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Tuesday’s Letters to the editor

OPINION September 20, 2022 at 4:00 a.m.

Main road 'neglected'

Dear editor:

I'm enclosing an email that I sent twice to an ArDOT employee that I was told by a city official was the "go-to guy" for this issue. I never received a response. It was sent back in January of 2022:

Mr. Norman,

I'm sending this letter to you as a very concerned citizen and lifelong resident of Hot Springs. As you are probably aware, our city is the No. 1 tourist destination for not only Arkansans but surrounding states. Visitors come for a myriad of reasons. The sheer beauty of the mountains and lakes, recreational activities, Oaklawn Park, the national park, the hot water, shopping, Oaklawn's casino, now a new $8 million dollar baseball complex and much more.

All of this generates an enormous amount of tax dollars for the state of Arkansas. There's one thing most all of these activities have in common. Central Avenue (AR7). A heavily trafficked thoroughfare, highway, main drag as it's called through the heart of our city. This roadway is in such terrible condition and an embarrassment from the residents to our visitors. A beautiful city such as this with such a neglected main road is so very sad and reduces the appeal of our city.

I drive through this area frequently and spend more time focusing on the holes, manhole unevenness, washboard surfaces, uneven drops and rises, missing asphalt, uneven drains with the roadway, patches from digging and attempted resurfacing causing unevenness, and general deterioration than I do watching other drivers! It's literally an obstacle course or you can ignore it and pay for repairs to your vehicle, tires, rims, suspension, shocks, ball joints which will take a pounding. I even have to drive in two lanes at once to avoid the risk of vehicle damage while avoiding other oncoming traffic. It's very dangerous.

Now I'm asking: What can be done? I've spoken to state senators, city manager, Arkansas DOT and now you to see what on God's green earth can we do about this third-world country disaster in the heart of the No. 1 tourist attraction in Arkansas?

Yes, there are several projects around the county being worked on currently. I realize that and those projects cost money.

I also realize the importance of maintaining our tourism in our city and what it means to not only the city but to the state.

I'm asking for your help in this matter and whoever can solve this problem. I'm told the last time portions of Central Avenue were paved was in 2003. When that was done there were probably 2 to 3 inches of asphalt covering an inferior subsurface. Please help or direct me to who has the ball. This should be at the top of the agenda for the reasons I've given. Thank you for your help.

John Jensen

Hot Springs

Re: 'Forgiveness'

Dear editor:

In a recent column in The Sentinel-Record on student loan debt, Rep. Westerman begins by asserting that "'Forgiveness' Only Feeds the Problem," but that can't be right. Clearly, the rising cost of college -- thus, the rising student debt -- comes from the failure of the Legislature to fund higher education, and that legislative failure is the problem. In the Beatitudes, surely the heart of the Bible, Jesus addresses forgiveness directly but never says it's a problem; the lack of forgiveness is always the problem.

In addition, Rep. Westerman insults us Arkansans by saying President Biden's base is "wealthy" and "educated," meaning we are not wealthy and not educated. As Dylan said, "What a drag it is to be you."

Rep. Westerman and his fellow Republicans, including both Sen. Cotton and Sen. Boozman and our other congressional representatives from Arkansas, are "deeply skeptical of Biden's emergency funding request." They seem worried about money for natural disasters and disease in our country, but not about money for the war in Ukraine.

The whole vibe seems strange to many of us. What sense does silence about these true failures make? For example, Republicans surely know what "nonpartisan" means, yet county Republicans publicly endorse and help fund candidates for nonpartisan offices. And not just local offices, for they publicly endorsed Gunner DeLay in a race he lost to Justice Karen Baker. Also, why do they have nothing to say about Jan. 6 or the whole "Stop the Steal" business?

Personally, I forgive the Republican Party of Garland County for attempting to interfere in our nonpartisan elections and forgive The Sentinel-Record for the apparently free advertising they are providing the folks who don't seem to get the concept of nonpartisan elections.

Ken Cook

Hot Springs

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