by Max Brantley
Another week begins and another line is open. Final words:
* SAVE THE NEIGHBORHOODS: The Coalition of Greater Little Rock Neighborhoods today released a letter urging the Little Rock Technology Park Authority to choose commercial real estate, rather than residential neighborhoods, for the site of a proposed tech park office building. Said the letter from Coalition president Kathy Wells:
We urge your consideration of various available sites, including east of I-30, on the Lions World International property; the property beside the Roosevelt Rd. Exit ramp from I-30; the old Coleman Dairy site on Asher Ave.; the defunct Affiliated Foods Co., 4901 Asher Ave.; the northwest corner of Asher & Fair Park; that John Barrow property across from the McMath Library; 35 acres in the industrial sector of W 65th St.; those vacant Verizon offices off Riverfront Dr.; even Ray Winder Field, now a UAMS holding.
* MORE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES: The secretary of state's office received four petitions today, the deadline, from independent presidential candidates, including from former Congressman Virgil Goode of Virginia and the American Hemp Party. Here are the filings. The secretary of state has 10 days to verify if 1,000 valid signatures were submitted. Already heading to the Arkansas ballot are Democratic, Republican, Green, Libertarian and a couple of other minor parties, the office said.
* ON THE TRACK: Michael Tinsley, a graduate of Little Rock's Joe T. Robinson High who competed in college at Jackson State, took the Olympics silver medal in the 400 meter hurdles, one of the toughest events on the track. He finished less than three-tenths of a second behind Felix Sanchez of the Dominican Republican.
* PREACHER CHARGED: Baptist youth pastor in Cherokee Village charged with molesting a 14-year-old girl.
* OXFORD AMERICAN REVIEW: The University of Central Arkansas today released under the FOI notes on statements officials took from current and former employees and interns at the Oxford American magazine arising from complaints by former editor and managing editor Marc Smirnoff and Carol Ann Fitzgerald. They were fired by OA management from the magazine Smirnoff founded. Among others, inappropriate behavior by Smirnoff towards interns was alleged. They complained to UCA President Tom Courtway, whose college hosts the editorial offices but employs none of the staffers, that, among others, Fitzgerald had been the victim of sexual harassment by another staff member. The UCA questioning turned up, essentially, more detail on what was already known. Allegations against Smirnoff and Fitzgerald of inappropriate remarks. Their counter-allegations against others. Much turned on sexually oriented comments.
The draft recommendation from Graham Gillis, interim Title IX coordinator at UCA, and Wendy Holbrook, his deputy, concludes that inappropriate things had occurred, enough to create the potential for a hostile environment at the magazine, though none of the current interns has a complaint about the current situation. They recommmend "appropriate" training on sexual harassment guidelines, a communication by management to staff about what is expected and regular quarterly meetings to review workplace issues. Here's the document.
Related: Smirnoff and Fitzgerald have collaborated on a 54-page account of events leading to their departure and assembled photos of people involved. They elaborate on their criticism of publisher Warwick Sabin and board member Rick Massey, who played a key role in their dismissal, and on their contention that they were the victims of complaints from staff members soon to be fired or deserving of firing. They've circulated the account widely by e-mail and created a website to post the document.