Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Public invited to view plan for widening portions of Huntsville Road and Fifteenth Street from 4 to 7 p.m. today

People interested in protecting Northwest Arkansas' two major watersheds, in this case, the watershed of the Town Branch of the West Fork of the White River and Beaver Lake, need to turn out and make sure that the planners are taking into account the potential affect of this project on water quality and the need for stormwater retention to avoid increasing the flooding and erosion threat downstream.

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Please use controls and cursor to move the image, zoom in or out and trace the whole route to be discussed this afternoon.

Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department officials will reveal the first phase of design for widening a 2.7-mile stretch of Arkansas 16 between S. College Avenue and Stonebridge Road to four lanes and installing a traffic light at the Stonebridge intersection, east of Crossover Road from 4 to 7 p.m. in the activity center of Fayetteville First Assembly of God at 550 E. 15th St. There won't be a presentation; residents can look at displays, ask questions and give feedback verbally or on survey forms, The Northwest Arkansas Times reported in its March 31, 2009, edition.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Severed limb budding at end. Birds and squirrels and rabbits may eat them

Here is the caption with the photo of limbs burning in Benton County:
Up in smoke:
Benton County employee Harvey Johnson watched a fire at 10791 Stoney Point Road near Lowell on Thursday. The county is burning limbs and trees broken by this winter’s ice storm. Other burn sites are at 9900 Marchant Road in Elm Springs, 21447 Waukesha Road in Siloam Springs and 19941 Bettis Hill Road near War Eagle. Washington County is also burning ice-storm debris on North 40th Street in Springdale. DAVID FRANK DEMPSEY / Benton County Daily Record

If no one in either county had a fireplace or a wood stove, this might seem slightly less ridiculous.
I hope a lot of people who can use firewood or who would collect it and sell it will be at those sites before more is burned and load it up and take it away.
This wood would save people money, reduce air pollution now and save the carbon in these limbs for actual home heating and reduce global climate change (because people with wood stoves and fire places will be buying wood next fall and reducing the tree cover even more in Northwest Arkansas).
Additionally, birds and squirrels are eating buds on those limbs where they are lying. In fact, many large limbs or trunks lying separated from the main trunk for nearly two months are budding right now! So wildlife are having to search a bit more for food, which may be tough for birds facing nesting season.
Burning material with this much value is WRONG.
It is even worse than chipping it all. This is incredibly wasteful and inconsiderate of people and other living things. I am proud to live in Fayetteville where an effort is being made to separate potential firewood for sharing and where the rest is being chipped rather than burned.
This is an example of the need for cross-training and keeping all environmental enforcement under one big umbrella. Apparently, it would be the responsibility of the EPA to see that FEMA's requirements for subsidizing "cleanup" efforts meet environmental guidelines. But I would bet that the EPA has had no input in the cleanup efforts. Otherwise, they would have required sound environmental use of the downed trees and limbs.
And, if there were any budgetary control of FEMA, their pet contractors would be required to compact and compress the loads of loose limbs in their trailers and trucks before claiming a load is full and counting it on the basis of cubic yards.
If you take waste metal to a steel yard or aluminum-recycling facility, you will have your vehicle weighed and then weighed again after the workers pull off what can be recycled. They don't pay more for half-empty truckloads or uncrushed cans that fill a big bag. The scales tell the story.
Should the taxpayers support a system that rewards only selected contractors and ignores the value of the material being destroyed in the pretense of "cleaning up" after a disaster? And requires the hiring of "inspectors" or whatever from different pet companies to make sure the trucks aren't overfilled?
My questions aren't original. I have heard these questions from residents of Fayetteville who are offended by the appearance of poor management and waste.
The city can't ask these questions because the EPA MIGHT look into the problem and FEMA MIGHT delay reimbursement of the city for the work that took a big chunk out of the city's reserve fund.
But somebody has to ask why they don't just weigh the loads and pay and reimburse on the results. My neighbors have asked.

Please go to CAT's Community Media Summit Web pages for schedule of events today and Saturday

Community Media Summit
Greetings from Community Access Television. We are pleased to announce
CAT Fayetteville is hosting the Create~Connect~Community Media Summit at the Cosmopolitan Hotel on the historic Fayetteville downtown square March 27-28.

The idea is to bring together community media makers, artists, activists, and advocates beginning a dialogue about how community media will thrive and continue to be a rich source of news, ideas, and inspiration. We are reaching out regionally in areas of community radio and TV, print media, visual arts, music, theatre, and entities using the internet. Our goal is to create a networking and educational event involving community media and anyone who values free speech, localism, inclusion, diversity, creativity, and media literacy.

*Events include:
Luncheon Workshop with Paper Tiger TV, Media & Democracy: The Next
Opening Session Speaker, Mr. Charles Benton of the Benton Foundation
Workshops/Panels on Outreach & Diversity, New Media 2.0, Future Media
Show Your Stuff Trade Show with local and national vendors
Video Reception on Friday night - submit Your video today!
Alliance for Community Media Regional Meeting
Freedom Stage - Your chance to Speak or Perform publicly
FAT CAT Awards Banquet

There are a variety of ways you can participate:
We invite you to set up a table at our Show Your Stuff Trade Show (rates
on registration form).
We are also having a Show Your Stuff Video Reception which is free to
attend and only $10 to enter your video
(10 min. or less) to play on the big screen.
The Freedom Stage will be set up throughout the day on Saturday and
provide an opportunity to speak or perform for 5 minutes. This is similar
to our Short Takes at CAT which we offer free twice weekly.
The workshops/panels that are planned are on three main subjects:
Outreach - how you as an artist, non-profit, or local business owner can reach the public with emphasis on inclusion and diversity. Media 2.0 -
how you can use the new digital tools and social networking sites to enhance your message. Policy - how local and national legislators affect policy on media and how to keep media open and accessible to the People.
The FAT CAT Awards Banquet will be the grand finale of the Summit and will celebrate our C.A.T. Producers who aired shows in 2008. This is our red carpet catered event with 10 categories for producers to enter. If you would like to be a judge for this event, please contact us at: 479-444-3433 or email heather@catfayetteville.org
Please check out the official website at: summit.catfayetteville.org Community Media Summit for details. See flyer and registration form attached.
In Community,
Jori Costello, CAT Fayetteville Outreach Specialist
Community Access Television
101 W. Rock Street
Fayetteville, AR 72701
watch online at: www.catfayetteville.org

Friday, March 27, 2009
noon-6:30pm - Registration - top of stairs
4-6pm - (FULBRIGHT ROOM) ACM SW Regional Meeting
6-9pm - (PIKE ROOM)Video Reception -
FREE and open to the public $10 to show your video - 10 minutes or less

Saturday, March 28, 2009
8am-4:00pm - Registration - top of stairs
8am-5pm (GARLAND ROOM) Trade Show
8-9am - (GARLAND ROOM) Opening Session Speaker with Contintental Breakfast - Webinar with Mr. Charles Benton of the Benton Foundation
9-10:30am - (GARLAND ROOM) Outreach Workshop/Panel - "Diversity Discussion"
9-10:30am - (McILROY ROOM) Raising Funds for Your Independent Film
9:30-10:30 - (PEG CENTER) PEG Center Tour
10:30-11am - (GARLAND ROOM)Entertainment - Everyone Can Sing Community Choir
11-12:30pm - (GARLAND ROOM) LUNCH with Keynote Speaker - PaPeR TiGeR TeLeViSioN -"Media Democracy:
The New Frontier"
12:30-1pm (GARLAND ROOM) Entertainment - Mashburn Scholarship Recipients present "Love or Money"
1-5pm (GARLAND ROOM) Freedom Stage
1-2:30pm - (McILROY ROOM) Media 2.0 Workshop/Panel - "New Media and YOU"
1-1:30pm - (UATV) UATV Tour
2-3pm - (UA LEMKE SCHOOL OF JOURNALISM) Free Speech Lecture Dr. Steve Sheppard
3-4:30pm - (McILORY ROOM) Policy Workshop/Panel - "The State of Community Media Today and Tomorrow"
6-9pm (CAT STUDIO) FAT CAT Awards Banquet
Community Media Summit

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Focus group to discuss plan for Beaver Lake

On Wednesday, March 25th, you are invited to a focus group meeting with Tetratech to discuss the status of the Beaver Lake Watershed Management Plan that they have been helping facilitate. This follow-up focus group meeting with conservation and environmental representatives will take place on Wednesday, March 25th at 3pm in the Chicago Room (room #220) at the Jones Center for Families in Springdale. They want to gather your feedback on some of the management options that they have been developing for the watershed.
I believe each of you participated in the first focus group meeting Tetratech convened a few months back. If you have suggestions for other folks who should be included in this focus group, please let me know or pass this invitation along to them.
Tetratech has put together a series of newsletters to update you and other focus group members on the status of the project. I will distribute some of the newsletters attached to this message and others attached to another message early next week.
Please let me know if you have any questions and whether you will be able to attend the meeting on Wednesday, March 25th at 3pm.
Thank you!
Mike Malone
387-5590 (cell)

How do we improve journalism as newspaper advertising and circulation dry up?

Clay Shirky's
Web log focuses on history and future of newspapers realistically

Shirky provides a lot of detail but no solution. However, my reading of some of his essays suggests a partial solution, an action that people who understand the value of trained, dedicated journalists to gather and share facts can take:
People who depend on the Internet for information must pay newspapers in order to support the journalists. Maybe every payment to a newspaper from an online addict should include a note to its publisher something to this effect:
I will buy your paper on condition that you maintain your professional staff of journalists and faze out your printing of your paper only as universal access to its content online comes closer to reality. Because I can use the Internet to read your paper, I will not ask you to deliver a copy to me. But, until everyone has access to your information online, please keep up the effort to print and distribute your paper to those who remain reliant on or addicted to the printed version.
A democratic society and just about everything that is better in our world now than it was 500 years ago is the result of literacy and worldwide access to information.
Volunteer investigators, researchers, reporters, photographers and editors cannot replace the work of trained people paid to do that important work. And the uninformed opinion so happily shared by millions of people online will never become any more valid or useful without an increase in the amount and the quality of professional journalism.
After you read Shirky's blog, visit his main Web site, where endless Internet information, some of it technical, is offered.

Monday, March 16, 2009

New York Times columnist Frank Rich discusses the hiatus in the "culture war"


March 15, 2009
The Culture Warriors Get Laid Off

SOMEDAY we’ll learn the whole story of why George W. Bush brushed off that intelligence briefing of Aug. 6, 2001, “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.” But surely a big distraction was the major speech he was readying for delivery on Aug. 9, his first prime-time address to the nation. The subject — which Bush hyped as “one of the most profound of our time” — was stem cells. For a presidency in thrall to a thriving religious right (and a presidency incapable of multi-tasking), nothing, not even terrorism, could be more urgent.

When Barack Obama ended the Bush stem-cell policy last week, there were no such overheated theatrics. No oversold prime-time address. No hysteria from politicians, the news media or the public. The family-values dinosaurs that once stalked the earth — Falwell, Robertson, Dobson and Reed — are now either dead, retired or disgraced. Their less-famous successors pumped out their pro forma e-mail blasts, but to little avail. The Republican National Committee said nothing whatsoever about Obama’s reversal of Bush stem-cell policy. That’s quite a contrast to 2006, when the party’s wild and crazy (and perhaps transitory) new chairman, Michael Steele, likened embryonic stem-cell research to Nazi medical experiments during his failed Senate campaign.

What has happened between 2001 and 2009 to so radically change the cultural climate? Here, at last, is one piece of good news in our global economic meltdown: Americans have less and less patience for the intrusive and divisive moral scolds who thrived in the bubbles of the Clinton and Bush years. Culture wars are a luxury the country — the G.O.P. included — can no longer afford.

Not only was Obama’s stem-cell decree an anticlimactic blip in the news, but so was his earlier reversal of Bush restrictions on the use of federal money by organizations offering abortions overseas. When the administration tardily ends “don’t ask, don’t tell,” you can bet that this action, too, will be greeted by more yawns than howls.

Once again, both the president and the country are following New Deal-era precedent. In the 1920s boom, the reigning moral crusade was Prohibition, and it packed so much political muscle that F.D.R. didn’t oppose it. The Anti-Saloon League was the Moral Majority of its day, the vanguard of a powerful fundamentalist movement that pushed anti-evolution legislation as vehemently as it did its war on booze. (The Scopes “monkey trial” was in 1925.) But the political standing of this crowd crashed along with the stock market. Roosevelt shrewdly came down on the side of “the wets” in his presidential campaign, leaving Hoover to drown with “the dries.”

Much as Obama repealed the Bush restrictions on abortion and stem-cell research shortly after pushing through his stimulus package, so F.D.R. jump-started the repeal of Prohibition by asking Congress to legalize beer and wine just days after his March 1933 inauguration and declaration of a bank holiday. As Michael A. Lerner writes in his fascinating 2007 book “Dry Manhattan,” Roosevelt’s stance reassured many Americans that they would have a president “who not only cared about their economic well-being” but who also understood their desire to be liberated from “the intrusion of the state into their private lives.” Having lost plenty in the Depression, the public did not want to surrender any more freedoms to the noisy minority that had shut down the nation’s saloons.

In our own hard times, the former moral “majority” has been downsized to more of a minority than ever. Polling shows that nearly 60 percent of Americans agree with ending Bush restrictions on stem-cell research (a Washington Post/ABC News survey in January); that 55 percent endorse either gay civil unions or same-sex marriage (Newsweek, December 2008); and that 75 percent believe openly gay Americans should serve in the military (Post/ABC, July 2008). Even the old indecency wars have subsided. When a federal court last year struck down the F.C.C. fine against CBS for Janet Jackson’s “wardrobe malfunction” at the 2004 Super Bowl, few Americans either noticed or cared about the latest twist in what had once been a national cause célèbre.

It’s not hard to see why Eric Cantor, the conservative House firebrand who is vehemently opposed to stem-cell research, was disinclined to linger on the subject when asked about it on CNN last Sunday. He instead accused the White House of acting on stem cells as a ploy to distract from the economy. “Let’s take care of business first,” he said. “People are out of jobs.” (On this, he’s joining us late, but better late than never.)

Even were the public still in the mood for fiery invective about family values, the G.O.P. has long since lost any authority to lead the charge. The current Democratic president and his family are exemplars of precisely the Eisenhower-era squareness — albeit refurbished by feminism — that the Republicans often preached but rarely practiced. Obama actually walks the walk. As the former Bush speechwriter David Frum recently wrote, the new president is an “apparently devoted husband and father” whose worst vice is “an occasional cigarette.”

Frum was contrasting Obama to his own party’s star attraction, Rush Limbaugh, whose “history of drug dependency” and “tangled marital history” make him “a walking stereotype of self-indulgence.” Indeed, the two top candidates for leader of the post-Bush G.O.P, Rush and Newt, have six marriages between them. The party that once declared war on unmarried welfare moms, homosexual “recruiters” and Bill Clinton’s private life has been rebranded by Mark Foley, Larry Craig, David Vitter and the irrepressible Palins. Even before the economy tanked, Americans had more faith in medical researchers using discarded embryos to battle Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s than in Washington politicians making ad hoc medical decisions for Terri Schiavo.

What’s been revealing about watching conservatives debate their fate since their Election Day Waterloo is how, the occasional Frum excepted, so many of them don’t want to confront the obsolescence of culture wars as a political crutch. They’d rather, like Cantor, just change the subject — much as they avoid talking about Bush and avoid reckoning with the doomed demographics of the G.O.P.’s old white male base. To recognize all these failings would be to confront why a once-national party can now be tucked into the Bible Belt.

The religious right is even more in denial than the Republicans. When Obama nominated Kathleen Sebelius, the Roman Catholic Kansas governor who supports abortion rights, as his secretary of health and human services, Tony Perkins, the leader of the Family Research Council, became nearly as apoplectic as the other Tony Perkins playing Norman Bates. “If Republicans won’t take a stand now, when will they?” the godly Perkins thundered online. But Congressional Republicans ignored him, sending out (at most) tepid press releases of complaint, much as they did in response to Obama’s stem-cell order. The two antiabortion Kansas Republicans in the Senate, Sam Brownback and Pat Roberts, both endorsed Sebelius.

Perkins is now praying that economic failure will be a stimulus for his family-values business. “As the economy goes downward,” he has theorized, “I think people are going to be driven to religion.” Wrong again. The latest American Religious Identification Survey, published last week, found that most faiths have lost ground since 1990 and that the fastest-growing religious choice is “None,” up from 8 percent to 15 percent (which makes it larger than all denominations except Roman Catholics and Baptists). Another highly regarded poll, the General Social Survey, had an even more startling finding in its preliminary 2008 data released this month: Twice as many Americans have a “great deal” of confidence in the scientific community as do in organized religion. How the almighty has fallen: organized religion is in a dead heat with banks and financial institutions on the confidence scale.

This, too, is a replay of the Great Depression. “One might have expected that in such a crisis great numbers of these people would have turned to the consolations of and inspirations of religion,” wrote Frederick Lewis Allen in “Since Yesterday,” his history of the 1930s published in 1940. But that did not happen: “The long slow retreat of the churches into less and less significance in the life of the country, and even in the lives of the majority of their members, continued almost unabated.”

The new American faith, Allen wrote, was the “secular religion of social consciousness.” It took the form of campaigns for economic and social justice — as exemplified by the New Deal and those movements that challenged it from both the left and the right. It’s too early in our crisis and too early in the new administration to know whether this decade will so closely replicate the 1930s, but so far Obama has far more moral authority than any religious leader in America with the possible exception of his sometime ally, the Rev. Rick Warren.

History is cyclical, and it would be foolhardy to assume that the culture wars will never return. But after the humiliations of the Scopes trial and the repeal of Prohibition, it did take a good four decades for the religious right to begin its comeback in the 1970s. In our tough times, when any happy news can be counted as a miracle, a 40-year exodus for these ayatollahs can pass for an answer to America’s prayers.

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