Leslie Peacock's “The Observer” entry of Jan. 22 about the Witt Stephens Jr. Central Arkansas Nature Center is misleading.
She writes: “Missouri centers do owl prowls, frog walks, feature exhibits on native plants and invasive species, talk about water and wetlands and geology,” implying Arkansas nature centers fall short.
The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission offers information about all those topics (and many more) at four free nature centers and four free conservation education centers. Check www.agfc.com.
Another quote: “Texas has the Great Coastal Birding Trail and wildlife viewing trails all over. Texas does butterflies and bats.”
Texas is a big state with a big agency — Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. She's mixing apples and oranges with agencies, and giving her state short shrift (Arkansas State Parks is one of the best agencies of its kind in the country). All the AGFC nature centers have extensive trails systems. The one in Little Rock is on the Arkansas River Trail. Butterflies have been released in butterfly gardens during the openings of three of the four nature centers (it was too cold in Little Rock). Has she seen the latest AGFC conservation license plate featuring the state butterfly? Has she heard of Wings Over Arkansas? Does she have a copy of “Arkansas Watchable Wildlife Guide”?
The AGFC's watchable wildlife coordinator is working on water trails, hiking trails, driving trails and interpretive trails, and will be for years. Several are open.
The AGFC's charge is to manage wildlife and natural resources, and to help Arkansans enjoy the outdoors. Arkansas's nature centers and wildlife management areas are intended to be enjoyed by hunters, anglers, wildlife watchers and anyone else.
“Heck with nature?” I don't think so.
Editor, Arkansas Wildlife magazine
Arkansas Game and Fish Commission
As a nation of optimism, where will our elected leaders take us from here? Dow up and down, unemployment increases while homes depreciate -- we need to do something NOW. As you all know, President Obama has encouraged the economic recovery plan, but what people are focusing on and critics are broadcasting is the anti-smoking programs that make up less than one-ten-thousandth of the spending. Let's put basic political practices aside for a second and look at the economy. Without the stimulus unemployment will reach 11 percent by 2010. Let's pass action that creates three million jobs in the next two years, a plan that will save jobs. How about doubling funding for the Department of Education so more can afford the education that will give them more opportunities? We are a country of action. Let's do something before another 100,000 jobs are lost in this country.
The first thing I turn in the Arkansas Times to is the comics, because a good laugh helps make the serious news of the week more digestible. For me, the dessert in your cartoon trio is This Modern World by Tom Tomorrow. It is to cartooning what Olbermann, Maddow, Stewart and Colbert are to TV, producing a tasty, intellectually satisfying treat (the shoe-throwing “salute” to GWB and Co. was especially on-point). I hope you will continue to carry this award-winning and very fine strip.
Mark W. Riley
Ride the bus
The people of the Central Arkansas Transit Authority are to be commended!
Since coming to Little Rock I have used the bus frequently. The friendliness of the drivers impressed me initially. They quickly recognized me, and pretty soon the ridership was a family. The drivers have always been eager to help me find my way. They are wonderful.
Well, that says it. But doesn't, really. I tend to get lost in my thoughts, losing track of time and place, among other important things. So it should come as no surprise that I have been known to board the wrong bus, ending up in Maumelle, and leave things like cell phones and billfolds on the bus, right or wrong.
Which brings me to the commendation. Each time I have mindlessly lost my way, the drivers have eagerly, courteously and jovially gone out of their way to set me right. One took me all the way back to the central station so I could catch the last correct bus home. The good people in dispatch and the bus garage made sure my cell phone was with the driver on my bus the next day. Today, the stimulus for this letter, the driver allowed me to ride the bus as he returned to the garage so I could retrieve my billfold, and then he gave me a ride to work.
CATA, above and beyond the call of duty, representing the best of Little Rock. Thank you to everyone in the organization.
Martin L. Bauer, M.D.