Here are excerpts from recent editorials in Arkansas newspapers:

Texarkana Gazette. Aug. 27, 2018.

The summer heat is still with us and some area families might decide to take a late trip south to enjoy the beach and the warm water of the Gulf of Mexico.

The beach should be a lot of fun. The water? That's more problematic.

Recently, a man named Blaine Shelton was swimming off Crystal Beach, near Galveston, when he saw something in the water.

It was a shark.

Shelton managed to get back to dry land but not until the shark gave him a nasty bite on the leg.

Now, shark bites are rare. So that's not the problem we touched on.

It's what happened afterward.

A week after being treated for the bite, Shelton was back in the hospital with excruciating pain. The wound had been infected by flesh-eating bacteria, presumably in the water.

He's being treated, but has already lost some tissue. We wish him the best.

This isn't the first case of flesh-eating virus in the Gulf this year. From Texas to Florida there have been cases of the dreaded infection, some fatal. Others have lost limbs to stave off the bacteria's progress.

It's frightening.

The bacteria thrives in warmer water and is especially common from May to October. So if your late summer or fall plans include the Gulf, be very careful

We aren't saying avoid the Gulf at all costs. But as Shelton told ABC affiliate KSAT-12, don't go in the water if you have a cut or scratch.

That's sound advice from someone who knows.


Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Aug. 28, 2018.

We've got plenty of ways to show our displeasure with our fellow man, some more appropriate than others. Circumstances matter.

Booing is acceptable at certain events. Think sports. Think bad calls. Such as anytime a Razorback is called for holding.

But booing a participant at an assembly as volunteers exchange views on a ballot measure? What would mama say?

State Rep. Bob Ballinger of Berryville stood before the Political Animals of Northwest Arkansas on Friday. He was one of two speakers who addressed the crowd of about 200 concerning tort reform, and he spoke in defense of Issue 1 on the November ballot. Speaking opposite of him was former Arkansas Supreme Court Justice Paul Danielson. Both spoke for 10 minutes on their positions and then took questions from the audience.

And here's where things got rowdy. Justice Danielson, while speaking, had referred to Issue 1 as "bait and switch" and questioned how trustworthy lawmakers might could be. So Bob Ballinger addressed that while also answering a question from the audience (of which a good chunk were attorneys and members of the Arkansas Bar Association). He made the point that lawmakers who put forth this ballot measure were everymen just trying to do right by voters--and not corrupt politicians seeking to rewrite judiciary rules.

At that, many in the audience started booing the lawmaker. He tried to continue addressing the matter but became visibly frustrated with the audience and stepped away from the microphone. At that point, Circuit Judge John Threet, who headlines these gatherings, raised his voice, saying enough was enough. Sometimes it takes an adult.

Our considered editorial opinion, for we were there: Americans have enough trouble maintaining civility in today's polarized political environment. There's no need to boo someone in this setting. Silence would have been more effective. Ask any Southern lady.

In fact, Justice Danielson was applauded several times. If Rep. Ballinger's opposition in the audience really wanted to express displeasure, they could have sat on their hands when he finished speaking.

In these circumstances, when a room goes silent after a presentation, the person holding the microphone gets the message loud and clear. And mama would approve.


Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Aug. 28, 20108.

If there's one aspect of Fayetteville High School that can make someone question the September 2008 decision to expand the city's lone high school, rather than move to other acreage, it's the parking.

The shortage of parking is consistently evident around the high school. Perhaps more than anything else, a desire for more parking triggers thoughts of a decade-old missed opportunity to build a new high school on 73 acres along Morningside Drive in south Fayetteville as a replacement to the 40-acre high school site on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. Back in those days, the University of Arkansas offered the school board $50 million for the old high school site.

The community was split. A committee of district employees and community members recommended a fresh start on the larger site. Opposing groups in the community formed to make arguments for the existing site and the undeveloped property on Morningside. Among the strongest points for Morningside was the opportunity to expand parking, to relieve the nagging problem of the existing high school.

The School Board made the sentimental choice, betting a $90-plus million expansion to the high school would create the kind of educational environment Fayetteville students wanted and needed. Today, the facility is impressive.

But, still, there's the always-short parking.

Neighboring property owners have stepped in to meet a need unmet by the School District. In areas around the high school, property owners have taken to renting out parking spaces for kids who want to drive themselves to school but who can't get one of the limited-supply spaces actually owned by the School District.

Well, sometimes they're parking spaces. Other times they're just little patches of grass or gravel alongside a residential property.

On the one hand, it's easy to admire the entrepreneurial spirit involved. But if you're someone trying to live your life in a home next door to one of these non-car-lot car lots, it's also easy to understand why you might call up the city's code compliance folks to complain.

People want to feel good about their neighborhoods whether they live next door to the high school or in Savanna Estates.

Early this month, Fayetteville sent letters to more than 50 homes near the school. Three property owners were sent code violation notices. Warnings went out to the neighborhood in general to alert others of their potential code violations.

The high school has a cap on how many permits it can sell, and it's not enough. With the school surrounded by the University of Arkansas and private homes, there's little chance the School District can afford to do anything about the situation it created.

Property owners can get conditional-use permits if the city agrees. Chances are, that will be a laborious process requiring some changes to meet city expectations. It's not hard to imagine any profit disappearing fairly quickly.

It, of course, doesn't take a scientific rocket to figure out parking would be a problem for a high school officially designed for around 3,000 students, although the head count is less than that today.

Perhaps the most frustrating part of all this is that the city's crackdown, while enforcing barriers to the unneighborly situation of yard parking, does very little to help come up with a solution to the problem at hand.

Simply saying "no" to the demand for parking isn't a solution. Imagine if Fayetteville suddenly told all those Razorback football fans they couldn't park in yards around the stadium anymore. Would that solve anything?

It should be remembered that nobody has a constitutional right to drive a car to high school, but having one high school for a large geographic area pretty much demands a form of transportation. With after-school events, jobs and schedules that have kids coming and going at different times, driving to and from high school isn't just a luxury.

Are there actual solutions for parking? Is it just up to the city to crack down and leave it at that? Or should the School District, city and, perhaps, even the University of Arkansas work together to resolve Fayetteville High School's chronic problem of parking?