Months ago I wrote elsewhere that the city of North Little Rock may very well kill off the Arkansas Travelers with its largesse with last August’s baseball park election: Give the Travs a shiny new ball park that drives the fans away with hidden costs. The fans will not tolerate any price increase not justified by economics. I predicted a bait and switch in the offing.

Some of us just won’t tolerate a new park when the beautiful old one, a historical monument to our national pastime, sits empty in War Memorial Park, silently awaiting its fate.

Then, in the Jan. 5 Democrat-Gazette, we see the bait and switch: $5 per game parking. How long have they known they were going to do this? They didn’t just come up with it. There were, after all, studies done about the economics of the plan. Parking had to be in there, unless they hid it.

With $5 per game parking on top of current costs, the team will certainly die in two years from loss of its fan base. Season ticket: $210; season parking: $350. I don’t think so.

We can then change the name to what it should have been from the beginning: The Patrick Henry Hays Memorial White Elephant. Make sure the construction plans include an alternative use for 2009. Maybe North Little Rock can get its own A level or lower baseball team for the new park.

Hey, Little Rock: Don’t tear down Ray Winder. The Travs may be coming back in 2009.
John Wesley Hall Jr.
Little Rock

Best and worst
Bob Lancaster’s one-sentence assessment of the state legislature’s poor showing on the spring fluoride bill (“Best and Worst of 2005,” Dec. 29) is not entirely correct. I was present at the Senate hearing, and the bill was not allowed to go the floor because of the mandatory nature of the legislation. All water systems serving 5,000 or more individuals would have had to add fluoride to their systems. While water fluoridation may (or may not) be a good thing, the ability of our local communities to make their own decisions on the matter would have been taken away. I think a community’s right to decide on this issue, as well as other issues, should be preserved.
Eric Gillis

Lancaster’s Best/Worst list was its usual annual delight. But Bob shouldn’t bemoan the loss of 43 UALR parking spaces — eliminated to improve pedestrian safety along a busy street. During 2005, UALR added a net new 1,300 parking spaces, including new spacious lots at north and south ends of campus.

We opened 493 spaces in the new Lot 14 and 524 in new Lot 15, added another 72 spaces in the reconfigured Lot 13 and acquired a net 900 spaces with the purchase of the University Plaza property
Joan I. Duffy
UALR Office of Communications

Bob Lancaster’s choices of the best and worst of 2005 were colorful, entertaining and yet disturbing. The category named Best Bobbit I found slanderous, ill-mannered and uneducated, particularly his feeling that the crime scene residence was — “wanna bet?” — a trailer.

To correct his hillbilly mentality, the correct term is manufactured home. Some of us live quite nicely in them and have no eccentric “house” mortgage we cannot afford. We sometimes sell our houses and move into a manufactured home to support an intelligent child who wants to attend college out of state. Trailers, as he so eloquently puts them, do not mean people who choose to live in them shear their drunken husbands’ “doo-wop-diddies.”

Mr. Lancaster should be ashamed of himself and included in the year’s annual Best and Worst for “Worst Hillbilly Mentality Statement” or, perhaps, “Worst Rude and Slanderous Statement of 2005.”
M.H. Hughes

Please tell me why you consider it good journalism to criticize the Democrat-Gazette for its ban on the use of certain crude and vulgar words while you believe such usage is appropriate. I will also appreciate your letting me know why you consider snide references to “tallywhacker,” “crotches” and “doo-wop-diddies” to be cute.
Robert Shults
Little Rock

As things continue to evolve (or should I say, are created?) in Washington, the thought occurred to me that before acting the politicians there should ask themselves, “What would I do if Bill Clinton did that?” WWIDIBCDT? The results might be very instructive.
Richard Picard

Rare disease
One of my Board members forwarded the article that Leslie Newell Peacock wrote about the Ball family and the loss of family member, Truman Ball, to Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD). We wish to express our sympathies to the family in the loss of Mr. Ball, but we also want to applaud you on the excellent article. Very concise, and accurate.

My mother, Sara Brom, was the victim of the sporadic form of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. She died on Nov. 12, 2000, at the age of 65. One specific aspect of the article struck home for me. My mother saw “small children around her” prior to her death. We surmise that she, too, “saw angels.” Her face took on a sense of happiness when she told me “all about the little boys and little girls surrounding her.”

How I wish families didn’t have to face this horrendous illness, and it’s because of the rarity of it that I founded my non-profit, information organization CJD Aware! in the spring of 2002.
Christy Brom
Director, CJD Aware!
New Orleans

A parable
Once upon a time there was a family that perplexed the teachers of the five kids and eventually the Department of Human Services case worker and the juvenile judge who dealt with them. The children had bad health. They always had runny noses, usually had colds, missed a lot of school with flu and other illnesses. They had bad teeth and uncorrected vision. They came to school in ragged, dirty clothes, in shoes with holes in them. But they told stories about their parents — particularly their dad — taking end-of-the-year trips to exotic places like Bermuda and Jamaica … hunting with a new 4-wheeler and a new SUV.

Investigation of the house revealed a leaky roof — rain falling on three of the kids as they slept. The house was cold all the time — the thermostat was left at 58. The clothes and shoes were all old hand-me downs, collected from the reject bins at Savers and Salvation Army.

But an investigation of bank balances revealed an average of $100,000, although the peaks were $200,000 and the balances went down significantly periodically. The credit card record showed one or two trips a year to resorts and purchases of bass boats, hi-end guns, speedboats, SUV’s, etc.

The father, on the stand before the judge said, “ I believe in saving for a rainy day. That’s the way my Daddy taught me. But as the balance gets up around $200,000 the Missus and I just can’t seem to hold back. We splurge. But then we got to build up our Rainy Day Fund. Never can tell when things gonna get bad.”

What do you think the judge did? Can you follow the relevance to Arkansas’s fiscal situation?
Robert Johnston
Little Rock

The prez
God is going to show America that He reigns supreme. This bedeviled experimental socialism the Bush administration has pushed on so many educated drunks and pill poppers like Rush Limbaugh is only rhetoric from numb tongues. The United States is borrowing money it doesn’t have under Bush and the Iraq campaign. With oil prices soaring, it is time we realize that the Oval Office has its own agenda. Remember Nero fiddled while Rome burned.
Lawrence House

Bush lies, soldiers die. This White House has brought shame on this country of ours. I think the president and vice president should also be indicted for war crimes. They should be led out of the White House in handcuffs. The Christo-Fascists in this country are cowards, and will do anything to keep him in office. I think we should make our senators and congressmen force Bush and Cheney out of their elected offices.
Phillip Kucia

Have you noticed televangelists’ hair lately? It must be a sign that divine providence is preoccupied elsewhere or there would be a great mowing, burning, splitting, washing and restyling of all this holy hair. Even my sweet 84-year-old mother still manages an attractive head of hair. So why can’t the televangelists do better? Are donations needed? How does the Arkansas Times live with itself as years go by and you fail to publish a hair guide?
Greg Williams



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