- Mehgan Murphy
- NEW AT THE ZOO: Cheetahs Maggie and Zazi.
The Wednesday night line is open. I’m off to Browning’s Restaurant on Kavanaugh, where the Naturally Blue PAC has a 5:30 happy hour before I talk politics at 6 p.m. All are welcome. Otherwise:
* LR ZOO IS THE CAT’S MEOW: A pair of cheetahs arrived at the Little Rock Zoo Monday night. Zazi and her daughter Maggie are in the new Laura P. Nichols Cheetah Outpost, which will open at 10:30 a.m. July 7. Zoo members get an advance look on July 6. A cheetah conservationist will speak on opening day. The Cheetah Outpost is part of a renovation project that has included new homes for some other African animals, including my favorite, the naked mole rat. For now, you’ll just have to get by with the photo from the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute.
* ARKANSAS STATE FAIR DECISION: The board of the Arkansas State Fair and Livestock Show will meet at 10 a.m. tomorrow for what’s being billed as a “final” decision on whether to attempt to relocate to Jacksonville or North Little Rock or try to expand the existing facility in Little Rock. If I had to guess, I’d guess staying put is the practical choice. Land for a move is cheap. New buildings are not.
* FBI IN ACTION IN NORTH ARKANSAS: Intriguing, but limited is this FBI confirmation of a news tip. Agent Karen Vorhes confirms that the FBI is engaged in an operation in North Arkansas at a child care facility, which she declined to name. She also declined to elaborate on the nature of the operation. She said she had been authorized to say the agency had no reason to believe any children at the facility were at risk of being harmed or had been harmed in the past. She also said she didn’t anticipate further information releases today.
* CHEF LEE RICHARDSON CHECKS IN: I heard by e-mail today from Chef Lee Richardson, who recently left his job after six years as executive chef at the Capital Hotel. He said it was time to explore new horizons, and says he hopes that might include new restaurant concepts in Little Rock. Read the full note here.
* HIGHWAY DEPARTMENT TO RAISE RURAL SPEED LIMITS: Thanks to Highway Commission action yesterday, the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department is considering raising the speed limit on some 265 miles of rural four-lane and five-lane undivided highways from 55 to 60 mph. This map shows the areas under review.
* GOOD COMPANY: TOP DRAWS AT CLINTON LECTURE SERIES: Interesting list on the Clinton School blog, a ranking of Clinton School lecture series events by attendance. Horn toot: Coming in at No. 7 was the Arkansas Times’ panel on the West Memphis Three release, featuring defense lawyers, Mara Leveritt and Prosecutor Scott Ellington, now the 1st District Democratic congressional nominee. Ahead of us, in order:
1. Political strategists James Carville and Mary Matalin
2. The Washington Post’s Bob Woodward
3. Attorney General Eric Holder
4. Dr. Phil McGraw
5. Congressman Vic Snyder
6. Secretary Madeleine Albright
* BETTER LATE THAN NEVER: The secretary of state (Mark Martin, prop.) this week released the 2011-2012 directory of Arkansas elected officials. A little late wouldn’t you think? Better than last year, though, when no directory was done at all. A spokesman blamed the delay on slow returns of “correct information” from elected officials.
* FREEDOM BULLDOG: Be sure to check Leslie Peacock’s Eye Candy item about a new addition (below) to the riverfront sculpture garden. Any resemblance between it and City Director Dean Kumpuris‘ French bulldog Boris is not coincidental.