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Saturday, May 30, 2009

Budd Saunders shared this letter to the editor with friends more than a week ago and it was published Saturday

Gotta give the newspapers first shot or they might think it is old news.
So here is what they published pretty much as Budd wrote it.
Letters to the editor
Northwest Arkansas Times
Posted on Saturday, May 30, 2009
URL: http://www.nwanews.com/nwat/Editorial/76982/
Veterans could use the land
By the time this is published I will have attended the Memorial Day ceremony at the Fayetteville National Cemetery. The ceremony is to honor those who have served our country with honor. Many fought in our country's wars.
I was standing near the flag pole talking with a friend. He looked around and asked me how many friends of mine are buried in the cemetery. I thought a moment and said, "All of them." That sounds like false patriotism but it's quite true. I didn't know most of them personally, but attending memorials and funerals honoring their service makes them friends of mine.
Several years ago vandals sprayed red paint on 60 headstones. I went to see the damage. My eyes were burning with tears as I walked along looking over the scene. That act dishonored that garden of stone which is hallowed ground. The cemetery's crew and the volunteers worked in freezing weather, with a cold north wind blowing sleet into their faces. It was hard work, and it took three days to clean the bright, red paint from the headstones.
I wrote in an open letter to the Northwest Arkansas Times that I wanted to talk with the young boys who had done this terrible deed. That's all I wanted to do. Let them walk with me through the cemetery. I would read the headstones to them while I explained what they meant. For example, there's Clarence B. Craft, U.S. Army, Medal of Honor for Valor Above and Beyond the Call of Duty. There are veterans buried there from the Civil War, the Mexican border war, World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, and more recently Afghanistan and Iraq. Many are unknown but still honored for their service.
Fayetteville has one of the few national cemeteries with room to grow, and the old sale barn area beside the cemetery is for sale. I am a member of the Regional National Cemetery Improvement Corporation. We raise money any way we can to buy land around the national cemetery. Earlier this year Milo Cumpston, one of the founders of our organization and a Marine survivor of Iwo Jima, arranged to purchase enough land to have burials until 2023. Milo was the last of the five veterans who founded the RNCIC.
Developers want to build student housing on the sale barn land. I don't know that students living near the cemetery will desecrate the cemetery, but there's a good chance they will. When we lived in Fayetteville years ago our home was across from Evergreen Cemetery. That is close to the University of Arkansas campus. Regularly I had to go over there and break up parties. Students damaged the headstones and grave markers. They meant no harm, but being young they didn't give it a thought if it was fun.
The RNCIC wants to purchase the land for the cemetery, but we don't know where to turn for the money. Can you help?
Budd Saunders
Durham

Arkansas officials say 'Don't Do Fescue'

Arkansas “Don't Do Fescue" is theme of AGFC public campaign
JONESBORO - Tall fescue is a widely used forage crop. It is insect resistant, tolerates poor soil and climatic conditions well and has a long growing season. Unfortunately, tall fescue also has a downside.

With approximately four million acres of pasturelands planted in tall fescue, Arkansas has a great deal of this crop. According to David Long, agricultural liaison with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, the agency is working diligently to help the public understand the shortcomings of this type of grass.

"The AGFC has developed a new tool in its effort to educate landowners about the toxic and negative effects of Kentucky 31 Tall Fescue to farm wildlife. A new bumper sticker entitled 'Don't Do Fescue' is now being distributed to agency employees and others interested in spreading the word," Long said. Tall fescue is a common forage grass that has been planted across Arkansas for over 40 years.

Estimates are that about 70 percent-95 percent or 4 million acres of the pasturelands planted with tall fescue in Arkansas are infected with an endophyte fungus. The fungus causes declines in bobwhite quail, cottontail rabbits, grassland songbirds and also limited other game populations such as white-tailed deer and wild turkey.

"The fact that the plant is actually toxic to both domestic livestock and farm wildlife species is accepted by agriculture extension specialists and wildlife biologists alike," Long said. "The plant produces chemicals causing the fescue to have very toxic qualities. The alkaloids are found throughout the plant, but are especially concentrated in the seeds and leaves," he explained.

In cattle, the fungus causes excessive body temperatures, elevated respiratory rates, loss of appetite, body weight loss, lowered fertility rates and abortion of fetuses. Dairy cows often show sharp declines in milk production. Horses are affected also with more aborted fetuses, foaling problems, weak foals and reduced or no milk production. The CES estimates that this endopytic toxin cost American beef producers up to $1 billion a year in lost profits.

"It's very important for private landowners who desire viable wildlife populations on their property to know the effects of planting fescue," Long noted. "Many species of wildlife would directly suffer these same negative effects if they were confined to the pasturelands as are livestock. However, since they are free ranging, they simply avoid the fungus infected fescue pastures, but nevertheless, this results in loss of farm wildlife habitat on these acres. You may have deer and turkey travel through tall-fescue pastures, but they rarely find food sources available they can utilize, since the aggressiveness of the fescue usually results in solid stands of the plant," Long concluded.

The grass is a sod-forming turf with thick matted growth that also limits movement of young bobwhite quail, turkey and cottontail rabbits, provides no nesting habitat for wild turkey or quail, and is extremely poor habitat for many declining grassland species of songbirds. "Bottom line, fungus infected tall-fescue pastures offer little food, cover or nesting habitat to a broad range of farm wildlife," he said.

"Tall fescue has been planted in an estimated 4 million acres of the 5.4 million acres of pasture scattered over the state and for all practical purposes is of no value to farm wildlife. With the widespread establishment of tall fescue pastures, a great loss of wildlife habitat for deer, turkey, quail, cottontails and grassland songbirds has occurred.

Many landowners now recognize this problem and are interested in eliminating tall-fescue on some or all of their acreage. However, many landowners continue to plant tall-fescue, not knowing the detrimental effects it will have to wildlife. (There is an endophyte-free variety of tall fescue available for planting but it is less viable and hardy, and still provides very limited habitat for wildlife.)

We want to educate all landowners regarding this fact because there are other planting options to providing livestock forage and wildlife habitat on their farms," Long explained.

Please help spread the word to landowners "Don't Do Fescue!" by requesting a bumper sticker to place on your vehicle. Especially if they have an interest in managing for wildlife on their farm. For more information contact David Long at 877-972-5438 or dlong@agfc.state.ar.us.

Why not plant fescue?

Arkansas “Don't Do Fescue" is theme of AGFC public campaign
JONESBORO - Tall fescue is a widely used forage crop. It is insect resistant, tolerates poor soil and climatic conditions well and has a long growing season. Unfortunately, tall fescue also has a downside.

With approximately four million acres of pasturelands planted in tall fescue, Arkansas has a great deal of this crop. According to David Long, agricultural liaison with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, the agency is working diligently to help the public understand the shortcomings of this type of grass.

"The AGFC has developed a new tool in its effort to educate landowners about the toxic and negative effects of Kentucky 31 Tall Fescue to farm wildlife. A new bumper sticker entitled 'Don't Do Fescue' is now being distributed to agency employees and others interested in spreading the word," Long said. Tall fescue is a common forage grass that has been planted across Arkansas for over 40 years.

Estimates are that about 70 percent-95 percent or 4 million acres of the pasturelands planted with tall fescue in Arkansas are infected with an endophyte fungus. The fungus causes declines in bobwhite quail, cottontail rabbits, grassland songbirds and also limited other game populations such as white-tailed deer and wild turkey.

"The fact that the plant is actually toxic to both domestic livestock and farm wildlife species is accepted by agriculture extension specialists and wildlife biologists alike," Long said. "The plant produces chemicals causing the fescue to have very toxic qualities. The alkaloids are found throughout the plant, but are especially concentrated in the seeds and leaves," he explained.

In cattle, the fungus causes excessive body temperatures, elevated respiratory rates, loss of appetite, body weight loss, lowered fertility rates and abortion of fetuses. Dairy cows often show sharp declines in milk production. Horses are affected also with more aborted fetuses, foaling problems, weak foals and reduced or no milk production. The CES estimates that this endopytic toxin cost American beef producers up to $1 billion a year in lost profits.

"It's very important for private landowners who desire viable wildlife populations on their property to know the effects of planting fescue," Long noted. "Many species of wildlife would directly suffer these same negative effects if they were confined to the pasturelands as are livestock. However, since they are free ranging, they simply avoid the fungus infected fescue pastures, but nevertheless, this results in loss of farm wildlife habitat on these acres. You may have deer and turkey travel through tall-fescue pastures, but they rarely find food sources available they can utilize, since the aggressiveness of the fescue usually results in solid stands of the plant," Long concluded.

The grass is a sod-forming turf with thick matted growth that also limits movement of young bobwhite quail, turkey and cottontail rabbits, provides no nesting habitat for wild turkey or quail, and is extremely poor habitat for many declining grassland species of songbirds. "Bottom line, fungus infected tall-fescue pastures offer little food, cover or nesting habitat to a broad range of farm wildlife," he said.

"Tall fescue has been planted in an estimated 4 million acres of the 5.4 million acres of pasture scattered over the state and for all practical purposes is of no value to farm wildlife. With the widespread establishment of tall fescue pastures, a great loss of wildlife habitat for deer, turkey, quail, cottontails and grassland songbirds has occurred.

Many landowners now recognize this problem and are interested in eliminating tall-fescue on some or all of their acreage. However, many landowners continue to plant tall-fescue, not knowing the detrimental effects it will have to wildlife. (There is an endophyte-free variety of tall fescue available for planting but it is less viable and hardy, and still provides very limited habitat for wildlife.)

We want to educate all landowners regarding this fact because there are other planting options to providing livestock forage and wildlife habitat on their farms," Long explained.

Please help spread the word to landowners "Don't Do Fescue!" by requesting a bumper sticker to place on your vehicle. Especially if they have an interest in managing for wildlife on their farm. For more information contact David Long at 877-972-5438 or dlong@agfc.state.ar.us.

Walker Park picnic noon to 6 p.m. today a great place to bring family and talk to south Fayetteville residents about neighborhood concerns

Saturday, May 30, 2009
noon to 6:00pm
Walker Park
Off 15th St
Fayetteville, AR
479-871-7902
Email: Hill_City_Lodge347@yahoo.com
Free Community Picnic
Food, Fun, and Fellowship
Moon Bounce for kids, D.A.R.E and Fire Dept
BBQ, Cakes..etc..etc

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Neighbors, veterans turn out to protest plan for student apartments next to National Cemetery

video

The Morning News
Local News for Northwest Arkansas

County Sale Barn Site Gets Rezoned
By Skip Descant
THE MORNING NEWS
http://www.nwaonline.net/articles/2009/05/26/news/052709fzplanning.txt
http://www.nwaonline.net/articles/2009/05/26/news/052709fzplanning.prt
tmn

FAYETTEVILLE — Despite nearly universal public opposition to a possible student apartment complex, the Fayetteville Planning Commission approved the rezoning of the Washington County Sale Barn to a multifamily land-use.
The property was rezoned from heavy commercial and light industrial use to downtown general. This was viewed by the commission as a "down zoning" in terms of the impact the land-use could have on the area.
But the commissioners were quick to note an endorsement of rezoning should not be read as an endorsement of the proposed project for the nearly 9-acre site on the south side of town.
"I want to emphasize that this is a rezoning request and the development will come at another time," said Christine Myres, a commissioner.
In the meantime, developers say they intend to meet with residents and find some sort of middle ground.
"We have a lot to do on this, and we're about trying to make concessions and see if we can have the problems worked out," said Dave Jorgensen, of Jorgensen and Associates, the design firm leading the project. Campus Crest, a Charlotte, N.C.-based developer, wants to develop the property for a 192-unit apartment complex. The apartments would be rented on a per-bedroom basis and bring some 500 residents to the area.
However, those at the meeting Tuesday night said there seems to be too much distance between what's been proposed and what they could live with.
"We've met with them at the ward meeting and they didn't seem to want to change their plans," said Michele Raine, a resident in the area.
But it wasn't just residents who were opposed to the project. Veterans also turned out to speak against any development that would border Fayetteville National Cemetery, which they say needs both more space and more respect.
"To have a sale barn removed and have an RMF-24 coming there and occupy the property right next to the cemetery is offensive to us veterans," said Jim Buckner, a retired lieutenant colonel and a representative of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, which represents some 600 Purple Heart recipients in the state.
"This is sacred ground," Buckner added. "This is almost holy ground to us veterans."
He plans to rally veterans groups to raise the money needed to buy the property from Billy Joe Bartholomew, who owns the barn, but says today's economy makes his multigenerational business no longer viable.
"I'm going to have to sell the sale barn," Bartholomew told the commission. "It's outlived its uses."
Whatever new use the sale barn site takes, residents are not rooting for apartments. Most said the city already has its fair share. And still many seem opposed to the model presented by Campus Crest, with its standard building plan and leased bedrooms.
"I feel that renting apartments out by the bedroom is, I guess, just asking for trouble," said Kathy Kisida, of West Avenue.
"This apartment complex is what I'm against," she added. "I know that progress is going to happen there. I would just like to find something else."

Monday, May 25, 2009

Thousands visit Fayetteville National Cemetery on Memorial Day 2009

Please click on image to ENLARGE view of National Cemetery celebration of Memorial Day 2009 in Fayetteville, Arkansas. At right is the Washington County Livestock Auction Barn, which would be replaced by a 500-bedroom student-apartment complex if allowed by Fayetteville City officials. The Planning Commission is to hear the North Carolina developer's proposal during its 5:30 p.m. Tuesday meeting in Fayetteville City Hall. The commission will hear public opinion on the proposed project before whether to vote yes or no on allowing rezoning the land for student apartments.

National Cemetery's director asked about threat of construction of student apartments on adjacent sale-barn property

Please click on start arrow to acivate the short video recorded at Fayetteville National Cemetery on May 25, 2009.

video

Sunday, May 24, 2009

National Cemetery's Memorial Day 2009 celebration under threat of rain and construction of student apartments on adjacent sale-barn property

The Veterans Administration's annual Memorial Day ceremony is to begin at 10 a.m. Monday at the Fayetteville National Cemetery at 700 Government Avenue south of Martin Luther King Boulevard (former Sixth Street) west of South School Avenue in the Town Branch neighborhood of Fayetteville, Arkansas.
The keynote speaker is to be Vic Walker, a retired Veterans of Foreign Wars commander.
Everyone is welcome.
Please click on image to ENLARGE 2005 view of the Fayetteville National Cemetery next to the Washington County Auction Barn. The bare ground at right is the former Aspen Ridge site where student apartments for more than 800 students are nearing completion now.
A 500-bedroom student-apartment complex of multistory buildings likely would be underway on Memorial Day 2010 if the Fayetteville Planning Commission on Tuesday night approves rezoning the adjacent property of the Washington County Sale Barn.
The buildings would overshadow the historic cemetery created in 1867 after the Civil War.


Monthly business meetings of the Regional National Cemetery Improvement Corporation are at 10:30 a.m. on the second Saturday of the month at the American Legion Post No. 27, 1195 S.Curtis Avenue, Fayetteville, Arkansas.
The group meets at 10:30 a.m. May 13, 2009, TOMORROW. Visitors are welcome to attend to discuss the proposed Live-stock-auction land sale to allow student apartments to be built adjacent to the east side of the national cemetery.
For information, please call President Roger McClain at 479-306-6459 or visit the group's Web site at http://www.geocities.com/regncic/
Fayetteville National Cemetery has conducted close to 8,000 interments of veterans and immediate dependents. The cemetery has laid to rest six soldiers from Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Memorial Day 2009: Time to raise the money to buy the auction-barn property for expansion of the National Cemetery

The Morning News had a good but far too short article on the upcoming 5:30 p.m. Tuesday meeting of the Fayetteville Planning Commission where a public hearing on the future use of the Washington County auction barn property is to be discussed. A developer wants to put more than 500 bedrooms in multistory buildings next to Fayetteville's National Cemetery, where U.S. military veterans have been buried since the end of the Civil War.
The many ways the proposed development and the construction of it would hurt the neighborhood and the watershed of Beaver Lake can't all be listed completely in even many paragraphs. But the incredible insult of even proposing such a project adjacent to a national cemetery for veterans is all that needs to be considered for the city planning commission to reject the proposed rezoning of this land.
A major fund-raising campaign must be started to allow the Regional Cemetery Corporation to buy the sale barn for expansion. It is not too late, but it must begin on Memorial Day 2009.


The Morning News
Local News for Northwest Arkansas

Apartments Planned For Sale Barn Site
By Skip Descant
THE MORNING NEWS
FAYETTEVILLE — A proposal to build student apartments where the long-running livestock sale barn operates will come before the Fayetteville Planning Commission on Tuesday.
Before the 8.9-acre Washington County Sale Barn property can become a 192-unit apartment complex, the area has to be rezoned. Right now, most of the area is zoned for heavy commercial and light industrial uses. Campus Crest, a Charlotte, N.C.-based developer, wants to rezone the property as RMF-24 — the standard zoning for apartment complexes. Campus Crest plans to build less than 24 units per acre.
Fayetteville planning staff is not supportive of an RMF-24 zoning. However, multiuse development and multifamily housing could work here, officials say.
“It is staff’s opinion that the RMF-24 zoning district in this area would permit a development form that would be contrary to the city’s adopted land-use planning objectives and principles of City Plan 2025,” wrote Dara Sanders, a city planner, in her opinion to the commission.
In short, the city’s master plan wants development that’s more pedestrian-friendly.

http://www.nwaonline.net/articles/2009/05/23/news/052309fzplanningagenda.txt

http://www.nwaonline.net/articles/2009/05/23/news/052309fzplanningagenda.prt

Sale-barn vs student apartments vs National Cemetery

Washington County Auction Barn or 500 rooms for students next to Fayettevill National Cemetery for U.S. veterans

The Downtown General zoning district allows for the same uses as RMF-24 but is more likely to result in the types of traditional town planning building forms the city planners would like to see.
“Before public comment, we want it to be known that we are good with downtown general,” Dave Jorgensen, of Jorgensen and Associates, design firm for the project, told the commission during its agenda session Thursday.
“Though naturally, we have to work out a bunch of details, and we’ll do that,” he added.
Campus Crest met with Ward 1 residents in early April to answer questions and introduce the project.
Critiques included questions about whether Fayetteville needs more apartments. Residents at the Ward 1 meeting said, no, citing issues like increased traffic that come with concentrations of college students.
"I just don't think that this property is conducive to the neighborhood," said Michele Raine, a resident in the area, speaking during the April Ward 1 meeting.
Another resident, Scott Hill, said he’s not opposed to student housing or apartments, but said he is “opposed to the way they are built in Fayetteville.”
Hill urged developers to build student communities much like the Cotton District in Starkville, Miss., a leafy neighborhood where apartment buildings edge up next to narrow streets that are usually filled with bikes and pedestrians.
At A Glance
Zoning Designations
Downtown General
Permitted Uses: Single, double and three-family dwellings, offices, studios, eating establishments, neighborhood shopping locations and government facilities.
Density: No set density
Building Height: 56 feet
RMF-24
Permitted Uses: Single, double and multifamily dwellings.
Density: 24 units/acre
Building Height: 60 feet
Source: Staff Report
Meeting Information
Fayetteville Planning
Commission
When: 5:30 p.m., Tuesday
Where: Room 212, City Hall, 113 W. Mountain St.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

May 26 public hearing before the Planning Commission to consider rezoning the sale-barn property for multistory student apartments

Please click on image to ENLARGE view of Fayetteville Planning Commission sign announcing a public hearing on the proposed rezoning of the Washington County Sale Barn property at Eleventh Street and South West Avenue to allow the building of apartments to house 500 students adjacent to the Fayetteville National Cemetery in the Town Branch neighborhood.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

How close to Partner's Branch should development occur?

video

A few words about the value of Pinnacle Prairie with night sounds for background

Click on start arrow to view night scene at Pinnacle Prairie and hear a few words about the value of Pinnacle Prairie and similar areas.
video

Runoff from driveway can be reduced by routing roof water to flat, grassy area of yard or a garden spot

Please click on image to ENLARGE night view of rapid runoff from a paved driveway.

Most dwellings don't have a large prairie parcel to which stormwater runoff can be directed. However, simply routing roof water through gutters to the lowest, flattest part of the yard can reduce downstream flooding. If every building in the city is designed with this in mind (and if the natural soil and vegetation is left in place to provide a natural raingarden) an extremely large portion of runoff to our streams can be prevented.

Frog songs from Pinnacle Prairie adjacent to World Peace Wetland Prairie

video

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Town Branch neighbors again called upon to step up and speak out about proposed development in the heart of the neighborhood

Campus Crest Development, a student-housing company based in Charlotte, N.C., has proposed building an apartment complex on the “Sale-barn property” currently owned by Billy Joe Bartholomew. Bartholomew's grandfather built the auction site in 1937.
The proposal will be to allow construction of 192 apartment units that will house approximately 512 students on 10 acres.  The buildings will be 3 to 4 stories high hovering over the National Cemetery for U.S. military veterans immediately to its west, and each apartment will be 2 & 3 bedrooms. Apartments will be leased out by the bedroom. Each student bedroom will have a lock on the door.
If you live close to this you will be the most affected. There will be a huge increase in traffic & noise in the neighborhood. In addition, during the construction phase, which could take up to a year or longer if the economy doesn't improve soon, noise and construction vehicles (dump trucks, mostly) will be using our quiet streets to reach the property.
As you might already know, another similar development is currently being built on S. Hill Ave between 11th and MLK (6th street).
Is it wise for the city to approve another such development in the same neighborhood so close to each other? As with the Hill Ave. development, their main access routes will be via 15th St. and MLK, which means their main access to the sale-barn property will probably be Governemt Avenue, West Ave or maybe even Dunn Ave. Only the route along 11th Street would affect the neighbors the least. There is no traffic light to get traffic out of the neighborhood at any of those intersections.
Many of your neighbors feel that it is important to preserve our single-family neighborhood and that there could be better use of this property. Research on the internet revealed that Campus Crest Properties has been plagued with problems in several cities, including mismanagement, possible lawsuits, and liens.
Please come to the planning-commission meeting on Tuesday, May 26, 2009, to voice your opinion. The rezoning request is only the first in a several-step process to get the 500 student bedrooms approved. But we must share our opinion at each step of the process!
 
• The property is across the street from the National Cemetery and borders S. Dunn Ave, S. Government Ave,, 11th St. & the end of S. West Ave.
• The developers (Campus Crest) have put in a request to rezone the livestock-auction property to RMF-24, Residential Multi-family, 24 units per acre.
• Public comment is welcome. If you are concerned about this development, please come to the meeting to voice your opinion.
• If you have any questions or concerns, or need a ride to the meeting, please call Kathy at 443-5751 or email me at:  
 mail4ktk@yahoo.com
 The Planning Commission meeting will begin at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 26, 2009, in room 219 of the City Administration Building at 113 W. Mountain St. 

solar

solar

FarmToTable theme of today's program in the Rose Garden of the Walton Art Center with renewable-energy lecture at Night Bird bookstore at 2 p.m.

Please click on image to ENLARGE view of OMNI Springfest poster.

Please click on image to ENLARGE view of poster.

Solar Power Struggle
Professor Richard Hutchinson of Louisiana Tech University in Ruston will speak on "The Struggle for the Solar Future" at 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 2, at Nightbird Books on Dickson Street in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
An inquiry into environmental change and the obstacles and opportunities in the path of the renewable energy transition.
Sponsored by OMNI Center for Peace, Justice, and Ecology.