ASU board deserves scrutiny
According to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, it appears that the Arkansas State University Board allowed the reopening of an already accepted bid contract that was apparently well underway (although the percentage completion isn't noted) to make a change-order at ASU's request and also to protect a contractor's bad bid that underestimated the labor costs, the rising cost of steel, and somehow, missed the fact that they were bidding on a project on a slope. These costs should not have been allowed to increase except for the "contractor protection" business in Jonesboro. I guarantee that if the cost of steel had fallen, labor costs had dropped, or if somehow they had made an engineering error in their favor in the bid, they would not have gone to the ASU board and given them money back.
As one who built two plants in the $100 million range in different states and also did quite a few upgrades, I would have thought that the board would have separated the need for a new building into a new bid document, got a cost for it, and then seen what could be incorporated into the existing plans. I would hope that the DFA auditors take a look at what amounts to a second item which should have been bid separately being shoe-horned into an existing contract, raising the costs 38 percent according to the ADG, and allowing a contractor to effectively raise the costs of the current contract above his low bid (which if done properly might have made them NOT the low bidder). There is a lot of good ol' boy dealing going on here with my tax dollars.
I wonder if the board ever asked for a separate cost for the new building before allowing it plus everything else the contractor could slide into the cost into what they approved. Everyone who has ever built anything, including houses, knows that change-orders allow the contractor to run up the bill and while they might be needed for a regulatory need, you must realize that unless the cost of doing it later is prohibitive, change it after the fact in a new bid document when others are also bidding and there is hopefully some competition.
Blame Eureka for 'Passion Play' struggle
"The Great Passion Play's" financial struggles are due to the City of Eureka's "Diversity Weekend," drag queen parades and Hell's Angel rallies with stabbings (just to name a few). In fact, all of the liberal junk that happens in this city (disgusting art painted in the middle of town) has ruined a place that used to be a place that we could proudly bring our kids. No more. Keep this up and you will lose even more revenue; all of your shops will eventually close (more than the usual turn-over) and Eureka will be another ghost town.
City Council, this is a historical city that you are literally defacing! This town has been around for hundreds of years and you are ruining it!
We can recall when "The Great Passion Play" drew in buses of people from churches all over the country. Obviously, that is no longer happening.
Retirees have invested in land and homes in your county and they will soon sell and leave.
Wake up City of Eureka Springs! You are destined to be a council that runs a wonderful and historical town down the drain. Get over yourselves and think about the big picture. You cannot stray from God and not pay the price.
Why no mention of Mexico?
Even with a clear dog in this year's hunt, I watched the final presidential debate with a good deal of disappointment, left again wondering why relations with Mexico are not front and center on the U.S. foreign policy radar. Disappointingly, there was nary a mention from either candidate last night.
Unfortunately, I see Uncle Sam stuck in his outdated China and Mid-East dependency mindset for several more years to come. Perhaps the next generation of American leaders will see how working with neighbors to improve our own side of the global street will be the best path forward if this country is to remain a global economic force in the 21st century.
Jeff B. Woodmansee
School meal standards
This fall when Arkansas school children got in line at the school cafeteria, they had better choices than ever before. On the menu were a variety of foods and beverages recommended under new USDA school meal standards.
Changes in diet, however, can often take some time to adjust to. So it was no surprise that some children initially complained of being hungrier than usual as they adjust to proper portion sizes and calorie amounts. For instance, according to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, American school-aged children currently consume 50-240 percent more protein than they really need. The new school meal standards are in line with nutritional requirements, rather than the current over-consumption that's helped to increase childhood obesity.
While it's true that some kids may need more food throughout the day (student athletes for instance), not every kid is a linebacker nor should they eat like one. Parents can send their children to school with a snack or take advantage of after school snack or dinner programs.
Over the past three years the Arkansas Child Health Advisory Committee, designated by Act 1220 of 2003, has worked to remove trans fats from school food services and food items available during school hours. These efforts along with the new USDA school meal standards will help the state of Arkansas provide healthier nutritional choices for children at school.
So kids and parents — don't give up on the new school meal standards. Remembering to "eat your vegetables — and fruits" is not a necessary evil, it's a tasty way to get the nourishment you need to maintain a healthy weight and be successful in school. And know that the efforts of many organizations across the state are working to help our students live a healthier life.
Chair, Child Health Advisory Committee