It's Thursday and another chance to fire off a few up or down thumbs about some of news developments in our neck of the woods and elsewhere:
A road to somewhere
[THUMBS DOWN] Say what you will about the tendency for a rising tide to lift all boats, but what if the tide is really a surge? Those can be overwhelming and, depending on one's location, destructive. Northwest Arkansas for years has experience either a rising tide or a surge, in the forms of population and traffic. Whether that's viewed as beneficial is highly dependent on one's location and circumstance. In the Benton County town of Cave Springs, people are worried a wave of concrete and asphalt might just drown their town's future. The Arkansas Department of Transportation is collecting responses to its plans to create a new four-lane Arkansas 112. Previously, many resident favored a bypass. But the thing about bypasses is, well, they bypass. The most recent drawings show Cave Springs' downtown section of the current Arkansas 112 becoming a detached segment, with cul de sacs on either end. Access to the town would come from street connections from the west, linking to the new bypass. Folks in Cave Springs rightfully worry their town -- now a path for all that airport traffic -- is about to become an island, one that's hard to get to. The Transportation Department is about the most efficient way to get from Point A to Point B; economic impacts aren't necessarily its primary focus. It wouldn't be the first time a relocated highway became a town's death warrant.
Lucky Rabbit Foot
[THUMBS UP] It's great to see so many good things happening with the historic Rabbit Foot Lodge, a structure once occupied for a few years by the family of a famed U.S. senator from Arkansas named J. William Fulbright. The home dates back to 1908 and became property of the city by virtue of its acquisition of 48 acres from the home's owner. The city agreed to maintain the lodge as part of its agreement to buy the land. The city has made its investment and benefited from grant funding for historic preservation and funding from Johnelle Hunt, widow of the founder of what is now J.B. Hunt Transport Services. The land purchase added a great deal of space to the city's parks. The city hopes for, but hasn't yet secured, a tenant whose use of the building can promote the public's use of it, too.
What's up, Doc?
[THUMBS UP] We continue to appreciate the enthusiastic encouragement coming from area hospitals and medical experts in the promotion of vaccines to fight covid-19. Arkansans should listen to them and act on their well-informed advice. Not on rumors and not on everything that can be read on the Internet. To all the folks who have gotten their vaccinations, thank you. You're part of the solution. As for those who haven't yet received a vaccine, we'd encourage a visit with a trusted health professional, such as a personal physician. We have no way of knowing what their advice will be, but we have a hunch physicians will be led by the science, the same reliable knowledge they've been using to treat people's ills for years. This new delta variant is running up the numbers on covid cases and hospitalizations. Please be part of the solution by protecting yourself and those around you.
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 protected]