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What a very special tribute the Arkansas Times paid to the late Roshundalyn Jenae Scribner, in your recent Academic All Stars issue. Entitled “Fallen Star,” the article lifted up the life of this remarkable 17-year-old, who as the late Bobby Kennedy once said about his brother the late President John F. Kennedy, he “had every gift but the gift of time.” The Hall High valedictorian and Student Council president had been accepted to four prestigious colleges. She was a faithful member of Second Baptist Church and role model for all, but her life was cut short after an automobile accident Feb. 6. This young woman was just extraordinary — a poet, a scientist, and a leader with a great future. The Arkansas Community Foundation is honored that her father, Kevin Scribner, established a memorial fund in her name. This fund will support charitable purposes including scholarships, poetry awards and other such charitable endeavors. The fund’s goal is to reach at least $10,000 so that the endowment can honor her memory forever. Contributions have poured in from students, teachers, friends, family, and strangers, and continue to be welcomed.

Pat Lile

President and CEO, Arkansas Community Foundation

Elephant memories

I read with great interest the article about elephants at the Little Rock Zoo. I would like to offer some additional information and perhaps a correction on the article, when it said, “Ellen, 56 lived at the zoo since 1954, the same year her companion Ruth came.”

The year is certainly in question since Ruth was at the Zoo in the late ’30’s. She was already at the Zoo when the WPA was building the current structures in what at the time was called Fair Park. A former circus elephant, she was beloved by all that spent a Sunday afternoon visiting her. The park even held a birthday party for her complete with a huge cake. I have a picture of the cake as well as a picture of myself wrapped in Ruth’s trunk and held aloft for my father to snap a truly treasured memory.

I would love to see the Riddle Elephant Sanctuary in Greenbrier become a leader in saving this wonderful part of the animal world.

Florence Pauly

Jacksonville

Two surges

A respected cable channel military analyst said that the difference in President Bush’s surge and President Johnson’s was that LBJ didn’t believe his surge would work and W does.

A perennial cable channel pundit says repeatedly that we should respect President Bush for sticking to his guns now and President Johnson back then, even though both were wrong.

That LBJ and W were both resolute did and does not justify their using the rank and file of our military as toy soldiers on a battlefield of their choosing, for what real reasons may never be known.

MSgt. Chris L. Gray, USAF (Ret. ‘89)

Monticello

Low standards

I am a subscriber to Arkansas Times. The Orval cartoon that depicted Coach Houston Nutt in the Little Bo Peep costume and Frank Broyles looking for his Viagra pills … Come on, don’t you have more taste than that? That is something that I would not expect to see in a publication of your high standards.

I also have purchased a subscription that has gone to my father in Texas for many years. I will not be renewing my subscription or my father’s. I was really embarrassed that he had to see that. I also will make a suggestion that my company no longer advertise in your publication.

Jennifer Smith

Little Rock

Hypocrites

Recently two news stories showed the hypocrisy of the Family Council of Arkansas and shows they are not truly concerned about the welfare of the children. The first was a recent story about a former foster child found bound and gagged running down the hallway at Summit House near Park Plaza Mall.

Both the man and his wife involved with the incident were questioned by the police. Where was the moral outrage of a child being treated this way by the Family Council or is their outrage merely reserved for gay individuals and couples? Silence by the FCA in this case is not golden but at the very least a sin of omission.

Secondly, the FCA in another recent news article outlined they may try and put an anti-gay fostering and adoption amendment on the ballot through petition. The FCA will spend countless volunteer hours and dollars getting tens of thousands of signatures to get this item on a ballot for the entire state when with much less effort and money the FCA could recruit the less than 1,000 foster homes this state needs. If the FCA truly cared about children they would be recruiting these homes from their members and other volunteers as we speak. If the Department of Health and Human Services had another 1,000 foster homes there would be no need to place children in group homes or less than desirable heterosexual or gay homes. The problem in this state is not gay adoption or fostering but rather the shortage of foster homes and adoptive homes.

The FCA’s recent actions in the legislature attempted to exacerbate the problem of too few foster and adoptive homes by limiting the number of homes available to DHHS. So, if the FCA wants to benefit the children they will spend the time and effort recruiting foster and adoptive homes.

These are not the ramblings of an outside, frustrated individual, but rather the opinions of an individual who made a difference in a child’s life. My wife and I have been foster parents for several children and two years ago adopted a child out of the fostering system. It was one of the best decisions we have ever made and we encourage more couples to open up their hearts and houses to these children who want nothing more than to be loved.

Scott A. Miller

North Little Rock

Wal-Mart and health

The Democrat-Gazette editorialized recently about Wal-Mart teaming up with Blue Cross and the University of Arkansas to increase the efficiency of health care. It said, “If Wal-Mart thought it had overcome obstacles before, well it ain’t seen nothing yet. Not compared to the kind of health care bureaucrats who are defending every inch of their convoluted turf.”

They could have mentioned the opponents of the government or single-payer systems. Canada has it. Administration is about 7 percent of their total health care cost. Here it is twice that.

The editorial also said, “Delivering health care ain’t retail. Sure Wal-Mart can move widgets. But how can the company’s expertise in moving goods from Point A to Point B be used to improve open heart surgery or the treatment of chronic conditions like diabetes?”

They didn’t say that Wal-Mart has expertise in containing health care costs by offering very little to very few.

Jerry Shell

Leslie

Memories of 1968

The 2008 race for the White House is shaping up to be a lot like the tumultuous race of 1968: a completely wide-open field of candidates (with supposed “inevitable front-runners” who are proving themselves to be not-so-inevitable as the race progresses), a very unpopular war with no end in sight being the dominant issue, a huge wave of voter discontent with the existing administration, people reacting to dramatic shifts in social norms, and young people being more energized in the process than ever before.

And, for me, there’s another striking similarity: the campaigns of Sens. Robert Kennedy and Barack Obama. First, the obvious: both are young, eloquent, charismatic, and very engaging political figures who seem to have rock star-like appeal. But, more importantly — they both ran for president not because of a lifelong goal of being the leader of the free world, but rather as a response to a calling and a mood within the country for a change in how the political process works. Both seem to have a broad appeal to people from varying backgrounds — whether age, race, or socio-economic status, as evidenced by the enormous crowds they met wherever they spoke. Both strongly opposed ill-conceived wars. Both spoke of social justice as a top concern. Both were true liberals who could disagree with conservatives, yet be respectful of their opposing views. Both openly embraced their faith. And both seem to be the “people’s choice” over the front-running establishment candidate in their party, proving the so-called experts wrong again and again.

As a young man and student of history, I’ve always admired Bobby Kennedy and wondered how different our nation would be today had he had the chance to be president. Now, in this era of nasty partisanship, I think my generation’s RFK has finally arrived and is here to stay. $25 million from 100,000 people in the first quarter of fund-raising sure is an outstanding start!

Jeff Woodmansee

Little Rock

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