• There's a woman I know who agreed to share her thoughts on the state of television today, but only on condition of anonymity, since she doesn't care to field questions on the subject in the future. An English teacher whose family roots go back to the 1930s in the Poplar Bluff area, this woman claims to have loved television growing up. At dinnertime, her family would "gather around the set to watch The Lucy Show" and other programs of the day. Gunsmoke, Barnaby Jones, and The Carol Burnett Show were favorites. When she names All in the Family as a beloved program, I point up its often-controversial subject matter. "Look, we didn't feel like only Sesame Street counted as good

    Oct 17,
  • Ever wonder what valedictorians do once they're let loose on an unsuspecting world? I've always liked to think that they bring the energy and focus of their youth to adult life in such a way that innocent bystanders might be inclined to catch the fire and be invigorated by it. Documentary filmmaker and journalist Dianne Becker---yes, the valedictorian of her graduating class at Greenville High School in 1977---has kept the momentum going full force. And yes, she has managed to shape life and career in a way that invigorates, and empowers, many around the globe. After having taken a degree at the University of Missouri School of Journalism, the one-time KFVS reporter began rising through the ranks in newsrooms from

    Oct 12,
  • I had a meeting Saturday here in Poplar Bluff, which brought me face to face with what appeared to be the Mother of All Poplar Bluff Street Jams---the 14th Annual Fall Arts Festival/Art on the Run blowout, spilling forth along the historic red-cobblestone stretch of Main Street with gusto. Simply put (if you happen to be Frank Sinatra): The Friends of Margaret Harwell Art Museum, organizers of the event, really know how to throw a swingin' shindig. There was live music. I saw Toni Becker engage those assembled with her rich vocals and wonderful guitar. To my chagrin, I had missed by a hair Gary Garner's performance on the Chapman Stick---an instrument not unlike a guitar, but for people who

    Oct 10,
  • Gentle Reader, prepare yourself: You are about to learn the Best Kept Dining Secret in Piedmont. As is the general rule with secrets, the more exciting they are, the less chance they have of remaining secret for long. And through word of mouth alone, The Lantern Steak House is rapidly building a solid reputation for exquisite cuisine, cheerful service, and a warm, welcoming elegance capable of enhancing any occasion. Elaine Bowles is the owner of The Lantern, an eggshell-and-white colonnaded structure which was once a private home. Wear your jeans, office gear, or evening attire to Bowles's new establishment; bring the children or your fellow club members, or make it an intimate evening for two. From down-home comfort favorites to

    Oct 05,
  • Once upon a time in Puxico, Missouri, an eager little 12-year-old accepted a unique challenge from his father. "You know that record you keep playing all the time?" the father asked, referring to a now-forgotten side by the great Chet Atkins. The boy said yes. The father replied that if the boy could learn to play it himself on the father's guitar, he would buy the boy a brand new instrument of his very own. A few days later, young Tom Hemby was holding his own sleek new Gibson SG---the slim, solid-body electric affair that would take him to a whole new level of discovery on the instrument that had captured his imagination.

    Sep 28,

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