Chinese stake in Ark.?
Last week, on the same day the Game and Fish Commission announced a lease of 11,500 acres of wildlife refuge land to Chesapeake Energy, Reuters reported that Chesapeake might sell a stake in its Arkansas mineral holdings to the Chinese National Petroleum Corporation, a state oil company. That raised the question: Might the Chinese someday drill, or profit from drilling, on Arkansas hunting grounds? Chesapeake spokesman Mark Raines said the company had no comment on reported negotiations with the foreign firm. If Chesapeake plans to include its new public lands lease in any deal with the Chinese, Game and Fish hasn't heard about it. “No sir, that aspect of their corporate business never came up,” said Loren Hitchcock, Game and Fish's deputy director.
Feeling the pinch
Even the wealthy have to tighten their belts sometimes. The Las Vegas Sun reported recently that the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the city's dominant newspaper, had eliminated a number of feature sections as a cost-cutting measure. This followed by a few weeks a 50 percent increase in the newsstand cost of the paper — from 50 cents to 75 cents daily.
The Arkansas angle? The newspaper is owned by Stephens Media, one of the properties controlled by the Little Rock-based Stephens financial empire headed by Warren Stephens. In that Stephens owns a number of Arkansas newspapers, notably the Morning News, which is locked in a battle with Walter Hussman's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for the Northwest Arkansas market, Arkansas newspaper readers probably hope that what happens in Las Vegas stays in Las Vegas.
Add-ons at Episcopal
Episcopal Collegiate School put out a news release this week announcing that all ninth graders would be “receiving” laptops wired into state-of-the-art methods of integrating computers into the school classrooms. Next year, all high school students will “receive” them. The news release omitted a small point: Students will “receive” the computers after parents pay for them. The school-supplied computers, beginning in 2009, will be required of all Episcopal high school students. They'll cost around $1,700, but that will include warranty, service, software updates and even replacement for the inevitable accidents that occur when you pair busy teens with portable electronic devices. The computers will be on top of tuition, of course, which is set to rise to almost $9,000 this school year. Sorry, you naughty kids. The school's prep of the machines includes a web filter to block porn and other objectionable sites.