Sunday, August 31, 2008

Eldorado, Arkansas, teacher visits World Peace Wetland Prairie on August 31, 2008

Please click on images to ENLARGE milkweed with monarch butterfly eggs and larvae on World Peace Wetland Prairie on August 31, 2008, in the hand of a biology teacher from El Dorado.

Government channel schedule for August 31 through September 6, 2008

August 31- September 6, 2008

SUNDAY, August 31
1:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. Community Events Calendar
5:00 a.m. Fire Training Video
6:00 a.m. Washington/Madison County Drug Court
7:00 a.m. Water & Sewer Committee: August 26
8:30 a.m. Community Events Calendar
9:00 a.m. Planning Commission: August 25
12:15 p.m. City Council Agenda: August 26
2:15 p.m. Ward 4: August 25
3:30 p.m. Fayetteville School Board Position 2 Candidate Debate
4:30 p.m. Planning Commission: August 25
7:45 p.m. City Council Agenda: August 26
9:45 p.m. Ward 4: August 25
11:00 p.m. Street Committee: August 28

MONDAY, September 1
1:00 a.m. City Council Agenda: August 26
3:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. Community Events Calendar
5:00 a.m. Fire Training Video
6:00 a.m. Washington/Madison County Drug Court
7:00 a.m. Telecom Internet Subcommittee: August 27 8:30 a.m. Community Events Calendar
9:00 a.m. PEG Center Equipment Committee: August 28
11:00 a.m. Ward 4: August 25
12:15 p.m. Animal Services Feline Temperament Test Information
Animals That Need Homes Now!
Feline Temperament Test Demonstration
Farmers Market
1:00 p.m. Subdivision Committee: August 28
4:00 p.m. Community Events Calendar
4:30 p.m. Fire Training Video
5:30 p.m. Fayette Junction Van Tour
6:30 p.m. City Council Agenda: August 26
8:30 p.m. Telecommunications Board: August 28
11:30 p.m. Telecom Internet Subcommittee: August 27

TUESDAY, September 2
1:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. Community Events Calendar
5:00 a.m. Fire Training Video
6:00 a.m. Washington/Madison County Drug Court
7:00 a.m. PEG Center Equipment Committee: August 28
8:30 a.m. Community Events Calendar
9:00 a.m. City Council Agenda: August 26
11:00 a.m. Council Of Neighborhoods: August 21
1:00 p.m. Fayetteville School Board Position 1 Candidate Debate
3:00 p.m. Fayetteville School Board Position 2 Candidate Debate
4:00 p.m. Community Events Calendar
4:30 p.m. Boston Mountain Solid Waste: August 21
6:00 p.m. City Council-LIVE
10:00 p.m. Telecom Internet Subcommittee: August 27

WEDNESDAY, September 3
12:00 a.m. Walton Arts Center Council: August 25
1:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. Community Events Calendar
5:00 a.m. Fire Training Video
6:00 a.m. Washington/Madison County Drug Court
7:00 a.m. Street Committee: August 28
8:00 a.m. Community Events Calendar
8:30 a.m. Animals That Need Homes Now!
Farmers Market
9:00 a.m. City Council: September 2
1:00 p.m. Telecommunications Board: August 28
4:00 p.m. Community Events Calendar
4:30 p.m. Fire Training Video
5:30 p.m. Animal Services Feline Temperament Test Information
Feline Temperament Test Demonstration
Park Pavilions
6:00 p.m. Animals That Need Homes Now!
Farmers Market
6:30 p.m. City Council: September 2
10:30 p.m. Planning Commission: August 25

THURSDAY, September 4
1:30 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. Community Events Calendar
5:00 a.m. Fire Training Video
6:00 a.m. Washington/Madison County Drug Court
7:00 a.m. Ward 1: August 18
7:45 a.m. Fayette Junction Van Tour
8:30 a.m. Community Events Calendar
9:00 a.m. Subdivision Committee: August 28
12:00 p.m. Fayetteville School Board Position 1 Candidate Debate
2:00 p.m. Board Of Adjustments: September 2
4:00 p.m. Street Committee: August 28
6:00 p.m. CAT Board-LIVE
8:00 p.m. Special Water & Sewer Public Discussion On Mt. Sequoyah
Pressure Plane: August 21
10:00 p.m. Water & Sewer Committee: August 26

FRIDAY, September 5
12:00 a.m. Ward 1: August 18
12:45 a.m. West Mud Creek Trail Nature Walk
1:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. Community Events Calendar
5:00 a.m. Fire Training Video
6:00 a.m. Washington/Madison County Drug Court
7:00 a.m. Fayetteville School Board Position 1 Candidate Debate
9:00 a.m. CAT Board: September 4
11:00 a.m. Telecommunications Board: August 28
2:00 p.m. Fayetteville School Board Position 1 Candidate Debate
4:00 p.m. Community Events Calendar
4:30 p.m. Fire Training Video
5:30 p.m. Fayetteville School Board Position 2 Candidate Debate
6:30 p.m. Mayor’s Press Conference Concerning Ozark Regional Transit
7:00 p.m. Washington/Madison County Drug Court
8:00 p.m. City View
8:30 p.m. Water & Sewer Committee: August 26
10:30 p.m. Street Committee: August 28

SATURDAY, September 6
12:30 a.m. Fayetteville School Board Position 2 Candidate Debate
1:30 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. Community Events Calendar
5:00 a.m. Fire Training Video
6:00 a.m. Washington/Madison County Drug Court
7:00 a.m. Fayette Junction Van Tour
7:45 a.m. West Mud Creek Trail Nature Walk
8:30 a.m. Community Events Calendar
9:00 a.m. City Council: September 2
1:00 p.m. Walton Arts Center Council: August 25
2:00 p.m. Fayetteville School Board Position 2 Candidate Debate
3:00 p.m. USGBC: How Close To Zero Can We Afford?
4:15 p.m. Community Events Calendar
4:30 p.m. Subdivision Committee: August 28
7:30 p.m. Fayetteville School Board Position 1 Candidate Debate
9:30 p.m. Telecom Internet Subcommittee: August 27
11:30 p.m. Ward 4: August 25

Silt-fence installers on HIll Place (formerly Aspen Ridge) at 8 a.m. Sunday

A big, loud machine used to install silt fences rolled down Hill Avenue and west on Eleventh Street and into the Hill Place development site promptly at 8 a.m. Sunday, August 31, 2008, and began doing what it does.
The effort began a week or so ago with surveying to mark the lines where the fences are supposed to go. Brush and grass and saplings of various sizes were cut by first crew and the trenches began being created. Actual installation of the heavy, black fences followed quickly.

Swampstock 2008 coming up

Tim McGraw Returns Home For Swampstock 2008

Tim McGraw will return home to Rayville, Louisiana on Saturday, September 13, 2008 to host Swampstock 2008 presented by Tim McGraw and Faith Hill’s Neighbor’s Keeper Foundation. Net proceeds from the activities will benefit the Neighbor’s Keeper Foundation’s local initiatives.

This year’s event will host a new location for the nightly concert on the steps of the Richland Parish Courthouse and will feature performances by Catherine Raney, Halfway to Hazard, Dierks Bentley, Jason Aldean, Faith Hill and McGraw.

And for the first time Habitat for Humanity of Ouachita will be an additional partner with Swampstock on a community build beginning September 9 and wrapping Saturday, September 13 to refurbish the Rayville Recreation Center.

“We are anxious to return this year with an amazing line up of artists,” says McGraw. “In addition to supporting Rayville Youth Baseball and the Steve Colvin Scholarships, it’s a great to add Habitat for Humanity of Ouachita and keep the focus on helping the local community. I’m encouraging everyone to help us make this one of the most successful Swampstock’s ever.”

Tickets for “NFK’s Swampstock 2008” go on sale Friday, August 22 and are available for $30.00. They can be purchased locally through Richland State Bank, Bankcorp South and J&H Boots as well as Ticketmaster.

KC Masterpiece and Kingsford, recent sponsors of McGraw’s “Live Your Voice Tour,” will also help “fire up” Swampstock as a sponsor and support the Habitat Build.

Additional donations are coming from the Tug McGraw Foundation, RPM Management and Coca-Cola.

“Swampstock” began in 1994 in downtown Rayville, Louisiana as a way for McGraw to give back to his hometown community. This year’s event will be promoted by Glenn Smith Presents, Inc.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Example of why residents MUST have the ability to initiate issue forums on GOVERNMENT CHANNEL

Friday night schedule
8:00 p.m. City View

8:30 p.m. Fayetteville School Board Position 2 Candidate Forum
9:30 p.m. Special Water & Sewer Public Discussion On Mt. Sequoyah
Pressure Plane: August 21
11:30 p.m. Gulley Park Summer Concert Series 2008: Oreo Blue

The Mt. Sequoyah special meeting on the pressure plane DID NOT RUN.
Instead, a promotional tour by the city council on the master plan for the Fayetteville Junction area of south Fayetteville.
Following that was a variation from the gavel-to-gavel coverage normal for coverage of city meetings with a set number of reruns. Someone had to request it. A recent planning-commission meeting was pulled out and played to promote the building of the Southpass "regional park." There may be a basis for claiming that this partial-meeting cablecast was unbiased because the three people who attended and spoke against this massive sprawl project were included. However, this was not a true, public forum initiated at the request of opponents of the environmentally destructive project.
It was a clear piece of propaganda in support of a project is widely questioned and criticized by the public.

School-board debates on Government Channel schedule TODAY

SATURDAY, August 30
1:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. Community Events Calendar
5:00 a.m. Fire Training Video
6:00 a.m. Washington/Madison County Drug Court

7:00 a.m. Ward 1 Meeting: August 18
7:45 a.m. Matt Mihalevich & John Coleman: Trail Program
8:30 a.m. Community Events Calendar
9:00 a.m. Special Water & Sewer Public Discussion On Mt. Sequoyah
Pressure Plane: August 28

11:00 a.m. Fayetteville School Board Position 2 Candidate Forum
12:00 p.m. Fayetteville School Board Position 1 Candidate Forum
2:00 p.m. Telecom Internet Subcommittee: August 27
4:00 p.m. Community Events Calendar

4:30 p.m. Fayetteville School Board Position 1 Candidate Forum
6:30 p.m. Fayetteville School Board Position 2 Candidate Forum
7:30 p.m. Street Committee: August 18
9:45 p.m. Ordinance Review: August 20
11:45 p.m. Partners For Better Housing: August 19

Look for the updated program guide in the Cable Administration section at

Diverse plants and wildlife call World Peace Wetland Prairie home on August 29, 2008

Please click on images to ENLARGE photos of butterflies and flowers and tall grass on August 29, 2008, on World Peace Wetland Prairie.

First and second photos above feature a monarch butterfly nectaring on native thistles on World Peace Wetland Prairie. Native thistles are NOT outlawed and are exceptionally valuable to butterflies, bees and numerous species of birds.
The following two photos (below) feature Centaurea Americana, the American basketflower, surrounded by Demaree's gaura or Gaura demareei, and Dematree's gaura is seen up close in the fifth photo.

Gaura demareei above.
A small, pale butterfly rests on tall grass in the sixth photo (below).

Florida lettuce above (Latuca floridana) above.

Governor of Alaska selected as vice-presidential candidate for the Republican Party

Alaska Governor Palin Picked as McCain Running Mate (Update1)
By Ken Fireman and Lorraine Woellert

Aug. 29 (Bloomberg) -- Republican John McCain chose Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate, tapping a 44-year-old with an outsider persona in an effort to appeal to female voters and balance concerns about McCain's age.

Palin will appear with McCain, 72, the presumptive Republican nominee, today at an event in Dayton, Ohio.

``Governor Palin has the record of reform and bipartisanship that others can only speak of,'' the McCain campaign said in a statement announcing the choice. ``Her experience in shaking up the status quo is exactly what is needed in Washington today.''

Palin is less than halfway through her first term as governor of Alaska, a post she won in 2006 by challenging the state's Republican leadership and vowing to clean up a government mired in a corruption scandal.

In a sign of the secrecy in which the selection was wrapped, Palin's office last night announced that she would be spending today at the Alaska State Fair to introduce the new state quarter into circulation.

Palin is the second woman to be chosen as a major-party nominee for vice president. The first, then-Representative Geraldine Ferraro of New York, was nominated by the Democrats in 1984.

Although Alaska has voted Republican in every presidential election since 1964, Democratic nominee Barack Obama has vowed to contest it this year. His campaign has already opened four offices around the state.

`Genuine Reformer'

The Club for Growth, which advocates lower taxes and government spending, praised Palin as a ``genuine reformer'' who has cut wasteful spending in her state. ``At a time when many Republicans are still clinging to pork-barrel politics, Governor Palin has quickly become a leader on this issue,'' the group's president, Pat Toomey, said in a statement.

The choice of Palin will also likely appeal to Republicans most concerned about social issues because of her anti-abortion views.

``Conservatives who have been lukewarm thus far in their support for the McCain candidacy will work their hearts out between now and November for the McCain-Palin ticket,'' David Keene, chairman of the American Conservative Union, said in a statement.

Palin, a former beauty queen, high school basketball star and television sportscaster, began her political career in the 1990s as a city councilwoman and then mayor in her home town of Wasilla. The town's estimated population in 2007 was 9,780, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Energy Commission

Considered a rising political star by state Republican leaders, she was appointed in 2003 to the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, a significant body in the energy-rich state.

While on the commission, Palin led an ethics investigation of another member, state Republican Chairman Randy Ruedrich, who was accused of conflicts of interest involving oil companies.

In 2006, Palin challenged Governor Frank Murkowski, who faced criticism that a deal he had negotiated with energy companies to build a natural-gas pipeline was too favorable to the companies.

Palin's anti-corruption persona appealed to voters in a state where federal prosecutors were conducting a high-profile investigation of alleged political corruption. She defeated Murkowski in the Republican primary and won election in November.

Oil Companies

Earlier this year, Palin threatened to evict Exxon Mobil Corp. and its partners BP Plc, Chevron Corp. and ConocoPhillips from a state-owned gas field, winning a promise from them to boost Alaska's natural-gas output by 17 percent.

Since taking office, Palin herself has become the subject of a legislative probe involving a personnel case. The investigation centers on her dismissal of the state's public safety commissioner, Walt Monegan.

Palin fired Monegan on July 11, saying she wanted to take the department in a new direction. Monegan then alleged that he had been pressured to fire state trooper Mike Wooten, who was married to Palin's sister and was involved in a contentious divorce, according to the Anchorage Daily News.

Palin has denied any wrongdoing. The state Legislature voted on July 28 to hire an independent investigator to probe whether Palin, her family or members of her administration had pressured Monegan to fire Wooten, according to the Daily News.

Palin hasn't been implicated in the four-year-old federal corruption investigation, which has resulted in convictions of or guilty pleas from three state legislators, Murkowski's former chief of staff and two executives of an oil-services company, as well as the indictment of Senator Ted Stevens.

To contact the reporters this story: Ken Fireman in Washington at; Lorraine Woellert in Denver at

Last Updated: August 29, 2008 11:43 EDT

Governor of Alaska named vice-presidential candidate for the Reppublican

Governor of Alaska named vice-presidential candidate for the Reppublican

Governor of Alaska named vice-presidential candidate for the Reppublican

Northwest Arkansas Times tells the REAL story of the grand opening of Fayetteville's new sewage-treatment plant

Absent aldermen see no need to celebrate ‘overbudget’ project
BY MARSHA L. MELNICHAK Northwest Arkansas Times
Posted on Friday, August 29, 2008
Only one of Fayetteville’s eight City Council members attended the grand opening of the West Side Wastewater Treatment Plant Thursday, although all their names are on the engraved plaque by the office doors.
Some who didn’t attend said it was because of the project’s cost overruns and time delays.
Brenda Thiel, Ward 1, listened to the shared accolades and added her own at the grand opening.
“ I’m just really excited for this day. I think this is a fantastic facility, and it’s been a long time coming. I certainly wanted to be here for this great day, ” Thiel said.
Her ward mate, Adella Gray, also had good things to say about the plant.
“ I’m very excited about that plant, and I just think it’s a showplace for Northwest Arkansas, ” said Gray, who is in Denver for the Democratic National Convention.
Ward 2 council members, Nancy Allen and Kyle Cook, were not as exuberant in their praise for the plant.
“ It was a long road, ” said Cook, who could not attend because of his work.
“ I think the delays and extra costs are a bummer. That’s a little frustrating; but once we got a grasp of it, everything went pretty good, ” Cook said. “ Getting to that starting point was incredibly frustrating. ”
Allen could have attended but chose not to do so.
“ I didn’t attend the ceremony because, while I’m pleased the plant is open, a $ 63-million overrun plus a sewer rate increase in the near future didn’t seem worthy of celebration, ” Allen said.
When voters approved a. 75-cent sales tax increase to repay up to $ 125 million in bonds in 2001, they expected the project to be completed in 2005 at a cost of about $ 120 million.
The Wastewater System Improvement Project was described as a $ 186. 5 million project in a handout at Thursday’s event, about $ 60 million above early estimates.
The new $ 63-million West Side Wastewater Treatment Plant is one part of the overall project.
Mayor Dan Coody, who is running for a third term as mayor, has repeatedly argued that the first estimates were just estimates, not bids and that once management of the project came “ in house ” and bids were taken, the project stayed on track for time and money.
Ward 4 Alderman and mayoral candidate Lioneld Jordan is not convinced.
“ First of all, I’m glad that the project has gotten complete, and I’m glad it’s up and running for the citizens. And I’m glad it’s at last finished. However, it’s difficult for me to come out and celebrate a ribbon-cutting when something is three years late and $ 60 million over, ” said Jordan.
“ I know the line has been, ‘ Since the city took it over. ’ Well, I thought the city was in charge of it to begin with, ” said Jordan.
He added, “ We’re not on budget, and we’re not on time. We’re three years late and $ 60 million over, and there’s no other way around that. I find it difficult to go out and cut a ribbon and say everything’s ‘ hunky-dory ’ when it’s not. ”
Shirley Lucas, Ward 4, said she didn’t attend because she went to the ribbon-cutting.
“ I just kind of thought this was probably a photo op session for the mayor since he’s running for re-election and that was his show, ” said Lucas, who was getting her home ready for company during the grand opening.
“ I thought they don’t need me for another ribbon-cutting out there; I cut the first time, ” she said.
Bobby Ferrell, Ward 3, also didn’t attend the grand opening. He said he’d been to enough “ final” celebrations.
“ I don’t think we ought to be spending staff time and money on continuing celebrations of an overbudget, overdue plant. Where we ought to be focusing right now today, I mean today in caps, is on the problems we are confronted with on hauling off our biowaste. ” He was referring to the recent, unexpected notification from an Oklahoma landfill that it would immediately stop receiving the city’s biosolid waste, which is produced during the wastewater treatment process.
Ward 3 ’s Robert Rhoads did not reply to a request for comment.
Copyright © 2001-2008 Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Inc. All rights reserved. Contact:

Telecom Board's Thursday meeting being rerun on Cox Cable 16 at this moment

The first rerun of the Telecom Board meeting began at 9 a.m. on City 16 on Cox Cable. To understand the meeting, please tune in. The only print coverage of the meeting, the Northwest Arkansas Times news story was brief and far from complete.
By this point in the meeting, Chairman Richard Drake has stepped aside and the board has elected Shelli Bell chairman, after she nominated herself.
You haven't missed much so far. Please tune in.

Lindsley reports on Thursday at the Democratic National Convention.

Please click on image to Enlarge photo of Rosa DeLauro (U.S. Representative from the third district of Connecticut) and Lindsley Smith at the Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado, on August 28, 2008.

Well, today was the last day of the Democratic National Convention. I am still so honored to have been elected as a Hillary Delegate to the Convention. This has been one of the most amazing opportunities of my life and auspicious time for the Democratic Party. This morning our delegation had breakfast with the delegations of Hawaii (the birth state of Senator Obama) and Delaware (the state of Senator Biden) and I provided the introduction of Mr. Ken Johnson, who is the Southern Regional Director of the national AFL-CIO. He spoke to the delegation about the Employee Free Choice Act, which is part of the Democratic Platform. I attended a caucus and then headed to the stadium, but I lucked up and saw Arkansas colleagues Berta Seitz, Ann Harbison, and Karla Bradley walking toward me and my husband Steve and we then went with them to the stadium. I was so impressed with the organization of the Convention and how effective everyone working at the stadium was to so effectively move in and out 80,000 people. Arkansas was seated right in front of the press booths of CBS and CNN. The musicians tonight were amazing, the speakers were amazing, the crowd was amazing, it was all just breathtaking. I was a part of history, we all were, and we all knew it. Unity has been the theme of this convention, and it was clearly accomplished. The stadium moved and looked like one unit, spoke with one voice, and felt with a common heart. I have met so many individuals at this Convention, and many who I consider my friend after only 4 days together. We developed close bonds. We laughed. We cried tears of joy together. We danced together. We were together, by all accounts.

At one moment in the night I looked out at the stadium and thought that here is a forum of sports entertainment, an enjoyable past-time for all Americans, and we had country and rock (or soft rock) music entertainment, and thought how much we love our entertainment as a nation, but how much Americans read and listen to less and less news and statistically pay less and less attention to politics, and how media news has been relegated to coverage of soundbites. I thought at that moment of how the Obama campaign has pulled in so many people who have never been involved in politics and are so very new to it. And here I was looking up and seeing a a visual representation of that thesis from the Obama campaign. Eighty-thousand people were in an entertainment arena solely for a political purpose and excited about the political ideas articulated. As a teacher of Political Communication, it was almost too emotional to stand there in awe and think of how this one political event garnered so many people who were so excited about politics. Politics! History! Issues! Representative Democracy! The values our nation holds dear were all represented here tonight. I have no doubt that you watched the convention today and were as thrilled as I am for our Party and nation. The Republicans meet next week, and I'm sure they will all be wearing their flip flops. I'm excited about the next president of the United States, Barack Obama, and I know that he will be a great president. We have much to do before the November 4 election, so lets get out boots on, strap them up tight, get ready for the march, and go to it with the fervor that Yes We Can. As Rosie taught us in the famous ad during WWII, We Can Do It, and as we say now, Yes We Can.

For this final convention post, I again share pictures of the evening. Know that you have been with me each moment of each day. We are united as brothers and sisters, and we will take back the White House together. Our State of Arkansas has two democratic Senators, 3 democratic Congressmen, 75% of our state legislature is democratic, and every Constitutional officer of our great state is a democrat. Certainly, Arkansas can elect a democrat to the White House. Yes we can!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

McGinty, Heil debate as they face race for position on Fayetteville board of education

Looking ahead : School board hopefuls discuss high school future, other issues
BY BRETT BENNETT Northwest Arkansas Times
Posted on Thursday, August 28, 2008
A question about their thoughts on the future of Fayetteville High School was one asked of candidates in the Fayetteville Board of Education’s atlarge Position 1 race at a forum held Wednesday evening at City Hall.

The forum was sponsored by the Washington County Chapter of the League of Women Voters and recorded for broadcast on the Fayetteville Government Channel. Four of the six candidates in the Sept. 16 election attended. Candidates Jeanie Hill and Joe Lee were absent due to prior commitments, according to moderator Barbara Taylor.

The board has been mulling the future of Fayetteville High School’s campus for nearly two years. Most recently, the district had been discussing selling the school to the nearby University of Arkansas to help subsidize construction at a new site, but last week, the UA withdrew an offer to buy the property for $ 50 million.

On the high school question, candidate Stacy Furlow said she wants to find the most practical solution, whether it be building a new school or restructuring the current site.

“ I do not feel the withdrawal should deter us from the ultimate goal, which is to develop a 21 st-century high school, ” she said.

Halsell said he favors the current site and developing a new site there, saying it is the overall best solution. He added its proximity to the UA gives Fayetteville a chance “ to build a world-class school next to a world-class research institution. ”

“ I think the fact that the university withdrew their offer opens the door for many other considerations, ” Halsell said.

Candidate Conrad Odom did not mention a specific site, but he said the high school site now needs to be decided upon so they can move forward. The district definitely needs a new high school, he said.

Odom is the short-term incumbent in the race. He was appointed to the seat in July to temporarily fill the position after former at-large representative John Delap resigned to take a job teaching at Fayetteville High School.

Candidate Mike Malony noted he served on a committee last semester that recommended relocating the school to a 73-acre site on Morningside Drive. Given the recent changes with the economy and the UA offer going away, Malony said he would like to revisit the 2007 decisions to maintain one high school and add ninth grade to the campus.

Another evaluation of those issues is vital because they help drive the decision on location, Malony said. He added that while they need to be revisited, that doesn’t mean they need to “ belabor” the issue.

Halsell also said he believed that “ conditions” in the community had changed since those decisions were adopted by the school board and he thought they should be reconsidered.

Odom said he personally didn’t favor the ninth grade decision but didn’t want to revisit the decision at this point.

“ We’ve taken a yearand-a-half to get where we are, ” he said. “ What the community wants at this point is for someone to move forward. ”

Furlow said she wouldn’t mind revisiting the decisions, as having two smaller high schools might be better for students. If they are revisited, the school board should put a time limit to make a final decision by the end of 2008.

The candidates also spoke about other issues facing the distr ict in response to a question about their other concerns.

Odom said it is important to pay attention to other building needs besides the high school, such as the condition of the Happy Hollow Elementary School facility.

Malony said he thought the three main changes the district needs are changes to the facilities such as the high school, changes to the speed at which the board makes decisions and changes to the community engagement process. He thought the way the recent high school committee operated was a good model.

Halsell said he thinks the district has provided good resources for the academically proficient and academically deficient students, but they probably need to find more ways to “ engage that middle set of kids, ” he said.

Furlow said she would like to maintain the districts good teachers and add agricultural teachers to the high school, because the student demand for those classes exceeds the current offerings. She said she would also like to see a foreign language program for elementary students.

The League of Women Voters also held a second debate for at-large Position 2 candidates, which are incumbent Susan Heil and newcomer James McGinty.

On the high school issue, Heil said that the ideal situation would be to move to a new site like the proposed Morningside Drive location because of the challenges involved with restructuring the current site.

McGinty said after talking to many people, he believes there is an opportunity to develop a worldclass facility on the existing 40-acre site on Stone Street.

“ The existing property is not just an old building or rock, but it is a diamond in the rough, ” he said.

On revisiting the ninth grade decision, Heil said the decision was made after much input and was based on the premise that the freshmen would be best served by coming into the high school. She didn’t feel comfortable revisiting it.

McGinty said the issue “ might be worth bringing up again” because adding the ninth grade will greatly increase the size of the school and impact future building growth in the district.

Copyright © 2001-2008 Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Inc. All rights reserved. Contact:

Lindsley reports on Wednesday at the Democratic National Convention.

Today started out again with a 7 am breakfast. Senator Mark Pryor spoke to the delegation about how he supported Hillary but he now is backing Obama. Afterward there was a delegate meeting to inform the delegates how the voting would take place today, which was for delegates to check the candidate of their choice and sign the roll call ballot. Next, there was a 30-minute conference call of Third-District delegates with the press. Then we headed off to our various caucuses.

After the caucuses from 11-1, there was a meeting of the Clinton Campaign for Clinton to meet with her delegates. The Clinton delegate meeting was high energy. Hillary said that she released her delegates and then stated 'let me tell you what that means', and told the crowd that some delegates told her that they wanted to vote for her because they promised their constituency that they would do that and they wanted to fulfill their promise and some told her they wanted to vote for Obama to demonstrate to people the idea of unity. She said that she would be voting today to back Senator Barack Obama during her state's roll call vote, but she wanted her delegates to do what was in their hearts and what they felt they needed to do. After that, all the delegates at the convention made their way to the Pepsi Center for the day's events. The roll call was one of the first items of the afternoon. I, along with 7 other Hillary Delegates, cast our votes for Senator Hillary Clinton, 37 were cast for Senator Barack Obama, and Senator Vic Snyder and Congressman Marion Berry were absent (Vic is expecting triplets). I was pleased to vote as I promised at the State Convention in Little Rock and for the state that had the largest margin for Hillary in nation.

When it came to Arkansas, Rebecca Gwatney gave the roll call presentation. There was a script, but it was replaced and at the last minute, with Rep. Steve Harrelson stating that the second page of her notes were being written as she was delivering her first page of notes. Here is the speech given:

'This is Rebecca Gwatney, on behalfof the Great State of Arkansas, the adopted home of Senator Hillary RodhamClinton, the state that provided her with her largest margin of 70% inthe 2008 Democratic primary and a state with an admiration for theClintons that is unmatched throughout this country. I am proudtonight to follow Senator Clinton's call for unity and to unite behindSen. Barack Obama and elect him as the next president of the United States.'

Then the audience applauded and the moderator announced 'Arkansas casts 47 votes for Barack Obama.'

The last sentence of the speech that Rebecca was going to state was, ' Arkansas casts 37 votes for Senator Barack Obama and 8 for Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton'; however, the mic was cut off and the last sentence was not included.

The highlights of the evening were the speeches of Bill Clinton and Joe Biden, each receiving a rousing applause, particularly Clinton. The applause before Clinton's speech seemed to go on for 5 minutes. He stated that his job was to be the warm-up act for Biden, and he accomplished that goal completely. He did not leave the press any room for misinterpreting his comments and stated his support for Obama loud and clear. He began with a first sentence stating that he is honored to be here tonight to support Barack Obama, and he expressed his love for Joe Biden. I found the following statements particularly excellent:

'Hillary told us in no uncertain terms that she'll do everything she can to elect Barack Obama. That makes two of us. Actually that makes 18 million of us - because, like Hillary, I wantall of you who supported her to vote for Barack Obama in November.'

'The American Dream is under siege at home, and America's leadership in the world has been weakened.'

'Middle class and low-income Americans are hurting, with incomesdeclining; job losses, poverty and inequality rising; mortgageforeclosures and credit card debt increasing; health care coveragedisappearing; and a big spike in the cost of food, utilities, andgasoline.Our position in the world has been weakened by too muchunilateralism and too little cooperation; a perilous dependence onimported oil; a refusal to lead on global warming; a growingindebtedness and a dependence on foreign lenders; a severely burdenedmilitary; a backsliding on global non-proliferation and arms controlagreements; and a failure to consistently use the power of diplomacy.'

Bill Clinton also left no room for the press to logically assert that he doesn't think Obama will make a strong President or that he is ready to lead on day one, stating to the excited and unified crowd of the Convention:

'Everything I learned in my eight years as President and in the workI've done since, in America and across the globe, has convinced me thatBarack Obama is the man for this job. He has a remarkable ability to inspire people, to raise our hopesand rally us to high purpose. He has the intelligence and curiosityevery successful President needs. His policies on the economy, taxes,health care and energy are far superior to the Republican alternatives.He has shown a clear grasp of our foreign policy and national securitychallenges, and a firm commitment to repair our badly strainedmilitary. His family heritage and life experiences have given him aunique capacity to lead our increasingly diverse nation and to restoreour leadership in an ever more interdependent world. The long, hardprimary tested and strengthened him. And in his first presidentialdecision, the selection of a running mate, he hit it out of the park. With Joe Biden's experience and wisdom, supporting Barack Obama'sproven understanding, insight, and good instincts, America will havethe national security leadership we need. Barack Obama is ready to lead America and restore Americanleadership in the world. Ready to preserve, protect, and defend theConstitution of the United States. Barack Obama is ready to bePresident of the United States. He will work for an America with more partners and feweradversaries. He will rebuild our frayed alliances and revitalize theinternational institutions which help to share the costs of the world'sproblems and to leverage our power and influence. He will put us backin the forefront of the world's fight to reduce nuclear, chemical, andbiological weapons and to stop global warming. He will continue andenhance our nation's global leadership in an area in which I am deeplyinvolved, the fight against AIDS, TB and malaria, including a renewalof the battle against HIV/AIDS here at home. He will choose diplomacyfirst and military force as a last resort. But in a world troubled byterror; by trafficking in weapons, drugs and people; by human rightsabuses; by other threats to our security, our interests, and ourvalues, when he cannot convert adversaries into partners, he will standup to them. Barack Obama also will not allow the world's problems to obscure itsopportunities. Everywhere, in rich and poor countries alike,hardworking people need good jobs; secure, affordable healthcare, food,and energy; quality education for their children; and economicallybeneficial ways to fight global warming. These challenges cry out forAmerican ideas and American innovation. When Barack Obama unleashesthem, America will save lives, win new allies, open new markets, andcreate new jobs for our people. Most important, Barack Obama knows that America cannot be strongabroad unless we are strong at home. People the world over have alwaysbeen more impressed by the power of our example than by the example ofour power.'

The press has been unjustly harsh on spinning Bill Clinton's words, and Bill set the record straight tonight and effectively flipped the assertions of democratic opponents into realities. And in his appraisal of McCain, he stated, 'They took us from record surpluses to an exploding national debt;from over 22 million new jobs down to 5 million; from an increase inworking family incomes of $7,500 to a decline of more than $2,000; fromalmost 8 million Americans moving out of poverty to more than 5 and ahalf million falling into poverty - and millions more losing theirhealth insurance. Now, in spite of all the evidence, their candidate is promising moreof the same: More tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans that will swellthe deficit, increase inequality, and weaken the economy. Moreband-aids for health care that will enrich insurance companies,impoverish families and increase the number of uninsured. More going italone in the world, instead of building the shared responsibilities andshared opportunities necessary to advance our security and restore ourinfluence. They actually want us to reward them for the last eight years bygiving them four more. Let's send them a message that will echo fromthe Rockies all across America: Thanks, but no thanks. In this case,the third time is not the charm.' The crowd roared!

Joe Biden was also excellent. He let the nation know him better, and he spoke with strength and grace, with the charm that his smile possesses. Biden told the excited crowd that now is the time for Senator Obama. I particularly loved the following realities that Biden stated, 'I've never seen a time when Washington has watched so many peopleget knocked down without doing anything to help them get back up.Almost every night, I take the train home to Wilmington, sometimes verylate. As I look out the window at the homes we pass, I can almost hearwhat they're talking about at the kitchen table after they put the kidsto bed. Like millions of Americans, they're asking questions as profound asthey are ordinary. Questions they never thought they would have to ask:* Should mom move in with us now that dad is gone?
* Fifty, sixty, seventy dollars to fill up the car?
* Winter's coming. How we gonna pay the heating bills?
* Another year and no raise?
* Did you hear the company may be cutting our health care?
* Now, we owe more on the house than it's worth. How are we going to send the kids to college?
* How are we gonna be able to retire?
That's the America that George Bush has left us, and that's thefuture John McCain will give us. These are not isolated discussionsamong families down on their luck. These are common stories amongmiddle-class people who worked hard and played by the rules on thepromise that their tomorrows would be better than their yesterdays. That promise is the bedrock of America. It defines who we are as apeople. And now it's in jeopardy. I know it. You know it. But JohnMcCain doesn't get it.' And the following brought the crowd to cheers and tears, 'That's how you come to believe, to the very core of your being, thatwork is more than a paycheck. It's dignity. It's respect. It's aboutwhether you can look your children in the eye and say: we're going tobe ok.' Moreover, Biden stated realities of McCain that needed to be voiced at the Convention: 'John sided with President Bush 95 percent of the time. Give me abreak. When John McCain proposes $200 billion in new tax breaks forcorporate America, $1 billion alone for just eight of the largestcompanies, but no relief for 100 million American families, that's notchange; that's more of the same. Even today, as oil companies post the biggest profits in history--ahalf trillion dollars in the last five years--he wants to give themanother $4 billion in tax breaks. But he voted time and again againstincentives for renewable energy: solar, wind, biofuels. That's notchange; that's more of the same. Millions of jobs have left our shores, yet John continues to supporttax breaks for corporations that send them there. That's not change;that's more of the same. He voted 19 times against raising the minimum wage. For people whoare struggling just to get to the next day, that's not change; that'smore of the same. And when he says he will continue to spend $10 billion a month inIraq when Iraq is sitting on a surplus of nearly $80 billion, that'snot change; that's more of the same. The choice in this election is clear. These times require more thana good soldier; they require a wise leader, a leader who can deliverchange--the change everybody knows we need.'
Thurmond Metcalf of Benton County and I have been seatmates throughout the convention, front row of course! We call ourselves Arkansas Cheerleaders. Thurmond and I have been also enjoying the time spent with the Minnesota delegates in front of us, and our visits with their Senator, Amy Klobuchar, who stops to talk to us when she visits her delegation each evening. During Biden's speech, Thurmond and learned from a friend of ours in the Minnesota delegation that Barack was on his way to the convention center. Our friend learned this because he received a text message from someone who saw a motorcade heading toward the center and boom, two minutes later Obama appeared on stage.

Sen. Barack Obama, the Democrats' presidential nominee, took the stage at the Democratic National Convention, marking his first in-person appearance at the event.

Barack began by stating, 'I think the convention's gone pretty well so far -- what do you think?' The crowd, which earlier made him the first African-American candidate to lead a major party White House ticket, cheered in a roaring tone that almost shook the hall. Everyone was on their feet and waiving signs and American flags. Seeing that I have to be at today's breakfast in a couple of hours, I'll go ahead and attach some pictures from today's (I mean yesterday's) events:

DNC Wed Arkansas Delegation.jpg

DNC Wed Lindsley.jpg

DNC Wed street supporters.jpg

DNC Wed supporting yell.jpg

DNC Wed unity for Joe.jpg

DNC Wed 3rd dist. press conf..jpg

DNC Wed 3rd dist. press conference.jpg

Benton County Quorum Court votes FOR watershed protection

The Morning News
Local News for Northwest Arkansas

Quorum Court Approves Curtis
By Scarlet Sims
BENTONVILLE -- The Benton County Quorum Court appointed environmentalist Mark Curtis to the Planning Board on Thursday night over the objection of property-rights advocates.
Curtis, 57, of Rogers will begin serving next month.
"I'm very happy," said Planning Board member Bill Kneebone. "He's going to be a good addition."
The Quorum Court rejected County Judge Gary Black's recommendation last month 6-5. Black decided to ask the Quorum Court to reconsider Curtis after receiving calls from supporters.
Several residents spoke for and against appointing Curtis on Thursday.
Black picked Curtis from about 19 applicants who submitted resumes last year after a board member resigned. Curtis works in public and private finance, according to his resume. He has a degree from University of Minnesota in urban geography. He studied city and regional planning at Memphis State University from 1977 to 1979, according to his resume.
Curtis is the Association for Beaver Lake Environment treasurer. The group is dedicated to preserving the lake's quality.
Curtis supported a watershed ordinance about two years ago opponents say would have greatly restricted property owners' ability to use their land. He also sued Benton County after the county approved 15-story condominiums to be built on the lake.
Curtis said Thursday the watershed ordinance is a tool to protect the lake. As the county grows, the county must plan to protect agriculture, residents and resources, he said. Planning may mean more regulations or changing current regulations, Curtis said.
He said he had opinions but would change his mind if his opinion is proven wrong. Other planning board members have opinions, Curtis said. He said he stood by his past decisions.
Beaver Lake association members said wanting to protect Beaver Lake should be an asset, not a drawback, to the Planning Board.
"How is it that someone who is interested in protecting the environment should be disqualified when Planning Board regulations promote protecting Beaver Lake?" asked Doug Timmons, Beaver Lake association president.
Opponents worried Curtis has an agenda to increase regulations around the lake and push the association's issues.
"We do not need a man as polarized as Mr. Curtis on the Planning Board," said Bob Kossieck, a property-rights member.
Whether to appoint Curtis to a board that may influence land use ideas that go before the Quorum Court is at the heart of the issue. In the days leading up the Quorum Court meeting, property rights advocates pressured justices of the peace to vote against Curtis, while environmentalists pressed justices of the peace to vote for him.
Justice of the Peace Frank Winscott, R-southeastern Benton County, said whether to approve Curtis is a "lightning rod issue." The nuisance abatement ordinance is the only other issue that provoked so much response among constituents, he said.
Winscott voted against Curtis both times. He made a motion to table the vote early in the meeting but the motion failed.
"My concern was: Can he be objective on the board due to his past with land-use issues?" Winscott said. "I want him to be objective."
Justice of the Peace Debbie Hobbs, R-Rogers, voted against Curtis in July but changed her vote to support Curtis on Thursday. She said she is still concerned about potential bias on the board but pointed out developers can appeal the board's decision. Curtis is only one of seven on the planning board, Hobbs said.
Justice of the Peace Bobby Hubbard, R-northwestern Benton County, and Justice of the Peace James Wozniak, R-Bella Vista, left the meeting shortly after the Quorum Court approved Curtis. Hubbard said the Quorum Court made a mistake in approving Curtis.
Curtis supported the watershed ordinance that included fees for homeowners and would have hurt farming communities by not allowing farmers to move dirt on their property, Hubbard said. What a committee or board recommends to the Quorum Court is usually approved, which could mean more or increased building or planning fees, he said.
"This county is taking a step backward in helping agriculture in this county -- especially on the western side," Hubbard said. "(Curtis) is an extremist, I don't care what anybody says."
How They Voted
The Benton County Quorum Court voted Thursday to appoint Mark Curtis to the Planning Board. Justices of the peace Frank Harrison, R-Rogers, David Hill, R-Bentonville, Debbie Hobbs, R-Rogers, Kurt Moore, R-southwestern Benton County, Bob Stephenson, R-southwestern Benton County, Beverly Williams, D-Bella Vista, Tim Summers, R-Bentonville, and James Wozniak, R-Bella Vista, approved Curtis. Justices of the peace Bobby Hubbard, R-northwestern Benton County, Craig Brown, R-Rogers, Chris Glass, R-northeastern Benton County, and Frank Winscott, R-southeastern Benton County, voted against Curtis. Justice of the Peace Marge Wolf, R-Rogers, was absent.

Homework link for the 5:30 p.m. meeting of the Telecom Board

The packet of information available for today's 5:30 p.m. meeting of the Telecom Board

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Blast from past: Reasons for protecting wetland not common knowledge among politicians

Posted 8/29/04 on
First posted on http"// in 2004
Coody finally keeps promise but doesn't stay long

Aubrey's Notebook:
Mayor's Request Would Have Council Ignore Task Force Report
Recommends Putting All Tree, Trail Money Into One Purchase
Mayor Dan Coody visits Town Branch watershed August 23, 2004, fullfilling a promise made in March.

It seems that Mayor Dan Coody is in a big rush to get the Fayetteville City Council to ignore the recommendation of the city's Tree and Trail Task Force and use the full remaining $100,000 from the Steele Crossing lawsuit settlement to acquire 2.44 acres of mostly steep woodland on South West Avenue from renowned architect Fay Jones.
The reason is that there is a deadline to act on the offer to Fay Jones. If that deadline were extended, then maybe there could be a bit more discussion.
I agree that Jones' property must be protected. He bought it more than 35 years ago and has kept it in nearly pristine condition ever since.
I admire and respect Fay Jones for protecting the land all these years and believe he should be paid properly for it. However, both parcels are important and environmentally sensitive and must be protected for their conservation value. There has to be a way to acquire and protect both areas. Such places are disappearing rapidly inside Fayetteville and all over Northwest Arkansas.
Many people who have known me a long time realize that I can't imagine how anyone could disturb Jones' parcel and can't really understand why this progressive city hasn't gotten further in developing ordinances that would protect steep slopes, woodland and wetland.
I believe that the city of Rogers got several steps ahead of us with its recently passed storm-water regulations, which require a bit more than ours.
The wonderful thing is that Fayetteville still has many creeks, while Rogers and Springdale have ditched and paved many of theirs. Rogers is trying to restore a portion of the Osage Creek through the city to something similar to the meandering stream it was originally, after many years as a giant, paved ditch.
The situation reminds me of the rush in the 1980s and 90s to channelize a magnificent bayou through Little Rock!
I read that some portion of that cypress-lined stream is now under public protection. I floated and waded much of it before the Gazette closed in 1991. I caught a lot of bass but ate none of them!
Springdale has a plan to UNCOVER a portion of Spring Creek downtown to become a part of its revitalized downtown. Those cities recognize their mistakes and are trying to re-create part of what was destroyed at great cost. Basically, we need to provide stronger regulation of stream riparian zones and the adjacent wetland areas.
This brings us back to the topic at hand. The Tree and Trail Task Force decided in the fall of 2003 to try to buy the 2.46 acres of wetland prairie off S. Duncan Ave. An appraisal came in lower than the developer expected, but the task force was under the impression that public money could be used only to pay the appraised price, thus the members suggested that Mayor Coody try to negotiate. Negotiation stalled because the developer needed more than the appraised price to cover his losses.
At the developer's request, I met with the mayor in his office and invited him to walk the Town Branch watershed with me. He was busy in March but said he would come out later in the spring.
Dan finally spent 45 minutes or so with me in the Town Branch watershed Aug. 23, 2004, but I wasn't able to share with him all the reasons that this prairie wetland deserves city protection.
The nice thing was that the mayor got to see a DRY wetland prairie, something that would have been impossible in spring or early this summer. Some of the wettest land had dried and cracked in the few places where the vegetation was exposed.\
There was a small spot where one of the neighbors had mowed a path into the 2-acre wetland prairie off S. Duncan between 11th and 12th streets and knocked over three or four chimneys created by Ozark burrowing crayfish. I tried to explain that these are not the stream or swamp crawdads of the south that I knew in Louisiana or Dan knew growing up in southeast Texas.
These are crawdads that live in the aquifers under the prairies and partially wooded wetland areas paralleling the streams in many places in the Ozarks. They are also known as Osage burrowing crayfish, if one searches online.
Yes, some are big enough to eat! If you toss them into the creek they will try to find their way back to the prairie!
Such prairies as the acreage around our home, including our yard, absorb water and allow it to drain into the aquifer.
When the ground dries out as it finally did in mid-August this year, that land is ready to soak up several inches of rain when it comes. That was what I was trying to explain to Dan Coody. The floods of late April and early July occurred after the wetland prairie areas in Fayetteville, especially in the watershed of the Town Branch of the West Fork of the White River, were holding all the water they could because of almost daily rain.
The failure of stormwater detention ponds designed to slow runoff from newly roofed and paved areas contributed to the worst muddying of Beaver Lake since the dam was built in the 1060s. Smallmouth bass can be expected to fail to reproduce in the streams affected by the siltation. Many less well-known species will be in the same situation. Life thrives in clear water running over clean rock.
Engineering can't replace that natural storm-water protection. Protecting every vegetated acre that can be protected is the only key to keeping a bit of Northwest Arkansas as it was when I first lived here in the '60s.
There will be grant money to help restore such areas not only to protect people such as some of my neighbors whose home flooded three different nights in 2004 but also to provide habitat for birds and other wildlife and to offer wildflowers and other natural beauty.
Anyone who has studied our Web site, , can imagine how many hours Lauren and I spent last year documenting just a few species of native flowering plants and typical prairie grass on the 2 acres behind our home, the part of the 2.46 acres that was approved by the city planning commission for 36 apartment units in May 2003. In June 2003, the Corps of Engineers issued the developer a permit for the site.\
However, James Mathias, the developer, agreed to delay development to give our neighborhood's Town Branch Neighborhood Association time to buy the land for preservation. In May 2004, his development permit was renewed for another year and he agreed again to delay work on the project to give us more time.
With the few wooded and prairie acres to the north between 11th and 6th streets along the Town Branch west of Hill Avenue slated for development and the many acres being developed on the west arm of the Town Branch west of Razorback Road, such small parcels of prairie wetland become increasingly important in storm-water protection along the Town Branch and in preventing further siltation of Beaver Lake.
I can't possibly share a lifetime outdoors with others well enough to make them understand why I care about these things. But Stormwater II regulations spell out the federal rules. Links to those rules may be found on this Web site.
Over and over, I have been told by employees of the Corps of Engineers and national and state environmental agencies that "your city can make stronger rules."

They KNOW that the federal rules are a weak compromise.

The bulk of the Wilson Spring prairie wetland is doomed to be developed. The part that remains can help educate the public about the value of such places in the Illinois River watershed.
Our neighborhood wetland prairie offers similar value as a demonstration area for owners of parcels small and large in the White River watershed. It was never plowed by the farmers in the first half of the 20th century and it was never built upon when the land was subdivided in the 1950s. The reasons are obvious.
Aubrey James Shepherd
Fayetteville, AR © 2003, 2004, 2005

Site design by Lauren Hawkins' LDHdesign

A new proposal by the Bush/Cheney Administration would gut the law that protects polar bears, wolves and other endangered species

CREDO Action from Working Assets is proud to bring you an urgent alert from our friends at Defenders of Wildlife.

The Bush administration has announced a new proposal that would gut the Endangered Species Act — one of America's most important environmental laws. Now Defenders of Wildlife needs our help to preserve the vital checks and balances that protect our polar bears, wolves and other imperiled animals.

I urge you to read the message below from Defenders of Wildlife's president, Rodger Schlickeisen, and take action today to save our endangered species.

Michael Kieschnick
President, CREDO Mobile
Emergency Action
A new proposal by the Bush/Cheney Administration would gut the law that protects polar bears, wolves and other endangered species.
Urge your Representative and Senators to help stop the Bush/Cheney plan to gut the Endangered Species Act.
Dear Wildlife Supporter,
With less than 160 days left in power, the Bush/Cheney Administration has launched an unprecedented backdoor assault on America's endangered species!
Don't let them get away with it. Urge your Representative and Senators to do everything in their power to stop the Bush/Cheney Administration's eleventh-hour assault on America's wildlife.
For more than 30 years, the Endangered Species Act has protected wildlife at risk of extinction. Now the Bush/Cheney Administration wants to eliminate vital checks and balances that are crucial to protect our polar bears, wolves and other imperiled wildlife.
Please help protect endangered animals from the Bush/Cheney Administration's attack. Take action now.
Announced earlier this week, the Bush/Cheney proposal would severely limit scientific review by the Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service of projects that could harm imperiled wildlife. And it would explicitly limit the ability of these expert agencies to consider how greenhouse gas emissions from such projects could impact polar bears, wolverines and other wildlife that may go extinct due to global warming.
Instead, agencies proposing projects such as highways, dams, mines, oil or gas drilling and virtually any other activity would be allowed to decide for themselves whether a project is likely to impact any of the nearly 1,400 species currently protected by the Endangered Species Act — without the crucial independent review now provided by scientific experts at the Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service.
Many of these agencies do not even have biologists or other qualified staff to make such a determination.
Even worse, the new regulations would impose a brief 60-day review period for agencies, making it even less likely that anyone involved in the process will have the time or expertise to fully evaluate the potential harmful effects of a given project on sensitive wildlife or the habitat it needs to survive.
Help stop the Bush/Cheney Administration's assault on protections for our endangered species. Please take action now.
There are less than 160 days left in the Bush/Cheney Administration — and even less time for your Members of Congress to act. Please take action now to help stop the Bush/Cheney Administration's last-minute attempt to eliminate effective protections for the wildlife that you and I love.
Rodger Schlickeisen
Defenders of Wildlife

P.S. Two years ago, Defenders of Wildlife led the fight that stopped Congressional legislation that would have gutted the Endangered Species Act. Now we need your help to stop the Bush Administration from trying to do the same thing. Please take action now!

Heartwood Festival a special can't miss part of Arts Festival weekend in Fayetteville

Jim Halsell (left) and Jim Bemis discuss growing up in southeast Arkansas and Halsell's candidacy for Fayetteville School Board

Jim Halsell's campaign for Fayetteville school-board seat
Please click on image to ENLARGE photo of Jim Halsell and Jim Bemis after Ward 4 meeting on August 24, 2008.

Lindsley Smith's report on Tuesday at the Democratic National Convention

It was another exhausting day, but filled with excitement. It started off with the Arkansas delegation having breakfast together. This morning, Senator Blanche Lincoln spoke to the delegation. Thereafter, we split up to go to various caucuses of interest. I attended the Women's Caucus and then all the delegates met up for lunch. I'm sure you are watching the convention and enjoying it. There were several wonderful speeches today, but the headliner was, of course, Senator Hillary Clinton. She gave a rallying-call speech that was motivational and uniting. Former Vice President Walter Mondale sat in front of me with the Minnesota delegation. Former President Bill Clinton sat in the balcony right above the Arkansas delegation. Hillary will be meeting with her Delegates tomorrow at 1:15 to advise us of her desires before the vote tomorrow afternoon/evening and likely continue to push for a unified voice for Senator Obama and for a stronger economy and healthcare for all.
Lindsley Smith

Senator Mark Pryor's mobile office in Fayetteville from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

FW: Reminder: Pryor's Mobile Office Coming To Town, please forward in area‏
From: Dick Bennett (
Sent: Wed 8/27/08 8:15 AM

OUR congressional representatives are possibly no better than their staff, so let's educate Pryor's staff a little on important issues of which they seem uncritical, ignorant, blind, or even perverse. Today Wed. 1 to 2:30 at Court House. Bring a pie. (Well, we tried that with Boozman's staff, had a lovely long pie lunch, he even sent a staff member down from DC, and I confess they seem unchanged. But since they do not understand or refuse to understand concepts outside the US Corporate/National Security Imperial Warming State cocoon, we must patiently persist, as good teachers do.)

Get their names. Follow up.

Dick Bennett

Time to go ask this senator's staff about the environment and the war--at the very least---and ask why he seems so hesitant to do right on either score. Fran Alexander
Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Mobile Office Coming To Town
Senator Mark Pryor’s Mobile Office is coming to town to help local residents resolve problems they may be having with the Veterans Administration, Medicare, Social Security and other services involving the federal government. He invites you to visit with his staff at the following stops:
Wednesday, August 27:
9-10:30 am: Fort Smith Public Library, 3201 Rogers Avenue, Fort Smith, AR
1-2:30 pm: Washington County Courthouse, 280 North College Avenue, Fayetteville, AR
3:30-5 pm: Benton County Senior Center, 3501 SE L Street, Bentonville, AR

Arkansas Office
The River Market
500 Clinton Ave, Suite 401
Little Rock, AR 72201
Phone: (501) 324-6336
Fax: (501) 324-5320

Washington, D.C. Office
255 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
Phone: (202) 224-2353
Fax: (202) 228-0908

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Monarchs mating now produce generation that goes to Mexico in October
Monarchs migrate south in fall

Please don't mow or cut your milkweed. If the leaves are being eaten away, that means that a new generation of monarch butterflies will be appearing in time to migrate to Mexico in October and return in spring to produce next year's monarchs. Their caterpillars must have some species of milkweed to survive on!

PLEASE CLICK on image to ENLARGE photo of a pair of monarch butterflies mating in the Town Branch neighborhood on August 26, 2008. The flower is a rose of sharon bush, a favorite of many pollinators and, when allowed to grow strong and at least 6 feet tall provides nesting habitat for cardinals and other species of songbirds in Northwest Arkansas. Although nonnative, it is a valuable and harmless species, especially outside a bathroom or kitchen window because bird nests in these bushes may be easy to watch from indoors without disturbing parents or baby birds This plant is on Don Hoodenpyle's property and is only 150 feet from the stream. Hoodenpyle has a south American native milkweed in the vicinity and the caterpillars resulting from the mating of these two monarchs are likely to eat the leaves of the milkweed and be ready to head southwest in October.

Teachers accused of organizing fights between kids at daycare center

The story of
Fighting at daycare center?
is difficult to believe. What else do they teach kids at that center? Makes one wonder whether those kids were taught that tearing up nearly a block of historic Lafayette Street to provide a parking deck was appropriate. If any of those kids should learn to enjoy fighting, maybe they'll be parking in the deck in about 20 years or less and heading to a Dickson Street watering hole to practice what they learned in 2008.

I never attended a daycare center in the early 1940s, But I attended Methodist sunday school through the 1940s and '50s and never heard of a teacher or even a church member suggesting there was a need to learn to fight. I hope that these allegations prove wrong. Kids get into conflicts without adult encouragement, I recall.

Arkansas state representative Lindsley Smith reports on first day of the 2008 Democratic convention in Denver

Please click on image to ENLARGE photo of some Democratic delegates from Arkansas at the national Democratic convention in Denver on August 25, 2008.
The author of the post below, Arkansas Representative Lindsley Smith, is at right. Her husband, Professor Steve Smith, is in the center of the photo.

First night of the Convention‏
Sent: Tue 8/26/08 1:30 AM

We had a wonderful day today for the first day of the convention. We began by having an Arkansas Delegation breakfast in which Congressman Berry and Congressman Ross spoke and excited us for the day ahead. We departed to various locations for interest group caucuses. I attended the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees Caucus meeting and met many delegates from other states and heard from the Governor of Kansas and her inspirational call for better national conditions for working families. I also was pleased to meet the national president of AFSCME, Gerald McEntee.

Many of us have been marveling at the wonderful investment in light rail in Denver. As a previous member of the Arkansas Legislative Public Transportation Committee and learning about the merits of light rail, I was particularly impressed with the success and economic engine provided by light rail, not to mention the wonderful environmental benefits. We then met up at the Pepsi Center for the Convention.

I showed up first, actually, I think I showed up before all other DNC delegates, but not before Wolf Blitzer and John King. The two hours prior to the Convention were spent by me observing all of the wonderful nonverbal aspects of the stage and buzzing media getting ready for their shows. I went up to the stage area to see where the speakers would be staying prior to coming out to speak, viewed the location of the lecturn and looked up to the expansive hall, and marvelled at the signs around the hall designating the great states of our nation. I made my way around the hall to find the Arkansas location, which is a super location right in front of where the major networks are reporting. If you are looking at CNN then our location is right in front of their set--a great location!

Howard Dean started off the Convention, followed by Speaker Pelosi, and we reviewed the Platform, Rules, and Credentials. I hope you were able to view it tonight, and I hope that you can feel the excitement in the room. There was a strong showing of unity and victory, a lot of dancing, a lot of laughing, and some tears of inspiration. I believe we were all deeply moved by President Jimmy Carter and Rosiland Carter. The speeches moved beautifully into each other and played nicely off each other to inspire us and motivate us. I was also deeply moved by the speeches of Senator Ted Kennedy and Michelle Obama. Attached are some pictures of our day of excitement.


Sunday, August 24, 2008

Kinion for Fayetteville City Council Ward 2

Please click on image to ENLARGE.

Fayetteville city departments raise budget requests for 2009

Please click on image to ENLARGE photo of Grindella squarrosa, one of the hundreds of species of native wildflower that will flourish at no cost in many parts of city parks if mowing stops, Vice-Mayor Lioneld Jordan has said. Selecting areas to return to nature is easy. Use of parks will rise as people find wildflowers, tall-grass dependent birds and wildflower-loving pollinators near the walking paths and trails and just outside the fields of the ball parks. Mayoral candidate and current Ward Four Alderman Jordan has said that reduced mowing can save a large amount for the park budget to use in more important ways. Mowing not only wastes an enormous amount of fuel and worker time but also pollutes the air and decreases the ability of park land to retain and use stormwater runoff.

Money matters : Department funding requests $700,000 more than city’s target
BY MARSHA L. MELNICHAK Northwest Arkansas Times
Posted on Sunday, August 24, 2008

An early look at raw data budget requests for 2009 funds from Fayetteville’s general fund reveals the potential for challenging decisions ahead.
Initial funding requests for 2009 are more than $ 700, 000 higher than the administration’s target budget for the year, and that target budget is more than $ 600, 000 greater than the city’s adopted 2008 budget.
According to a preliminary summary from the office of Paul Becker, finance and internal services director, the city’s adopted budget in 2008 was $ 35, 023, 000.
That figure was approved after months of meetings with department heads and council members looking for ways to cut the budget after the council said “ no ” to Mayor Dan Coody’s suggestion for a property tax increase.
Coody has said he will not seek a property tax increase when he takes a 2009 budget recommendation to the council. Earlier this month, the City Council passed a resolution asking for the city administration to present a balanced budget, one in which city cash reserves are not used to meet expected expenses. Coody has said he may need to go to the reserves when a budget is presented to the council. Cash reserves can be considered the city’s savings.
2009 target On behalf of the city administration, Becker set a 2009 target budget at $ 35, 678, 378. The basic differences between the 2008 approved department budgets and the target budgets for those depar tments are salar y increases, Becker said. The 2009 budget requests came back to his office at $ 36, 465, 095, which is $ 786, 717 higher than Becker’s expectations. That includes requests from the general government department, operations department, finance department, police depar tment, fire department, the Fayetteville Public Library and a group of nine outside agencies. Every department’s total request was larger than the target Becker recommended. The police department’s request for $ 365, 035 more than the target budget was the highest of the overrun requests while a general government department overrun request of $ 2, 762 was the smallest among the departments. Becker said he is not ready to comment on what will or will not be recommended to the City Council. “ We’re still in the analysis stage, ” he said. Up, up In 12 different categories where Becker recommended target increases, department heads asked for higher increases. These include the city prosecutor’s office, where the request was for $ 5, 012 more than the target; the library, which asked for $ 65, 913 more; general maintenance in building services, $ 3, 000 more; park maintenance, $ 58, 763 more; engineering operations and administration, $ 1, 030 more; engineering public construction, $ 7, 310 more; accounting and audit, $ 8, 500 more; police department central dispatch, $ 10, 685 more; police department support services, $ 107, 547 more; fire department prevention, $ 4, 964 more; and fire department operations, $ 166, 306 more. Fuel prices and salaries are prominent among the one-line explanations for the overrun requests.
Down While no overall department totals were less than the administration target amount, some categories within the departments were lower. City Clerk Sondra Smith estimated that her department will spend $ 10, 500 less in 2009 than in 2008. She indicated she does not anticipate any city elections next year — the reason for the savings. The public information office expects to spend $ 6, 500 less largely due to proposed reductions in printing costs, travel and training. Largest of the anticipated budget reductions is the $ 35, 000 expected to be saved because power was turned off at the former Tyson Mexican Original building, which had been used for storage.
Fire and police The two departments budgeting the most from the general fund are the city’s fire and police departments. The fire department is requesting $ 8. 5 million in 2009. That is $ 171, 270 above the target budget Becker suggested. “ A lot of that is overtime and personnel costs due to training and those types of things, ” Elizabeth Mann, financial analyst for the department, said. Fayetteville’s police department is requesting a 2009 budget of $ 13. 6 million. About $ 11. 8 million of that is for patrol, drug enforcement and support services. Another approximately $ 1. 33 million for central dispatch and about $ 900, 000 for animal services are under the police department umbrella. Police Chief Greg Tabor said the additional money is needed to catch up to where the department was before the 2006 and 2007 budget cuts. Altogether, the police department budget request is for $ 365, 035 more than the targeted budget amount. Tabor estimated about $ 120, 000 for additional fuel costs for his department. Ammunition costs have almost doubled as well, his budget request indicates. Additional costs for training — including narcotics training, tactical officer survival training, tactics for street crime suppression and defensive tactics for patrol officers — are also on the list of why the department needs more money than targeted by the city administration. In 2007 the department made a 2-percent reduction in total budget and reduced its budget again in 2008 by. 9 percent, the chief said. “ We’re trying to get back to where we were a couple years ago, ” Tabor, who added that the department’s crime prevention budget was zero in 2008, said. “ What happened is, the first year, in ’ 07, when we really had to cut our budget, we had some things on hand that carried us through. But, since we couldn’t buy any or buy very little, this year, all of our supplies and minor equipment … we have completely depleted our supply. We’re just trying to get some of that stuff back in there, ” he said. When the police department asks for additional money for supplies, they go beyond copy paper and general office supplies to supplies for fingerprint kits kept in patrol cars, crime scene tape, replacing lights for bicycles and Tasers. One of the larger overruns is a request for $ 20, 000 for the city to help share in the cost of the joint firing range, which it helped establish. Keeping up with software maintenance is another overrun item, Tabor.
It’s not an easy budget to prepare. The department has to estimate, for example, how many people they will jail because the county charges on a per booking basis. Tabor said the city has been told the county will raise the per booking fee from $ 50 to $ 55 for 2009. “ What we’ve tried to do in recent years, once we started paying to book people, we got with the judge and the prosecutor and we did what we call, ‘ alternatives to arrest. ’ So, we try not to arrest anybody that we absolutely don’t have to. We try to write them a ticket and give them a court date... a criminal ticket instead of a traffic ticket, ” he said. Tabor estimated arrests have dropped from about 10, 000 a year to 7, 000 a year because of the alternative arrest effort.
Parks The city’s parks and recreation department, which is part of the operations department, projects overruns of $ 58, 763. Connie Edmonston, Parks and Recreation director, also cites fuel and motor pool charges among the reasons for overruns. Also more trails mean more maintenance costs: from about $ 13, 000 for electricity for the lights to about $ 500 for additional dog waste bags for the extra miles. A land swap arrangement with a railroad company for trail space impacted the Parks and Recreation budget. The deal included a requirement for about $ 5, 000 in insurance that will come from the Parks and Recreation budget. Ice melt is needed to preserve the new sidewalk surface of the Fayetteville Square, and 100 new trees along North College Avenue are going to need irrigation and care. Both are listed as reasons for overrun requests. Catch-up has also been the name of the game for the Parks and Recreation department because of past budget cuts. “ We have not caught up, ” Edmonston said. Her department will be looking again for donations to support the Gulley Park concert series. “ No ‘ Movies in the Park’ program unless we get donations, and the pool will still be closed every Monday, ” she said.
Copyright © 2001-2008 Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Inc. All rights reserved. Contact:

Swallowtail butterfly nectaring on native thistle on World Peace Wetland Prairie on August 22, 2008

Everyone has seen a McMansion, but have you seen a starter castle?

Please click on image to see starter castle photographed from the valley between the West Fork of the White River and the Town Branch, a tributary of the West Fork, on August 23, 2008.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Livable Future Project newsletter always inviting

Livable Future Project Newsletter: Community Gathering, Time Banks, Livable Neighborhoods, servant leadership and more!‏
From: Patricia Mikkelson (
Sent: Sat 8/23/08 11:30 PM
Hello all,
I met you at the Omni Center a few weeks ago at the Hiroshima-Nagasaki commemoration. I was so pleased to talk to each of you, and grateful that you were willing to spend time coming the the event. I really hope you will come to the upcoming community gathering which is noted in the newsletter below. I would love to reconnect with you.
Livable Future Project Newsletter

August 23, 2008
urpose: To encourage people to live joyful, loving, lives that contribute to the well being of themselves, their families, their neighborhoods, and the whole planet.
Editor: Director of Livable Future Project, Patricia Mikkelson 479-313-0414
Organic Gardening Class by Calvin Bey Sept. 6 This class offers powerful tools to produce nutrient dense produce. For more information check out or call 527-6951
Sustainable Services: I and others can help you start a garden, insulate your home, simplify your life, organize your home, build a rain barrel, worm composters and have systems that can help you be more self-reliant. Call Patricia at 479-313-0414
Community Gatherings at Walker Park 6-9PM: Time banking, networking, success teams, and classes on sustainable living.Orientation about Time Banks: 6pm Potluck, networking, and time banks activities start at 6:15 Classes on sustainable living start at 7:30 If you have something to share, there is space for you to do so if you want to initiate such things as volleyball, music, or other fun stuff.
Bring fliers, announcements, and anything else that you have to promote your business, cause and get needs met. Join our Community Builders meetup at Sponsored by Livable Future Project Directions from Dickson and College in Fayetteville: go south on College. Continue going straight (rather than curving to the right which turns into school). Go about ½ mile. See the large pavilion on the right.
Simplified Living: A service dedicated to helping you simplify your life and environment. Down sizing, compassionate estate services, clearing clutter, and developing ways to organize your life so you can focus on your heartfelt dreams are some of the services offered. Patricia Mikkelson 479-313-0414
Servant Leadership School: Servant Leadership is a management model and leadership theory embraced by fortune 500 companies as well as the spoiritual community. It emphasizes power with rther than power over.. Learn more at or call 479-442-7373
Twist of Green: This festival promoting sustainable living is being held at the square in Fayetteville on Sat/Sun Oct. 4 and 5th Non-profits organizations can have free booths; register by Sept. 1. For more information: or call 846-5241
nvironmentally friendly painter: Cliff Mikkelson, the happy painter, will use non-toxic paint of your choice to do an impeccable painting job, inside or out. Forty years experience. Call Cliff 582-0628
Livable Neighborhoods Program is an excellent book that provides a simple formula for empowering people to make their neighborhoods a better place to live. Empowerment Institute: 845-246-6290
Time Banks is an excellent way to encourage cooperation and build community.
Slow Food is a powerful movement to help us live sustainably. Check it out!
Patricia Mikkelson
Organizing coach for space, projects, and time

Town Branch overflows bridge on August 23, 2008

Please click on image to ENLARGE photos of Town Branch of the West Fork of the White River flooding at Eleventh Street and Hill Avenue about noon on August 23, 2008.