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Pine Bluff going forward

About 12 years ago I returned to Pine Bluff, my hometown, after spending nearly 40 years living elsewhere. One of my favorite preoccupations from the start has been the writing of letters and guest columns to The Commercial .

The class of ‘69 had its dreams, too

I received a special honor this weekend. I was asked back to give the keynote speech at the El Dorado High School Class of ‘69’s 45th reunion. I taught English IV that year. I was a bit apprehensive at first. Yet, at the end of the speech, I enjoyed a standing ovation and was “over the moon” because of the “Thank-you-for what-you-did-for-me” remarks and the student who asked, “You goin’ with anyone right now?” before slapping Freemon on the shoulder. The following includes portions of that speech …

“School days/school days”– again

So many things have changed since I began elementary school back in 1949. First, we did not go to kindergarten. It didn’t exist. We never used 20-pound backpacks slung over our shoulders to carry everything from books to cell phones to clothing. We carried our sparse needs in book satchels. They were plastic, light-weight, some decorated with pictures of heroes of the day. There was a little pocket in the front for items such as colors and lunch tickets.

The benefits of attack ads

Negative campaign ads appear to be on the rise with the approach of this fall’s congressional elections and the 2016 presidential campaign. Hardly anyone has a good word to say about them. The standard critique — that they demean our democracy, deceive voters and cause disgusted voters to stay home on Election Day — has the ring of truth. But this exaggerates the negative about negative ads while obscuring their benefits.

A pure miracle

NORMANDY BEACHHEAD, June 12, 1944 – Due to a last-minute alteration in the arrangements, I didn’t arrive on the beachhead until the morning after D-day, after our first wave of assault troops had hit the shore.

Raise wages, create jobs

The standard argument — really, the only argument — against raising the minimum wage is that it will lead to job loss. The argument is beloved by die-hard opponents of raising the wage because it provides them with a veneer, however flimsy, of concern about the welfare of the working poor.

Devastation of hearts and homes

Arkansas, once again, has suffered the devastation of spring storms. We all have suffered along with our neighbors in Paron, Mayflower, Vilonia and other communities in our area. But Arkansas has rallied as she has always done — donating money and goods through fund drives and our churches to help our friends in need. Our hearts have been broken and, therefore, we have come forward with prayer and aid to uphold our neighbors in need. We are a caring state and I am so proud to be a part of my home state again.

Just do it

Nike’s catch phrase, “Just Do It “challenges me as a believer in a couple of ways. I have a very detail oriented; check the box kind of personality. I thrive on it. Sometimes I can sit for hours trying to decide where to start on a particular project and still not actually start unless I first make a list. I love to check things off my list. With each check I feel like I’ve taken a leap in the right direction.