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Insiders Nov. 18

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Road Work Many have asked about the convenient sparing of the Jennings Osborne compound during excavations to widen parts of Cantrell Road. For at least a block and a half in either direction from Osborne’s familiar white house, yards on the south side of Cantrell have been chewed up, with concrete curbs going in eight feet off the current shoulder of the road. Meanwhile, the carefully landscaped turf in front of Osborne’s main house — and the high front wall — remains untouched. So, what’s the story? Finally a bit of payback for all Osborne’s gifts to the governor? Glenn Bolick, a spokesman for the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department, says no. The excavations on the south side of Cantrell are not part of an overall widening, Bolick said, just a series of entry and exit points for streets turning south from Cantrell. Osborne’s house lies between the south-turning streets Millbrook Road and Misty Lane, and was thus spared. Heights hubbub Change is coming to the Kavanaugh retail strip in the Heights. Lou Schickel has a contract to buy the 7,200-square-foot building that has housed — for decades — the Yarn Mart and Freddie’s, the venerable stationery and gift shop. Schickel says he plans to keep the building as rental property “for now.” But most believe he’s going to convert the Freddie’s to a dry cleaners space when the lease expires in a few months. Freddie’s owner Larry Parker isn’t ready to talk about the future. The Yarn Mart’s Kay Kilbury says if she doesn’t get to stay, she’ll find other space in the neighborhood. Missing event The Clinton School of Public Service intended to take advantage of the Clinton Center grand opening to host its first major event on Nov. 19. They booked Robinson Center for a “Conversation in Public Service” that was to feature Bill Clinton leading a discussion with a “world leader.” Unfortunately, a few weeks ago the Clinton School was told that Clinton would not be able to participate, because the event would occur at the end of a hectic week, and he would probably be too tired. The Insider hears he may also have lacked confidence in the Clinton School’s ability to land the requisite “world leader.” In an attempt to salvage the event, Clinton School organizers explored other options, like a panel of presidential historians or presidential children. When that didn’t work out, they tried to get some celebrities, namely movie stars who have political opinions, but that also fell short. Finally they just decided to reschedule the event for January or February, and Clinton is tentatively slated to participate.

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