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As Eureka Springs officials had hoped, their domestic partnership registry is attracting attention.

The symbolic ordinance, which took effect June 22, allows couples to have their partnership listed in a city registry for a fee of $35. The Associated Press took the news worldwide and mentions have included warm words on several prominent gay/lesbian websites, including — which called the town a “gay Mecca deep in the Bible belt.”

Not so positive was the reaction of the far-right American Family Association. Less than a week after the registry opened for its first signatures, the AFA issued an “Action Alert” on its website, complete with a form letter to send to Eureka Springs Mayor Dani Wilson. At the bottom of the letter is a box to check if the signer agrees to pray for Mayor Wilson.

According to the Eureka Springs City Clerk, Mary Jean Sell, 43 couples have registered with the city so far, coming from as far away as Ohio. At last count, there had been “around 3,500” e-mails, some of them multiple messages from the same sender, from the AFA.

Final cuts

The six candidates suggested by Rep. John Boozman to succeed the late federal Judge George Howard were interviewed by Justice Department and White House lawyers in Washington last Thursday and Friday.

The six are former U.S. Attorney Chuck Banks, Kevin Crass, Marie-Bernarde Miller and Leon Johnson of Little Rock, Jeanette Robertson of Jonesboro and Court of Appeals Judge Brian Miller of Helena-West Helena. The two Millers (unrelated) and Johnson are black, as was Judge Howard, and Arkansas’s senators have urged appointment of a black to the post. Banks, 60, might get sympathetic consideration on account of an earlier nomination to a judgeship that expired without Senate action in the last year of President George Bush’s term in 1992..

Downward mobility

A tipster suggested we ask State Auditor Jim Wood about future plans. So we did. Wood, who’s term limited, serves through 2010. But he says he’s interested in a rare move from statewide to county office. He’s interested in running for Pulaski County judge and would do so in 2008 if incumbent Judge Buddy Villines doesn’t run. (Villines has given no indication of retiring, but given the mess at the courthouse, who knows?) Wood, who represented Jackson County in the legislature and once served on the Woodruff County Quorum Court, says he now considers Pulaski County his home.

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