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By Steve Boggs
It has been an eventful week here in Saline County. We canâ€™t seem to shake a stubborn winter, the Benton boys and girls basketball teams are on historic marches toward the state playoffs, and real progress is being made on the worthwhile Saline Crossing Regional Park effort.
It is also worth pointing out that Wednesdayâ€™s edition of the Courier was 100 percent local. It was our first in a while, but certainly wonâ€™t be our last. The newsroomâ€™s efforts to drive more local content into our pages are paying off, and our readers will certainly see that moving forward.
That being said, hereâ€™s a random sampling of other ideas kicking around inside of my head this week:
Time magazineâ€™s cover story this week is worth reading. Titled â€śBitter Pill,â€ť itâ€™s a lengthy investigation into how health care costs are out of control. After reading the piece, I find myself in the unusual position of being a fan of Medicareâ€™s efficiency. Read it, and you may feel the same way.
Of all the places Iâ€™ve carried a gun over the years, it never occurred to me to take it to church. Now that this crucial piece of legislation is on the books, maybe lawmakers can focus on some other tidbit issues. Transportation funding, health care costs, education and clean water come to mind.
There were more than 1,000 bills filed in the Arkansas General Assembly this year, according to a search done on its own web site. So much for smaller government â€¦
If President Obama believes that blocking construction of a pipeline from Canada to Texas will prevent horizontal drilling in Canada, think again. That oil and gas will get harvested because itâ€™s worth too much money to leave in the ground. Environmental concerns notwithstanding, that is a fiscal reality. If the U.S. doesnâ€™t allow the pipeline to get built, that oil will flow in a different direction. Either way, itâ€™s coming out of the ground.
As someone who was born in southern California and later lived in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex for five years, allow me to go on record as saying that Little Rock traffic is worse than both of these areas. The Little Rock metro area highways are way behind in terms of capacity to handle the traffic they are carrying these days. The northbound 430/40 interchange is the interstate equivalent of stopping to open the gate. Plans are in the works to improve many of the highways in central Arkansas, but it should be noted that the powers that be are playing catch-up. And theyâ€™re a good ways behind.
For some reason, this winter seems like it has been very cold, very long and very dismal. It hasnâ€™t, by comparison to years past, but it sure seems that way. It also seems like it just simply wonâ€™t go away. On the plus side, we picked up about three inches of rain this week and the Arkansas Forestry Commissionâ€™s wildfire danger map reads â€ślowâ€ť for all 75 counties.
When is the last time that happened?