforms in unique and meaningful ways.

I have high expectations for myself and this newspaper, expectations set by my boss and general manager Rita Haldeman. We have a long way to go. But I’m grateful for the community support the News-Times has, and I firmly believe the best is yet to come.

Have story ideas you want us to cover? Email them to me at [email protected]

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