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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.

Benefits of thinking small

As recently reported in The Commercial, several local retailers are experiencing an uptick in seasonal sales. Both long established stores — such as the Record Rack and Doc’s Pawn Shop — as well as relative newcomers — like the Honey Hole and the Country Chic Chocolate Co. — have reason to be optimistic.

Walker less than transparent with ‘no’ vote

As recently reported in The Commercial, the Pine Bluff City Council just approved a $29.6 million budget on a 7-1 vote. Mayor Debe Hollingsworth had proposed the $29,459,937 budget for the upcoming year. The council then added an additional $198,924, including $92,557 to hire two firefighters and an extra $50,000 to the city’s program that provides summer jobs to teenagers.

Needless expense in special election

Last April, The Commercial reported the outcome of an election in which the White Hall School District administrators had hoped to increase the millage rate so that certain capital improvements could be made. The voters sent a resounding negative reply. The final tally was almost 2-to-1 against.

From one bondage to the next

One hundred-fifty years ago, the 13th Amendment to the U. S. Constitution was ratified, ending the institution of slavery. “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”

Teachers not counted absent

As recently reported by The Commercial, the Pine Bluff School District has acknowledged that it has a problem with teacher attendance. The administration has also acknowledged that the district has no meaningful policy to correct absenteeism. At the most recent school board meeting, district administrators discussed the need to address this ongoing problem.

Fear mongering serves cynical ends

Sixty-five years ago, Gen. Douglas McArthur cabled Washington with grim news about the war in Korea: “We face an entirely new war.” McArthur made this pronouncement only a month after official acknowledgement of Chinese ground troops having entered the battle.

Local leaders hope to ‘Go Forward’

At the recent inauguration of Go Forward Pine Bluff, a program designed to spur local revitalization, George Makris, chairman and CEO of Simmons First National Corporation, posed a question we should all consider: “Can we do it? The question is, will we do it?”

Middle East medicine too late

Not since the early days of the Cold War has American society faced as large an existential crisis as it does now. We know from high school civics class the nation we ought to be. Sadly, international terrorism and xenophobic hate speech from the political margins is turning us away from those simple, but noble ideals.

Middle East medicine too late

Not since the early days of the Cold War has American society faced as large an existential crisis as it does now. We know from high school civics class the nation we ought to be. Sadly, international terrorism and xenophobic hate speech from the political margins is turning us away from those simple, but noble ideals.