Thursday, September 13, 2018
It's Thursday, so it must be another installment of digital feedback on some of the news of the day.
[THUMBS UP] Perhaps we had heard the fact before now and it slipped our minds, but when the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission's newsletter this week led off with it, it still astonished. "Zero hunting-related fatalities last year," the headline said. That, fellow Arkansans, is a rare thing worth celebrating. The state had more than 318,000 licensed hunters participating in last year's various seasons, making the milestone even more significant. That said, hunting has its dangers. For example, falls from tree stands still make up the largest portion of hunting accidents, said Joe Huggins, hunter education coordinator for the state agency. Huggins says tree stand falls spanned all ages of hunters last year, from a 7- and an 8-year old, to two 75-year old veterans of the deer woods. With hunting season approaching, it's a great time for Arkansans to think through steps to a safe hunting experience and put them into action. A great start is taking a hunter education course. A good hunt is the one from which everyone comes home safe, and that takes effort.
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[THUMBS DOWN] Magazine, websites and, yes, sometimes newspapers churn up interest in a topic (and sales) through rankings. It might be a thorough and detailed analysis such as the U.S. News & World Report's rankings of national universities or it might be a whimsical "Top 10 ways to tell if your dog likes you." Communities love such national rankings when they generate a feather-in-your-cap moment, such as when they are named one of the best places to live in the country or a top location for business development. It gives them a chance to toot their own horn by letting someone else too their horn. Last week, though, the University of Arkansas' Fayetteville campus dropped 15 slots in the U.S. News and World Report rankings to 78th among 132 public universities. Ouch! Chancellor Joe Steinmetz attributed the fall in rankings to changes in the methodology the magazine used to evaluate retention of students receiving Pell grants. Fair enough. It not the end of the world. Indeed, does anyone really believe the actual quality of education available at the UA has precipitously declined, as the rankings might be interpreted? Of course not. It's funny, though, how we never hear anyone suggest methodology changes are responsible for a big climb in the rankings. That's always credited to the great job an institution is doing. Methodology comes into play when the news isn't so good. Hey, that's no sweat. It just shows that such rankings should be taken with a grain of salt.
[THUMBS UP] It's not a done deal yet, but it sure sounds like Benton County Judge Barry Moehring is close to working out a deal for westside ambulance coverage that he says will save the county about $200,000 a year. The savings are welcome, no doubt, to the Quorum Court, but the proposed deal with Northwest Health System will also remove some uncertainties about ambulance coverage for western Benton County. It's vital that rural folks have a reliable ambulance system and a contract like this goes a long way in providing dependable service.
[THUMBS DOWN] It's unfortunate that plans to move Ozark Natural Foods into the former Marvin's IGA at Lafayette Street and College Avenue in Fayetteville have been sidelined, not so much because the natural foods store is in a bad location now. But its relocation offered a promising future for a corner that's long been at the heart of downtown Fayetteville. We don't know what other possibilities there are for the old grocery store that now sits empty, but for the sake of downtown and the surrounding neighborhoods, we hope it's a use that will contributed a lot to the community feelings that's long existed there.
[THUMBS DOWN] There's a three-way race for governor of the great state of Arkansas -- Democrat Jared Henderson, Libertarian Mark West and the incumbent governor, Republican Asa Hutchinson. Henderson and West participated recently in an hour-long debate on KATV, Channel 7, in Little Rock. Sadly, Hutchinson declined the opportunity to be part of the debate. Hutchinson's people said he has already participated in one debate during the summer and has agreed to another next month. Apparently, though, three debates is just too much for Hutchinson to handle. It's the typical incumbent approach of trying to limit participation in any event that might raise his opponents' profile. It's not a bad political strategy, but it's sad Hutchinson didn't seize the opportunity to address his leadership to his fellow Arkansans. It seemed the least he could do, but apparently not.
[THUMBS UP] To Aaron Rogers. Sure, not everybody is a Green Bay Packers fan, but their quarterback came out and gave an incredible performance in the second-half come-from-behind victory Sunday night after seriously injuring his leg in the first half. He was essentially doing it all with one leg. Hopefully, our Arkansas Razorbacks, which has quarterbacks with at least four good legs, watched his second-half performance and learned a bit about tenacity.
Commentary on 09/13/2018
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