Education may be foremost in the minds of most American voters, but it doesn't seem to be a burning issue for folks in Kingsland, a small logging town in southern Arkansas.
Three seats on the town's seven-member school board are open this fall, but so far there are no takers. Similar apathy registered last year, when two seats were open and no one ran.
"I guess people just don't like to campaign anymore," said Sammy Hartwick, the superintendent of the 354-student district, which is made up of just one K-12 school.
"There's not a lot to draw from," he added. "A lot of people here are older senior citizens who have already put their kids through school," and those children are now grown and gone.
Instead of holding an election, Mr. Hartwick said, the board will appoint new members, as it did last year.
When Ed Hoover and Rebecca Jardin first shook hands, it was a typical awkward meeting between two generations with very little in common. Mr. Hoover's life was shaped by the Great Depression and his experiences in the Korean War; Ms. Jardin's by the nation's most prolonged period of economic growth and prosperity.
But it didn't take long for them to develop a mutual respect.
"Mr. Hoover shook my hand the first time we met, standing up to honor my presence on feet that were frozen in a war and a leg that bares the scars of shrapnel," Ms. Jardin wrote about the introduction. "I did not know then that I was standing face to face with a hero, but I know it now."
Ms. Jardin's revelation came as part of the "Honor by Listening" project of her honors English class at Eastmont High School in East Wenatchee, Wash. Inspired by The Greatest Generation, a best-selling book by NBC news anchor Tom Brokaw, the students set out to interview and write about the senior citizens in their community. In June, they wrote a book featuring more than two dozen stories of people they considered to be local heroes.
When Mr. Brokaw heard of the project, he decided to include the students in a segment of a special report on preserving the stories of "the greatest generation." The five-part report is expected to air on NBC's evening newscast in October.
--Kerry A. White & Kathleen Kennedy Manzo
Vol. 19, Issue 3, Page 3Published in Print: September 22, 1999, as Take Note