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Promoting promotions and grants

As reported by The Commercial, five members of the Pine Bluff City Council along with several individuals from Mayor Debe Hollingsworth’s staff, recently met to discuss the prospect of creating two new positions in city government. During the meeting, held last Thursday, the group that the city needs to hire a communications/marketing director and a grant writer. We concur.

Poorly watching the watchers

In December 2014, a report was released by the U. S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence that contained a number of disquieting revelations. Among the more stark details were the findings that the Department of Defense and the Central Intelligence Agency had been using interrogation techniques that were far more brutal than had been previously acknowledged.

Squashing the wrong problems

You know when you’re on your porch, and you notice a spider crawling by, but then you look closer and realize it’s not a black widow or a brown recluse, so it’s not poisonous, but then you wonder if maybe you could be wrong, so therefore it could be a threat, and plus it’s a nuisance? Those things multiply, and maybe they’ll get into the house, so you squash it just to be sure.

The grift that keeps on taking

The cornerstone of American criminal justice is Due Process. As a foundational principle for the U.S. Constitution, we can trace its origins back to Chapter 39 of Magna Carta, in which England’s King John promised that “[n]o free man shall be taken or imprisoned or disseized or exiled or in any way destroyed, nor will we go upon him nor send upon him, except by the lawful judgment of his peers or by the law of the land.”

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.

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.

Letting fear dictate reality

For many of us, the Pine Bluff we love is a place that hasn’t existed in long time. A big part of our erstwhile home resides in a certain quiescence and safety. We like to think of ourselves as living in a quaint small town where people sit on porches and know their neighbors. Sometimes we’re jolted into recognizing that place is just a memory — not an impossibility — but still a memory.

Privatized corrections public nightmares

At a recent meeting of the Jefferson County Quorum Court Finance Committee Justices of the Peace discussed privatization of the juvenile detention center as response to address budget shortfalls. Of all the ideas to shore up governmental finances, privatization of correctional facilities is among the very worst.

More than media object to comment

We do not mean to enter into the fray that is presidential election politics nearly a year and a half before the election, but we must take strong exception to former governor and presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee’s claim that no one but the media cares about a crude comment and cheap joke he made earlier this year.

Correction past, present and future

As we recently reported, staff from the Arkansas Department of Community Correction spoke to members of the Pine Bluff Rotary Club at their meeting earlier this week. The DCC was represented by Lashronda Brown, whose duties include being a probation officer and instructor, and Oneika Freeman, who is involved in career planning and placement. The pair told Rotary members about their agency’s strategies and programs to help probationers and parolees better integrate into the workforce.