N.W.A. PUBLISHING | THURSDAY THUMBS: Podcasts highlight debate over jail expansions in Northwest Arkansas

It’s Thursday and another chance to shoot a few thumbs up or down on some news developments in our neck of the woods and elsewhere:

[THUMBS UP] Washington County Sheriff Tim Helder and Sheriff-elect (he is unopposed in November) Jay Cantrell were kind enough to visit our office the other day to watch an episode of the Talking About Arkansas podcast, hosted by the editorial page editor Greg Harton. The county will have voters in November to approve the expansion of the jail and juvenile detention center, all backed by a temporary quarter-cent sales tax that expires once construction money is raised. Listen at https://www.nwaonline.com/105forjail/

[THUMBS UP] Sarah Moore, executive director of the Arkansas Justice Reform Coalition, and Mac Mayfield, an AJRC board member and leader of a newly formed group called Neighbors Against New Taxation, were also kind enough to record a separate Speaking of Arkansas podcast. They explore their reasons for asking voters to oppose jail expansions in either Benton and Washington counties. Listen at https://www.nwaonline.com/105againstjail/

[THUMBS UP] We’ve heard for years about the homes of families who were broken into while attending funerals and burying loved ones, but someone decided to take their criminal behavior one step further. A West Fork man was recently arrested after several vehicle owners attending a memorial service reported that his cars had been broken into. Broken windows and stolen property totaled a value of about $6,500. It was excellent information gathering by the employees of Nelson-Berna Funeral Home and the victims of the break-ins that helped police make an arrest. Two employees had noticed a man and a car he was standing next to before the service. Another employee noticed the vehicle drive away as the memorial service ended. One of the victims then used cell phone location services to show where the missing phone was. That led police to a car that matched the description. They reported finding the stolen items in the car. What a great teamwork of those affected, the employees of the funeral home and the officials to solve the matter quickly. It takes a lot of courage to beat up people attending a memorial service, but luckily the collaboration between all involved made a quick recovery of the stolen items possible.

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[THUMBS UP] Among the proofs that big things can come in small packages was the musical life of Loretta Webb, a 5-foot-2 woman known throughout the world by her married name, Loretta Lynn. She died this week at the age of 90 after a life filled with cutting-edge country music. She was a star of the 1960s and 1970s and a country legend beyond that, having paved the way for untold numbers of traditional female singers. She wrote songs and sang honestly, always informed by her upbringing in the mountains of Kentucky. She was a musical original.

[THUMBS UP] We suppose there is no real downside to the president, as he did last week, ambitiously declaring his administration’s goal of ending hunger in the United States by the end of the decade. Assessing hunger can be a collection of malleable measures that range from actually being hungry to living meal after meal, so to speak, in what is called food insecurity. Can a nation without hunger be achieved? Call us skeptical, but that doesn’t mean the effort is misplaced. Progress is progress and a commitment at the presidential level can be very important. If nothing more happens than moving Americans away from unhealthy processed foods, it will be a big step.

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