Highway 71 is a north–south United States highway that runs from International Falls, Minnesota at the Canadian border to South Louisiana. It travels through Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas and Louisiana. My place of business is on Highway 71 in Mena, Arkansas. Highway 71 is the main road that travels through Mena.
The original 1926 route of Highway 71 has remained largely unchanged. Interstate 49 is planned along the Highway 71 corridor. 180 miles of current US Highway 71 between Interstate 435 in south Kansas City and Route H at Pineville, Missouri has been upgraded to interstate standards and is now designated Interstate 49. No section in Arkansas has been signed as Interstate 49, although completed sections of Future Interstate 49 are currently signed as I-540, Highway 245 and State Highway 549. Construction of I-49 in Louisiana began in the early 1980s, the first signed segment from I-10 to Washington, Louisiana, opened in 1984. The entire length of the 212-mile road was completed May 1, 1996 and runs from Shreveport to Lafayette.
In 2010, one of my favorite bands, 3 Penny Acre, released an album titled Highway 71. The album debuted on the folk radio charts at #3, including the title track Highway 71 as the #1 song, and held that position for two months. When the annual charts were compiled, they had the #10 song and the #36 album of 2010.
I was able to see 3 Penny Acre at the 2010 Ozark Folk Festival held in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. Here is the video of the song Highway 71 from that performance.
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I was born in 1956 in Madison, Tennessee, while my parents were attending Madison College. I grew up along the Front Range in Colorado, attending schools in Longmont, Brighton, Boulder and Loveland, Colorado. Two years after graduating from Campion Academy, I married my sweetheart, Regina. We lived in Loveland, Colorado for six years before moving to Mena in western Arkansas.
I love the people of Mena and the friendly easy going way of life here. I have owned and operated my own business since moving to Mena. I enjoy the natural beauty of western Arkansas and being out of doors.
My newspaper column in The Mena Star, An Arkie’s Faith, premiered on January 7, 2016. In March 2017, I published my first book, titled An Arkie's Faith, using articles from the column.