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The weather has been a little chilly, but now the forecasters say we'd better get out some thumbwarmers because the winter precipitation is on its way this weekend. Hey, it's just Thursday, so there's plenty of time for those prognostications to change. We'll get our "Thursday thumbs" out there today so we won't have anything standing in the way of sliding on a warm pair of gloves.

Remember to stay safe if the frozen stuff starts coming down.

Give’em a thumb

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? Recommend a “Thursday thumb” by calling Greg Harton at (479) 872-5026 or by email at

Now onward to the week's digital feedback:

[THUMBS UP] What an astonishing show of support the voters gave to Stephanie Orman Tuesday, launching her into a role as Bentonville's next mayor. We'd have predicted a much tighter race given the incredible level of spending by her opponent, Jim Webb, and a political action committee that decided to work in his favor. Bentonville's voters, however, gave Orman 63 percent of the votes cast. Perhaps voters appreciated that Orman remained engaged with the public throughout the campaign. Maybe voters didn't much care for the attempted influence of money from outside the city through a political action committee with a history of questionable tactics. As we noted in the endorsement of Ms. Orman last week, she appeared far more likely to run an open government that appreciates feedback from those she's elected to serve. We agree with the voters that's the recipe for success in Bentonville.

[THUMBS UP] After 48 years in which Fort Smith Public Schools recognized the Fort Smith Education Association as the collective bargaining representation for the district's teachers, the school board has chosen another route, and for good reason. Payroll records show only 372 of 1,184 teachers this year are members of the teachers union. It's hard for an organization to represent the interests of teachers when teachers don't even join its membership. So, the school board voted 7-0 to form a committee of certified staff to represent teachers, an approach not unlike virtually every other school district in Arkansas (excepting Little Rock). Union reps called the move "heartbreaking," but the school board was just responding to a trend years in the making. It appears membership in the union fell below 50 percent a decade ago. The new committee will be elected by a majority of the classroom teachers voting by secret ballot. If teachers didn't see enough value in joining the union, it's hardly the school board's fault.

[THUMBS UP] Apparently you can fight city hall, and it's so easy, a 9-year-old can do it. Did you hear the story of Severance, Colo., and its resident, Dane Best. The child thought it unjust that his town had banned snowball fights since 1920, so he began a political campaign to convince the town's leaders to make a change. "Today's kids need a reason to play outside," he told the Town Board. A great argument apparently melted resistance to a change, so now kids in Severance can engage in a flurry of flaky free-for-alls whenever the white stuff falls. Average snowfall for the town is around 43 inches annually, so Dane should have no problem stocking up for a now-legal snowball fight.

[THUMBS UP] Closer to home, it's great to see a simple, coordinated effort among city government employees at Springdale's City Hall to bring new seasonal decorations to Emma Avenue. This newspaper reported recently that city staff and other volunteers spent a day in the multipurpose room at City Hall to create decorations to hang on the downtown street's light poles. Headed up by City County member Kathy Jaycox, a corps of volunteer decorators took up the task. In some towns, decorating a street might involve governmental requests for bids and professional consultants. It's nice to see Springdale keeping the holiday real ... simple.

[THUMBS DOWN] The front-page headline said the budget reform efforts in Congress had hit a wall. U.S. Rep. Steve Womack, who represents much of Northwest Arkansas in the House, blamed "partisan posturing." Whatever it was, the supposedly bipartisan effort to bring some sense to Congress' annual and broken budget and appropriations process was a shambles. Womack decried the failure of the joint select committee he was named to co-lead and pointed to his co-chair, New York Democrat Nita Lowey, as a participant in wrecking the committee's work. Backers called it progress; critics said it solved some problems, but "not all and not significantly." What's wrong with a little progress? Those who thwarted the committee's work chose no progress in the name of promoting more progress. Again, Washington shows its way of thinking is far, far different from how the rest of us look at things.

Commentary on 12/06/2018

Print Headline: Thursday's thumbs

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