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The original singing Montana 

By now, everybody knows that the song Miss Arkansas, Alyse Eady, sings and yodels through a ventriloquist's dummy is called "I Want to Be a Cowboy's Sweetheart," and they may know that it was made famous by Patsy Montana. How much they know about Patsy Montana, we're not sure.

First of all, she was an Arkansan, too. According to The Comprehensive Country Music Encyclopedia, and other sources, she was born Ruby Blevins in 1912 outside Hot Springs. Later in life, she stuck an "e" on the end of Ruby, and later still, after she'd begun singing professionally, she adopted the stage name of Patsy Montana. She got it from Monte Montana, who'd been a star of silent Western movies and a champion roper, and with whom she'd worked early in her career. She herself appeared in one of Gene Autry's Westerns.

The Country Music Encyclopedia says Patsy Montana was "one of the most popular acts in country music throughout the 1930's and 40's — and the first solo female country music star." With "I Want to be a Cowboy's Sweetheart," released in 1935, she became the first woman to have a record that sold a million copies. She died in 1996 at her home in San Jacinto, Calif.


Union colonel says shape up

This being the Civil War sesquicentennial, a lot of attention will be paid to that great conflict. At a recent exhibit in Little Rock, we were impressed by a proclamation issued by R.R. Livingston, a colonel in the 1st Nebraska Cavalry and the commander of the District of Northeast Arkansas, at Batesville on Christmas Day, 1863.

"I shall expect the full support of all good men in restoring peace to your desolated district. The hearty cooperation of law and order loving citizens in suppressing lawless bands, by information as well as by appealing to the erring, is essential to your own safety, and is demanded."

Peace on earth or else.


Majored in frugality

U.S. News and World Report has compiled a list of the "10 most-loved" colleges and universities, measuring love by the percentage of a school's alumni that contribute money to their alma mater. The obscure (to us) Webb Institute of Glen Cove, N.Y., topped the list, with 71 percent of its grads giving money back to their school. Carleton College of Northfield, Minn., was second, with 61 percent. Princeton was third at 60 percent.

But what really caught our eye was the school at the bottom of the list. Of 1,283 schools that participated in the survey, the one with the lowest percentage of alumni giving back was the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith — 0.1 percent.

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