In right direction
Odds and ends
Leave it to the Walton Foundation to step up with a contribution toward helping resolve the controversial plan for what to do with the failed Bella Vista Lake dam.
The inadequate dam has had plenty of critics who believe the best plan is to set Little Sugar Creek, which feeds the lake, free to once again meander through the community where its charms can be appreciated.
But others want to restore this dysfunctional dam that’s been topped four times since 2008, using mostly federal money for such a project estimated to cost nearly $4 million. The hand-wringing has continued for years.
And now the Walton Foundation has given a $98,960 grant to the city of Bentonville (which gladly accepted) to retain Ecological Design Group and the Watershed Resource Conservation Center to develop a plan that might finally resolve everyone’s argument through creative changes to the way this lake looks, while preserving the ambience of the creek.
Interesting how an infusion of financial resources can clear a path for better ideas and understanding. So count me among those congratulating the foundation and both sides of the debate for seeing this welcome development as a step in the right direction.
Because compromise and creativity often provide the first one.
It’s good to see newly appointed 20th Judicial District Prosecutor Luke Ferguson agree with his predecessor, Cody Hiland, in determining sanctions against the community of Damascus as a speed trap should remain through 2018.
The question as to how long the town will remain under those sanctions arose after the governor recently appointed Ferguson to replace Hiland, who is now the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas.
The original sanctions were to run until Hiland’s elected term expired on Dec. 31, 2018. Ferguson’s appointment runs through the same date.
We drove though Damascus along U.S. 65 the other day. The cruise control yet again was set for a mile beneath the posted speed limit. We ran that former gantlet of blue lights without seeing familiar city patrol cars with exasperated motorists pulled over at either end of town.
An interesting aspect of the newspaper business is never knowing what effect your words might have on others, even nearly a half-century after publishing them.
Back in November 1973, shortly after joining the staff of the Hot Springs Sentinel Record, I wrote a lengthy feature story about the pauper’s field, called Sunnyside, in that community.
Headlined “Death without dignity, a wretched end to suffering,” the story described the all-but-forgotten viney hillside field owned by the city where untold hundreds of homeless and forgotten people had been interred since the late 1880s.
Some without relatives or anyone who cared were still being laid to rest in pine boxes we photographed and described. Many graves remain unmarked today. Some do bear small markers, while dozens of others were identified with aluminum nameplates.
Karen White and her husband Brian of Hot Springs happened across the 44-year-old story and, being an avid genealogist, she used it to begin researching the place. Archaeological researchers and volunteers have since spent many hours at Sunnyside in attempts to accurately determine just how many are interred, where, and for how long.
Flash forward to today and Karen says (with the city’s permission) she is nominating this five-acre hillside still maintained largely by hungry goats who’ll consume anything green, for the Register of Historic Places.
As for the city’s responsibility? Its leaders are still deciding after more than a century (and several subsequent news accounts) what to do with that space. Fencing and regular maintenance can get mighty expensive.
Karen say she and others visualize a serene, parklike setting with flowering bushes and a simple landscape.
I’m betting most Arkansas communities have graveyards similar to Sunnyside, considering how many people in every town die alone and impoverished.
Critics can say what they please about Republican Donald Trump’s often awkward and considerably less than eloquent manner of speaking. He indeed does his share of repetitious word-mangling.
But I was reminded the other night while watching Ken Burns’ outstanding documentary on Vietnam of former Democrat President Lyndon Johnson’s cringeworthy backwoods way of expressing himself.
I watched the Texan repeatedly refer to Vietnam as “Vitnam,” and remembered his shocking reported comments about having black Americans (except he used the disparaging N word) voting Democrat forever because of his civil rights legislation. Outrageous? You bet.
Also, Republican George Bush 43 certainly could be quite the mangler in his public comments often laced with, well, phrasings that made him sound dense. I’m sure we’ve had many presidents whose strongest qualities didn’t lie in public speaking.
So while Trump’s remarks often are less than flowing and articulate, I don’t see him as that unusual for a president, considering our history.