Somewhat lost in the shuffle of President Obama's recent announcement concerning gay marriage was the revelation that Mitt Romney, while a student at a prep school, led a group of students who chased and held down an "effeminate" student, then cut the boy's hair.
Somehow, Romney can't remember this incident. Yes, people do stupid things when they are kids -- calling someone a name is forgivable, but only when the victim does the forgiving. However, when a physically malicious action is taken, that steps over the line.
Assault by a bully is not "no harm, no foul" like the jerk backing Romney's actions seems to think. Friends who knew the fellow falling victim to Romney and his good old boys' assault said he took the hurt with him until the day he died in 2004.
Oh, and by the way, that prankster Romney also led a blind teacher into a door.
I go to all my school reunions and still to this day don't feel like socializing with anyone I considered verbally mean. As for the ones who did physical harm, they continue to fall into my "did harm, don't want to know" category.
The Writers' Colony at Dairy Hollow has long provided a cozy retreat for writers to hunker down and work on their projects. These writers often share work at the monthly PoetLuck events which brings inspiration and camaraderie to local writers.
There has been little emphasis on education and outreach to the locals, at least in the past few years. It seemed as though WCDH was losing momentum until very recently. I don't know the entire background on what has changed, but here's what I've witnessed:
First, a group of devoted PoetLuckers rallied to fill in communication gaps and kept PoetLuck going through the winter. Then Linda Caldwell, former editor of Carroll County News, was appointed as WCDH Director, bringing recognized professionalism to the organization. A rousing celebration of WCDH founder, Crescent Dragonwagon's new book signaled renewed energy at the Colony.
Alison Taylor-Brown was appointed to develop a new Community Writing Program. Alison brings impressive credentials along with a supportive and enthusiastic attitude. Behind the scenes are countless dedicated supporters who have contributed energy, talent and cashola to ensure that WCDH not only survives but also thrives in years to come.
I am not alone in my appreciation for those who have risen to the occasion and launched WCDH on such an exciting course.
In regard to last week's article by Nicky Boyette offering tips to motorcyclists for the safety and enjoyment of our town, I feel one very important subject was omitted, so I would like to offer the following addendum to the story.
"While you are enjoying the town remember that there is a noise ordinance that is strictly enforced to preserve the quiet ambiance of our lovely village. If your vehicle is unusually loud and you do not want to risk a $90 citation, you should park it at the Planer Hill Transit Center and take the trolley or walk into town.
Our historic limestone buildings act as a canyon that increases the noise, making it impossible to hold a friendly conversation, which is what we like to do most here. We understand that the dollars you are spending on your visit turn the wheels of our economy, but the peace and quiet is what brought many full-time residents here in the first place, and we are the ones still here to take care of the city after you have gone home."
To Mayor Pate I respectfully say this -- we are aware of your efforts to bring more bikers here, and understand the urge to share the town with your friends, but you have just missed the opportunity to ask your friends to behave responsibly during their stay, which would have put many residents more at ease.
If more noise-producing vehicles (of any kind) are going to be on our streets, I ask that you encourage our police force to uphold the noise ordinance already in place by taking sound level readings and ticketing offenders as religiously as we ticket the others who simply didn't put enough money in their meters. Hand-held sound-measuring devices are available on Amazon for $20, and are already in the hands of citizens who are concerned about keeping Eureka Springs a pleasant place to live. Our police officers should have them as well.
This is in response to the advertisement that ran in your paper last week from the Arkansas Dept. of Health about the state of affairs of the Child Nutrition Departments of our Public Schools. It is apparent that the artist of the advertisement, as well as anyone from the ADH, has never visited Eureka Springs Public School's Child Nutrition department. If they had taken the time to visit before they placed the advertisement they would have seen that it was unnecessary to do so.
We are lucky enough to have an outstanding Child Nutrition department. Fresh fruits, whole grains, low fat, lower sodium, no trans-fat, items would be found being served there.
At the Middle School and High School, a salad bar that would rival any in town is offered daily in addition to any meal at no extra cost. At the elementary we were fortunate enough to receive a grant from Whole Foods that has provided us with a complete, wonderful, beautiful, free salad bar. We have had it for only about a month, but are slowly letting the older students learn how to use it, and hope to offer it daily next year at the elementary school for the older students.
For the last three years at the elementary, and last year at the middle school, we were fortunate to receive Fresh Fruit & Vegetable grants from USDA, to provide fresh fruit and or vegetables daily in the afternoons. We have received them again for School Year 2012-2013, for both schools. Grants are only offered for grades K-8, or we would be trying to get it for the high school as well.
The elementary school has applied to be designated as a Healthier US School Challenge School. Our application passed the Department of Education, Child Nutrition Division's approval, and has moved on to USDA for approval. These are schools that have shown themselves to strive for the best nutrition, for the best Nutrition Education and the best Physical Education. Only two other schools in Arkansas have won this honor.
With the building of the new high school, we look forward to being able to provide a hot, fresh, nutritious meal daily, since we will have a complete kitchen on site.
We invite anyone who would like to check out our Child Nutrition Department, to come have lunch or breakfast with us next year. I've called and invited Dr. Sydney Shaw, from ADH to do so as well. We will see if he takes me up on the invitation. This is the gentleman who was responsible for the advertisements. He told me they are pulling the advertisement, but alas, not before it was printed in our local paper.
Thank you for this forum to be able to let the public know that we are striving to offer their children the best meals we can. My door is always open and would love to visit with anyone who has any questions or suggestions.
Soon it will be time for what has become a yearly exercise in frustration (and at times despair) -- Carroll Electric Cooperative's annual membership meeting (Thursday, May 24 at 10 a.m. at the Berryville fairgrounds). Many of us have been trying for years to get the Board to actually respond to our questions (about herbicides, capital credits, democratic access, transparency of governance, etc.), but they have in the past (literally) turned their backs to us.
We are glad that we finally have a No Spray of herbicides option for the lines on our properties (although only if you have a meter). But this does not address the glaring lack of member access that the board's by-laws continue to make a set-in-stone policy.
Last year, board members seated themselves in the middle of the arena, and the members were behind metal gates in the bleachers. For such "choice" seats, we had to first sign away our right to ask questions during the meeting, just before we were searched by lots of security guards to make sure we didn't bring a camera or recorder in order to record "our" own annual meeting.
Though prior to last year's meeting we mailed in comments and questions on the forms provided, none of these questions were actually addressed in the annual meeting.
We plan to show up again this year (it is our cooperative, though only on paper right now). We haven't given up and we still have a complaint before the Public Service Commission.
But we have an alternative idea for the board -- why not just set up a projector in the middle of the arena and have a pre-recorded message from the board we can view on a screen by pressing a button? That way the board can save money on security, plus not have to spend any time refusing to answer members' questions. Members could come at a time more convenient than the middle of a work day and view the video! What a model of democracy!
Nan Johnson and Dave Spencer