All posts by Joseph

Skeeter by Scott Parker

I often go on and on about Arkansas and the things that I love about this beautiful state. I love the outdoors and I do love to share my feelings about the plants and animals with which I share this beautiful land. But this month, just this once, I'm going yo share with you something that I do NOT like. Something so vile, so insidious, that though I rarely use the word hate, I will here. And though some people do not like snakes, or beetles, or worms, cats, dogs, or even turtles, and we would disagree on all of those, I will guarantee, that we will all agree that in this case, the use of the word "hate" is justified. I hate mosquitos. Hate,hatey hate HATE!!!
I have walked this earth for 51 years so far, and my ears have heard some very questionable things uttered by some equally questionable people, but I've yet to hear anyone, anywhere say " Don't kill it, I LOVE MOSQUITOS!!!!". And just between you and I, If I ever do, it will probably be the last day that one of us walks said earth.
But in the spirit of Sun Tzu, I feel that knowing our common enemy better might ease the struggle a bit, soooo,
Despite their being a blood sucking, itch causing, irritating, aggervating little pestilence, Mosquitos are, in fact , an amazingly successful family of insects. So lets take a moment and look at a few of this spawn of hells attritbutes.
The word Mosquito is a Spanish inspired amalgam of two words, loosely meaning Little Fly. Mosquitos are one of, if not the, most prolific disease vectors known to mankind. Malaria, Yellow Fever, Chikumgunya, West Nile Virus, Dengue Fever, Filariscis, and Zika Virus, among others, are all transmitted to humans. And whilie we, in North America, are spared many of these, Mosquito transmitted diseases account for more human deaths per year worldwide than any other vector. This gives the Mosquito the undisputed title of Worlds Most Dangerous Animal.
Interesting fact... Every single mosquito that has ever bitten you, every one, was a female. Each and every itching, stinging, irratating bite was given to you by a female... The males peacefully feed on plant juices... Just saying...
After a female feeds (on your BLOOD), she lays between 50 and 100 eggs, in water. This water can be anything from a 500 acre rice field to a discarded soup can that has collected a bit of rain water. Roughly 10 days later adult mosquitos emerge, ready to feed and repeat the cycle. Females can begin to reproduce in about 28 hours after emerging, and can live up to 2 months. Males typically live about 10 days. Do the math...
This rapid fire reproduction is the main reason for the mosquitos sucess. A female can only lay eggs after a blood meal, but she can lay eggs after EVERY blood meal. A few mosquitos become many in a very short amount of time. And with only about 14 days from egg to sexual maturity, that number compounds exponentially for the entire season. Since unlike most predators, their prey survives, it can continue to be a steady food source indeffintely . And since the huge population potential allows for mass expendability of both males and females, extinction is not an issue. Mosquitos have never been eradicated from an area even with the most agressive of attempts. No where. EVER.
The mosquitos mouth is actually a very sophisticated apperartus, not the rusty dagger and lapping tounge one might imagine. Called a probiscus, it consists of 6 thin, needle like parts, called stylets. These pierce the skin and fan out , probing and searching for blood vessels. Siliva is injected to prevent coagulation of the blood and faliciltate a quick, uninterupted flow. The itching assocated with the bite is your bodies histimine reaction to this siliva.
I have always tried to offer some sort of a fond, nostalgic memory of my monthly subject in these pages, but in this case, there just simply isn't one. My ONLY fond recollection of mosquitos is that of my weekly sprayings at my shop. During the warm months, the mosquitos congergate in the rafters and corners of an outdoor shed, by the thousands. And every Saturday morning, I take great pleasure in plowing through their masses with a can of insect killer. And right or wrong, judge me if you wish, I do so relish watching with unabashed glee, as their tiny bodies rain down by the hundreds. To paraphrase a line from Apocalypse Now, " I love the smell of RAID! in the morning. It smells like VICTORY."
So, the next time your trying to grill a burger, catch a fish, or just simply mow your yard and you feel that familar stinging itch, take a second to admire the awesomely successful , highly evolved insect on you. Then, KILL IT! TWICE! And when your sure it is dead, grind its body into a gray smear. Extra points if you giggle as you do.

Eye On Survey Question

We have been asked about subscriptions since our beginnings in 2010. We have declined simply because of our cost of mailing issues and having to pass that cost onto our readers who subscribe. How many of you would be willing to pay $4 per issue or $48 for a yearly mailed subscription? Answer me here or shoot me an email at and let us know how you feel.

Ozark Foothills Literacy Project to Hold Food Drive

Morgan Reed / Ozark Foothills Literacy Project

Ozark Foothills Literacy Project and Americorps are hosting a food drive in honor of Americorps Week. All donations will benefit the Feed the Children Backpack Program at the First United Methodist Church in Batesville. The food drive will run from March 11th through the 17th.

Many businesses are participating in the drive by allowing OFLP to set up donation boxes. Participating Batesville businesses include: Kroger, Independence County Library, and Cash Saver. Participating Cave City businesses include: Hometown Market and Dollar General.

For more information on the OFLP Food Drive, please call 870-793-5912.

Tenth annual Friends concert scheduled for Feb. 24

Local musicians will gather for the 10th annual Friends in Great Places Concert at 7 p.m. Feb. 24 at the University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville.
The concert will be held in Independence Hall and promises two hours of entertainment. Featured guests will include Danny Dozier, Pam Setser, Tim Crouch, Gary Rounds, Brad Apple, Kenny Loggains, Samuel Cobb and Irl Hess. Special guests this year will be Creek Rocks, and Alex Prince will join the show as a clog dancer and singer.
Cindy Woolf and Mark Bilyeu make up Creek Rocks. The duo have been playing music together since 2003 and were married in 2013. Woolf has recorded three albums as a solo artist, and Bilyeu is well-known as a member of the former Ozarks family band Big Smith. Their first album, Wolf Hunter, is a collection of 16 folk songs from the Ozarks. Selections were drawn from the collections of Max Hunter of Springfield, Mo., Bilveu’s hometown, and John Quincy Wolf of Batesville, where Woolf grew up. Joining them on the album and on stage are bassist Jason Chapman of the Chapman’s bluegrass band and percussionist Jay Williamson from Big Smith.
After intermission, local favorites will take the stage. Setser, of Mountain View, will provide vocals, mountain dulcimer, spoons and guitar. Crouch, of Strawberry, will play the fiddle, guitar, mandolin and bass. Rounds will be featured on vocals and guitar; Dozier on guitar; Apple on vocals, guitar and mandolin; Loggains on percussion; Cobb on the mandolin; and Hess on vocals and bass.
Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at the door or ahead of time at the Batesville Daily Guard, First Community Bank, Merchants and Planters Bank, UACCB and WRD Entertainment.
The Friends in Great Places concert is the main fundraiser for Kids’ College and helps provide partial scholarships to students who qualify for the free and reduced lunch program. Kids’ College has proven to be a great asset to the community, serving the youth in Independence and surrounding counties for more than 20 years. The event is sponsored by UACCB, WRD Entertainment, Bad Boy Inc., Centennial Bank, First Community Bank, FutureFuel Chemical Company and Merchants and Planter Bank.

UACCB to offer conversational Spanish

The University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville’s Community and Technical Education department is offering conversational Spanish for beginners from 5 p.m.- 6:30 p.m. Feb. 26 - Apr. 11.

According to an article in Business Insider magazine, “you should learn Spanish because it’s not a foreign language anymore. It’s good for your career and it will unlock a world of travel destinations.”

Instructor Tim Bennett has taught Spanish for more than 25 years to high school and adult students. This class takes a conversational approach, with group and partner activities, storytelling and short readings to ease students into the confidence needed to speak the language. The beginner-level class is appropriate for those with no previous experience or those who want to practice what they have learned. The cost is $67 plus the cost of the textbook which can be purchased at the UACCB bookstore. The course will be held on Mondays and Wednesdays in the UACCB Row Johns Library Building, room 815. For more information or to register, call 870-612-2082 or email Hannah Keller Flanery