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Tomato madness



Re The Observer July 5: I, too, attended the recent Pink Tomato Festival that was held last month (actually took part in the ’mater eatin’ contest, too), but if I remember correctly (and if my mind is not completely clouded over just yet), it was held in the BRADLEY County community of Warren, not Monticello (Drew County).

I know they raise great tomatoes in Drew County, too, as they do all over Southeast Arkansas (actually, the best as far as I’m concerned come out of Ashley County), but the world famous Arkansas Pink Tomato Festival is held in Warren (Bradley County), Ark. It has been held there since it’s inception 51 years ago and it still goes on today. Sure hope that you weren’t “high” on all those wonderful tomatoes when you wrote that you attended the Pink Tomato Festival in Monticello.

Jimmy Jeffress

Arkansas State Senator

Ashley, Bradley, Chicot, Drew, Desha Counties

(The Observer pleads tomato intoxication. He knows full well that the Pink Tomato Festival is the pride of Warren. But ... He’d been gorging on a box of Bradley County pinks, a fruit that needs only the addition of salt to achieve Platonic status. The box was delivered by a friend from Monticello and that act of kindness imprinted on The Observer’s aging brain.)

Walking kudzu?

I just finished reading Jacqueline Froelich’s article about the elk herd in north Arkansas. I come away with the feeling that the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission thinks their elk are more important than people’s livelihood. Since it was the eastern elk that was native to the state and not the Rocky Mountain elk, doesn’t that make the imported elk an invasive species? Don’t we have laws about that? Is AGFC using the elk to destroy the property value of adjacent land so they can buy it up at fire-sale prices? The elk are beautiful animals for sure. But now they look like kudzu with antlers.

Gary Bortz

Little Rock

The skateboard incident

Shame shame shame. Thank goodness those children had video cameras on them. The treatment of the children skateboarding in downtown Hot Springs has forever left a black mark on the Spa City and the police department. The police department needs to issue a formal apology to those poor children who were brutalized at the hands of an officer whose creed is to protect, defend and serve.

Why wasn’t a warning issued to them instead of terrorizing them? Why wasn’t a ticket issued instead? Why didn’t the officer phone their parents? Some of them were, after all, MINORS. What in God’s name is wrong with people?

Every charge against those children needs to be dropped immediately, the police officer in question should be relieved of his duties without pay and should be sent for mental evaluation. The city needs to pay for trauma counseling for those kids and offer them compensation for punitive damages. I strongly urge the mayor and the police chief to do everything in their power to see to it those kids are cleared of wrongdoing and try to right this terrible wrong.

The city should change their ordinance so that the children and future leaders of Hot Springs have a safe place to skate and play and build those children a skate park while they are at it.

We’re fighting terrorism, not children playing on their favorite toys.

Lisa Burks


From the reports in various media, it seems quite possible that the YouTube video, referred to in your June 28 issue, was edited prior to posting. That is surely the opinion of the numerous Hot Springs merchants who are avid in their support of the police. Their concern is given credence by the fact that this incident is the first in which the skateboarders have come out “armed” with cameras.

In his book “The World is Flat,” Thomas L. Friedman carefully and cautiously notes the lack of verification of blog postings and video uploads such as the one in question. Perhaps all of us, including the editors of this fine publication, should exercise restraint in instances such as this until all of the facts have been fully ascertained.

Sam Highsmith

Little Rock, Arkansas

A couple of comments, please, on The Insider report on Hot Springs Police Officer Joey Williams and the skateboarders. 1. You can’t believe anything you see on 2. Don’t judge Officer Williams too harshly until you talk to all the business owners and employees who witnessed the entire mess.

George Gatliff

Little Rock

Mayoral shenanigans

Of all of the shenanigans that have gone on in and around the Little Rock City Hall in recent months, this attempt by the “crime fighting” Mayor Mark Stodola to obtain more power for himself and a raise of at least $129,000 per year has to be his most blatant and outrageous scam yet.

There is no question but that North Little Rock has the more effective and efficient form of government. The form of government in Little Rock should have been changed years ago.

Had the mayor’s job description and official powers been changed during the previous mayor’s term, there probably would have been a stronger and larger field of candidates in 2006. As these changes were not made during the previous administration, it is obvious that the idea originated with Mr. Stodola and his supporters.

To be fair, would you not agree that we should do whatever is necessary in this community to stop the mayor from achieving through the back door what he chose not to do through the front door?

Allan Dishongh

Little Rock

Brummett and Paris

Well, that seals it: John Brummett has officially gone off the deep end. How dare he presume to speak for “the typical heterosexual American male” as regards Paris Hilton (or, it would now seem, anything else)? I am offended to think that a woman will read Brummett’s love letter to Paris and think, even for an instant, that this is how her husband, boyfriend, father (!) sees that tramp. Paris Hilton is not famous because men find her alluring; she is infamous because she’s an inept, inane ingrate.

We are fascinated withher only as an object ofridicule, a dingy example of a person who was given everything and yet still managed to screw it up; a female version of George W. Bush. The fact that Brummett finds Paris appealing (much less,projects that sentiment onto other men)confirms the feeling I have had for the last few years now that he is far less insightful than he initially conned us into believing.

Steve Barger


Bob and Jack

The article you did June 21 on Bob and Jack, who’ve lived together 52 years and counting and a documentary about them shown at the Arkansas LGBTQ Film Festival is very good. The two men met in the army in Word War II and stayed together, living in Raymond, Wash., running a radio station, and then moved to Los Angeles in 1980 and live there in retirement today.

If they could do this then, everyone should be able to do it today. I would like to have known what “resources” they had, what books they read, how they were “prepared” to find each other and stick together, when so many others didn’t, for whatever reasons. I wonder if young men and women in the military in Iraq and Afghanistan today will have a similar experience.

I think the people involved in making the documentary and the people in Little Rock that did the festival deserve thanks.

Billy Glover

Bossier City, La.

Not funny

I would just like to respond to Mr. Lancaster’suninspiring column “Revised Version” June 28. In it he uses his usually funny wit to degrade one of the most thoroughly researched and well-written books I’ve ever read. Mr. Lancastercompares several examples ofhis own“revisionist history” toa book that is notrevisionist, but truth. Author Betsy Jacoway does not absolve Orval Faubus of anything, instead she tells the whole story. Mr. Lancaster, and many others, have placed the entire bit of blame on Mr. Faubus.The fact is there weremany influences at work in the situation thatMr. Faubus, as governor of this great state, had to take into consideration during the school crisis. Sure, welook back and see that what happened was a travesty and should not have occurred, but don’t blame a wonderful author for taking 30 years of her life to thoroughly research and present the entire storythen demonize her as a revisionist.

Ben Thielemier


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