NWA editorial: Thursday thumbs

Good causes aplenty in this week’s digital edition

Don't underestimate the value of a good thumb.

Just ask Tristan Thompson, a player for the NBA's Cleveland Cavaliers. Early this month, Thompson sprained his right thumb in a game against the Orlando, forcing him to sit out the next game. Doesn't sound so bad, right? It's only that Thompson hadn't missed a game in a total of 447 of them. A sprained thumb prompted him to miss his first game since Feb. 10, 2012.

Want to give some brief feedback on news? Someone who deserves a pat on the back? An idea that needs a dose of common sense? Submit your “Thursday thumb” by calling Greg Harton at (479) 872-5026 or by email at gharton@nwadg.com.

Thumbs matter. So we'll offer up a few of our own today on a few recent news developments. We'll try to avoid injury.

[THUMBS UP] One never knows what goes into decisions that could have far-reaching implications for a town's economic development. Take the case of Dr. Peter Kohler, who moved to Northwest Arkansas nearly a decade ago to lead the development of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences campus in a former hospital on Fayetteville's College Avenue.

Kohler retired last year, but recently announced plans to buy 15 acres in Fayetteville's commerce district (formerly what might be called an industrial park) for the development of a facility for his start-up pharmaceutical company. That means about a dozen jobs to start with, but with a five-year plan to employ around 100 people, with some of them making six-figure salaries. And Kohler's mission is to make drugs people need at a lower cost. Who can argue with that?

A decision to move to Northwest Arkansas a decade ago with a state agency could turn into a great jobs-producing new venture. Who knew? But the effort is worthy of a big thumbs up.

[THUMBS DOWN] Mass jeering and booing was ginned up again for recent town-hall meetings by U.S. Rep. Steve Womack of Rogers and by U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton and Rep. French Hill down in Little Rock. It's not that we feel sorry for these lawmakers. They're big boys and should be able to take the stern lectures from angry Arkansans. But it's pretty clear that if you've seen one of these town meetings, you've seen them all. Here's the script: Let the lawmaker speak for just a few seconds, then start screaming and jeering and interrupting while waving signs. Perhaps a few meaningful exchanges happen in such events, but the conditions don't promote them.

Nevertheless, it is important -- and appreciated -- that the lawmakers look for opportunities to speak with Arkansans. There's something terribly wrong if an elected official is trying to hide from those he represents.

[THUMBS UP] Watch out for a heavy dose of pink this Saturday as volunteers, supporters and survivors join in the 2017 Susan G. Komen Ozark Raze for the Cure at the Pinnacle Hills Promenade in Rogers. It's hard to imagine time better spent than raising money and giving time for a good cause. The race provides the support that will, we hope, continue to increase the effectiveness of prevention and treatment for breast cancer.

[THUMBS UP] Speaking of good causes, it's nice to see Benton County Judge Barry Moehring following through on his commitment to give away a $6,000 pay increase for his position. Moehring divided the money between the Illinois River Watershed Partnership and the Benton County 4-H Foundation.

[THUMBS UP] How impressive is Eagle Scout candidate Hogan Maestri's plan to build a monument to honor the members of the military from his hometown who have been killed in war? The monument is slated for Shiloh Memorial Park and the city and other groups have backed the effort so far. Thank goodness communities have organizations such as the Boy Scouts of America to build leadership skills and civic-mindedness among young people. Everyone in Springdale can help, too, if they'd like to donate at www.gofundme.com/springdale-fallen-soldier-memorial. Why not invest in the community, like young Mr. Maestri?

[THUMBS UP] It's hard to imagine Fayetteville without its wonderful library, where thousands of people thumb through books, microfilm, DVDs, magazines and myriad other resources. And now, thanks to the end of litigation over the future ownership of the former City Hospital, the library is ready to take a huge step toward an expansion. The library's board recently set in motion its spending of $2 million to acquire the property for a project that will almost double the facility's size. We're glad to see the library finally turn this page.

[THUMBS DOWN] Perhaps many Americans have just assumed the records of who visits the White House were open to public inspection. After all, it's the home of the president and the public has an interest in knowing who is influencing him and his administration. But Donald Trump has decided to break with tradition and will keep the list of visitors to his White House secret. It's been demonstrated over the years that there's no need for such secrecy. It's just driven by an attitude that the public only needs to know what the president decides to tell them.

Um, no.

Commentary on 04/20/2017

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