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Roundup of Arkansas editorials

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 30, 2014 at 8:21 am •  Published: December 30, 2014
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Here are excerpts from recent editorials in Arkansas newspapers:

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Texarkana Gazette, Dec. 30, 2014

Gas Prices

For most of us in Texarkana and across the nation, one of the big stories of the last few weeks has been the drop in gas prices.

We saw prices move downward, even dipping below $2 a gallon in some places.

It's more than welcome. For a long time it looked like gasoline knew only one price direction_up. And that made a trip to the filling station more of a pain than it normally is.

Now many motorists can fill their tank for between $20 and $30. That means more money to spend on other things. No doubt many readers took advantage of gas savings to provide a merrier Christmas for their friends and families.

The big question, of course, is how low can gas prices go and how long will they stay at what we now consider reasonable levels?

Well, according to some experts lower prices are here to stay for a while_maybe months_and they could go even lower.

The U.S. is producing more oil these days thanks to the boom in shale resources in states such as Texas, North Dakota and Ohio.

OPEC seems content to keep production steady as well, which means oil prices won't be on the rise for the foreseeable future.

But good things seldom last forever.

Lower gas prices mean more consumption and that means higher prices in the long run. Fracking is under fire in this country and no one can predict how long Saudi Arabia and other OPEC nations will sit on the sidelines before intervening to get more money for their oil.

Bottom line? Enjoy low gas prices while you can. But remember that when talking about oil, what comes down will almost certainly go up again.

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Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Dec. 27, 2014

Don't poison the debate

Are we still debating fluoride in the water supply? In 2014--almost 2015? After all the years, all the research, all the experts' advice, all the evidence?

It appears so. Ah, what a wonderfully small and argumentative state, Arkansas. Folks in these parts will argue about barbecue. Which may be more worthy of debate than fluoride in the water.

If you'll remember, the state legislature had to get involved in the fluoride wrangling in 2011, after Arkansas received an F grade by the Pew Center when it comes to the dental health of children. In its Act 197 of that year, the legislature required larger water systems--those serving 5,000 people or more--to add fluoride to the water. But in Newton County, the quorum court is balking. This month, the panel voted unanimously to oppose fluoridation and supports a repeal of Act 197.

"Instead of them forcing it on all the water systems, (the quorum court) wanted each water system to make up their own mind about whether they wanted the fluoride or not," said the county judge, Warren Campbell. "I'm hoping they don't put it in our water system."

Ooooh-kay. Some of us thought the debate about fluoride in the water ended decades ago when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention put out its Top 10 list of public health achievements in the 20th Century--and it included fluoridation of drinking water. Along with things like immunizations, warnings against tobacco and improvements in workplace safety. That's good company to have when it comes to improving health in this country.

Some of us can remember when fluoride in the water was a Communist Plot to dumb-down our kids so the commies could win the Cold War. Thankfully, nobody is using that argument anymore. Nowadays, folks are talking more about the costs and even the so-called hazards of fluoride. And, as off-base as they are, those folks need to be heard in this freedom-loving country. Give them the opportunity to make their case. Then point them to the CDC's website.

What disturbs most about this particular story out of Newton County was the wording of the quorum court's resolution. Instead of sticking to a debate about costs and local control, the JPs went where they shouldn't. They opposed its water authority's efforts to add fluoride to any public water systems that have "opposed such poisoning of their water supply."

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