The line is open. Closing out:
* NEW STATE PARKS PORTAL: The state Parks and Tourism Department proudly announces a redesigned webpage for the state parks. Check it out. Screen shot above.
* THE FIGHT OVER LEGAL ADS HEATS UP: I was reading that the Time-Picayune's decision to stop being a daily print newspaper will cost it some lucrative legal advertising in New Orleans. Then I was reading in more general terms about the rise in state legislative efforts to curb spending in tight times on legal advertising in newspapers. Why not move ads to cheaper on-line sources as newspaper readership shrinks, legislators argue? The newspaper industry, naturally, has developed a range of opposition talking points. This is a thorough examination of the question.
* GOULD ALDERMEN REMOVED: A news release from the Arkansas Public Policy Panel said Lincoln Circuit Judge Robert Wyatt Jr. today ruled that Harry Hall and Rosieanna Smith-Lee were ineligible to serve on the Gould City Council and removed them. Sam King of the Gould Citizens Advisory Council called the decision a "major victory." Gould politics have been in turmoil for some time and a majority of the council once tried to make meetings of the citizens council illegal. The dispute has even erupted in violence. The removed aldermen have feuded with the citizens group.
* NEIGHBORHOOD CONTINUES TECH PARK RESISTANCE: I can't keep up with the barrage of letters Dr. Anika Whitfield has been writing to every relevant official institution to oppose the taking of residential neighborhoods near UAMS and UALR for the spec building the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce wants to build with tax money in hopes of luring tenants from the private technology sector. But I was interested in a reply she got from Arkansas Children's Hospital, one of the sponsors through promised financial contributions to the startup effort, though not a full-fledged partner in the enterprise. Whitfield wrote Children's several times, finally saying, "Will you tell us and show us that you and ACH care about the health and well-being of our city residents and communities?"
The response? Carefully worded, I'd say.
I apologize for not getting back to you sooner. As you know, ACH is not an official member of the Science Technology Park Authority. While we have agreed to provide some limited funding for the organizational stages of this work, we do not have a position nor vote on the Authority's work plans. We are reviewing the issue of future payments, beyond the partial payments already made, and will share any decision on them with you when that review is finished. Thanks for your communications and please know that we will communicate with you as soon as we have something to share.
Whitfield also heard for UALR Chancellor Joel Anderson who said, in part, "I ask that you accept my assurance that I have been and will continue to work for a process and a tech park result that you, I, and others will agree is good."
* LOTTERY NET RISES: Roby Brock reports at Talk Business that the lottery profit for the year will hit about $97.8 million, about $3.4 million more than last year, but about $2 million of that is a result of a giveback from Scientific Games in a workout of a disputed contract improvement granted the lottery vendor by former lottery boss Ernie Passailaigue. Without the added pay-in, the profit would have risen by about 1.4 percent.
* BILINGUAL SCHOOL BOARD CANDIDATE: More information today about a Little Rock School Board candidate for Zone 7, the seat for which incumbent Dianne Curry is seeking re-election. Tanya Dixon and Frances Johnson also filed for the seat. Johnson sent a news release today. She's a native of Puerto Rico and bilingual, with three students in Little Rock schools. Though efforts to redraw zone lines to concentrate the district's growing Latino population failed, September elections apparently will carry a bit of that flavor nonethless. Johnson's news release:
Frances Johnson, Minority Outreach Specialist for the Family-to-Family Health Information Center, has filed to serve Zone 7 of the Little Rock School Board.
“I seek to serve in order to put all students first,” said Johnson. “From my mother, and with my own children, I have seen the power of high expectations. Failure was and is not an option in our home, and it shouldn’t be in the district.”
Johnson has three children — Elijah Manuel Ash, a junior honors student at Parkview Arts Science Magnet High School and Gospel recording artist; Derrick Ash, Jr., a senior at Parkview with a 4.0 GPA; and Anjélica Meliesa Ash, a Parkview honors graduate and junior at Rhodes College in Memphis, where she is majoring in biology and aspires to be a Pediatric Surgeon.
Because of her love of music, Johnson founded Angelica Records, an independent label specializing in young musicians of all genres, including her son, Elijah.
Johnson graduated from Remington College with a 4.0 GPA in Applied Business, Business Technology and graduated from Southern Union State Junior College with a 3.78 GPA, Associate Degree in Science and Pre-Elementary Education.
Born in, Puerto Rico, she is bilingual in English and Spanish, grew up in New York City, and relocated to Little Rock in 1992.
From 2007 to 2009, Johnson owned the first bilingual daycare in Little Rock — Casa De Niños, where Spanish teachers taught English, and English taught Spanish. Further, the teachers taught each other for 30 minutes each day.
“Children’s inspired futures are my inspired present,” said Johnson.