- CARTOONISH: Good cartoon today from Wolf Grulkey, who in his spare time from being a cartoonist, printer and pilot is running as a Democrat for state House of Representatives against Republican Rep. Justin Harris. Harris is the one running the taxpayer-subsidized church pre-school. Grulkey should have had Harris standing by praying to the Battle Flag.
Monday is just about done. The line is open. Odds and ends:
* USA TODAY: JOHN L. SMITH DEFERRED PAY: Gannett papers have been following Razorback coach John L. Smith’s bankruptcy closely because of its roots in a Kentucky real estate meltdown. The latest is on USA Today, which reports that Smith deferred some $600,000 of his annual $850,000 pay as interim Hog coach. Can he protect that money by postponing its receipt until after his bankruptcy? Legal minds say that might provoke a legal challenge.
* UA TO SELF: YOU’RE FIRED: Interesting story from Mark Friedman at Arkansas Business. The University of Arkansas System took bids to find a way to save money on employee health insurance and as a result is changing the administrator from QualChoice to UnitedHealthcare. UAMS is a part-owner of QualChoice.
* CRIMINAL MISCHIEF ON CONSTRUCTION SITE: The sheriff’s office said $160,000 damage was done overnight when someone rammed an excavator with a bullldozer on a pipeline construction site near Oak Grove Road in northwestern Pulaski County.
* GILLETT ELEMENTARY SPARED: The state Board of Education today overruled the DeWitt School District’s plan to close the elementary school in Gillett, the only community school still open after Gillett’s consolidation with DeWitt. Board members said it was high-performing and instructed school officials to look for ways to preserve it, factoring in money contributed by local residents.
* SOMEBODY WILL BE WATCHING THE WATERSHED: Central Arkansas Water announced that it began today some “selective timber harvest” on land near Lake Maumelle, both inside and outside the watershed of the water supply. It says it is working with the state Game and Fish Commission in the Lunsford’s Corner area along Highway 300 and promises to follow practices in the watershed management plan. I hope so. Those hoping to sabotage this plan would love nothing better than to find the water utility screwing up. Although how opponents of watershed management use bad management of land as an excuse for NO RULES is a logic leap you’ll have to ask them about. Speaking of the watershed: Did you know a former paid lobbyist for Deltic Timber, leading the fight against watershed rules before the Quorum Court, along with the Koch billionaires, is running to be a voting member of the Quorum Court? You read that right: A former Deltic lobbyist is angling for a seat on the body that will vote on rules regulating use of Deltic land in the watershed of the city’s water supply. He’s Republican Chris Stewart, better known as a leader in the Religious Right’s fight against same-sex marriage and adoption of children by gay people. A product of Falwell’s university and Pat Robertson’s law schol, Stewart also hates abortion and loves guns. Democrat Kathy Lewison, a former Quorum Court member with a big heart and plenty of knowledge of county government, is running against Stewart. If the vote in District 3 follows Pulaski’s historic pattern on issues dear to Stewart — abortion, marriage, adoption — he should lose. But the Family Council army of evangelical voters will be marching to the polls for Stewart and can’t be underestimated.
* ENOUGH IS ENOUGH: I see here that Republican Party chair Doyle Webb says the party won’t give any more money to Reps. Jon Hubbard and Loy Mauch and former Rep. and current candidate Charlie Fuqua, highlighted here in recent days for extremist rhetoric on race, slavery, Muslims and capital punishment. He DID NOT say anybody would take back contributions already given — at the maximum in the case of some Republican contributors. He DID NOT say people shouldn’t vote for these candidates. See, the only principle that counts with Webb is a legislative majority. He doesn’t care what kind of Extraterrestrial Trio it takes to get him there.
* PROTEST PLANNED IN WYNNE: The Commission on Religion and Racism, a group in Memphis that has mounted frequent protests related to treatment of blacks, such as the recent death of a black suspect in Jonesboro, plans a media event Tuesday in Wynne to protest insufficient response to an incident in which a black ninth grader was threatened with a noose by white football players. Two white students were expelled for the semester and others were suspended. CORR says the event was not a joke or prank, but a hate crime. Its news release follows: