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Bridges of sighs

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Bridges of sighs

The trash cans are full to brimming and the bird droppings carpet the Junction Bridge in places, but you've got to climb five sets of stairs to see the sad state of affairs, because the south side elevator is broken.

What gives? County Judge Buddy Villines asked, rhetorically, would you rather it wasn't there at all?

The elevator malfunction is a recurring problem, Villines said, because of "people doing crazy things" on it, like pushing all the buttons. The Junction Bridge Facilities Review Board has a contract with cleaners. Maybe they don't want to haul trash down five flights of stairs. An elevator on the north side of the river says it was last inspected in 2009, but state records show it was inspected in March this year. The county road and bridge department hasn't posted the new inspection certificate.

At any rate, Villines is more concerned with what it's costing the county to power wash dog excrement off the Big Dam Bridge, which he said was a safety issue. The tab: $1,000 a month. And soon there will be another bridge upriver, across the Maumelle to Three Rivers Park. "We can't afford to continue" to wash the bridge, Villines said, and he is looking at "all the options." One might include banning dogs from the bridge.

Hog prices higher?

Nobody has confirmed it, but there are indications and rumors that the price of priority tickets for Razorback football games is going up. These are the prize tickets that the big contributors get. The UA sports information department says that questions about raising money must go through the private Razorback Foundation. Theoretically, the Razorback Foundation, because it's private, is exempt from the state Freedom of Information Act, and its chairman, Ken Mourton of Fayetteville, hasn't responded to telephone calls and an FOI request from the Arkansas Times.

John Ed Anthony of Hot Springs, chairman of the UA Board of Trustees, told us he'd heard a presentation from Athletic Director Jeff Long about a need for new athletic facilities, including a study hall, but had been told nothing about how those facilities would be paid for. He said the Razorback Foundation had the matter under review, but he personally didn't expect that prices would go up for the 2010 season.

This week, the athletic department issued a report that showed the UA lagging behind other SEC schools in facilities, revenues and prices of preferred seating. At Arkansas, a donation to the Razorback Foundation of $150 is required for a 50-yard-line seat for the season, in addition to the ticket price. At Alabama, it's $1,300.

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