This week, our thumbs might be a little sweat soaked, with the temperatures the region has been getting. That's OK, we don't mind a little work as long as there's a glass of ice water nearby.
The good news is forecasters say the next few days will be a little less miserable, weatherwise. We'll take the break.
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 email@example.com.
[THUMBS UP] President Trump on Wednesday signed a memorandum directing the U.S. Department of Education to eliminate all federal student loan debt owed by thousands of severely disabled veterans. To say they earned such largesse from our federal government is an understatement. That said, this debt-laden nation can't itself afford to wave a magic wand and relieve others who knew what they were getting into when they agreed to take out student loans. Financing higher education has become an unsustainable way of life for far too many people. The goal of paying for college without loans must be embraced anew. Some will scoff, but which is really more difficult: Working, earning scholarships and seeking grants now to pay as you go, or emerging from school with decades of debt payments hanging around your neck like an anchor. A few years of pain early is far better than 30 years of financial struggle holding people back from living the lives they want to lead.
[THUMBS UP] Northwest Arkansas' role as a destination for cycling grew manyfold this week when the Walton Family Foundation, again, shared some of its money to bolster the region. The foundation's Personal Philanthropy Group delivered $2.3 million to the Fayetteville Advertising and Promotion Commission to host, produce and promote cyclocross events, including a world championship in 2022. Cyclocross is a form of bike racing on short courses with sometimes intense obstacles. Such races may not be quite as familiar to everyone as, say, an LPGA golf tournament, but it does have drawing power. Such races promise to bring a new and desirable dimension of tourism to the region.
[THUMBS DOWN] It's always disconcerting when a college athlete commits an infraction serious enough that a head coach can see no other way forward than for the team and that player to part ways. Razorback basketball will have to compete this season without the contributions of forward Gabe Osabuohien. The coach isn't saying what happened beyond the usual violation of team rules. It's unfortunate young men or women get caught up in behaviors requiring intervention, but we'll applaud Coach Eric Musselman for standing firm on standards designed to protect the team and be fair to all players.
[THUMBS UP] Back down at the University of Arkansas, the college has opened up a new $79.6 million residence hall that not only sounds technologically amazing -- its structure is built using cross-laminated timber, not the metal framing a lot of five-story, two-wing residence halls would be built with. That's impressive, but what really will make the difference for the 683 students who call Adohi Hall home are the "maker spaces" built right in. The building features a recording studio, two pianos, seven sound-isolating rooms, a movement studio for dance and yoga and a production workshop with 3D printers, a laser cutter, sewing machines and soldering irons. If that doesn't inspire creativity and the capacity to turn ideas into reality, we're not sure what would.
[THUMBS UP] It's never a bad thing to welcome a presidential candidate to Northwest Arkansas. Because of presidential politics, it's easy for candidates to forget Arkansas exists, or at least easy for them to take a certainly level of support here for granted. Beto O'Rourke brought his unlikely Democratic run for president to the University of Arkansas on Sunday, exhilarating a friendly audience of students and others with his energetic approach. Everyone seemed to have a good time, but it begged the question: Is the number of selfies a candidate is willing to stick around for inversely proportional to his capacity to earn the highest office in the land? Whoever wanted one probably got it with O'Rourke. In any case, we appreciate a candidate's attention to our great state.
Commentary on 08/22/2019
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