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A brighter day for energy production

In a recent filing with the Public Service Commission, Entergy Arkansas announced a deal to build an 81-megawatt photovoltaic solar energy generating facility near Stuttgart. This installation will be Arkansas’ first utility-scale solar energy plant. The project will employ 200-300 workers during construction. Entergy is to be congratulated for this progressive and forward-looking move.

Economics out of Africa

Karen Dinesen, Baroness Blixen-Finecke, whose birthday we commemorate today, is hardly a household name. Born on this day in 1885, the Baroness Blixen-Finecke is better known by her pen name, Isak Dinesan. Her poignant memoir, Out of Africa, helped illuminate the Dark Continent for millions of Western readers.

Diplomacy takes a hard turn

While its successor, the 15th of April, is noted with greater perennial ire, April 14th is a day marking many notable anniversaries. It is the day in 1865 when John Wilkes Booth shot Pres. Abraham Lincoln. It’s the day in 1912 when the RMS Titanic struck a massive iceberg. It’s when country music legend, Loretta Lynn, was born in Butcher Hollow, Kentucky. It’s the day in 1988 when the Soviet military withdrew from Afghanistan.

Giving no quarter for Chambers

Most of us are probably used to hearing politicians say things that are ill-conceived, irrational or just outright dumb. In the current age of information overload, the Internet has made it possible for us to branch out into the verbal landmines of political figures all over the world. As if we didn’t have enough fodder at our state and local fingertips, we can now borrow the miseries of constituents the world over.

Shouldering our fair share

As recently reported by The Commercial, Pine Bluff City Council member, George Stepps proposed an idea last Thursday at a Pine Bluff City Council Development and Planning Committee meeting that would create a one-half-cent sales tax with a three year sunset to support revitalization of downtown in conjunction with Simmons Bank’s previously announced offer to spend millions of dollars on downtown in the form of direct expenditures and loans.

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Looking back looking forward

Over the past couple of weeks The Commercial has taken a look back at some of the most talked about stories of the year now past. We celebrated accomplishments. We decried injustice. We gave a narrative voice to the timeline of our community.

Bad advice exacts heavy price

Ninety-eight years ago today the Russian mystic and courtier, Grigory Rasputin, was murdered by members of the Russian nobility. Rasputin claimed to have miraculous powers through which he healed the hemophiliac son of Russian Tsar Nicholas II and his wife, Alexandra. This mystical power drew him to the inner circle of Russian politics, a position from which he would make many enemies.

Justifiable homicide facts and fiction

As we look back on all the news that captured the American viewer in 2014, no national news item stands out more than stories related to use of deadly force by police. It seems as though a day hardly passes that we don’t have to hear about yet another police-involved shooting.

Singing in the season

It’s often the case that we can tell how important something is by the number of times it’s been reproduced. In the Internet age such a reckoning might be the number of times something has been shared online. Of course the fly in that ointment resides in the fact that videos of cats playing the piano might become unduly elevated as an artifact of our culture.

Better on the road to great

In their quest to promote the safe keeping and humane treatment of animals, many advocates employ an elegant trope often attributed to Mahatma Gandhi, “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way that its animals are treated.”

Tables turned but message unclear

This week marks the 30th anniversary of a shooting on the New York City subway that created a media frenzy and ignited a vociferous debate on matters of race, crime and gun control. At the center of this furor was Bernhard Goetz, a lean 24-year-old with a troubled home life.

Christmas a time of opportunity

This is the time of year when so many of us worry about the “perfect” gift, the “perfect” meal and the “perfect” outfit. Often subconsciously we hold ourselves to an unobtainable Norman Rockwell standard of holiday pageant. In so doing, we create needless stress and imperil an otherwise joyous season.

Facilitating dollar sign diplomacy

President Barack Obama recently moved to normalize diplomatic relations with Cuba. With a great predictability, several members of Congress have decried the action as pandering to Communism. Fortunately, a few cooler heads have also weighed in to the debate.

Let the music play

In a recent report, the White Hall School District’s School Board President Raymond Jones laid out a bold plan for much-needed improvements to the high school. The board voted Tuesday to proceed with the second phase of this plan.