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Athletic factory

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According to Jermain Taylor's business advisor, the champion boxer has signed on as a “significant but minority investor” in the Little Rock franchise of D-1 Sports Training and Therapy, a Tennessee company with athletic training and sports medicine facilities in several cities. Construction has started on the multi-million dollar Little Rock complex, which will be on the north side of Highway 10 near Sam Peck Road and will open late this year or early next year.

“D-1” stands for the idea that athletes who train there will receive the same level of coaching enjoyed by players at NCAA Division 1 schools. The company partners with famous athletes, such as pro footballer Peyton Manning in Tennessee.

Little Rock businessman Andrew Meadors, Taylor's business advisor, said Taylor will play an active role at the Little Rock D-1 franchise.

Rumor of the week

A recent rumor said that Susan McDougal of Camden, who became famous for resisting Whitewater Prosecutor Kenneth Starr's effort to force her to testify against Bill and Hillary Clinton, might be planning a race for the state legislature. Not so, says Susan, who's been busy caring for ailing parents. “Very funny,” she said. “I don't know anybody who's been through all I've been through who would want to get into politics.”

History in the making

An insider at the meeting in the governor's office Monday between supporters and opponents of proposed new history standards for the public schools says, “Voices were raised, but nothing was thrown.” He also said that Governor Beebe, who presided at the meeting, had not known until the meeting that, while the new standards are scheduled to take effect in the 2007-08 school year, textbooks to support the standards won't be available until the next year. That might give the governor a reason, if he's looking for one, to hold off a year on implementation of the new standards proposed by the state Education Department.

Celebrity watch

Was that Rev. Jesse Jackson dining recently with Alltel CEO Scott Ford at a closed-for-the-evening Acadia? That, or somebody who looked a great deal like the pastor, always on the lookout for business partnerships.

Connecting the dots

Who's behind the $86,000 in ads that the Club for Growth is buying on Iowa TV this week to harm Mike Huckabee's chances in the Republican straw poll in Ames. The ads depict Huckabee as a tax-and-spender for highway and sales tax increases he supported, plus his support for taxing Internet sales.

The Club for Growth is opposed to taxes, of course. But here's more background. In 2002, Little Rock businessman Jackson T. Stephens Jr., a major financial supporter of the Club for Growth, backed an initiative to remove the Arkansas sales tax on groceries. At a private meeting, Huckabee promised Stephens he would not get involved in the campaign. He later changed his mind. With opposition from Huckabee, and many other politicians, the tax cut was defeated. The Club for Growth has been on the Huck's back since.

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