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Letters June 16

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Vets home The newspapers have addressed the so-called problem of no money to finance the proposed veterans home in Fayetteville at the old Washington Regional Hospital. I recall that recently the House passed and Governor Huckabee was eager to ratify a bill to provide scholarships to children of illegal aliens. The bill was defeated in the Senate. Apparently the governor and the House felt that money could be made available for scholarships for illegals but could not find money to house a few old veterans who fought for their country. Since I work in Arkansas, I notice many “Support Our Troops” decals on Arkansas cars. Let’s put your money where your mouth is, Arkansas. Write or call your representatives and tell them and Mr. Huckabee to cough up money for the veterans home. John Fitts Noel, Mo. Straight talk Thanks for Max Brantley’s column on same sex marriage and the Arkansas Democratic Party. I am no longer as avid a supporter of U.S. Rep. Vic Snyder because of his poor stance on this issue. I did laugh when he kept using the term “straight” to suggest that the Democratic Party should shoot straight since it is the straight community that is so bigoted on this issue. But this is certainly something that would only fall to those of us who stopped shooting straight a long time ago — after we discovered that being bent is so much more fun. Jan Hodges Little Rock Cats Your editorial May 19 (“The cat is the hat”) advocating killing cats to make hats from catskins is a new low you’re unlikely to top. Or I guess we say sink beneath. Much as we can hope you’re joking, abusing animals is not funny. Where was Alan Leveritt when we really needed him? A gold-star publisher sleeps with one eye open, and when awake keeps both eyes on editors and other longtime suspects. Bill Steinkamp Benton War Memorial War Memorial Park is very well used by those who like to fish, play golf, picnic and attend the zoo. Why spend millions to change it? (One estimate was $25 million.) It looks as though the main beneficiary in this case is the developers, whoever they may be. We must watch out! They are trying hard to get their hands in our pockets. Sarah E. Lodge Little Rock Why not a regatta? An open letter to Little Rock Mayor Jim Dailey and North Little Rock Mayor Pat Hays: Like many of my fellow citizens in our twin municipalities, I have watched with fascination, pride and amusement as our leaders have initiated events, edifices and establishments to honor their respective cities and outdo their sister city. There is Alltel Arena, the Razorback submarine and its planned maritime museum, the proposed new baseball stadium and more on the north side of the river, and the Clinton Library, the River Market District, Heifer International Headquarters, etc., south of the water. In the spirit of such neighboring competition on each side of the Arkansas River, I would suggest that rather than jousting on either side, we should plunge into the center of the river itself. What about bringing back the racing sculls once popular in our twin communities? The storied “Boathouse” of the 1920s could be re-created on each side of the Arkansas. We could have teams sponsored by institutions such as the respective police and fire departments, hotels from each side, colleges, social groups, the North Little Rock Times and the Arkansas Times along with other local businesses. With enough crews and their respective sponsors, the season could begin during Riverfest weekend, continue each weekend throughout the summer, and culminate with a finalists’ regatta on Labor Day. Over time this kind of rivalry could generate enough interest to increase the number of visitors, attract national attention and create enough commercial activity to gain the support of state tourism officials as well as the two cities’ leaders. The world has many instances of friendly rivalry between great cities in similar situations: Minneapolis/St. Paul, San Francisco/Oakland, and — on opposite sides of the Danube — Buda and Pest. A program such as the racing crews could so enthrall the locals as well as visitors that we will all forget the animus between the two locales. Joel A. Taylor Little Rock

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