Letters April 21 

There’s Hope I moved to the Little Rock area in 1980 when the Arkansas Gazette was still being published. In the intervening years since it stopped publication, while I have suffered through the editorial pages and letters to the editor of the Dem-Gaz, I have been wanting to write to thank you and your columnists for the Arkansas Times (a refreshing liberal, progressive weekly newspaper). And at last I am writing – prompted by the guest editorial of Hope Coulter April 7, “Moral values and the Bush budget.” This article is worthy of a national publication. Hope has brought together information available only to those who can watch hours of C-Span, and read Slate on-line daily, the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, the Nation, the American Prospect and similar progressive periodicals. When I read an editorial that is of interest to me, I mark important paragraphs. I have marked up just about all of Hope’s article. Thank you, Hope, for taking the time to put this very important information in writing for us. Mary Haker Little Rock Ray Winder’s no dump In his April 7 column, Jim Harris is correct in stating that major renovations of the dugouts and replacement of much of the lighting would need to occur if the Arkansas Travelers were to stay at Ray Winder Field. But to refer to the park as a “dump” implies to those who are thinking of attending games in 2005 that this isn’t a pleasant, clean place to spend an evening or a Sunday afternoon. “Dump” is defined as a poorly maintained and disreputable place. Nothing could be further from the truth about Ray Winder Field. Bill Valentine and his staff maintain about the cleanest sports facility I’ve ever set foot in (and I’ve set foot in a lot of them). If you watch carefully, you’ll see the staff cleaning up all during the game itself. And you might even catch a glimpse of Valentine pulling up the seats in which nobody is sitting if they’ve been left down. He’s a neat freak, and it shows. For a family, there’s simply no better entertainment bargain in Arkansas. Yes, it’s old. But it passes the white-glove test. To call Ray Winder Field a dump is a great disservice to Valentine and his hard-working indentured servants. Rex Nelson Little Rock An oasis One upon a time, on the western edge of Little Rock, there was a place called the Oasis Renewal Center. This interfaith retreat was located on 40 peaceful acres, nestled in rolling wooded hills and included a stream and two lakes. It offered trails through woodland and along lakeshores and invited visitors to pause to pray or meditate, observe wildflowers or listen to birdcalls. About 2 years ago, things began to change. The DeHaven Group, LLC bought the land next door and began developing Capitol Lakes Estates. They brought in bulldozers, trucks, earth moving machinery and paving equipment. Within a short time, green wooded hillsides turned into barren slopes and, when it rained, yellow-brown mud slides poured into the lakes and streams of the Oasis. But that was only the beginning. As observed recently, on a beautiful, sunny Saturday, phase two is now under way. Homes for “luxury living at affordable prices” are now being built upstream from the Oasis property. This, unfortunately, has caused a new avalanche to engulf the defenseless neighbor, namely TRASH. Bits and pieces of insulation, plastic sheeting, scraps of Styrofoam, drinking cups, fast food containers, cardboard boxes and all types of construction debris are littering the forest floor. Before continuing, we would like to state that we are not opposed to development and change per se at the Oasis. In January 2005, the new owner of the Oasis center, the Arc Arkansas, moved its Art Center to the campus, which will provide a beautiful setting for people with developmental disabilities to practice painting, drawing and sculpting and exhibit and sell their work. A few burning questions and salient comments remain: If there is anybody in Central Arkansas, who still has doubts about the impact of development along the steep slopes bordering Lake Maumelle (the source of our drinking water), don’t ask the expert witnesses provided by Deltic Timber, but see for yourself what happens downstream at the Oasis Renewal Center. Why do developers raze every tree and shrub in sight, create a moonscape wasteland, watch it wash away and then truck in soil and sod and plant Bradford pear trees? Imagine for one minute, that Capitol Lakes Estates was bordering the Chenal Country Club and Golf Course. Would the club members have to put up with refrigerator-sized pieces of construction debris being blown onto the fairways by brisk March winds? At the Oasis, visitors instead of meditating carry armloads of trash away, when they walk the trails. We wonder what that does for their inner peace. Little Rock has undergone many changes for the better in the last 25 years, but unchecked westward sprawl is not one of them. Does anybody else question the need for more upscale “luxury” housing developments in Pulaski County? Are we going to watch as they engulf Pinnacle Mountain State Park, one of the great natural wonders of Central Arkansas? Yes, before you say it, we confess: We are unabashed tree huggers, nature lovers, economy car drivers and advocates for the conservation of finite natural resources and a way of life that respects the environment. We know for a fact that there are many others in this beautiful state who share our sentiments. So go in peace and next time, when you visit the Oasis, please bring a large trash bag. Anneliese Maus and Jake Tidmore Little Rock Workers comp Certainly workers comp is not everything to everybody, but ... I am 49 years old and have a disease like MS. At age 31 I got sick and had no disability insurance. Each of us is at risk from many directions. Workers comp is not the answer and shouldn’t be. Anyway, Arkansas is not behind, we are ahead. Because of employer-favorable workers comp laws many small businesses can stay in business. It is always abuse that ruins a good thing, and so goes workers comp. Mark Thicksten Little Rock Keep the filibuster Radical Republicans want absolute power to appoint Supreme Court justices who are appointed for life and will have the sword of this absolute power over all of us. To get it, they plan to use what they call the “nuclear option” to eliminate the filibuster. The filibuster is the right of 41 or more concerned senators to extend debate and delay controversial votes. If the Republicans win this, it means the minority party will be completely silenced for the first time in American history. If you don’t want one-party rule, let your senators know that you want this power grab stopped. Frances Grace Block Little Rock Choose life Jesus, when the woman was brought before him charged with adultery, went against the law of his country and the authorities given the country by God and in effect said she shouldn’t be killed. She should be let go in peace and sin no more. She might not have committed adultery again, but she of course sinned again. We all do. Adultery was a stoning offense there. It was a death penalty offense. President Bush early last week said, “It is wisest to always err on the side of life.” I wish he had gone against the courts and the other officials of the land and erred on the side of life by issuing an executive decree. It became apparent by the middle of last week if not before that that was Terri’s only hope. I wrote a letter to President Bush asking him to. I’ve seen letters by many other Christians begging him to. He didn’t do it. Again today he said, “The essence of civilization is that the strong have a duty to protect the weak. In cases where there are serious doubts and questions, the presumption should be in favor of life.” Matthew 23? Michael Gillum Russellville

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