What culture? 

What culture?

The Times bills itself as "Arkansas's weekly newspaper of politics and culture." Does it actually cover politics? You bet! It often is the first news medium to bring interesting connections to light. How about culture? Does it in fact cover the culture scene in Arkansas? Well, after a fashion.

Visual arts, film, drama, and pop music can always count on good publicity. The Times helps sponsor the annual literary festival. Movies even get reviews. But classical music? Well, perfunctory treatment at best. And when did the Times last review a performance of classical music? One gets the impression that classical music, despite the wealth of first-rate performers in central Arkansas and an avid audience, is the Times' red-headed stepchild. Does the editorial staff think only Republicans enjoy classical music?

Bill Shepherd

Little Rock

Defends South Carolina

I'm writing in response to the piece, "Don't know much about history." As a native South Carolinian now residing in Arkansas for three years, I chuckled at your first attack on South Carolina; however, your last comment, "We're skeptical of any ranking in which South Carolina finishes first. Especially history," was insulting and rude!

I'll have you know, that as a product of South Carolina public schools, I learned South Carolina history in middle school and European, World and American history in high school. Furthermore, I distinctly recall history lessons embedded in my English, French and music classes.

While you may find it difficult to comprehend that South Carolina finished with an A ranking in this poll, I must say, I'm not the least bit surprised. I moved to the great Natural State to teach and I immediately realized that attitudes, by students, about learning are sickening and attitudes about teaching are outdated and unsatisfactory. Needless to say, I have since quit teaching and I refuse to teach again until I return to South Carolina.

You may have inserted the insults as light humor, but I'm someone who can personally tell you, Arkansas could stand some curriculum learnin' from South Carolina!

Vanessa Chukwu

North Little Rock

Ordinance protest

This is a formal protest of the recent Little Rock ordinance requiring rental property owners to register and pay an annual fee for being licensed to own and rent such properties.

I was not given notice that such an ordinance was being considered and therefore had no real opportunity to participate in the rationale, formation or enactment of the ordinance.

The letter informing me of this ordinance and its requirements does not make clear what management and or administrative benefits will accrue to me as a rental property owner, nor does it make clear to me how the funds accumulated by the city of Little Rock will be used to benefit me as such a property owner. Neither does the letter offer any explanation of the fee schedule relationship between single rental property owners and multi-unit owners.

The ordinance does not make clear that any consideration was given to the relative property values of rental units being charged a fee. It is unfair to charge the same amount per unit on properties which are likely to have widely variant values.

I received two identical letters of billing on sequential days. Therefore, waste in the administration of this ordinance is already occurring, which causes me to question the capability of the administrators of this ordinance to use any funds collected in a wise and frugal manner.

Lois Meyer

Little Rock

Taxing question

In all of the fuss about the flagrant and routine corruption within the Little Rock National Airport management and commission, we seem to have missed the real story, which is, why would a donation to buy turf for the football field of a private religious school be tax deductible?

I would think that the Tea Twits would be on this question like flies at the doggie walk. What possible reason do we as taxpayers have to be subsidizing the cost of turf for a rather exclusive religious-based school's football field? Is that field in any way open to the public for general park-like activities? If not, why are we being asked to help pay for it?

Maybe the Tea Twits are on to something with their demand to take a good look at our tax codes.

Herb Hawn

Little Rock

Cottage food safe food?

There is a new law that allows certain food processing operations to be exempt from any Health Department regulations as long as the food is prepared in a person's home. In other words, the home owner will not have to verify that the residence has an approved water source, hot and cold running water, hand-wash sinks, utensil sinks and adequate restroom facilities.

In the past, such food processing operations were required to meet Health Department regulations. I know this because I was an inspector for the department for 35 years.

It is true that the foods defined in the law and prepared in these facilities will not promote bacterial growth. What is not true is that these foods cannot make you sick. These foods will make you sick if they become contaminated during processing, canning or packaging. Contamination is commonly caused by individuals not washing their hands after visiting the restroom and returning to the food preparation area, or by people placing a product on a surface that has been improperly cleaned after preparing other foods such as raw chicken. These foods can also be contaminated by a person with an active bacterial infection.

In a Feb. 25 article in the Democrat-Gazette, an attorney with the Health Department, Robert Brech, stated that, "farmers markets, municipalities or counties can have more restrictive cottage food product laws." In other words, the Department won't require compliance but local governments can.

I think a voluntary home inspection program conducted by Health Department personnel at no cost to the owner could reduce the possibility of causing food-borne illness.

Lex Dobbins



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