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This week's "hump day" brought with it a heat advisory from the weather watchers, which might have been news to office workers but certainly not to those whose jobs keep them outdoors. Conditions in some portions of the region even took the warning to the "excessive heat" level.

The National Weather Service said folks need to be prepared for much the same over the next few days.

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

We're tempted to give these harsh temp-and-humidity combos known as heat indexes a thumbs down, but, well, it's July. It's all part of Arkansas summers. Plus, it's the weather, so we're skeptical a thumbs down will alter it much.

Stay cool, folks. "Dangerously hot" are the words being tossed around. The response to that isn't to just push through, but to take extra steps to take care: drink water, find shade, return to air-conditioned spaces regularly, drink more water, check on pets, check on older neighbors or those who don't have air conditioning. And drink more water.

Lastly, while taking a break from the heat, read today's Thursday thumbs:

[THUMBS UP] The Ozark Off-Road Cyclists nonprofit group continues working to expand trails in the region and are hoping to build more trails at Fayetteville's Kessler Mountain, some of which would be in a conservation easement. The good news is trail advocates acquired some of their own land next to the park and have developed trails there, but they'd like to expand into the city-owned property. Any sort of development within a conservation area will be a concern for some, and should be. But conserved land ought to also be accessible for people to experience. If trails are considered, they should protective of the land first and foremost. Officials with the cycling group say being good stewards of the land is their priority. With that commitment, it seems wise for the city to work together with the group to see what's possible as the sport of mountain cycling continues to grow in popularity.

[THUMBS DOWN] One could certainly argue, with Arkansas' foray into legal casino gambling, that enforcing the state's laws against unlicensed casino-style gambling is just cracking down on the little guy while corporations are making millions, but maybe we've just been watching too many City Council meetings in Fayetteville. The reality is the unlicensed gambling recently broken up at two area convenience stores preys on people of limited means without oversight from the state. Whether the business owners are guilty of any crimes, we do not know. But unquestionably gambling in Arkansas should not be permitted to be a free for all. Because it's never free, and the House always wins.

[THUMBS UP] We must admit we're a little unclear on exactly how a new regional arts organization is going to function. The organization, which hasn't even been given a name yet, was announced the other day. It will be developed by the Northwest Arkansas Council, a private, nonprofit advocacy group of the region's business leaders. Supporters say the organization will be a "partner" to all the arts outlets within Northwest Arkansas, and there are thankfully plenty, whether you're talking performances or artwork. Just as art can look a little different to each set of eyes, perhaps this organization is going take on a similar functionality. It appears a move to provide some connective tissue linking the many moving pieces within Northwest Arkansas' art community, and using those connections to make the whole greater than its individual parts. There's certainly plenty of potential in the region. Now if we just knew what to call it.

[THUMBS UP] Speaking of thumbs, it appears Bentonville Public Schools will join some other districts in paving the way for students to use theirs. We're talking about esports, a program at the district's two high schools to promote organized and competitive online gaming between individuals and teams. It's a new activity approved by the Arkansas Activities Association and dozens of schools are joining in, including Springdale, Rogers and Fayetteville. For the non-gaming folks among us, it might come as a surprise that college scholarships can be earned through the effort. A lot of kids (and adults) are wild about gaming, so why shouldn't educators meet them where they are and build some additional components of personal growth and achievement around the experience? Perhaps the best part, and maybe the sad news for some gamers, is it won't replace any physical education requirements.

Commentary on 07/18/2019

Print Headline: Thursday's thumbs

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