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Drilling away 

Drilling away

I just returned from a trip to Wyoming where I heard presentations about the environmental destruction from natural gas well drilling in that wildlife rich state. I also viewed photos of the damage. Thousands of gas wells have been drilled on Wyoming lands at great loss to the sagebrush ecosystem and its populations of sage grouse, mule deer and pronghorn. Roads and pipelines and drilling pads look like a bad case of acne on the landscape. The Wyoming drilling is so intense that professional wildlife biologists are fearful for the short and long term survival of sagebrush-dependent species.

I understand that gas leases on federal Bureau of Land Management lands in Wyoming are sold at the paltry rate of $7 an acre while private land gas leases are a hundred times more. It appears the state Game and Fish Commission got a better deal at Gulf Mountain and Petit Jean than federal land managers in Wyoming. But I wonder about the deal for wildlife!

Several species of birds that inhabit Petit Jean and Gulf Mountain are at risk — Scarlet Tanager, Ovenbird, Cerulean Warbler, Worm-eating Warbler, Prothonotary Warbler, Swanson's Warbler. Were these birds and their needs considered in the lease agreement between the Game and Fish and Chesapeake Energy? Where is the management plan for other species — reptiles, amphibians, fishes, mammals — that inhabit Petit Jean and Gulf Mountain management areas? What happens during their breeding and nesting seasons? Or like Wyoming will Arkansas essentially write off several thousands of acres of habitat not knowing and worse not caring about the long-term consequences to our state's wildlife? How would we know unless the Game and Fish Commission held a series of public meetings similar to those being held for next year's turkey hunting season? How can a public agency do less?

Ken Smith

State director, Audubon Arkansas

Churchwomen

I was so pleased to see someone had the courage to send a letter to the editor about how Fellowship Bible treats the women in their midst. I read the article and just dismissed it as one of “those types” of religious groups and I can't do anything about it. That was a mistake on my part. Ms. Jackson read and acted on what she sees as a disservice to women. 

I believe that Fellowship Bible church is missing out on half of what their members can contribute to the community. It is so sad that people in the 21st century still believe that certain populations have a “place” in which they must stay.

I would like to invite Ms. Jackson and anyone else who feels they are not accepted as who they are in a religious community to come to mine. The Unitarian Universalist Church of Little Rock is an accepting, open, liberal religious community that respects and values all people. For information about the church please go to the church website www.uuclr.org or the association website, www.uua.org. We will welcome you!

Judi Casavechia

Little Rock

Beaten students

The Code of Ethics for Arkansas Educators appears, at first blush, to hold those educators to the highest of standards.

The code says they will treat children with dignity and respect. Educators will contribute to and support a student-centered community that promotes human dignity, fairness, and care for the greater good, and individual rights. Educators are also going to be held to a standard in promoting the health and safety and general well-being of students, and citizens are assured that there will be a degree of accountability in the educational profession in Arkansas. Now this is really encouraging, good stuff.

After reading this code, my first thoughts were of the 22,314 students in Arkansas who were beaten with wooden boards in schools, and how this code would protect them in the future. When we treat children with human dignity, surely we don't beat them and humiliate them. I wonder how the board will find the time to hear the cases of the educators who abuse and beat these children?

Upon further inspection of the Code of Ethics, one realizes that it's all fluff, and that the fox will continue to guard the hen house. The only way a complaint can be filed and an investigation launched is for it to come from the state Department of Education, a local board of education, the State Board of Education or a public school superintendent.

“Degree of accountability” in the educational profession in Arkansas is the key phrase. I would bet that would amount to a zero degree of accountability when it comes to protecting children from physical assault in the classroom.

Peggy Dean, RN

Member, board of directors,

Parents and Teachers Against

Violence in Education

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