Status report

October 9, 2009 LITTLE ROCK — Last year the Arkansas Economic Development Commission signed incentive contracts with 95 companies that will create almost 7,000 jobs.Total investment for the 95 projects will be more than $1.7 billion, a healthy increase over the previous year when new investments amounted to $1.58 billion. The new jobs created by the projects will pay hourly wages of $14.74, on average. That is down from the previous year, when the new jobs created averaged $15.74 an hour.

School spirit, not Holy Spirit

October 9, 2009 The varsity cheerleaders at Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School are getting their 15 minutes in the news media spotlight this week.  Unfortunately, much of the sound-bite coverage may serve only to fuel the ignorance and strife over the role of religion in public schools.In case you missed it, on Sept. 28 school officials in Catoosa County, Ga., reluctantly barred the cheerleaders from holding banners with Bible verses for the football team to burst through when they take the field — a ritual that has been performed religiously for at least six years.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

October 8, 2009 There are still good neighborsDear editor:I read the article “Real and Unreal Neighbors” by Lisa Earle McLeod in Monday’s Sept. 14, 2009 paper.My husband and I are having yard problems also, but instead of a note put in our mailbox, our wonderful neighbors took it upon themselves to keep our yard looking nice, weed eating and mowing.My husband has been in and out of the hospital since June. He is 97 years old. He did all this work before he became disabled. He is now being in rehab.I thank the Lord that there is still people who care and help others.

Horse remains may have been Norse pony

October 8, 2009 The skeleton of a small horse found in an archaeological dig in a Wisconsin mound several years ago might have gone a long way toward proving whether Vikings lived in or at least reached that area before Columbus came along in 1492 to “discover” America.

Happy problems

October 7, 2009 “Oh no, too many people showed up, and we ran out of parking spaces.” “Groan, we already had three events this weekend, and now we have a fourth. I don’t see how we’re going to be able to fit it all in.” Such is the stuff of modern stress. Events don’t work out like you planned, or you have too many places to be. It’s all fodder for our angst.Yet it strikes me that many of the things we worry about are actually what I call “happy problems.”

Decisons, decisons

October 7, 2009 It’s a never-ending story.Every time I think it’s time to tackle a new project I have to deal with the obvious: Decisions, decisions.That’s the hardest thing for me to make when it comes to choosing a paint color.I’m currently in the process of picking one for the bathroom. Right now I’m living in a chocolate milk box with the exception of the office.I like chocolate, but I’m thinking the bathroom could use something a little milder.

Mom sets deadline

October 6, 2009 My mother gave me six months to get married. Or else.You must understand that my mother is not one of those meddling mothers. No, my ma is hands-off with her adult kids. She leaves us be until she sees one headed for a cliff.Thus, her first call about three months back.“You have six months to marry!” she said.I can’t fault her for her concern. She knows single men can be knuckleheads — that we don’t take care of ourselves as we should.

Reality TV shows

October 6, 2009 It was a long summer without my Thursday night “Survivor.” I have no rational explanation as to why I enjoy this particular show when I can’t stand most other so-called reality shows. Yes, I realize the “survivors” aren’t really struggling to survive — it’s more like camping on a beach with people you eventually grow to hate, and everyone stinks.

No texting

October 5, 2009 LITTLE ROCK — It is now illegal to text message while driving a motor vehicle on Arkansas roads and highways.The new law that prohibits driving while text messaging is Act 181 of 2009, which took effect on Thursday.Arkansas is now one of the 19 states that prohibit all drivers from texting. Several other states prohibit teenaged drivers or bus drivers from texting while they’re behind the wheel.

Susie the ‘Guard’ dog

October 5, 2009 Susie Q. could sit on command, jump, roll over in midair and shake hands.She was very much a wonder dog and loved by me for almost a decade. I can’t believe she’s been gone for just as long.My family got Susie when I was in the first grade and I loved her from that moment. She was definitely a part of the family. Susie didn’t have a pedigree and wasn’t purebred, but she was one of the most smartest dogs I have ever known or seen.Sure, I might be a little biased but I’m just stating the facts.