Collins to work toward increasing visitation to Arkansas by groups and promoting the state's appeal
I have a prediction to make about Charlie Sheen. I predict that Charlie will get a call from Rupert Murdoch and get his own TV show on Fox News. Murdoch likes to collect the insane and egomaniacs on this planet, so Charlie will fit right in with O'Reilly, Beck, Hannity and the like.
I also predict that his co-host will be that blond bimbo, the one that looks like Andy Dick in drag, oh yeah, Anne Coulter.
Save the Mary Woods
Lack of maintenance may have led to the sinking of the Mary Woods No. 2 riverboat at Jacksonport State Park. The workboat leaked and sank. We are told it is too far gone to be saved. Sounds like the statement of a quack doctor who wants to bury the patient quickly, telling us it was God's will. Instead of being good stewards and rebuilding the riverboat, the state promises us a visitor's center. This follows bad news with the losses of other riverboats: the Admiral, the Mississippi Queen and the Becky Thatcher.
Yes, restoring the Mary Wood would take money, and get this... imagination. If we want to ride a riverboat, I guess we can always go to Disneyworld and ride that replica on underwater rails. Why go to Arkansas? To visit ...a visitor's center?
Keene, N. H.
To the attorney general
I write Attorney General Dustin McDaniel to explain the position his office recently took opposing additional DNA and other scientific testing in the West Memphis Three case. These cases have been a subject of public controversy for over 18 years now, with more and more questions being raised almost every day, it seems, about the legitimacy of the convictions. Indeed, the Arkansas Supreme Court recently found new DNA evidence in the case to be important enough to warrant a new full hearing on whether Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jesse Misskelley deserve new trials.
Why has McDaniel's office come out against testing the remaining evidence in the case? As I understand it, the defense has offered to pay for such testing so no state funds are needed. As I also understand it, the new hearing will not be held until late fall so no delays in the processing of the case should result from the new testing. So what is the objection?
State officials truly interested in the pursuit of justice should want this additional testing to be done. Maybe the new testing requested will show that someone other than Echols, Baldwin and Misskelley committed these murders. Maybe it will not. Maybe it will show nothing. But shouldn't we at least find out what such testing does show given that a man's life hangs in the balance on death row?
As a representative of the people and the State of Arkansas, McDaniel's interest should always be in favor of DNA and other testing that might shed light on the integrity of convictions obtained in the state's criminal justice system.
The Turk plant
After reading Lt. Gov. Mark Darr's article in support of the John W. Turk plant in Hempstead County — I thought it's time to let my thoughts be heard.
Coal plants provide dirty energy. The Turk plant would emit over 5 million metric tons of carbon dioxide each year into OUR atmosphere. We already have a natural gas plant owned by the Entegra Power Group of El Dorado, less than 100 miles from Turk — a much cleaner alternative that is operating at only 25 percent capacity. We'd be polluting OUR air, OUR water and OUR communities to produce energy where the majority will be sent to Texas and Louisiana, not even used by OUR residents — at a cost of almost $2 BILLION dollars.
Once completed, the plant will only employ 110 people. Do the math, that's $15 million for each job created. Surely, we can attract jobs, green jobs, that will serve the residents of our state on an ongoing basis at a much lower cost per job ratio!
SWEPCO first proposed this new plant to be built in Texas, but they didn't want it in their state. So jump the state line where it was thought approval (EPA, ADEQ, etc) would be easier. Well ... seems so. We're still fighting to get the original air permit revoked, which I might add SWEPCO took its pre-construction air samples from the Shreveport Airport and used those samples in its air modeling. SWEPCO defended its air sampling techniques claiming that the buildings of an airport mimic the trees in the forest on the Turk site.
This would be a blight in an otherwise, beautiful and healthy area that sportsmen and outdoor enthusiasts have enjoyed for decades not to mention, we just don't need it anyway.
Michelle Snyder Maumelle
My wife and I live in a small rural town in Central New York State. Every day we see slick advertising extolling the patriotism of shale gas extraction and we read accounts of industry pressuring our elected officials to allow the use of modern hydro fracking in our state. Lately, much of the PR campaign has focused on industry claims that they have "solved" the problem of drilling waste disposal. In Pennsylvania, they tell us, they are now recycling 100% of the toxic waste generated from each well and they are using it as frack fluid for the next well to be drilled.
If this recycling technique is the industry's "best practice," why aren't they using it in Arkansas where waste disposal injection wells are suspected of causing the recent swarm of earthquakes? Why is industry vowing to fight the ruling to stop using injection wells when folks from the same industry are telling us here in New York State that injection wells are not even necessary?
Whenever they deny responsibility for the harm they've caused, industry representatives like to say that we should base our public policy decisions on science and not on unfounded speculation. Why, then, is the gas industry fighting tooth and nail to limit the EPA's scientific study of shale gas extraction? Are they afraid of what the science will show us about the use of injection wells for waste disposal?
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