What a great issue you gave your readers just before Christmas! I don't know which essay to put first, but everything printed on pages 16 & 17 (the opinion pages) was wise, insightful, and instructive — a home run with all the bases loaded.
Coffee stop overlooked
My favorite place in Hillcrest is the original Coffee House, River City Tea, Coffee and Cream. Recently in the Arkansas Times "What's Cooking" section the writer stated that Rosalia's Family Bakery "...will fill a coffee shop void in Hillcrest and may give Starbucks some competition." This statement is in error.
River City has been the hub of Hillcrest for decades and I believe was one of the first places in Little Rock to sell fine coffee in the bean, freshly ground, or in the cup. During the Christmas holiday while I sat at the cafe drinking my cappucino made from beans roasted in Little Rock I overheard customers from Little Rock and other parts of the state sharing memories of coming to River City over the years. I shared in the warm thoughts, remembering visits with my daughter, since grown and moved to Colorado, on beautiful fall days, coming into peruse and eventually select our truffles to share.
Today Lisa Coleman runs the friendly, truly neighborhood coffee shop. Customers find a great selection of coffees and teas — by the pound or by the cup. Lattes, mochas, cappuccinos, or plain. To go, sitting in the comfy couches, or sitting at one of the cozy tables checking your email on Wi-Fi — all available. Next door is the Freckled Frog, a great place to wander in, selling jewelry, candles, T-shirts, etc. made by over 50 Arkansas artisans.
My final words go out to all Hillcrest residents. Let's support the local small business owners in Hillcrest! Our coffee house, a bakery, local crafts, our post office, our remodeled grocery, etc. Let's keep this a great neighborhood where we know the shop owners and love their wares.
Hate in Arkansas
Beverly Clary (Arkansas Times, Dec. 16) asks why there is so much hate in the world. I would like to know why there is so much hate in Arkansas. Day after day I read letters to the editor (Democrat Gazette) that exhibit so much hate, racism and prejudice. If it isn't one thing, it's another. It truly makes me wonder exactly what is being preached in the churches around here, certainly not love thy neighbor. A person's skin color, religious, or non-religious belief, and sexual orientation should be no one else's business. This country was born so people could be free to live the life they choose. I have to shake my head in disgust when someone remarks that he is a true Christian, but yet he is the one to make the most hateful statements. President Obama has a very difficult job. Whether you voted for him or not, agree with his policies or not, he is the president of this great nation, and he needs everyone's support. So quit the Obama bashing! As for gays in the military, so what? How many of you have grown sons who have not served in the military because they simply don't want to? At least there are gay folks who will step up to the plate to defend their country. They have been treated unfairly. If they want to marry and adopt kids, good for them! There is probably more love in a homosexual household than a "normal" household. So let's all take Beverly Clary's advice and step outside the box. Arkansans must quit being so hateful! There is a very powerful protest song, Eve of Destruction, written by Barry McGuire, in the '60s. I would encourage you to read the lyrics to that song. A line in the last verse that can very well apply to Arkansas, "hate your next door neighbor, but don't forget to say grace." This song is just as relevant today as it was back then.
John Tarpley's supervisor, boss, or whatever needs to get this guy an anger management counselor!
Damn, his hate-filled rant against Rodney Carrington was a bit of a, well, verbal hate crime. I myself am not a fan of the comedian, simply because I find his comedy hokey and tired, but for Mr. Tarpley to encourage readers to hate the man is pretty intense. Carrington is no more of a comedic annoyance than say, I don't know, Steve Harvey for example. Would Tarpley have encouraged readers to hate Harvey for his stupid moronic jokes? I think not, because that would not be PC. Tarpley ... chill out. You don't appreciate Carrington's type of humor, that's fine. That is your opinion. My opinion of him is that his comedy routine is corny, predictable, and, simply not my taste. But to continuously encourage readers to literally "hate him" is simply childish.
From the Internet
Those dead birds
More than a thousand dead birds fell from the sky over Beebe recently. Perhaps this is a sign from God that former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee shouldn't run for president in 2012.
Kenneth L. Zimmerman
Huntington Beach, Calif.
It appears to me that there are several items of state business that remain unanswered and need to be addressed by the 2011 legislature.
So far, the state has collected only about $55 million in gas severance tax revenue, while incurring over $250 million in destroyed roads that the taxpayers will have to pay to have rebuilt. This does not take into account the polluted water wells and long-term damage to the environment by way of the fracking process to obtain natural gas.
Arkansas is required by our Constitution to annually balance our state budget. But now we find that the state is over $300 million in the hole for unemployment taxes paid out that we did not have. How does this equate to a supposed balanced budget for 2010? The taxpayers were lied to again.
Now we are still faced with the fact that about 50 percent of our residents actually pay no income tax at all, while they are supported by the other 50 percent who work and earn a living. How much longer can a society continue to function with that imbalance in existence? And we expect to again lower the sales tax on food, when that is the only tax that many of the drones of our populace actually ever pay.
Unless everyone gets on board and works to make our state function, I predict that the taxpaying portion of our population will continue to be stiffed when the legislature comes into session.
Tom M. Ferstl
House freshmen disappoint
Am I alone in my astonishment that the new majority in the United States House of Representatives feels it necessary to read the Constitution to its members? In what reality does someone run for Congress without being fully familiar with that document? This seems analogous to reading Grey's Anatomy to a class of new residents and hardly a show of confidence by the leadership, in its freshman class.
I read that one legislator wants county-wide school districts. The biggest aversion besides control is "who will be the red-headed stepchild."
A few years ago I worked at a carpet store in Jefferson County. One summer we replaced floors in all the schools in the school district. As I visited each school, I noticed the schools closest to the administration building were freshly painted and had more square foot of flooring replaced. The schools farther away from the admin building were not as nice. I imagine if they treat the building that way, they treat the faculty the same.
Just like in Pulaski County, Jacksonville is their red headed stepchild.
I suggest this topic needs more study and politicking before it gets introduced into the legislature.
David E. Dinwiddie