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Not just cheese also unicorns

On this day in 1835, the New York Sun newspaper tested the limits of public gullibility with the first in a series of fantastical stories about life on the moon. Five more would follow. The satirical pieces sparked international interest; and proved that a well-told whopper can snooker the best of us.

Public health or political pride

According to a recent report by Arkansas News Bureau, the state’s Medicaid expansion program commonly known as the private option is projected to have a positive impact on the state budget of $438 million between 2017 and 2021, a consulting firm hired by state legislators concluded recently.

The snap heard ‘round the world

On this day in 1920, 95 years ago, seven men assembled in the Jordan and Hupmobile showroom at Canton, Ohio, to organize an important forerunner of the National Football League. Among those gathered at the inception of the American Professional Football Conference (APFC) was legendary athlete, Jim Thorpe.

False dichotomy limits options

The likely closure of Entergy’s White Bluff coal-fired electrical plant has been met with a lot worry by many in the region. Those worries center primarily on the loss of jobs and the putative hit to the local economy. While such concerns are certainly warranted, they miss both the larger environmental and economic pictures.

An ignoble and enduring tradition

It is a comforting, yet possibly naïve belief that America has made strides in the way it expresses political and social dissent, but as history ably shows, such beliefs are more false comfort than real progress. This week we commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Watts Riots in Los Angeles, California.

Only equal protection will save us

At a forum sponsored by the Political Animals Club in Little Rock last week, Rep. Bob Ballinger, R-Hindsville, and Rep. Clarke Tucker, D-Little Rock discussed the possibility of amending the Arkansas Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Tucker said Friday he may propose changes to the law that would provide protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

Getting charged up about the Volta

Last week The Commercial reported a meeting between faculty of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff School of Agriculture, Fisheries and Human Sciences and a delegation of representatives from the Republic of Ghana. The groups came together to discuss ways in which the west African nation and UAPB might join forces for mutual benefit. We think these kinds of partnerships are an excellent idea and important to the long-term success of the university and our city.

Warren experiences growth and football

In 1789, Benjamin Franklin penned the now famous quip about nothing being certain except “death and taxes.” We’d like to add one other certainty: change. Few communities know this better than Warren in Southeast Arkansas. Over the past few years, Warren has made some big and interesting changes.

Warren experiences growth and football

In 1789, Benjamin Franklin penned the now-famous quip about nothing being certain except “death and taxes.” We’d like to add one other certainty: change. Few communities know this better than Warren in Southeast Arkansas. Over the past few years, Warren has made some big and interesting changes.

University Drive upgrade complete

The University Drive Highway 79B resurfacing project has been completed, and what a major boost for the University Park Neighborhood. The Interested Citizens for Voter Registration Inc. would like to thank former Sens. Mark Pryor and Blanche L. Lincoln, as well as former Congressman Mike Ross for helping ICVR Inc. with this project. However, this project almost didn’t happen because it was deemed “dead on arrival” when there was no funding available for the project.

Finally, a positive ranking

A very interesting city ranking was just published that includes Pine Bluff. Just that phrase “city ranking” is usually enough to cause our political leaders and many residents to cringe as though they were about to get a big shot of penicillin. (Many of us still remember our dead-last ranking in Places Rated Almanac years ago.)

Graybar hotel is all booked

As recently reported in The Commercial, the inmate population held at the W.C. “Dub” Brassell Adult Detention Center (DBDC) is well over capacity. At every level of government — all over the United States — this is a common complaint. It’s a serious matter. It often leads to ill-advised “fixes,” and it imperils the communities served.

Cooling winds help community

The Area Agency on Aging of Southeast Arkansas is once again staging its annual “Beat the Heat” fan drive began June 8 and goes through Aug. 7. Betty Bradshaw, president and CEO of the Area Agency on Aging of Southeast Arkansas, praised Carolyn Ferguson for taking the lead in running the fan drive.

Clawing at rigged opportunity

The purists call them “skill cranes.” You more likely know them as “claw machines” or just “claws.” Stationed at the entrance to many big box stores, their brightly lit cases bulging with fabulous prizes — all yours for the taking — if your hand is steady.

Immeasurable PAY-off at camp

As recently reported in The Commercial, the Pine Bluff Police Department is once again staging its annual Police And Youth (“PAY”) Camp. This year, more than 300 children from the area are in attendance for the six-week program. While there are the immediately tangible benefits of giving the children something to fill their summer days, perhaps the greater return will come in the relationships formed.