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June 8, 2006

Vol 4 • No 21

Campaign money

Stephens rounds up the raising and spending figures for runoff candidates.

Pressure builds on the estate tax -- UPDATE

NY Times indicates Sen. Bill Frist is going for broke on total repeal of the estate tax, which is a good thing because that idea doesn't seem likely to pass.

Republican victory

The Republican won Duke Cunningham's seat in California, but 49.5 percent in a bright-red district where registered Republicans outnumber Democrats 44 to 30 (and after nearly $5 million in spending) isn't exactly a vote of confidence in the Grand Old Party.

Sweetheart deal

If you don't see the Democrat-Gazette, you have to check the excellent story in today's paper by Mark Minton on Asa Hutchinson's penny stock scam. Take bit of insider influence from days in the Bush administration, throw in a few more high binders, make a phone call or two and, shazam, Asa's stake -- nothing more than a paper pyramid -- is worth a million bucks.

Sweetheart deal

If you don't see the Democrat-Gazette, you have to check the excellent story in today's paper by Mark Minton on Asa Hutchinson's penny stock scam. Take bit of insider influence from days in the Bush administration, throw in a few more high binders, make a phone call or two and, shazam, Asa's stake -- nothing more than a paper pyramid -- is worth a million bucks.

Data mining

Worried about information gathering by the U.S. government? You should be.

Marriage amendment goes down

The vote was 49 to 48 to end debate. Not even a majority on the key vote to end debate (Pryor and Lincoln voted correctly, to continue debate).

A new home for Joe Quinn

The governor's office announced today that The Huckster's policy adviser, former TV news announcer Joe Quinn, will be  leaving state government for a job as state health care policy director for Wal-Mart.

Military funeral protest in Beebe

As expected, members of the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kan. showed up in Beebe today to protest at the funeral of Army Spc.

Dem. a.g. candidates to debate

Democratic attorney general candidates Dustin McDaniel and Paul Suskie have agreed to a live radio debate on the Arkansas Priority Radio Network on Monday, June 12 at 9 a.m. on the Pat Lynch Show. Lynch will moderate.

A chorus of cheers

“A Chorus Line” ruled Broadway for 15 years, winning nine Tony Awards and the Pulitzer Prize. This year marks its 30th anniversary, just as this is the 30th anniversary of the Arkansas Repertory Theatre, making it a symbolic and appropriate choice for the

Words

An obituary of Hugh B. Patterson, publisher of the Arkansas Gazette, said, “Patterson sold the Gazette to the Gannett Co. a short time later, and often professed unhappiness with the changes the national chain made to the state’s ‘gray lady.’ ”

Our minor mayor

With Jim Dailey’s announcement last week that he will not seek another term as Little Rock’s mayor, it is about time we openly discuss the absurdity of his job.

Dad’s turn

Until my father retired several years ago, I gave him a tie at least once a year. He swore that’s what he wanted, and I chose to believe him, because, well, it certainly made my life easier.

The Observer

There they lay on the riverbank, at the mouth of a wide, drying riverbed that cut a path through the tall trees and hanging vines. In dappled sunlight, hundreds of body parts, but no heads or trunks. Those had been cleanly severed. Family members visited

Trolley to the Arts Center

The Arkansas Arts Center joins the 2nd Friday Art Night gallery lineup June 8, when its galleries will stay open until 8:30 p.m. to admit visitors to its high-profile exhibit, “Pursuing Picasso.” Three exhibits of Picasso’s work — paintings, drawings and

More picks June 1-7

Among the picks: Cycling, Wind Symphony, Brian Chilson photography, Red Octopus

Editorial cartoon June 8

What's cooking/capsule reviews

What's cooking: Flying Burrito and Rumba Capsule review: La Lonchera

Lucchesi's: More than takeout

Despite its location in the heart of Little Rock’s Heights neighborhood, Lucchesi’s Ravioli and Pasta Co. and Cafe may not even come to mind when you’re considering a nice restaurant for the evening.

Loose talk

J. R. Howard, long-time state trooper and now director of the state Crime Lab, is among those being mentioned for the post of U.S. marshal for the Eastern District of Arkansas.

Orval June 8

Typical Republican

In an op-ed piece on May 16th, Clint Reed, executive director of the Arkansas Republican Party, criticizes Mike Beebe because of the number of tax increases he has supported in Beebe’s 20-year Arkansas Senate history. Beebe, in his view, is “Kerry-esque”

The week that was May 31-June 6

IT WAS A GOOD WEEK FOR … DIVERSIONS. An enormous national debt, a disastrous war, a crisis in health care and what does the Republican-led U.S. Senate do? Prepare for votes on banning gay marriage and flag burning and giving an estate tax break to bil

TV highlights June 8-14

War is hell, but the way it is delivered to Americans — filtered and sanitized for our own protection by the news media — modern war in some far-off country tends to be not much more disturbing than a violent video game for your average citizen. That’s wh

Guest writer: Get education, not 'grillz'

Dr. Walter Kimbrough, president of Philander Smith College, guests for Max Brantley this week. The subject is last week's cover story on the urban fad for grills, or bejeweled toothware.

This Modern World June 8

Lord God, what a mess

Cornell Lab of Ornithology biologists have left the Bayou de View, and the ivory-billed woodpecker they hoped to photograph most likely has, too, they say.

Let's celebrate the River Market

Little Rock has more than its share of skeptics when a new project hits the table. Skeptics abounded in the days leading up to the River Market opening almost 10 years ago, and they didn’t disappear immediately either.

ignore this also

Ignore this article

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Smart Talk

This week: A zero for Boozman; LR nicknames; Baptist politics.

Who do they represent?

Sometimes Congress devises a roll call that lets people glimpse clearly their elected representatives’ real constituency, the interests that have first call on the lawmakers’ allegiance. The vote this week in the Senate on a permanent repeal of the

The sun also rises

Mrs. Sen. Clinton has lashed out at spoiled and selfish young people and the spoiled and selfish young people, her girl included, have lashed back.

Divider, not decider

His administration in ruin on all fronts – the war, the economy, the environment – George W. Bush needs cover. He finds it in scapegoating gay Americans, as if they and not he were responsible for the mess the country is in.

Pixar hits with ‘Cars’

There’s a reason why a new film from the good folks at Pixar is heralded with such fanfare. Unlike any other studio that has tried computer-animated fare so far, Pixar’s films seem to always hit the perfect mix of child-friendly slapstick and adult-friend

Why Paron should lose

Last month the people with kids who moved out to Paron (population 46), which is in the woods in Saline County just west of Pulaski County, went to court to keep their high school operating. The Board of Education had decided to close it because there w

Cafe features fingerstyle phenom

Acoustic Sounds Cafe’s June 9 concert, “Prodigious Phenom,” features British fingerstyle guitarist Richard Smith and fiddle/guitar partner Aaron Till.

Going crazy

Longevity should be celebrated. The Asylum Street Spankers, one of Austin’s top acoustic jug bands has done just that with a DVD they’re taking around the country on tours. The DVD, “Re-Assembly,” celebrates a decade of the Spankers, capturing two perform

Pink Tomato Festival at 50

Big news in Iraq

New York Times: BAGHDAD, Iraq, June 8 - Al Qaeda's leader in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, was killed in an American airstrike on an isolated safe house north of Baghdad at 6.15 p.m. local time on Wednesday, top U.S. and Iraqi officials said on today

Sympathy for the governor

Radio show callers pounded Gov. Huckabee yesterday for the coming law against smoking in public workplaces.

One kid at a time

Forget politics for a minute. Warm your heart with John Brummett's column on working with a kid in a public elementary school.

One kid at a time

Forget politics for a minute. Warm your heart with John Brummett's column on working with a kid in a public elementary school.

Excellent political adventures

AP notes the political value to ambitious governors (yes, including ours) of quick trips to Iraq.  The governors think the trips are very important, naturally.

Hot Springs lands a big one

Score another victory  for the Hot Springs visitors appparatus. The Arkansas Activities Association has decided to move the state high school basketball tournament from Alltel Arena to the Summit Arena in Hot Springs for three years beginning in 2007.

Huckabee's stealth White House visit

It's not on his official schedule, but apparently Gov. Mike Huckabee is joining five other governors for a meeting today with President George W. Bush at the White House.

Estate tax lives -- UPDATED

A Republican-led effort to slash the estate tax failed to advance by three votes in the Senate today.

Estate tax lives -- UPDATED

A Republican-led effort to slash the estate tax failed to advance by three votes in the Senate today.

Oppo research

Now it's Halter going after Wooldridge's record in the legislature. News release on the jump.

Oppo research

Now it's Halter going after Wooldridge's record in the legislature. News release on the jump.

Gettin' Out Thursday

A few months back, the IMAX had a free event of the filmed concert “Me and Mr. Johnson,” Eric Clapton’s concert honoring blues-man/pioneer/priest/conjurer Robert Johnson.

Carnahan pleads

Former Federal Marshal Ray Carnahan entered a guilty plea today in federal court in Fort Smith to obstructing governmental operations, a misdemeanor.

Carnahan pleads

Former Federal Marshal Ray Carnahan entered a guilty plea today in federal court in Fort Smith to obstructing governmental operations, a misdemeanor.

To Do: Thursday River Market Anniversary Kick-Off

The River Market hits its 10 year anniversary this summer, and tonight is the opening event, kicking off 10 weeks of activities and events.

Dixie Chicks tour struggling

Consider Alltel Arena fortunate it DIDN'T land a Dixie Chicks show, only to see it sell slowly like a lot of shows on Chicks' tour are selling, according to a Billboard report.

And if you throw in free cable ...

Remember the case of the Waldron mayor accused of trading city water service for sex?

Slick neighborhood

Man, ain't the web something. Jim Lynch points us to the Briarwood Neighborhood Association website, which chronicles a visit with the man who wants to develop a controversial after-hours club in the seedy University Mall, next door to Briarwood.

Free press? Not hardly

We heard a squib on KUAR coming home that said Gov. Huckabee would appeal a judge's ruling that he must release the investigative file on misconduct by former Parole Board member Larry Zeno.

Free press? Not hardly

We heard a squib on KUAR coming home that said Gov. Huckabee would appeal a judge's ruling that he must release the investigative file on misconduct by former Parole Board member Larry Zeno.

Charter school open line

We note that some comments have been trickling in to some very old posts about charter school and other education posts.

Charter school open line

We note that some comments have been trickling in to some very old posts about charter school and other education posts.

UAMS to Offer Symposium on Teaching with Technology

LITTLE ROCK — Individuals interested in technology-related issues in education are invited to attend the Teaching with Technology Symposium July 21 at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS).

Cracker returns

David Lowery says that “Greenland,” Cracker’s first studio album of new material in four years, sums up an interesting past year, a period in which his bands saw their equipment ripped off in Montreal and again three months later in Dallas.

St. Joseph’s Senior Center hosts Healthy Fitness Day

In celebration of Older Americans Month and National Health & Fitness Day, St. Joseph’s Mercy Health Center hosted Healthy Fitness Day on May 26 at the Hot Springs Senior Center.

Youth Movement

I didn’t mean to buy a house. It just happened. That may sound ridiculous, but it’s true. I used to think buying a house was something you did when you got married. Until then, you’re supposed to live in an apartment or share a place with your buddies

Trolley to the Arts Center

The Arkansas Arts Center joins the 2nd Friday Art Night gallery lineup June 8, when its galleries will stay open until 8:30 p.m. to admit visitors to its high-profile exhibit, “Pursuing Picasso.”

Youth Home Awarded Sturgis Trust Grant

Youth Home, Inc. announced today they have received a grant from the Roy and Christine Sturgis Charitable and Educational Trust of Dallas, TX.

Growth pressure

The boom in NWA continues to provide interesting fodder for students of local government. Here, in the Morning News, a fellow with some agricultural acreage wants to sell some for industrial use.

The devil at IHOP?

Something about this Jonesboro Sun story (link updated) sounds just a touch fishy. You decide. A group of people are in an IHOP, avidly discussing religion, when a group of teenagers proclaim that Satan is their God?

Good riddance

Tom DeLay's unapologetic departure.

Gettin' Out: Friday

AmyB helps you get your weekend started with some good plans for tonight: We’re making this short and sweet.

Review: Asylum Street Spankers

We attended the Asylum Street Spankers show last night at Sticky Fingerz. Remember those old, re-run cartoons you would watch during the day …”Merry Melodies”?

Slow day

It's a slow day and we have some non-blog distractions. How about we try a Friday afternoon open line.

Halter protest: hired guns? (UPDATED)

Did someone hire a group of people to stage a protest outside the campaign headquarters of Bill Halter, who is running in next Tuesday's runoff election for the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor?

Hey, do this

Here's something to do tonight. Make the round of downtown galleries, by trolley or foot.

Bonnie Raitt tickets on sale Saturday

Tickets for the Oct. 3 show featuring Bonnie Raitt with blues great Keb Mo will go on sale at 10 a.m.

Classified department

Why not? I've been in a manager's meeting most of the afternoon and heard the Arkansas Times is looking for someone interested in doing ad sales for our friendly family of publications.

Classified department

Why not? I've been in a manager's meeting most of the afternoon and heard the Arkansas Times is looking for someone interested in doing ad sales for our friendly family of publications.

And then there were three?

Reasons to attend the Hall High Class of 1966 40th reunion: 1) Your wife is a member of the class.

And then there were three?

Reasons to attend the Hall High Class of 1966 40th reunion: 1) Your wife is a member of the class.

Them lyin' newspapers

Gov. Mike Huckabee, ever ready to capitalize on the popular issue of the day, got a little blowback when he magnanimously volunteered to put some State Police on patrol in the murderous streets of LR.

St. Joseph’s honors outstanding service

St. Joseph’s Mercy Health Center recently honored members of its Volunteer Auxiliary at the annual Volunteer Appreciation Banquet in the Mercy/McAuley Rooms.

Hangman's sleepless night

Compared to a hangman and pornographer, Jim Holt looks less extreme by the minute.

The hangman cometh

This oughtta be good for, what, a couple of hundred overheated posts. John Brummett assesses the negative turn of Tim Wooldridge's campaign and finds it to be -- another -- example of execrable judgment.

Again with the health care

NY Times examines Hillary Clinton's effort to again enter the health care debate. Not with universal coverage -- which failed in such a politically damaging way in 1994 -- but with a more incremental approach.

Telephone TV

LA Times delves into the technical aspect of the coming offering of television via phone lines.

No harm, no foul?

Hard to argue with state legislators who smell a rat in efforts to let off the hook a state employee who auditors say fraudulently misspent more than $100,000 in state money.

No harm, no foul?

Hard to argue with state legislators who smell a rat in efforts to let off the hook a state employee who auditors say fraudulently misspent more than $100,000 in state money.

GOP schism

The Republican Assembly calls itself the Republican wing of the Arkansas Republican Party. Former legislator Randy Minton says that doesn't amount to ultra-conservative, as some have called members of the group, but you could be forgiven for reading about him here and thinking the label applied.

Gettin' Out Saturday...and Lenny Williams on Sunday!

I'm typing this as day no. 2 of the 48 Hour Film project scurry, finishing up scripts, scouting locations, getting costumes together.

Estate tax: the bottom line

Floyd Norris' column in NY Times today is available to subscribers only, unfortunately. But it summarizes as well as anything I've seen the facts that put the lie to Blanche Lincoln's alibi that her advocacy for the estate tax repeal is about helping the little guy.

Pink Tomato time in Warren

It's the 50th anniversary edition of the Pink Tomato Festival in Warren this weekend and we're honored by notes from our Warren bureau chief, Jim Harris:

Saturday night live

The thread is open.

Church politics

Good advance on Southern Baptist Convention this coming week at which megapastor Ronnie Floyd of Springdale seems the favorite to be elected head of the increasingly conservative group.

Trolley to the Arts Center

The Arkansas Arts Center joins the 2nd Friday Art Night gallery lineup June 8, when its galleries will stay open until 8:30 p.m. to admit visitors to its high-profile exhibit, “Pursuing Picasso.” Three exhibits of Picasso’s work — paintings, drawings and

Beats heck out of the lt. gov. race

Brummett turns his attention elsewhere: to speed traps, charity car washes with comely lasses as come-ons and that perennial favorite, the Paron school district.

Corporate boardrooms

Bill Halter and Asa Hutchinson have made big news -- not of the sort they wanted -- on account of their membership on corporate boards.

Show him the money ..

Shades of Asa! Another Republican politician with a seat on the board of a penny stock venture and a pile of shares in the outfit that could bingo someday after it goes through a complicated stock split Who else?

Show him the money ..

Shades of Asa! Another Republican politician with a seat on the board of a penny stock venture and a pile of shares in the outfit that could bingo someday after it goes through a complicated stock split Who else?

Debate tonight

Roby Brock reminds us of details of the taped debate he moderated between Democratic a.g. candidates Dustin McDaniel and Paul Suskie.

Facebook no Friendster in job search

Send this NY Times link to any young person you might know: When a small consulting company in Chicago was looking to hire a summer intern this month, the company's president went online to check on a promising candidate who had just graduated from the University of Illinois.

No Blog bans

It has come to our attention that several people, in the course of posting comments to the Arkansas Blog, have run into difficulties, specifically from a page that indicates a poster has been banned from the Blog.

Dewey, Cheatham and Howe

One of our Fort Smith correspondents makes this contribution to the amusing name directory. He says Republican attorney general candidate Gunner DeLay has joined a local law firm that henceforth will be known as Rush, Rush and DeLay.  And I guess when they're covered it up, they refer cases to Huriup and Waite.

Political action

We had to turn off the TV. Too many political commercials.

Robocalling

State Rep. Sam Ledbetter just called (I'm a constituent) to endorse Bill Halter. A computer-generated call.

It's Sunday

So be nice on this open thread, OK?

Gay marriage

Brummett, after the defeat of a same-sex marriage ban in the Senate last week, has an idea.

Changing Medicaid

Arkansas's plan to encourage small businesses to offer health coverage is mentioned in a Washington Post roundup on changes in Medicaid around the country.

Getting Out: Monday

AmyB says there’s no slacking tonight for live music lovers:Alt-roots and southern rockers Cracker will be at Juanita’s tonight along with the Elms.

J.R. and Henry's Sports Column: Spin Control

Spin Control: Why Objectivity is Missing in the Mainstream Sports Media   Help. We’re trapped. We love sports. We love to talk sports. And we love to hear sports talk. But every time we turn on the radio to listen to "Drive Time Sports" or "Sports Rap," we hear the same ol’ one-sided commentary. Appearing to lack any ounce of objectivity, these shows offer the football program exactly what it wants: all positive, all the time.

LR is not alone

Violent crime is up everywhere.

LR is not alone

Violent crime is up everywhere.

Radioland

Anybody catch Suskie-McDaniel on radio? Thoughts?

Radioland

Anybody catch Suskie-McDaniel on radio? Thoughts?

Funny guy

Thanks to U.S. News, which republished The Huckster's little funny about raising campaign cash by knocking over 7-11s, he's the toast of the blog world.

Funny guy

Thanks to U.S. News, which republished The Huckster's little funny about raising campaign cash by knocking over 7-11s, he's the toast of the blog world.

Open line

Sorry. One of those days.

Pennies from heaven

AP gets a comment from the governor on his recent appointment to the board of a startup health company, including a grant of 25,000 shares of penny stock that could turn into real money some day.

Remembering Joe Purcell

A reader asks us to link this Benton Courier article about a ceremony this coming Saturday, June 24, in Benton to remember the late Joe Purcell, a three-term lieutenant governor and former attorney general who served nine days as governor after  David Pryor took early leave to take a seat in the U.S. Senate.

In the village, working with another

He happened to be in the assistant principal’s office. Trouble had arisen on the playground. While he hadn’t started it, he’d made a “bad choice,” spitting like that. As problems went, I was assured, this was hardly major.

The final hours

Election day and Brummett focuses on the race for attorney general. Bottom line, he'll vote for one or the other of the Democratic candidates.

The final hours

Election day and Brummett focuses on the race for attorney general. Bottom line, he'll vote for one or the other of the Democratic candidates.

Rove: no charges

Bush's brain dodges the frog march. WASHINGTON, June 13 — The prosecutor in the C.I.A. leak case on Monday advised Karl Rove, the senior White House adviser, that he would not be charged with any wrongdoing, effectively ending the nearly three-year criminal investigation that had at times focused intensely on Mr. Rove.

Bush in Baghdad

The Decider jets in.

Compare and contrast

In case you missed it in the threads, Channel 11 did one last poll, by Survey USA, before today's runoff on the top two Democratic races.

WLR traffic death

LRPD reports that a motorcyclist, Chase Richardson, 22, of Conway, died of injuries suffered shortly before 1 a.m. today when he lost control of his Yamaha motorcycle on River Mountain Road near the I-430 bridge.

WLR traffic death

LRPD reports that a motorcyclist, Chase Richardson, 22, of Conway, died of injuries suffered shortly before 1 a.m. today when he lost control of his Yamaha motorcycle on River Mountain Road near the I-430 bridge.

Turnout

A political consultant we know says the Democratic primary turnout in NW Ark. is non-existent.

Turnout

A political consultant we know says the Democratic primary turnout in NW Ark. is non-existent.

Amy goes live! And more

Amy Brawner, who covers the club scene for us, handles our calendar and contributes in many other ways, including assisting  Jim Harris on his Little Rocking Blog, goes live today with her own blog, Amy After Dark.

Ronnie Floyd goes down

Outsider Frank Page won the Southern Baptist Convention presidency. Must have been some connection problems on that celestial communication reported in the early stories about Ronnie Floyd's candidacy, when another preacher, Johnny Hunt, said he was convinced Floyd was "the man God raised up" for the job.

Remembering Gloria Wilson

Gloria Wilson scrambled up the hard way, rabble-rousing from a welfare rights group as a single mother to the front line of ACORN demonstrations.

Sayonara Huckster

The Huckster had some select press into his office today to talk about a trade mission to Taiwan, South Korea and Japan. He leaves Sunday.

Ashlee Simpson, who cares?

Just in case somebody reading this blog does, Ashlee Simpson's show scheduled for Alltel Arena on Sunday, June 18, has been cancelled.

Ashlee Simpson, who cares?

Just in case somebody reading this blog does, Ashlee Simpson's show scheduled for Alltel Arena on Sunday, June 18, has been cancelled.

Chilson's exhibit drew a big crowd

According to reports from some of our people at the show, Times photographer Brian Chilson's art exhibit opening at the Historic Arkansas Museum last Friday drew a nice-sized crowd.

Elections -- Halter, Shoffner and ?

LATE NIGHT UPDATE BEFORE A RECAPITULATION OF OUR LIVE BLOGGING FROM THE EVENING: Bill Halter will take the Dem.

Elections -- Halter, Shoffner and ?

LATE NIGHT UPDATE BEFORE A RECAPITULATION OF OUR LIVE BLOGGING FROM THE EVENING: Bill Halter will take the Dem.

Washington Regional Grants Permanent Easement to Fayetteville

Washington Regional is pleased to announce that it has granted a permanent easement and tree preservation area to the City of Fayetteville to extend the Scull Creek Trail to Fulbright Expressway.

And the winner is ...

In the clear light of morning: Statewide totals lack 33 precincts -- 32 of them in Saline County and 1 in Searcy County.

Do-nothing governor

Jim Argue says he likely will exercise no executive powers while The Huckster is touring Asis for a couple of weeks, though he allows that he'd like to cut a killer loose.

Presidential politics

The Huckster apparently is finding time to do a little work on future goals while governing.

The end of public schools

The U.S. Education Department announced a $7.4 million three-year grant to Arkansas  to create more charter schools.

SI taps Matt Jones as 'breakout star'

Sports Illustrated has included former Arkansas Razorback quarterback Matt Jones among its predicted "NFL breakout stars for 2006."

Measuring the mansion drapes

Louis Jacobson, a columnist for the Washington, D.C. political newspaper Roll Call, bumps Arkansas up from seventh to fifth in his latest ranking of states likely to experience a change in the partisan control of the governor's office.

Measuring the mansion drapes

Louis Jacobson, a columnist for the Washington, D.C. political newspaper Roll Call, bumps Arkansas up from seventh to fifth in his latest ranking of states likely to experience a change in the partisan control of the governor's office.

Please bear with us

We had a server crash today. We're slowly rebuilding files.

Please bear with us

We had a server crash today. We're slowly rebuilding files.

The compassionate conservative

At his press conference this morning, President Bush poked fun at a Los Angeles Times reporter who was wearing dark glasses:

To do Wednesday: Hot River Market party

The River Market will be having its "Summer Salsa Party" tonight from 5 to 11 under the Pavilions.
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