Open for business | Arkansas Blog

Open for business



The Tuesday line commences. Closing notes:

* SUPER FUND POLLUTION: The state is seeking a super fund designation from the Environmental Protection Agency to clean up the former Cedar Chemical plant in Helena. This plant site figures in some recent industrial announcements, presumably built on the state's promise to get the place cleaned up.

* DON'T SAY GAY: In another report from a neighbor's legislature, the Republican governor of Tennessee says he wishes the Republican legislature would stop spending so much time on anti-gay legislation. It includes measures to prohibit mention of homosexuality in sex education (and just about anything else); a bill to effectively legally protect bullying of gay students; legislation aimed at limiting restroom use on gender basis; and who knows what else.

* LOTTERY PAY OK: The legislature's lottery oversight committee today signed off on a $165,000 salary for new director Bishop Woosley, about half what the founding director Ernie P. knocked down and way less than Ernie P. paid two top lieutenants, also departed. He told the committee he had no plans to ask for lottery ticket sales by debit cards.

UPDATE: Though other news coverage quoted Woosley as saying he had "no plans" to institute debit card use for lottery play, the lottery's Julie Baldridge sent a corrective to what I'd written.

Just noticed the post above and wanted to clarify. It is likely, at some point in the next three or four months, that the Lottery Director will open a discussion with the Commissioners about whether or not they favor asking for a change in legislation to permit lottery retailers to accept debit cards in payment for tickets.

* OCCUPYING BILL GATES: An Occupy Education group took on the Gates Foundation and its worship of charter school recently. Sounds from this report today like the occupiers gave full measure and the Gates people gave mostly PR back. Credit the Gates people for sending people to debate the issue, however. I don't think you could get the Walton Foundation staff into a public forum like that. But they could get Mike Wilson or Luke Gordy or Jess Askew to front for them, I'm sure.

* OUR FRIEND MIKE TRIMBLE: I heard about this a few days back but wasn't at liberty to mention it. It's now news, as noted by Blog reader Uncommonsense, so I'll move up the link provided to a Dallas Observer article here. Trimble a veteran Arkansas journalist whose stops included a memorable stint at the Arkansas Times (remember Memoirs of a Miner?) was fired as the editorial writer at the Denton, Texas newspaper. He'd been a national award winner during his 18 years there and a voice of humor and reason. But he riled the publisher of the Belo-owned paper, according to this account, for being unwilling to commit to writing whatever the publisher directed. Through the years, the publisher and Trimble had been able to talk out occasional philosophical differences, but that changed rather suddenly apparently. Trimble left, characteristically, in good humor and without recriminations. He even urged local fans to continue taking the paper.

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