Hickey vs. lottery 

Hickey vs. lottery

State Sen. Jimmy Hickey Jr. is systematically destroying the Arkansas education lottery for some unknown reason. ... Perhaps his motives should be investigated by the proper federal authorities as there doesn't seem to be any agency within the state of Arkansas that either has the mandate or integrity to investigate.

The recent bill he introduced to eliminate the Arkansas Lottery Commission and move the management into the state Board of Education is the worst idea yet ... unless you want to destroy the lottery and the opportunity for Arkansas students to earn a subsidized education. Sen. Hickey doesn't like to play by the rules so he wants to throw the rules out and control this governmental revenue stream by fiat. It is amazing that the Arkansas Legislature allows him to run roughshod over the rule of law.

The parent company of Camelot Global Services (the consulting group he illegally hired in the fall) does operate a very successful lottery in England, and they have a board that oversees their operation to generate funds for "good causes." The distribution of those funds is delegated to a different commission as this separation of activities makes commercial and political sense. Camelot Global Services did not recommend that he eliminate the Lottery Commission, so I guess the senator is now a self-educated "expert" in lottery operations. Delusional state legislators that meddle in areas where they have little or no expertise tend to create chaos that does not benefit the population, but often benefits the individual who creates the mess.

The evidence of the operation of a lottery under a commission appointed by the elected head of state has been very successful in states where the rule of law and transparency prevail. The Georgia Lottery Corp. has dealt with the same problems of funding educational scholarships as the program has been extraordinary successful. The addition of monitor games and the centralized reporting of video lottery terminals have augmented the lottery sales and allowed the state to continue funding most of the demands of the students who participate. Sen. Hickey stopped the introduction of monitor games and video lottery terminals for reasons only known to him, and then moved to have the oversight of the lottery switched to the recipient organization that will create an enormous conflict of interest on the operation methodologies of the lottery.

The citizens of Arkansas deserve better than this.

Kip Peterson

Roswell, Ga.

From the web

In response to David Koon's cover story "Ruth Coker Burks, the cemetery angel" (Jan. 8):

If somebody local would coordinate the effort, I know I and many others would donate to establish such a memorial.

Lindsay Irion

David, once again you have touched our hearts with a beautifully told story about an exceptional person. Thank you, sir, for making us feel deeply about the people and things that should stir our heart and souls.

And count me in with Lindsay. I would be honored to contribute to such a memorial.


I am a physician who graduated from UAMS in 1982. I am sobbing now. I recall this new disease that we didn't have a name for other than "gay people get some weird fucking shit." Then we called it GRID. We finally found a virus we called HIV and finally a consensus and we called it AIDS. We expected a vaccine any day once we identified the virus. It never came. I got the New York Times and every Sunday the pages of obituaries of young men, and we knew what it was. Even in Little Rock, two to three young men EVERY DAY. Everyone who got the disease died. Everyone. I try to make my young gay friends, young colleagues in medicine understand how sad it was. How helpless we felt in medicine. How frustrated we were that there were people, MDs, afraid to take care of these people, these lovely young men. Then heterosexuals — drug abusers, people said. Then Elizabeth Glazer and her young daughter were diagnosed and came forward. Things began to change. But still so many beautiful young people were gone.

Janet Riley Cathey

This brings to mind Angels in America. I don't know if I believe in angels, but if they exist, Ruth is surely one among us.

Also, this seems ripe for a film adaptation.


Mr. Koon, this is utterly breathtaking. I'm a Hot Springs girl. I want to know how and when I can pay tribute to this woman and the precious people she served all those years. I certainly wish I had known her in the '90s when I was in high school being told I was going to hell for not making fun of and ostracizing our gay members of the community. It felt lonely to feel the way I did about GLBTQ rights. I was an advocate then, and although I did not know of her work, I'd like to help it continue to grow today. She makes me PROUD, PROUD, PROUD!!!!

Allison Johnson

An amazing story of an incredible woman. Thank you, Ruth Coker Burks. You're an inspiration. I think it's difficult for many people to realize the tragedy of those years without having lived through them. Bless you.


Thank you for writing Ruth's story. Her bravery, compassion and love surmounted so much bigotry, ignorance and outright hate. She brought light and peace to so many consigned to death.


What an amazing heart. As a parent, I cannot imagine abandoning my child like so many of these families did (and still do). Bless Ruth for the love and comfort she provided these people when they were sick, and the dignity they deserved when they died.




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