Text The Times 870-225-1456

Though I now live several hundred miles away, I fondly remember growing up in West Memphis, first in Westwood Acres and then Richland. With family still in the area, we visit once or twice a year, at least. When we visit, my daughters enjoy walking to Richland Elementary to play on the same playground I enjoyed as a child. That is, they enjoyed it, until this year. Imagine how disheartened I was for my daughters and niece to return to the house saying the playground was now off limits to them. Indeed, when I walked over, a sign greeted me stating that my niece and girls, ages 15, 7 and 4, would have subjected themselves to criminal prosecution for playing on the school playground. I was saddened to know circumstances had deteriorated so much in my hometown that school officials would feel the need for such a sign, whether to insulate the school from potential liability, to police the grounds, or for any other reason. I can’t help but think that those who live there would feel that the children deserve better. [Editor’s Note: I agree, it is unfortunate. I imagine you hit the nail on the head with the idea that the sign serves as both a means to avoid any sort of liability for the school and an attempt to ward off any vandalism or other illicit activity. Having said that, I doubt anyone would have called the police on a trio of little girls playing on the playground, but it at least speaks to their respect for authority that they did not, once they saw the sign. I don’t recall seeing similar signs at any of the other West Memphis elementary schools, so I wonder if the signs are new or if it only applies to Richland? At Marion Elementary, the playground is fenced in, but there are two access gates that are never locked. I see kids playing there all the time (same at Bragg, so if there’s a sign there, it’s either new or being ignored)]

*** I have reading about the schools in Marion WM and Wynne that compete in geography bees, quiz bowls, have active STEM programs, honor societies and robotics teams ect. I read them and have my kids read them as well. They attend the Earle school district and I want them to know whats going on at other schools and the reason I stress learning outside the classroom. Our district cld do a lot better but its going to take a collective effort from the parents school and community. We dnt even offer student employment anymore for the tutoring programs. The only people benefiting are the district employees. What do we offer those students who put in the time and effort and work hard to succeed? Lets work on that people–PARENTS! [Editor’s Note: While I don’t have access to the inner workings of the Earle School District, so I’d have to guess the district has prioritized other aspects of the education process (math and literacy remain a priority), and it’s also likely that the district lacks the grant writers the county’s larger school districts have. But to your point: yes, the more parental involvement and community support the schools receive, the more the district will be able to do to meet students’ needs]

*** Text the times is another version of speak out, which was nothing but a lot of silly people with no life including the editor. [Editor’s Note: Like “Text the Times,” the old “Speak Out,” which was a call-in service we ran up until 2013, was, indeed a bit silly at times. I think that is what is part of the appeal, though, rather than the detriment you suggest it to be. We continue to run “Text the Times” because it remains one of our most popular features. Even if some (like yourself, perhaps?) love to hate it, they still read it, and the interaction we get to have with our readers gives us a unique platform to inform and/or entertain]

*** Liking the hunting and fishing section a lot lately. Good to see we still have a lot of hunters around here. It reminds me of when I was a kid. And Mr. Criner’s columns are good too. [Editor’s Note: Thanks! We always try to cater to our readers, and the Outdoors Page is one of our best-read features. I’d say by the number of Youth Hunt photos we received this year, the next generation of Crittenden County will be doing its part to keep the hunting tradition alive for years to come. I suppose it’s not for everyone. The other day a nice lady told me, “If I see one more dead deer in the paper, I’m going to…” and then it trailed off into some Yosemite Sam “rackem, frackem-type stuff]

*** Happy Days n ‘16…PLEASE help. while reading ingredients list in Cathy Mitchell “Dump Dinners” I can not figure out what the capital letters mean.. they are listed n ()…(TS6) and others… if someone has the answer pleas reply…young cook [Editor’s Note: Ummmmm?]

*** Please cancel the Cathy Mitchell request…found the answer…wow [Editor’s Note: Well, that’s good, ‘cause I had nothin’. Though I have to say, upon doing some research, I did come across some recipes I’ll be trying in the new year, so I’ve got that going for me, even if your inquiry did send me deep down the rabbit hole on Pinterest. And for those wondering, Cathy Mitchell appears to be the foremost expert on “dump dinners,” which is basically putting your ingredients in a crock pot in the morning and leaving it all day so that it’s ready when you get home. Anyway, Happy Cooking!]

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