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Homecoming week at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff culminates today on Main Street with the homecoming parade and then at Golden Lions Stadium when UAPB takes on Mississippi Valley State University.

While the economic impact is substantial when alumni return to Pine Bluff in support of their university, we need to think beyond the dollars.

It is an opportunity to showcase Pine Bluff with the homecoming activities. The UAPB Alumni Association will host dinners and dances, with the fraternities having scheduled their Greek show in the Convention Center Arena late Friday.

If you see a stranger in Pine Bluff today or Sunday, thank them for coming to Pine Bluff and UAPB.

Early voting

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Early voting for the Nov. 6 general election is drawing more fans to the Jefferson County Courthouse to cast their ballots with no need for an excuse for casting a ballot days ahead of the election.

If the current pace keeps up, we will have had a significant percentage of registered voters casting their votes before election day. In the 2008 general election, we had 40 percent of the total votes cast by early voters.

We can vote today and next Saturday from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Regular weekday voting hours are from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

By voting early, you can ignore the candidates for various offices and their supporters on both sides of Barraque Street in front of the courthouse holding campaign signs and shouting encouragement. Just smile and walk inside.

When the robo calls come at home from this and that candidate, tell the recorded voice you have already voted, then hang up. The political pests this time of year are as bad for your health as mosquitoes with West Nile Virus.

Early voting is quickly becoming the preferred way to cast a ballot.

Ready to fight

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Redfield residents turned out in force Tuesday to discuss short-term and long-term plans, including legal action, if the White Hall School District moves to close Redfield Middle School.

The meeting drew a standing-room-only crowd, with a task force organized to convince the school board that it is not in the best interests of the students and the community to close the school.

“I was shocked to hear” the decision could come in early 2013, Mayor Tony Lawhon told the crowd. He encouraged residents to attend every school board meeting and “become a thorn in their flesh until they hear our story.”

Redfield has potential for growth after receiving authority to extend water and sewer lines under Interstate 530, opening up thousands of acres for development, Lawhon emphasized, and that growth would stall if the school is closed.

The task force has started collecting money for a legal defense fund if an effort is made by the board to close the school and it is necessary to appeal to the Arkansas Board of Education.

Residents established a Facebook page for communications and turned to the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act to obtain records of district expenditures, with the task force compiling records to buttress their arguments.

Numerous financial issues and options, including closure of the Redfield school, were discussed briefly by the White Hall board last month during a three-hour planning session, but no votes have been taken regarding closure.

Residents can assemble and discuss their opposition or support for actions of any government entity, from city councils to school boards. That is a foundation of American government and freedom.