More news on the neurosurgery front at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences: Dr. Ali Krisht, vice chairman of the neurosurgery department, will resign Oct. 1. Rumor is that he'll go to St. Vincent Infirmary Medical Center, but the hospital could not confirm that. Krisht's pay for the current year was $472,770, with a potential bonus of $150,000.
Two weeks ago, Dr. Ossama Al-Mefty resigned the chairmanship of the department, UAMS said, so he could spend more time writing. He still does clinical work. Dr. T. Glenn Pait is interim chair of the department.
In May, neurosurgeon Dr. Richard Rowe left the department for a job at the Georgia Neurosurgical Institute. UAMS spokesman Leslie Taylor said the department's gamma knife device, used in non-invasive brain surgery, is down for the installation of new software.
The list of National Merit Scholarship semi-finalists came out this week and Central High School in Little Rock led the state with 20 of the 147 in Arkansas. Then came Fayetteville (14); Cabot and Episcopal Collegiate (7); Bentonville (6), and, with five each, Conway, Fort Smith Southside, Mount St. Mary Academy and the Arkansas Math and Science school in Hot Springs.
Elsewhere in Pulaski County among public schools, Parkview Magnet had 3 semi-finalists; Mills University High and North Little Rock had 2 each; and Jacksonville had 1. Among private schools, Little Rock Christian, Central Arkansas Christian and Pulaski Academy each had 2; Catholic High, Lutheran High and Arkansas Baptist each had one. There were three home-schooled semi-finalists in the county.
One in four semi-finalists in Arkansas came from either Little Rock Central or Fayetteville High.
Quiet LR visit
We were unable to pin down the day, but The Insider learned recently that retired Alltel executive Joe Ford and his wife had a arranged a “small dinner” for former President George W. Bush and his wife in the Ford's Little Rock home. Ford declined to comment. But it's well known that Bush is making the rounds of potential supporters to raise money for the presidential library he's building in Dallas. Ford, who's been both a political supporter of Bush and a recent dinner partner of the former president, is a believer in the value of presidential libraries. He spoke in support of fund-raising for the Clinton Library and helped jumpstart local fund-raising with a major Alltel contribution.