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Too many loopholes

Dear editor:

I would like to start by commending you on your comprehensive article on the front page in Sunday's paper concerning the formation of volunteer fire districts and the proposed increased taxes. It exposes not only the law but also the penalties if one refuses the additional tax burden. You can lose your property, face excessive fines or have liens placed on your hard earned investment.

This law was written with so many loopholes that it appears to be Swiss cheese or perhaps Limburger cheese. Some of those are listed below. Keep in mind that only the property owner will be charged under the new law but he/she will pass that extra expense down to the tenant. Most volunteer fire departments exclude directors and volunteers from paying membership dues. But if he is a tenant and his landlord is forced to pay, then he will most likely also feel the bite.

1. Now, what to do? Rebate the fees to volunteer? That would be like the landlord making a payment directly to the tenant. And would that be fair to the other volunteers that own their home? Keep in mind most volunteers get an annual "appreciation fee" annually of around $170. Not much but still questionable under the status of volunteer firemen and their new status.

2. Do nothing. Well, is it fair to the volunteer tenant to have to pay that trickle down fee when the volunteer homeowner pays nothing?

3. What happens if the landlord doesn't add the tax to the rent? Will the fire department still rebate the dues to a volunteer? How will anyone know if the tax is passed on or not? Rent doesn't come with an itemized statement.

4. Who is going to keep track of the status of each fireman and his eligibility to waive the membership dues? The administration? Or a list sent annually to the tax collector who through no fault of her own because of the ambiguity of the law has explained it at least four different ways over the past year.

Solution to the above: No exclusions on membership dues. Too subjective. But now remember the landlord is going to pass this "tax" on to all tenants. If it is $100 per year the increase will most likely be $10 or more per month. He may be waiting for an excuse to pass on other increases in school millage and insurance etc.

The article speaks of professionalism. Same fire department, same volunteers, same response. No change.

The article speaks of insurance rates based on ISO rating being better. Although the ISO is taken into consideration, most insurance companies rely on ZIP codes. Face it -- most insurance claims (and I was an adjuster) are weather-related, not fire.

So, like it or not, everyone pays this tax. I would ask that The Sentinel-Record run a front-page article, like the one Sunday, just prior to the election in July. Let the informed voters decide.

Ted Burhenn

Hot Springs

Not about politics

Dear editor:

I am a parent of an ASMSA student who will be graduating on May 25th. There have been comments in recent letters that are incorrect and I want to help clarify.

First off, student organizations are led by students, not administrators or faculty of ASMSA. If students want to organize any club, there are fair and established rules they must follow. No one at the school is prohibiting the formation of a Young Republicans Club; there are simply not enough students interested in forming one. If there were, I feel certain that ASMSA would support it. Let me share some of the clubs the students have formed: Grandma's Club, Chess Club, Ukulele Club, ASMSA Robotics, Fellowship of Christian Students, Unashamed Bible Study, Human Rights Club, World Culture Club, Student Wellness Association, Interact Club, Red Cross Club, Minecraft Club, Future Business Leaders of American, and many more. You can go to www.ASMSA.org and view the entire list of clubs if you are interested.

Second, the school did not pay to have Hillary Clinton speak at commencement this year. She helped establish ASMSA and is coming back to speak at the 25th-anniversary graduation at no cost to ASMSA.

The most important thing I ask you to consider is that on May 25th parents, families, and friends are looking forward to spending the day with their graduate and celebrating the dedication and hard work that the Class of 2019 put forth to get to walk across the stage and receive a diploma!

These students are not being groomed by a liberal agenda. They are being taught to think critically, explore ideas, ask questions, engage with peers, volunteer in their community, and become better overall citizens. Over the past two years, I have watched them grow as individuals, make lifelong friendships, and become amazing young adults. I am proud of each and every student in the Class of 2019.

I hope that the good people in our community will be respectful of these incredible students and their families, and allow us to have a joyous and memorable graduation.

Kelli Embry

Proud mother of a 2019 graduate

Stamp out Hunger

Dear editor:

Saturday, May 11th, marks the 27th anniversary of one of America's great days of giving -- the National Association of Letter Carriers Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive.

Letter carriers walk through the community every day, often coming face to face with a sad reality for too many: hunger.

So, each year on the second Saturday in May, letter carriers across the country collect nonperishable food donations from our customers. These donations go directly to local food pantries to provide food to people in Hot Springs who need our help.

Last year, the Main Post Office collected over 12,800 pounds of food, while the Albert Pike Post Office collected 17,100 pounds. This year we are setting a goal of 14,000 and 18,000 pounds that will help the local food pantries feed even more people.

Our food drive's timing is crucial. Food banks and pantries often receive the majority of their donations during the holiday season. By springtime, many pantries are depleted, entering the summer low on supplies at a time when many school breakfast and lunch programs are not available to children in need.

Participating in this year's Letter Carrier Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive is simple. Just leave a nonperishable food donation in a bag by your mailbox on Saturday, May 11th, and your letter carrier will do the rest. Please help us in our fight to end hunger, as we celebrate our 27th anniversary year in America's great day of giving.

Kevin Hooper

Letter carrier

Hot Springs

Congressman joins fight

Dear editor:

During the first week of April, advocates from across the state of Arkansas had the opportunity to join over 1,200 others from across the country in Washington, D.C., to raise awareness of the impact that Alzheimer's is having in our country. According to a recent report released by the Alzheimer's Association, there are over 57,000 Arkansans over the age of 65 currently living with Alzheimer's disease. Alzheimer's is the sixth-leading cause of death here in the Natural State.

Over the past few months, I have been able to visit with Congressman Westerman and share these statistics and stories of the families who have been impacted by this devastating disease that still awaits a cure. Please join us in thanking the congressman for his continued support to increase funding for Alzheimer's research and for his decision to join Sen. Boozman by becoming a member of the Congressional Task Force for Alzheimer's disease.

The congressman understands that this disease is a public health crisis. Founded in 1999, the task force is charged with advancing Alzheimer's research, meeting the needs of people with the disease, and raising awareness of Alzheimer's to the general public as well as to the body of Congress. It has been a privilege to meet with the congressman back home in the district and to share the story of my grandmother who passed from the disease in 1996. Congressman Westerman is emerging as a champion of our issues and his support will continue to allow us the opportunity to advance the conversation here in Arkansas and at the federal level around the importance of policy initiatives that will move us closer to a cure and provide support for the 178,000 Arkansans who are currently serving as unpaid caregivers for their loved ones who have been diagnosed with the disease.

The Alzheimer's Association is here to provide that support and can be reached 24 hours a day seven days a week at 800-272-3900. To become an advocate, you can text AIMAR to 52886.

David Cook

Public policy manager

Arkansas Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association

'Thanks' from Uzuri

Dear editor:

Thank you to The Sentinel-Record for always teaching; when we listen, you teach us to submit news on time and be exciting. Because of that, our work to make the first annual tea celebrating 20 years of serving our community by honoring the 2018 Class of The Uzuri Project Youth Institute was a success.

While the day was busy, over 100 people came to celebrate with our youths. The ambience in the Crystal Ballroom of the Arlington Resort Hotel & Spa gave the youths an experience that they had never had and increased the awareness of both them and their parents of how important and significant they are to the community. Without their experience and support, Alan Sims, general manager, Toni Aulgur, sales, Richard Moore, banquet manager, and John Anderson, wait personnel for our event, it would not have happened.

To the parents of the team, who stayed with the program, volunteered their time and energy, we honor you! You are surely the backbone of TUPYI, its mission and goals. There were patrons, sponsors and volunteers whose names have been printed on the walls of our hearts and the pages of the souvenir program, we thank you all again. Mrs. Wilda Hugley was instrumental in allowing her young ladies from The Miss Victorious Pageant and P.I.N.K. (Proud, Intelligent, Noble, Kids) and Promiseland Outreach Ministries Inc., Evg. Andrea Weatherspoon, founder join us; we thank you for the camaraderie. There were a group of men and women who taught the workshops for TUPYI and helped with the awarding of the certificates, Kai Coggin and Bud Kenny, your work was on physical display in these children, we loved it and you. Those that came and taught specifically for the High Tea, Ms. Marjorie Anderson (whose personal testimony to the youth was worth her weight in gold), Donnetta Frierson, Mary Scales and Gwen Wright, kudos to each of you!

The theme for this year was 2019 Moving Forward! So thank you for moving forward with us Greg Andrews and the Webb Community Center, our partners in attendance the Hot Springs of Arkansas Chapter of DAR, Carol Nash Smith, regent, Joan Davis, vice regent, Sunshine Spielvogle, and Linda Jester. We were honored to have Lyn Pellegrino and the ladies from SHALOM, The Fun City Chorus did a fantastic job with a new member who was really short and cute, we really like the new guy, the little one with the blonde hair and shades -- he is a keeper! And the biggest surprise for all was for all, a waltz danced by George and Sherrie Barnett. Thank you -- we now all want to dance!

From this event, we see, moving forward ... a very nice field trip for the emerging leaders and additional funding for the headquarters of TUPYI, the Historic John Lee Webb House! Thank you to each and every one of you for making the 1st High Tea honoring The Uzuri Project Youth Institute Emerging Leaders, Class of 2018, a great success.

The administration, board and staff

P.H.O.E.B.E. (People Helping Others Excel By Example)

Editorial on 05/05/2019

Print Headline: Sunday's Letters to the Editor

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