The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Community Health & Research in Fayetteville, The Food Conservancy and others have launched a program to provide healthy food for Huntsville residents who receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

Local residents can use their EBT [Electronic Benefits Transfer] card to purchase a box of locally grown vegetables at Harps, 115 Lee St., in Huntsville. The box normally would cost $20, but with the Double Up Food Bucks program, it will cost just $10.

SNAP recipients simply need to take their EBT card to the store, according to Jenni Vaughan, R.D., outreach specialist with UAMS in Fayetteville.

• • •

On my daily commute from Springdale every day, I get to see how many motorists drive on U.S. 412. I have my car on cruise-control to limit how fast I drive. Others, however, either have their cruise control set higher than mine or they just let their right feet do the work. Especially aggravating are the motorists who stay in the left lane for mile after mile, even when they aren’t passing other motorists.

The Arkansas State Highway Commission last Wednesday approved an increase in speed limits around the state. The group studied rural interstates (proposed 75 mph), urban interstates (65 mph), rural multi-lane highways (65 mph) and other rural highways (55 mph). The Arkansas Department of Transportation said it will be raising speed limits on state and national roads.

State highways will soon have posted speed limits increase by 5 miles per hour. Interstates inside city limits now will be 65 mph, and 75 mph outside the city.

“Facilities are safer these days, we have wired up safety fences, we have rumble strips, we have other safety features, our vehicles are safer as well so that has helped,” said
Randy Ort, ARDOT spokesman.

As soon as signs go up, the new speed limits will be in place. That will happen after July 1 and cost about $350,000, according to ARDOT. The speed limit on rural highways will remain 55 mph.

Other states have had higher speed limits for years, such as Texas, where you can legally drive 85 mph on some roads. You can go 80 mph in Nevada, Utah, Wyoming Idaho, South Dakota and Montana.

The state’s study is interesting to read.

“Prior to 1959, the maximum speed limit on the State Highway System was 60 mph. In 1959, due to the completion of portions of the Interstate Highway System, the Commission set a maximum of 70 mph and a minimum of 45 mph on fully controlled access highways and a maximum of 70 mph on partially controlled access highways.”

The seed limits went to 75 and 50 mph in 1970. In 1974, the “Emergency Highway Energy Conservation Act” put a 55 mph limit on all highways. The speed limits were changed in 1987 to 65 mph on rural sections of interstate highways.

Numerous changes took place in the 1990s and up to the current day. In 2019, the Arkansas Legislature “set the maximum speed of 75 mph for passenger vehicles and 70 mph for trucks on controlled-access highways outside an urban area, and a maximum of 65 mph in an urban area.”

The commission’s study noted that in 2017, two people in Madison County said they were against the increase in speed limits, with another person undecided. Statewide, 989 people were for the increased limits with 355 against.

• • •

I found it very cool to see something happening in the Basham building the past two weekends.

Ozark Adventure & Recreation has held pop-up businesses where people could sign up for guided float trips, hikes and other outdoor adventures. Cory Burbidge, co-owner with his wife, Jenny, said the business will take a permanent place in the Basham building. You can rent a kayak or purchase gear such as shirts and hats during the pop-ups, which will happen again this Thursday-Saturday. Call (479) 431-0444 or visit Ozark Adventure & Recreation on Facebook for details.