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These are uncertain, divided times for our nation. Unemployment is at mind-boggling levels, a virus we still don’t fully understand is stifling the course of ordinary life, many businesses are struggling, nationwide protests continue against systemic and deep-seated racism, and local policy …

On June 15, 2020, the Supreme Court handed down a ruling in the case of Bostock v. Clayton County. It’s a landmark decision, for several reasons. In their majority opinion, six justices wrote that sexual orientation and gender identity fell under the protections of Title VII of the Civil Rig…

There is just something so carefree about a Crossett summer. Even as we unfold from the interruption of a pandemic and settle down from national unrest, it is as if we in Crossett get to take a deep breath and relax. Now, I’m not saying this is all because of the Crossett City Pool, but its …

The anger and frustration brought on by the horrific deaths of George Floyd and others at the hands of those charged with protecting the public have pointed a spotlight on the need for reform. We need to ensure all Americans have faith in law enforcement.

We set a goal to test every resident and staff member in long-term-care in June, and today I’m pleased to say that nursing homes, and assisted-living and residential-care facilities will be able to resume limited family visits and other activities on July 1 if they have complied with the pub…

Arkansas’s Commission on Law-Enforcement Standards and Training is constantly examining ways to improve the already high quality of law enforcement in our state, and today I’d like to talk about the task force I’ve created to further that good work.

We’ve seen plenty of evidence lately of the deep polarization in this country. Even in the midst of this crisis, national politicians, the political parties, and their adherents are finding plenty to fight over—even as, for the most part, ordinary Americans have been remarkably united and ma…

We’ve witnessed a lot of frightening and discouraging scenes over the last few weeks. Already in the midst of a pandemic, our nation has been further gripped by turmoil and grief in the aftermath of the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and others whose lives were cut sho…

In the Parks and Recreation Department, our expertise is event and program planning and execution.  Our medium, or mode of carrying that expertise out, is community. What does that mean? It means that we do what we do for and with our community. Without you, Crossett, we are ineffective and …

The Economic Recovery Task Force has submitted its interim report to me, and today I’d like to talk about some of the steps we need to take to boost our economy after COVID-19.

Arkansas children struggling with hunger during this public health crisis will be getting additional support now that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has approved the state’s operational plan for the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) program.

We  have been getting our hands dirty over at the Crossett Farmers Market. Crossett now has a demo garden, and if you don’t know — as I didn’t — a demo garden is used to teach the community about self sustaining gardening practices along with all the capabilities that come with having a gard…

We are blessed to live in a free country, but that freedom doesn’t come without a price. Every year, Memorial Day is an opportunity for us to remember our fallen heroes and reflect on all that they sacrificed for our country. While many of us can’t gather in person this year, that shouldn’t …

We are all eager for a return to normalcy after strict measures were implemented in Arkansas and across the country to slow the spread of the coronavirus and prevent hospitals from becoming overwhelmed with patients infected by the disease. We have made significant progress, but what’s equal…

With all eyes focused on COVID-19 relief efforts, it’s easy to lose sight of others in our health care system, those with chronic illnesses or underlying medical issues. One particular group in need of assistance is veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange during the Vietnam War and are suf…

May is National Foster Care Awareness Month, and today I’d like to thank our foster families and all the people who work so hard to put our neediest children in homes and other safe settings.

Our bodies are designed to move. What a throw away, “no duh” statement. Or is it? Take a good look at your lifestyle. Do you move? Or do you spend most of your time sitting? And of the moments you do move,  how many of them do you spend wishing you were sitting?

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) administers the largest integrated health system in the country. There are over nine million veterans enrolled in the VA health care program, and it is vital to meet their needs in the midst of a pandemic.

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Sometimes the best laid plans just flat out get up and walk away. Such is the case with this week’s column. I started out seeking information on some not-so-out-of-the-way places for you to visit with your quarantine crew but ended up with this musing about trees. 

The House of Representatives met again last Friday to officially adjourn the 2020 Fiscal Session.  Absent a special session called by the Governor, the next time the legislature will meet will be in January 2021, when the 93rd General Assembly will convene.

Adjusting to the new normal of social isolation hasn’t been easy, and we’ve all had to make sacrifices to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe and healthy. 

There is a lot of talk about boredom, loneliness and being just plain tired of how things are now — and that is understandable. Our new normal has been quite a lifestyle change. And change, on average, is not looked highly upon. But buckle in Crossett, it is our new normal. 

I was grateful when President Trump recently called me to discuss the agriculture community’s concerns related to the coronavirus crisis, particularly the need to assure the public that our food supply chain remains strong in the midst of this pandemic.

The legislature completed the 2020 fiscal session in record time, approving a balanced budget that funds state government spending of $5.68 billion.

Today I’d like to talk about the professionals who are on the front lines at the hospitals and clinics all over Arkansas who are treating our COVID-19 patients and doing the critically important testing work.

In one of the US Capitol hallways that House members pass through regularly to get to the chambers, there’s an inscription of a comment by Alexander Hamilton. It comes from his 1788 remarks to the New York convention on ratifying the Constitution, and reads simply, “Here, Sir, the people govern.”

Admit it — you have begun holding your breath when you pass someone at work or on your essential grocery trip or along the park trail.  I know because I have caught myself doing it. But as humanity holds its breath,  nature is taking a deep one. 

For the past three weeks now we have been publicly fighting a battle against an invisible enemy. And it is literally all of humanity against it. A massive us, the human race, against them, COVID-19 contaminants, game. And while it is so easy to jump on the fear bandwagon and go your own kind…

I write this having just finished a family call on the Zoom platform.  We could all see each participant on the computer or phone screen, with folks from across the state and in Maryland online.  It looked a little like our version of the old Brady Bunch opening credits.  I hope you are also…

Fred Rogers once recalled an instruction from his mother to “look for the helpers” in times of crisis and tragedy. It made a significant impression on him, and for good reason. “If you look for the helpers, you’ll know that there’s hope,” he explained.

I am torn between thinking time is inching along incredibly slowly during this healthcare crisis, as I help with art projects and “circle time” with my grandkids, and also thinking that it is speeding along so quickly that it is hard to keep up with news, real statistics, and all the availab…

The public health crisis triggered by the coronavirus pandemic has brought economic activity in America’s large cities and small towns alike to a grinding halt. Businesses of all sizes are being forced to close during this crisis both to protect public health and because of a shrinking custo…

In this time of uncertainty and turmoil, my goal is to provide you with as much information about available state programs and actions as possible.  I am also putting this information on my @BurchforAR Facebook page.  Please help me share it. 

To cushion the financial impact of the coronavirus outbreak on working families, the state has streamlined the process of applying for unemployment insurance.

When you get something not earned you are less likely to take care of it. We have visited this concept before, reader. It is just a way of the world. And in this world, there seems to be a lot of getting and not a lot of earning — from our federal government all the way down to our fashion. 

Much of what I write as it relates to COVID-19 will be dated by the time the paper is published, because the state response is rapidly evolving.  Know my column will reflect developments as of last Sunday.

Oh the roller coaster we’ve ridden, from sweeping high above the rooftops to circling perilously into the depths far below. News is constantly reframing reality or making us mad when idiots push politics just to blame others. What’s wrong with these people? Then, out of the blue, we’ve laugh…

As I changed clocks to set them to Daylight Saving Time (DST), I was reminded of a state representative that filed a bill to eliminate DST in Arkansas during the last regular session.  There was so much negative publicity that the bill was “pulled” before it went to committee, but it certain…

Census Day is less than a month away, and today I’d like to share some advice from the United States Census Bureau that will ensure we count as many people as possible.

Sometimes, you just need to step back. The political conversations I hear these days are strikingly negative, dominated by what’s amiss in Washington, by the deep divisions in the country, by President Trump’s actions and the aftermath of his impeachment, and by the difficult problems we fac…

In the past two years, the number of youths in state custody has declined by nearly thirty percent, and today I’d like to discuss some of the changes we have made to achieve that.

As long-time readers know, I routinely mix little faith messages in with columns on politics and social issues. When I started writing about politics and social issues from an evangelical perspective years ago, many editors warned me not to mix religion and politics. Today many news organiza…