Spend CARES Act funds on intended covid relief
Back when this covid crisis was just getting started, a heroic group of unemployed young folks started cooking meals five to six days a week for those in need. They formed the MayDay Community Kitchen. They were featured in the Jan. 3 issue of What's Up! Almost a year later, they are still doing it, producing 150-200 meals a day, five to six days a week. MayDay is providing much-needed aid to those in need, including deliveries of hot meals directly to the homeless encampment in south Fayetteville. They started on a shoestring budget and they still go from month to month with just enough money to keep cooking. They are too busy cooking to be fundraising.
And now, we hear Washington County officials have been sitting on $4.5 million from the Federal CARES Act intended to address hardship in our community as a result of the pandemic. How about using that money to fund things like the MayDay Kitchen?
Clearly, there is wide discretion as to how these funds can be spent, but it is difficult to imagine how one plan to spend it on police equipment relates to the covid crisis. There are plenty of small grass-roots organizations providing pandemic support for our community that could function in a whole new way if they had access to proper funding. We could provide much-needed aid to our homeless population with this kind of money. No doubt, there are countless small-business owners that need help as well. We need to reach out and spend that money for what it was intended -- pandemic hardship.
It is hard to understand why these emergency funds have not bee distributed, but it is easy to think of ways to make it right. Let's switch gears here. It is not too late to redeem ourselves and do the right thing.
Arkansas' 'next big thing' must include young folks
The most insightful and refreshing opinion column appeared Feb. 15 by Blake Rutherford, who wrote about modernity truly being the key to Arkansas' success economically and socially.
Rutherford's ideas are fitting regarding regions working together, but he's also totally correct about our legislators missing opportunities by not thinking bigger and more encompassing by including Gen Z and millennials in their designs instead of beating a dead horse with schemes on controversial, ineffective or unneeded legislation (stand your ground?).
These younger folks are the "engines powering that next big thing" in Arkansas. And surely the next big thing isn't Sarah Sanders, who admitted lying under oath for the former president, or more gun owners' rights. We deserve better than this.
As Rutherford writes, let's try leaving behind those old laissez-faire ideas and aspire toward growth at the local, regional and state levels considering all Arkansans, young and old.