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Below-freezing temperatures and precipitation can produce more than a few undesirable effects. It might be a reduction of the usual friction that keeps braking cars from sliding farther than their drivers ever intended. Or it could be the unnatural contortions a body -- and heaven help us, sometimes bones -- goes through when a simple step on the wrong spot sets arms and legs loose in a tortured struggle to regain control.

When forecasters predict an icy onslaught, it fills the sensible among us with dread. Snow? Great, but ice? Ugh!

Thankfully, Tuesday's chill-and-wet combination came in a light dose, saving our thumbs and other digits from the ice-scraping chores necessary to get around. Wednesday's sunshine in Northwest Arkansas was welcome. And we were able to doff our gloves long enough to discern this week's collection of Thursday's thumbs.

[THUMBS DOWN] The Fort Smith Board of Directors continue their struggle to grasp the spirit of open government. They voted Tuesday to continue their appeal of a Sebastian County Circuit Court ruling that three directors violated the Arkansas Freedom of Information by using emails to discuss city business. When will they learn that it's not their business, it's the public's business? The city is aggressively trying to assert that email communication among directors or from them to the city administrator do not constitute "meetings." It's a shame, really, that Fort Smith's citizens have to constantly worry about what their elected officials are trying to do outside public view. Instead of fighting transparent government, Fort Smith leaders should strive to be great examples of it.

[THUMBS UP] We love people who are passionate about what they do. Can you tell how strongly Ed Zimmer of Lincoln, Neb., feels about historic preservation? "If you tear down a National Register [of Historic Places] property, you might go to hell, but you won't go to jail," Zimmer, a historic preservation planner, said. Zimmer's comment came as residents and leaders in Fayetteville, where a nearly 150-year-old home was recently demolished, consider what can be done to preserve historic structures. The answer? A lot, but it all depends on political will and how far local residents are willing to go as far as regulation in the name of historic preservation.

[THUMBS UP] OK, so we started all this showing a little distaste for ice. Fayetteville resident Dominik Maerki, a native of Switzerland, probably won't join us in such complaining. Instead, ice and big granite stones have served as his ticket to the Olympic Games. Maerki will represent his native land in the sport of curling. He'll be at the opening ceremonies in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Friday night and begin the curling competition on Feb. 14. Who knew a Olympic-level curler could be found in Northwest Arkansas, which continues to draw people with such diverse backgrounds? If boredom ever sets in, just go meet a neighbor you don't know. Chances are, the boredom won't last long. Good luck and happy curling, Mr. Maerki!

[THUMBS UP] Finally, it's great to hear Northwest Arkansas Community College officials announce plans to break ground on the college's Washington County center this year. Set to be built near Arvest Ballpark in Springdale, the center will further expand educational opportunities in all sorts of subjects.

Commentary on 02/08/2018

Print Headline: Thursday's thumbs

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