Winter is the perfect time to explore the natural stone shelters where native Arkansans once lived
Quote of the week 1:
"A man you can bait with a tweet is not a man we can trust with nuclear weapons."
— Hillary Clinton in her speech July 28 accepting the Democratic nomination for president.
Quote of the week 2:
"You have sacrificed nothing and no one."
— Khizr Khan, the father of a decorated American soldier killed in Iraq, addressing Donald Trump in a speech at the Democratic National Convention. Later, in an interview with ABC, Trump suggested that Khan's wife, Ghazala Khan, who stood beside her husband during his speech, wasn't allowed to speak, insinuating that the Khan's brand of Islam kept women silent and subservient. Trump also said, in response to Khan, that he had worked very hard and created "thousands and thousands of jobs." He also told ABC he would tell Khan, "We have had a lot of problems with radical Islamic terrorism." U.S. Sens. John Boozman and Tom Cotton were among many Republicans who condemned Trump's remarks, but reaffirmed their support for him.
Funding for performance proposed
The state's Higher Education Coordinating Board approved Governor Hutchinson's proposal to transform Arkansas's method of funding colleges and universities from a formula based largely on student enrollment to one based on student performance metrics (such as completion of degrees).
The legislature will take up the subject in the 2017 session.
Hutchinson wants schools to be held accountable for delivering results. That sounds great, especially when you consider the shockingly low graduation rates that are the norm in higher ed (especially two-year schools) and the debt often accrued by students who leave college without a degree. But there's also concern an "outcomes-based" approach like the governor wants could create perverse incentives for schools to shy away from recruiting students who are a riskier gamble, including perhaps low-income and nontraditional students, to name two groups. Hutchinson and Republicans in the state legislature have refused to boost overall funding for higher ed to keep pace with inflation.
A home for Lucie's Place
Lucie's Place, the Central Arkansas nonprofit serving homeless LGBT youth and young adults, announced it would open a transitional living program for up to four clients in Little Rock this fall. It's made possible by the donation of a house from The One Inc., a homeless assistance nonprofit that operates The Van in Little Rock.
Penelope Poppers, the executive director of Lucie's Place, said the transitional living program will allow formerly homeless LGBT young people to "get on their feet, find employment, develop those life skills they need to live independently. They'll live there rent-free, so a large majority of their income can go toward a savings account to help them transition to their own home once they get to that point. People forget that you need a thousand-plus dollars to put a deposit on an apartment, pay the first month's rent, pay utility deposits ... and it takes a while to get a thousand bucks in the bank when you're working minimum wage jobs, or slightly better."
Up to 40 percent of homeless young adults identify as LGBT, according to figures cited by Lucie's Place — a vastly higher rate than the general population. However, some homeless shelters affiliated with religious organizations are unwelcoming to LGBT people.
Meanwhile, Poppers said Lucie's Place continues a crowdfunding campaign to raise money to purchase a larger building that will contain transitional housing for eight individuals. She still hopes to purchase that larger home by the first of January.
Clinton home reopens
Seven months after it was damaged by fire, former President Bill Clinton's boyhood home has reopened in Hope. A fire on Christmas day, later ruled arson, damaged the back of the house. The National Park Service, which took control of the house in 2011 when it was designated a National Historic Site, is leading the investigation, but no arrests have been made.
Clinton lived in the house for the first four years of his life with his mother and maternal grandparents.