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When the Southeast Arkansas College Board of Trustees hears a presentation from an architect on two potential construction projects it is good news.

The two projects would complement to the computing services building, set for completion in mid-February.

One would involve a new boulevard entry and exit driveway off of Hazel Street and a new parking lot adjacent to the computing services building with 28 spaces, new site lighting, as well as storm drains and catch basins to deal with removing water from the property.

The second phase of the computing services and administration building project would add 6,875 square feet of space to the structure’s 9,000 square feet.

Discussing the two tentative projects at this stage means the board is planning on continued growth at SEARK. Planning makes good sense because it gives the educational institution time to prepare for the future in an orderly manner.

With contractors “hungry for work,” the architect noted, the potential cost of the projects would be reduced.

Spring enrollment at SEARK stands at 2,063, compared to 1,985. The numbers include 1,046 full-time, 939 part-time and 320 first time, students.

The high number of part-time students indicates more area residents are turning to SEARK to broaden their educational base.

Stop the killings

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The shooting death of a 28-year old Pine Bluff man Thursday morning was the second in the city in 19 days. Are we headed for a new homicide record?

Public safety personnel found Christopher Patillo’s body inside a car near the intersection of 24th Avenue and Plum Street.

The first homicide victim was Tommy Holcomb Sr., 60, who died Jan. 11 following a shooting on the parking lot at the Speedway convenience store at 3700 Camden Road.

Cooperating with police in the investigations of the two deaths is one solution to the question of how we can stop the spreading stain on Pine Bluff’s reputation.

Respect for life is the best answer to ending the senseless deaths.

Trauma centers

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On the day Christopher Patillo’s body was found, state legislators were told Arkansas should have 61 trauma centers online and ready for patients by summer.

There are currently 32 hospitals across the state designated as trauma centers, and that by the end of June more hospitals will be added to the list.

The centers in hospitals can go a long way toward reducing deaths across Arkansas. We’ve gone from three to four hours to get a patient agreement on transfer to on average of about two-and-a-half minutes.

The statewide system is being financed by a 56-cents-a-pack increase in the cigarette tax and an increase in the tax on smokeless tobacco, effective March 1, 2009.

The tax generated about $62.4 million last fiscal year, of which $33 million went to the trauma system.

The amount of money generated by the tax is a small price to pay for the number of lives that will be saved by the trauma centers.