Mike McNeill

Mike McNeill is publisher and editor of magnoliareporter.com.

Issue 3 on the Election Day ballot is the one we really loath, and we encourage our readers to vote against it. Simply put, Issue 3 wants to make it more difficult for citizens to place initiatives on the Arkansas ballot. We don’t want this process to become more difficult. It’s hard enough to get the required number of valid petition signatures without increasing from 15 to 45 the number of counties from which they must come, shortening the time frame for gathering those signatures, and eliminating the make-good period for collecting more signatures if the ones already collected don’t meet state approval. Hey, no doubt that petitioners get stupid things on the ballot. We’d include on that list the recent minimum wage law. Wages should not be set by public vote, but by a business person’s determination of how much it’s worth to pay someone to do a certain job. We also think it was an incredibly bad idea for Arkansans to award casino franchises. But there are other public amendments that expand freedoms and circumvent recalcitrant legislatures. Medical marijuana – and eventual full legalization for possession of an herb – comes to mind. Let’s vote down Issue 3 so that people and groups that don’t have millions of dollars can occasionally get a law passed.

In short, magnoliareporter.com is recommending that voters reject all three state constitutional amendments on the ballot – Issues 1, 2 and 3. We shouldn’t make sales tax for highways a permanent part of the Arkansas Constitution (1). We don’t want to change legislative term limits by increasing the number of years any individual may serve (2). We don’t want to further restrict the public’s right to propose law (3).

A total of 586 people voted in Columbia County on Tuesday, which beat by 26 the average daily early voting since a week ago Monday. Columbia County has 12,998 people eligible to vote in the November 3 general election. Through Tuesday, 4,506 had voted early. That’s 34.6 percent of the maximum possible vote, and 50.7 percent of the 8,887 residents who voted for a presidential candidate in 2016.

Madison Kate & Co. Boutique expands from El Dorado to Magnolia on Thursday with its grand opening at noon. It’s the company that has taken over the former Computer Troubleshooters space on the south side of the Magnolia Square. It specializes in women’s and children’s clothing, shoes, gifts and accessories. CLICK HERE to see its Facebook page.

Madison Kate is simply the latest example of how popular the Magnolia Square has become as a place to shop and have fun. We love working and living on the Square. Perhaps investors will gain encouragement to consider renovating existing properties, or create new properties, for residential living.

We encourage our visitors to read our website. Read the headlines. Click on the headlines of those articles that interest you. But read the website. We bring this up because we’ve had a run of people who ask questions about local news, whose questions would have been answered if they’d simply reviewed our content. Sometimes, the headlines alone would suffice to answer their questions. We can provide information to our readers, but they have to take an active step to consume it.

Chili. Burppppppp.

School honor rolls are arriving fast and furious. We prefer not to pile them on top of one another. We space out publication so that each honor roll gets the attention it deserves. Look for your school’s roll between today and the end of the week.

We’ve not said much about COVID-19 in this space lately. We refer you to our daily COVID-19 report. Arkansas has surpassed Louisiana (which has 1.7 million more people) in the current number of hospitalizations and the number of patients on ventilators. Twenty-one Columbia Countians have died from COVID-19. In the past 72 hours, the number of cases in Magnolia schools, at SAU and at local nursing homes have bumped up. More than 700 of our family members, friends and neighbors have tested positive for the virus and the number grows every day. There’s no end in sight without a vaccine. The best we can do it slow down the spread by wearing masks, keeping a physical distance, and being aggressive about cleaning surfaces.

Mike McNeill is publisher and editor of magnoliareporter.com. Email him at news@magnoliareporter.com. Email him at news@magnoliareporter.com or call 870-904-3865.

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