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Letters to the Editor

Dear Editor:

The continuing water problems the city of Clinton is having affect not only the residents of Clinton but the whole county.

As an example, Clinton Water was cited by the Arkansas Department of Health for a water turbidity violation during the month of January 2013.

Because of the violation, Bee Branch Water Association must now notify its 1,380 customers of the violation. This notification results in extra costs for postage, paper, ink and employees’ time on an already cash-short organization.

In addition, when boil orders are issued, costs skyrocket for employee overtime, pressure leaks and lost revenue due to large customers not being able to draw their normal water usage. Also, Clinton Water has increased Bee Branch Water Association’s water cost 5 percent for each of the past five years.

It really is time for Clinton Water to correct its problems and save everyone some money. Let’s please have some action.

Nick Palangio

Damascus

Dear Editor:

Problem: Tree ready to fall across roadway. Going south on Highway 65 just past Red River bridge on right side of highway, where the homes are, there is a huge tree leaning way out over the roadway where people are traveling by in cars or pedestrians walking by. That tree is an accident waiting to happen. Enough water in the ground or more high winds, those tree roots are going to lift right out of the ground and maybe fall on someone. This kind of thing happens more often than you may think. Look at the weight of that tree.

I have been watching this tree for several years. It’s leaning worse all the time. It needs taken down before someone is killed.

Who is responsible?

Patsy F. Payne

Bee Branch

Dear Editor,

I am very concerned as to the way issues brought to the City Council are addressed and responded to. At the end of last year my granddaughter was hit by a motor vehicle while in the crosswalk walking home from school on Yellowjacket Lane. I appealed to the superintendent of Clinton schools and the City Council in addressing this serious safety issue. The school district told me that since the accident didn’t happen on school grounds, and while they agree that the placement of speed bumps was a good idea, I would have to take the issue up with the City Council. I did that. The mayor said, ““I don’t care if you bring it up at the meeting but it ain’t gonna happen.” When I asked him why, he told me that there have been speed bumps installed on Yellowjacket Lane before and all he heard were complaints. When I asked him if he was aware of a child recently being hurt while trying to cross the street after school in a designated crosswalk he replied, “It don’t matter, I don’t want to hear the complaints.”

Later, I addressed the City Council and a committee looked into the matter. The next meeting was held and the decision was to increase radar and issue more tickets to motorists for speeding on Yellowjacket Lane, but that they would not be installing the removable speed bumps as suggested. A committee member said he “talked to people, and they don’t want them.” I have questions that have yet to be answered: Who did you talk to and why would they not want speed bumps? Also the mayor never answered why people complained about the speed bumps in the first place. I myself can only surmise that the reason why people wouldn’t want speed bumps is because you have to slow down to go over them. Slowing down in a school zone is probably a good idea, don’t you think? There are signs telling you to slow down to 15 mph while children are present. Why does the City Council agree to having police out there giving speeding tickets if they don’t think there is a problem with people not slowing down in a school zone? Will there be a police officer there every day keeping our children safe?

Recently the City Council had several tax-paying citizens complain about stray animals in their neighborhoods. I don’t imagine that the mayor liked getting the phone calls from those people, but I am just having a real hard time trying to understand how complaints from citizens who don’t like the stray animals in the city warrants immediate response to correct the situation and the supposed complaints from non-law-abiding citizens who aren’t going to like slowing down in a school zone can be the same. I should hope that if the speed bumps were installed and there were complaints that the mayor and his office staff would have to deal with, they would simply say that the safety of our children is more important to the city than listening to you complain that you are having to slow down to a safe speed in a school zone. Certainly if so much time and money is going to be used to collect the stray animals in the city then there shouldn’t be any problem with making the safety of our children of at least the same priority and prompt the same swift action to implement this request for “removable” speed bumps. Yes, I did say removable speed bumps that can be moved when school is not in session so that the mayor’s office won’t hear complaints all year long.

I personally have watched the foot traffic at all the crosswalks and there are actually four or five main crosswalks that are mostly used by the children to and from school each day. I have also watched the traffic on Yellowjacket Lane and within a five minute time frame when a child was at a crosswalk waiting to cross, on average, only one or two cars out of five stop to allow the child to cross. Having speed bumps installed makes a motorist slow down, check out the surroundings and, hopefully, make them more aware of children waiting to cross the street and make them actually stop to allow them to do so.

I do appreciate the one City Council member who has bothered to respond to my numerous e-mails and letters. I guess I am mistaken when I think that it is the responsibility of each member of the City Council and the mayor to promptly respond to tax-paying citizens’ concerns and issues that are related to the overall safety and well being of the community in which they serve. I am not saying that the City Council members never respond when contacted but in this instance they have sorely lacked what I feel is a courteous and professional response to a serious issue.

To add salt to the wound I was asked at the City Council meeting if I thought that having a speed bump would have prevented my granddaughter’s accident from happening. My answer was, “I don’t know. It may have, it may not have, I don’t think any of us have the answer to that. I can only hope that a speed bump could prevent something like this or something worse from happening ever again.” I was hoping that I could rest easier knowing that I did everything I could to prevent any child from being injured or killed when all they are trying to do is get to or from school safely. It seriously saddens me that “feral cats” are a greater concern than the safety of our children, and through this whole process not one person ever asked if my granddaughter was doing OK.

Jackie Sikes

Dennard

Dear Editor:

Many boys dream of dressing up in a suit and going with Daddy to see his exciting work. I never had that dream. I grew up on a Tyson poultry farm and if I went to work with Daddy, it meant I was doing manual labor. I wasn’t wearing a suit, and it wasn’t exciting. Now that I’m grown, my dad does have an exciting job that he dresses up for and I got to go to work with him.

I started off going to his committee meeting in the morning, had lunch with some fellow representatives, and then observed the afternoon session of the Arkansas House of Representatives. The experience was eye-opening to see our elected officials at work. While the Capitol was well lit, I sensed that the shadows ran deep and that that was where the real grit of politics took place. The things I witnessed and felt left a feeling of abhorrence in my soul for the hypocrisy in those shadows, especially as my dad discussed a proposed bill doomed for failure — a bill designed to protect poultry growers from certain provisions in their contracts.

The bill, HB2091, would protect the most successful growers from being forced to buy expensive upgrades for their farms (upgrades that often produce subjective results) when they already perform better than most other farmers without the upgrades. This bill, which is opposed by some of the big names in the poultry industry such as Tyson, brings great unpopularity to my dad as he still runs an active poultry operation. He who may have the most to lose — his poultry contract — is one of the few standing tall behind the bill. It would appear that some of the giants in the poultry industry who have deep pockets are fighting hard in opposition to this bill as they are calling the legislators of the agricultural committee. These “friendly” lobbying calls are proving persuasive as support for the bill is fading. It’s hypocrisy at its finest.

At one end we have the big corporations who decry government regulation in a capitalistic economy but insist on implementing regulation within their own company. Corporations that insist that regulation is hurtful to our macroeconomy but testify it is necessary on the micro-economy of their farmers. Why do Tyson and other corporations care if their most successful farmers upgrade — the same farmers who outperform their colleagues who have the pricey upgrades? If it’s not broke, don’t fix it, right? On the other end we have our representatives, men and women of integrity who courageously represent their constituents. Right? Surely our trusted officials would never cower to intimidation and demands from lobbyists and campaign financiers. Sadly, it appears some of our state’s companies refuse to govern the way they wish to be governed; and too many of our government’s self-professed Davids shrink when they hear Goliath. May we all live by sound principles and hold ourselves and our elected-officials accountable.

Andrew Eubanks

Paris, Ark.

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