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Planning puts smart brake on sale

As recently reported in The Commercial, the Pine Bluff City Council Development and Planning Committee recommended the full council consider a measure imposing a moratorium on the city sales of property zoned for commercial use until more detailed guidelines are developed.

Old grudge new fodder

Last week The Commercial reported on yet another kerfuffle between mayoral candidate Theodis “Ted” Davis and his former associate on the Jefferson County Board of Election Commissioners, Stu Soffer. Like the swallows returning to San Capistrano, these individuals never disappoint in their political theatrics.

White Hall millage round 2

The city of White Hall has done a lot of growing over the past couple of decades. From traffic lights to businesses and all manner of residential developments, White Hall is growing up. One thing that hasn’t kept pace with all this growth: The White Hall High School. If you were a student there in 1981 the core amenities would look pretty familiar.

Tired approach awakens resources

It is so refreshing to see government working as it should. Last week The Commercial published a report detailing innovations in the Jefferson County recycling program. In specific, the article highlighted a process in which the county produces and sells fuel made from discarded tires.

Prisons, diamond clad and breaded

Since the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced its nominees for the upcoming awards presentation, there’s been a bit of a furor over the demonstrable lack of diversity among the current cohort. While those nominated certainly reflect the demographic character of those in charge of nominations, they aren’t very reflective of the U.S. population. In specific, the nominees in most of the major categories are all white.

Landmark slips slowly away

A few days ago The Commercial reported a recent act of vandalism at the historic Saenger Theatre located in downtown Pine Bluff. While thieves destroyed property and took things that weren’t theirs to take, the real damage is found in what they have exposed. They have cast a harsh light on Pine Bluff’s darkest secret: nobody cares.

Housing proposal merits strong consideration

One of the greatest issues facing Pine Bluff is neighborhood instability. This issue is prevalent all across our city. Single family homes once occupied by hard working middle class families have become mere stopping points for those embroiled in the broken culture of perpetual renter nomadism. Of all our communal ills, this problem is among the most damaging. It not only affects those whose choices keep them always on the move, but those whose long-term neighborhoods are poisoned by the cycle.

Life, death and pocket change

It didn’t take the villains of Pine Bluff long to claim their first victim in 2016. Lenon Buie, a local storekeeper and pillar of the Packingtown community, was shot dead Friday morning. He had operated Buie’s Grocery on Port Road for over 65 years.

Parole efforts find better path

As recently reported by Arkansas News Bureau, the state prison system has reduced the overflow of inmates temporarily housed in county jails. This is a very positive move; and one upon which the Arkansas Department of Correction should capitalize.

Parole efforts find better path

As recently reported by Arkansas News Bureau, the state prison system has reduced the overflow of inmates temporarily housed in county jails. This is a very positive move; and one upon which the Arkansas Department of Correction should capitalize.

With gun control a powder keg

With President Barack Obama’s recent announcement of new gun control measures, the predictable fusillade of criticism and doom-saying has erupted. Whether one is in favor of the looming changes, an immutable fact remains: The government — which is to say, the people of the United States — have a reasonable expectation that the sale of firearms be sufficiently regulated so as to prevent certain persons from acquiring them. Loopholes for gun shows and private sales undermine this expectation.

Outside voice provides confirmation

Recent remarks made before the Pine Bluff School Board by William Robinson, executive director at the University of Virginia Partnership for Leaders in Education, should come as little surprise. Moreover, his concerns about the future of the district mirror sentiments we’ve expressed many times. Perhaps having an informed outside voice will prompt district officials to make a few changes.

Fears still founded today

Seventy-five years ago today, President Franklin D. Roosevelt delivered his famed “Four Freedoms” speech before the U.S. Congress. In his January 6, 1941 State of the Union address, Roosevelt enumerated four universal freedoms that are the common, rightful expectation of all people: the freedom of speech; the freedom of worship; the freedom from want; and the freedom from fear.

2016 – A new Brenda

I spoke with my crazy friend Deb on New Year’s Eve morning and she asked if I’d made resolutions yet. I said I’d thought about a few and shared them. She gave a few of her own and, by the time our conversation ended, we had gotten down-right silly. As usual. So, the following is a collaboration with my friend as we discussed the resolutions we INTENDED to make before giving serious thought to the outcome…

Dirty business of litter

One of the most inviting parts of our city is Lake Saracen. With its large pavilion, accessible walkways and scenic piers, it’s a great place to host an outdoor event or just spend a little time. If you visited the lakefront this past weekend you would notice how high the water is. Small waves lapped at the base of the wooden pier. The typical sloping bank was covered almost to the sidewalk.

The greening of Cuba

Fifty-five years ago today, January 3, 1961, U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower closed the American embassy in Havana, Cuba, severing diplomatic relations with the island nation. The severance was emblematic of the deteriorated state of affairs between Eisenhower and the Cuban leader, Fidel Castro.