Maybe's it's just how life in Arkansas' springtime can't help but improve one's outlook, but today's digital feedback is all turned skyward:
[THUMBS UP] The generosity from Northwest Arkansas donors continues to be a bright spot for the region. Last week, Lowell's J.B Hunt Transport Services continued to be a leader for its home region by donating $5 million to Arkansas Children's Hospital's Northweste Arkansas campus set to open in Springdale in 2018. The cost of construction, technology and equipment will be $167 million, so every penny counts. J.B. Hunt's gift follows the recent announcement of an $8 million donation from Wal-Mart and the Walmart Foundation. Especially touching from last week's celebratory announcement was the story of Tracy Black, a J.B. Hunt executive, whose 5-year-old son was treated for months at Arkansas Children's Hospital in Little Rock for a brain tumor. "Today, I'm very proud to tell you that he is a thriving 23-year-old," Black said. Stories like that can be found across Arkansas, and beyond, because of the outstanding medical professionals supported at Arkansas Children's Hospital. Our region cannot have asked for a better addition to its thriving medical community.
[THUMBS UP] The state of Arkansas came through with about $1.2 million worth of new voting equipment that the Washington County Election Commission will put to use for the November general election, which is expected to produce heavy voting. The new state-approved equipment will be easier for voters, election officials say, by giving them a printout of their ballot to check before the printout is inserted into the vote-counting machine. "It's very voter friendly as well as poll-worker friendly," said Jennifer Price, election coordinator. Election officials had worried the state wouldn't provide the equipment in time for the November voting, and that the old equipment could present challenges. Hopefully, the new equipment will inspire confidence in the election process in Washington County.
[THUMBS UP] The sentence in the story was shocking: "The average age of a trafficked girl is 13, according to the FBI." The reference, of course is to human trafficking, the buying and selling of people, often for sex. There are networks of inhumane individuals who use force, fraud and coercion to lure victims then use abusive tactics to control their behaviors. So what's worth a thumbs up? Trucking organizations and advocates for human trafficking victims are recognizing that truck drivers can be on the front lines in the fight against using human beings as products to be sold. Kendis Paris, executive director of Truckers Against Trafficking, told the Arkansas Trucking Association's Annual Business Conference and Vendor Showcase last week that companies can make a difference by educating their employees on how to identify and help victims. Since 2009, more than 214,000 trucking employees have completed training that identified 425 likely human trafficking cases involving 744 victims, including 249 minors. Truckers are a vital piece of the nation's economic system. With this kind of training, they can also become a critical component of efforts to save lives and reunite families. We encourage all trucking companies and their employees to accept the challenge to become agents of change in the realm of human trafficking, and we commend those who are already taking steps to make a different.
[THUMBS UP] It's part of a robust Fayetteville debate whether the announced plans for a Taco Bell Cantina on the town's famed Dickson Street should make frequent entertainment district visitors feel funky or just put them in a funk. Having closed down the Taco Bell restaurant on College Avenue, KMAC Enterprises will now open the urban concept location in the former Common Grounds sans the ubiquitous drive-through window. Alcoholic beverages will be available. Is it the corporatization of Dickson Street? Well, yes. Will it ruin it? That's up to the people who like to go to Dickson Street. The almighty dollar and where it's spent will decide whether this cantina thrives.
Commentary on 05/21/2016