- Associated Press - Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Here are excerpts from recent editorials in Arkansas newspapers:

Southwest Times Record. Aug. 13, 2017.

Hearing that close to 25 percent of Fort Smith’s residents live at or below the poverty level is jarring. What’s comforting, however, is knowing there are facilities that provide assistance.

No matter your situation, there are many, many local agencies that can help.

The River Valley Regional Food Bank is providing at least 55,000 meals to people in need each month (and even more during the summer). Most of the food bank’s food is donated by corporate partners. The food bank is housed next to the Crawford-Sebastian Community Development Council, which offers a multitude of programs to assist residents. Low-income families can find help to purchase or weatherize a home. Children and adults can visit a dental clinic, which reopened recently after being closed since April. Residents can get help when crises or emergencies arise, or get help with utility bills. If you’re in need, there’s probably a CSCDC program that can provide assistance.

Antioch for Youth and Family feeds as many as 7,000 residents a month, with a focus on children, veterans and the elderly, and continues to make progress on its new food pantry at 1420 N. 32nd St. in Fort Smith. Designs for the facility were unveiled last week, and they look amazing: it will have space for food processing, pickup and delivery, as well as health and wellness counseling. The design allows for Antioch’s mobile food pantry to drive through and pick up food for delivery.

The Riverview Hope Campus at South Fourth and E streets is on track to open at the end of September. Renovations began at the facility in October, and there will be space for 75 people initially, with hopes for up to 125. There will be a kitchen and computer room as well as a room for religious services. In addition, a Mercy clinic is on site, and because it opened Aug. 1, patients can be seen now.

The Next Step Day Room provides those in need with shelter, a hot meal, job counseling and other things too numerous to mention. Participants can even take classes on life skills and anger management. The Good Samaritan Clinic provides access to health care regardless of one’s ability to pay.

There’s much effort going on within the local school districts as well to get hungry students fed. Children up to age 18 could drop by any elementary school within the Fort Smith School District (as well as many others throughout our region) to have breakfast, lunch or both for most of the summer. We learned last week about Spradling Principal Robyn Dawson, who, along with her husband, runs a food truck in order to make sure children get something to eat. A grant from Mercy has helped. And Dawson made sure breakfast and lunch were served at Spradling last week after the district’s summer meal program came to an end.

The Community Clearinghouse will continue to provide bags of food for area schoolchildren to take home for the weekend. And the United Way will provide school supplies to children throughout the region thanks to its “Fill the Bus” campaign. (That’s just the tip of the iceberg of what the United Way can provide.)

If you’re looking for a volunteer or donation opportunity, they are everywhere in our region. And if you’re in need, there is help. The agencies in Fort Smith and beyond have made sure of it.


Texarkana Gazette. Aug. 15, 2017.

The entire nation was shocked by the weekend events in Charlottesville.

The sight of Americans displaying Nazi flags and salutes was disgusting. Brave soldiers, sailors and Marines gave their lives to defeat Nazi tyranny abroad. Now some twisted citizens use their precious Constitutional rights to bring such imagery to our shores. And they have the audacity to pretend to be patriots?

It was shocking, but not surprising to see their sick ideology erupt in deadly violence. We condemn these white supremacists, these neo-Nazis, in no uncertain terms.

We can’t imagine how any American could do anything else.

We wanted to make that clear, because now we have something to say to those who, with good intentions, would use the internet to combat this evil.

Be very careful.

No, we aren’t talking about personal safety. We are talking about tactics. Don’t become what you are fighting against.

In the past few days there has been a “name and shame” campaign on Facebook and other social media sites. Some are looking at photos taken in Charlottesville and trying to identify marchers and supporters.

While that’s not necessarily wrong, it’s important to be very, very sure. Because naming and shaming the wrong person could lead to a virtual lynch mob.

One photo showed a man wearing an “Arkansas Engineering” shirt - the kind easily purchased in a campus bookstore. He resembled an assistant professor in the University of Arkansas engineering department. And it wasn’t long before the teacher’s name was being bandied about the internet as a white supremacist and neo-Nazi.

But a resemblance was all it was. The professor was in Arkansas at the time, at a conference. It was not him.

The university issued a statement to that effect. But his name and photo are still being shared, his reputation still being tarnished, online. This is the kind of thing that could damage his career in the long term. It could also endanger him and his family if a deluded soul decides to take this further.

It’s normal to be angry. It’s normal to want to take a stand against the evil of injustice and racism. We encourage you to do so. But it’s irresponsible to smear innocent Americans. They are people, not just collateral damage to a greater cause. Don’t publicly identify these people until there is reliable confirmation. Don’t share these “name and shame” posts unless you can independently verify they are accurate.

The internet is powerful. When something gets out of hand, it spreads rapidly through social media and there can be serious consequences. What happened in Charlottesville was terrible. But you do not find justice through injustice.


Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Aug. 15, 2017.

They say the Beatles came along at just the right time. Elvis had been taken off the market by the U.S. Army, and when The King returned, he was talked into doing those (mostly) bad movies. The public had just found out that Jerry Lee Lewis had secretly married his 13-year-old cousin, and even Dick Clark dropped him from his guest list. Enter four lads from Liverpool who were more than willing to fill the void. They went big-time, fast.

Frank Broyles came along at just the right time, too. In 1957, especially at the end of 1957, Arkansas needed something to be proud of. It had been an embarrassing year for the state. Orval Faubus was still in office, pictures of Central High were still running in papers around the world, and schools in Little Rock would be closed for many more months. It might not have been the genesis of our inferiority complex, but 1957 didn’t help.

Enter Frank Broyles. Who filled the void. Thank heavens.

If you’ve lived in Arkansas for any length of time, you might have your own, personal Frank Broyles story. We remember him coming to the newspaper offices in downtown Little Rock one day, and having a brief chat with him. And our thought - our only thought, we couldn’t get it out of our heads: now that’s a legit Georgia accent!

As any coach and athletic director will do, Frank Broyles had his ups and downs in his long career at the University of Arkansas. But, even with his fights with coaches and his differences with some media types, he never seemed able to fake it. (He would have made a horrible politician.) He called ‘em like he see’d them, and if his call was that you weren’t doing the job, you needed to update your résumé.

Hard to believe, but he only coached one year at Missouri before a man named John Barnhill gave a young Frank Broyles a shot at coaching the Razorbacks. The rest is not history - history is used too often to describe all things sports. Call the rest an Arkansas legend that won’t be matched anytime soon. Does anybody really think there will ever be another coach that’ll stay in one place for nearly 60 years? Anywhere? The times of Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Frank Broyles are long gone.

The kids - and some of their parents - might not know it, but Frank Broyles was an outstanding athlete before he went into coaching. He was drafted out of Georgia Tech in three different sports. (Bo Jackson who?) But he made his mark as a football coach, winning a national championship, seven Southwest Conference championships and generally putting UofA athletics on the collegiate map. Oh, and there was this game they called The Big Shootout. Did we mention he guided the state’s flagship university into the SEC? And he lent his name to one of the more prestigious awards in sports today, certainly one of the more important. What’s the fastest way to a head coaching job other than through the Broyles Award for assistant coaches? There may be too many Pinnacle Moments in this man’s career to address here. We only have so much space.

Frank Broyles suffered from Alzheimer’s, as too many do. (What a damnable disease.) It was a disease he knew something about, having spent countless hours raising awareness of the sickness while his first wife, Barbara, suffered from it. Frank Broyles’ battle came to an end Monday, at the age of 92. Condolences started pouring in from around the world in the afternoon.

If you’re looking for a statue of the man, that’s easy enough to find on campus. But if you’re looking for his monument, look around at the dozens of men today - nay, dozens of hundreds - that Frank Broyles guided into manhood.

That’s a legacy worth having. Any coach will tell you.

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