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The vaping epidemic

Dear editor:

The use of electronic cigarettes by teenagers has skyrocketed the past few years. In our state alone, one in five teenagers vape or has at least tried vaping. Many students that I have talked to about vaping stated that they vape because they think it is harmless. However, research has shown that vaping is dangerous and can end up being more harmful than smoking. Many teenagers in Hot Springs do not know about the dangers of vaping and that is a problem that we must come together as a community to solve.

Some communities have started implementing educational courses about vaping and smoking into their physical education program, and the results were shocking. I believe if we do the same thing we would surely see a change to our teen vaping epidemic. When I attended a school in Hot Springs, all we did during PE was use our phone or play basketball. Instead of that time being wasted, we should implement a few lessons about the dangers of vaping. Students will learn about the health impact of vaping, and also help students develop essential skills such as self-regulation and communication in situations where they might feel pressured to vape by their peers.

As vaping becomes more popular we must start taking action to educate our teens about its dangers. The youth are the future of this community and we must equip them with the necessary tools to not only benefit their future but the future of this community as a whole.

Ghailan Fadah

Hot Springs

Chocolate Fest 'thanks'

Dear editor:

The 15th Annual Chocolate Festival is now history, but the funds and support this event raised will help Cooperative Christian Ministries and Clinic offer our services well into the future! We had close to 1,000 people in attendance and raised over $50,000 that will be reinvested back into our community to help those who are sick, suffering, struggling, and need our services!

We are forever grateful to our chocolatiers: Angels in the Park, who won Best in Taste, Malvern National Bank, who won Best Presentation, EvilO, who won the People's Choice, Abbi Cakes, Bistro 400, Bleu Monkey, Brickhouse Grill, CHI St. Vincent, Dolce Gelato, Embassy Suites, Kilwin's, NPC Hospitality & Tourism Program, Red Light Roastery, The Arlington Resort Hotel & Spa, and Vault.

This event happened because of our sponsors Robert and Vikki Tankersley, Caruth-Hale Funeral Home, James and Janie Smith, Levi Hospital, Oaklawn Jockey Club, Zeiser Wealth Management, CHI St. Vincent, Munro Foundation, Red Oak Ridge, Harps, St. Mary's Catholic Church, Startek, Weyerhaeuser, Allen Tillery Auto, Bainum Foundation, Diamond Lakes Federal Credit Union, First Security Bank, Gross Funeral Home, Morris Foundation, Entergy, Xpress Boats, Richard Goodman, and National Park Medical Center. A special thanks goes out to Quality Plus Printing, Seiz Signs, The Sentinel-Record, and Adult and Teen Challenge for their assistance.

Our host -- Embassy Suites -- pulled out all the stops to make this event such a great success! Their staff worked tirelessly for months and on the day of the festival, made it look easy. They are truly dedicated hospitality professionals that have put their skills to work to help those in need. We are so grateful.

The Fun City Chorus, Justin Time juggler and balloon artist, Artist Red, who painted a picture that was later auctioned off, and Ken Goodman, our emcee, kept our guests entertained in grand style. To all those who donated items for our silent auction, to our committee, Charles Landrum, Christy Shaw, Jill LaComfora, Lauri Adams, Marina Mueller, and Michael Davidson, Sallie Culbreth, Tina McBride, and all of our event volunteers -- thank you!

I wish everyone could witness the miracles that take place at CCMC every day because of those who support us. Dedicated volunteer medical practitioners, support staff, translators, chaplains, and Getting Ahead facilitators compassionately give their time, professional skills, and support to relieve the suffering of those who are otherwise underserved in this community. The Chocolate Festival raised vital funds to keep these services going strong.

I suppose the only way to end this letter is with these simple, heartfelt words: "Thank You!"

Lynn Blankenship

CCMC executive director

'Dumb' Arkansans

Dear editor:

I didn't realize how "dumb" I and other Arkansans who take the time and feel the duty to vote were until I read Dennis Bosch's Jan. 27 letter.

I'll admit the majority of Americans aren't getting any smarter; much of that has to do with technology and media that distorts, distracts, misinforms, and diverts attention to what's going on around us. Politicians use that as a wedge to divide and conquer for a common goal: Consolidation of power for an elite few.

Still, Bosch's letter was exceptionally arrogant, as he says "voters continue to prove they lack common sense if not intelligence." In his laborious years as "chief judge at multiple locations," Bosch says he's answered too many questions "to feel the majority of voters have a clue as to why they vote."

Well, first Dennis, if you volunteer for that job (which doesn't require much), that's what you're supposed to do. If you're disgusted, do us all a favor and quit. As to the confusion and questions over "ballot content and candidates," has it ever occurred to you that politicians and government officials make that purposely confusing and misleading through their own wording and campaign ads to the majority of voters, most of whom are not lawyers?

As to voters going straight down party lines, or voting solely for a single party based on one partisan issue -- guns, abortion, health care, immigration, etc. -- I would agree with Dennis, were if not the pot calling the kettle. He has written numerous letters over the years, and anyone (who is not "dumb") clearly can see he is devoted to one party. Yet, Mr. Bosch criticizes voters by saying we "act like sheep in voting for one party."

So when Dennis says "in my view, a majority of voters are ignorant as a box of rocks," I would pose just one question: What's more ignorant, strictly voting along policy lines or merely going to the polls and making the most informed decision based on the information you have? The difference, in my own ("dumb") opinion, is as misinformed and "ignorant" as he calls us, even a fool will get it right half the time.

Regardless, I hope all good citizens of Garland County who Bosch insulted will not be discouraged from voting. It's both our duty and obligation. As to his job as "chief judge" at polling locations, it sounds as though it makes Dennis miserable. I'd advise giving it up.

Anthony Lloyd

Hot Springs

Support neighborhood watches

Dear editor:

With Hot Springs being Arkansas' tourism hot spot, our city has an alarmingly high crime rate. Arkansas is repeatedly ranked in the bottom 10 states in many categories, with violent crime and property crime being one of the most pertinent concerns. Hot Springs is no exception to this ranking. One of the most outstanding statistics is that of property crime for Hot Springs. According to, the property crime rate was at 230 percent above the national average, and nearly 150 percent above the state average in 2016. There are several solutions to decrease this high number, and the most practical and executable would be establishing more neighborhood watch programs in Hot Springs.

Almost rarely would one see a neighborhood watch sign when driving through back roads in Hot Springs, but more neighborhood watch communities would be an effective solution to decreasing crime in the area. Neighborhood watch is a crime-prevention program that involves citizens and community members and teaches them how to better protect themselves from crime. Residents are taught to report suspicious activity and be the "eyes and ears" for police. Citizens reduce their risk of becoming victims of crime because they are taught how to better prepare themselves against vandalism, burglaries, and assault. Another benefit is that community members will get to know who their neighbors are, making them more comfortable in their home and when they are away. Most neighborhood watch programs are started with assistance from law enforcement and run by volunteers within the community.

The significant amount of crime makes Hot Springs a dangerous environment to be in, decreasing its appeal as a tourist hot spot. The chances of being a victim of property crime in our city is one in 15, and tourists are high risk-targets. By implementing more neighborhood watch communities around Hot Springs, we could potentially decrease the crime rate, especially for property crime, making our city safer for its residents and visitors. To start a neighborhood watch program, reach out to local enforcement for more information.

Nina Thomas

ASMSA student

The panhandling problem

Dear editor:

In Arkansas, the percentage of unemployed individuals seeking work is a staggering 7.3 percent in comparison to the national average of 3.9 percent. In order to make ends meet, the unemployed have turned to panhandling, a flawed solution to unemployment. Panhandling, which is the act of begging on the street, causes money to be wasted and, in some cases, is unlawful and disorderly. The best solution to help these people is to administer credentials which would be the most cost-effective and lower the number of unlawful panhandlers.

Because only 40-60 percent of panhandlers are actually homeless, money given to panhandlers could be used to buy alcohol and drugs rather than necessities, such as food. Having credentials would help lessen this problem since panhandlers that are found buying unnecessary substances could be stripped of their credentials. This would discourage solicitors from buying harmful substances, and at the same time, allow law-abiding panhandlers to ask for alms. Also, with the possibility of having one's credentials taken from them, there would be a decrease in unlawful panhandler activity such as disorderly conduct of inebriates, harassment of pedestrians, and aggressive behaviors.

I believe that administering credentials would be most effective to this problem due to being a low-cost solution and still allowing panhandlers to exercise their freedom to ask for help. With such a high unemployment rate in the state, it is an issue that must be acted upon with utmost importance.

A.J. Navarro

Hot Springs

Disgusted by letter

Dear editor:

A recent letter suggests an influx of immigrants will irreparably rot America from within. These immigrants will pollute (or dilute) the writer's precious "heritage" -- it will have to be discarded. He will be forced to adapt to another culture. That letter disgusts me. It should disgust everyone.

John Ragland

Hot Springs

Editorial on 02/10/2019

Print Headline: Sunday's Letters to the Editor

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