Memories from Bells Chapel Road

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA By Johnny Sain

I’ve been managing editor of a regional magazine here in my neck of the  woods called ABOUT… the River Valley Magazine for 18 months now. We try to focus on people, culture and history that won’t make the front page of a newspaper. Our goal is to tell the more subtle stories about who we are and what we do here, nestled between the Ozark and Ouachita Mountains. It’s a rural area, and most families are only one or two generations removed from the farm. Almost everyone in my generation can remember driving down a dirt  road to their grandparent’s house for the holidays.Granny and Poppy’s house was more than a holiday visit for me, though.

Because of Mom and Dad’s busy work schedules, I often caught the school bus that passed by Granny and Poppy’s house and rode it back there in the afternoons where a strawberry Crush and package of Twinkies  was waiting for me as Bugs Bunny and Wile E. Coyote cartoons entertained. Then, it was a rushed effort at homework before

The conservation vote

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By Johnny Sain

Fall ushers in all kinds of seasonal activities. Among those activities in 2014 is the citizen’s responsibility to vote. One of the issues to be decided is an amendment to the Arkansas State Constitution which would give the state General Assembly  final say over any regulations proposed by any other state agency.

On the surface this sounds like a good idea. But what it means is that many state agencies that make decisions based on science or expertise will now fall under the rule of political bureaucracy. My specific concern is for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, which was designed to run without political control. While I don’t agree with everything the AGF&C does, and I’m not a fan of governor appointed commissioners, I can’t for the life of me see how letting more politicians get involved with wildlife conservation is a good thing. This amendment, in my opinion, will be just another way to muddy the water.

But don’t take my word for it. The Arkansas Chapter of the Wildlife Society – a non-profit scientific and educational association dedicated to excellence in wildlife stewardship through science and education — is against this amendment for the same reasons. You can read their position statement below.

Read the statement, and when you stand at the ballot box think about whom you would rather have at the helm in regards to wildlife and conservation in the Natural State. A vote against  Issue 1, Senate Joint Resolution 7 (SJR7) is a vote against more bureaucracy and a vote for science in the management of our wildlife.

 

Arkansas Chapter of The Wildlife Society Position Statement Proposed Amendment to the Arkansas ConstitutionWildlife Society

The Arkansas Chapter of The Wildlife Society opposes proposed General Election ballot item Issue 1, Senate Joint Resolution 7 (SJR7).

Upon approval of the voters of the State of Arkansas, the proposed amendment to the Arkansas
Constitution would give the General Assembly the ability to review state agency administrative rules and to further have the right to approve such rules before they could go into effect, perhaps taking more than a year in total. Amendment 35 of the Arkansas State Constitution created the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission in its current form, largely to provide for independent science-based management of Arkansas’ fish and wildlife resources. The proposed amendment could take away the independence and power of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission to provide timely, science-based regulations as proposed by Arkansas Game and Fish Commission biologists. The Arkansas Chapter of The Wildlife Society is in favor of the continuation of this biologist-led modern fish and wildlife management structure.

A vote against this ballot item will allow the Arkansas constitution to remain unchanged and our wildlife
policies and regulations will continue to be constructed and approved based on the best available science while balancing the needs of the public.