We got curious after talking with school board candidate Melanie Fox last week about her support of Republican Asa Hutchinson, to whom she and her husband both contributed $2,000. Fox, who’s running in Zone 3 — which includes Little Rock’s most liberal neighborhoods — told us she supports the person, not the party. So we wondered what exactly she supported in the person of Republican Congressional candidate Andy Mayberry, who’s on the record supporting taxpayer-funded vouchers for private schools and prayer in public schools if the majority in a community votes for it.
In May 2005, Fox and her husband contributed $2,100 each to Mayberry, who’s running against Democratic incumbent Rep. Vic Snyder — enormously popular with voters in the Zone 3 area. (Fox’s past political contributions supported Republicans Jay Dickey, Bob Thomas, John Parke and George W. Bush, and Democratic Sens. Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor. Her hubby, Jeff, an Alltel exec, pitched in $1,000 to Mike Beebe this year.)
Fox said she “hadn’t thought about Mayberry in a couple of years,” and that her husband is a friend of his. She doesn’t agree with his position on school prayer, she said, and she’s not given much consideration to the voucher issue.
We also checked up on Fox’s opponent, attorney/health care policy expert Carol Roddy, who in 1993 followed Bill Clinton to Washington as an aide to Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders. She gave $75 to Attorney General Mike Beebe’s campaign for governor, and $100 to Republican and former state trooper L.D. Brown’s unsuccessful Republican run for state House of Representatives in 2002.
The Main Library has had some trouble with homeless people bathing in the restrooms, and director Bobby Roberts is cracking down on policy to keep them from bringing backpacks and bedrolls into the library. Only book bags smaller than 18-by-10 inches may be brought in.
A security employee said the library has had problems with theft and that staff had had to go through dirty clothing to retrieve stolen books. The cleaning crew had made complaints, also, about the condition of the bathrooms.
Roberts said the library is purchasing lockers that will go outside the building for patrons to safely store their bags. A box is now located in the alley, but is not locked during the day.
The fountain in the garden of the Pulaski County Courthouse has also been doing double duty, as aesthetic touch and a place to bathe for people living on the streets. But as of Tuesday, the fountain was still operating and not shut off to deter would-be bathers, as a writer to the Times feared. Calls to the general services office asking if the fountain had been turned off at one time were not answered by press time.
City Parks was also accused of shutting down the West Fountain in Riverfront Park behind the Peabody Hotel to keep bathers out, but parks work manager Matt Gardner said if the fountain was dry, it was for repairs.
The vacant Cinema 150, which closed in 2003, may have new life as a nightclub, if Jon Love has anything to do about it.
Love, who runs Hitchhiker Entertainment, a local booking agency that has scheduled a series of shows at the Clear Channel Metroplex Events Center, wants to convert the once state-of-the-art circular movie theater at Asher and University avenues into a concert venue. Blake Sandifer, who works with Love at Hitchhiker Entertainment, has applied to the Alcohol Beverage Control for a license to sell beer there. Love has looked into removing some of the seating at the Cinema 150 to allow for a larger stage and a pit area for spectators, then reserved seating behind the pit.
The plan: Maybe Plan B
The health division of the state Department of Health and Human Services is considering offering Plan B, the over-the-counter morning-after contraceptive just approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, at its public health units. The units offer other contraceptives as well, but its policy has been not to offer “post-coital” contraception.
Dr. Richard Nugent, chief of family health, said the division is “really struggling over some increases in contraceptive costs,” which the department buys with its federal Title X grant. But if it’s practical, Nugent said, the division will change its policy and offer Plan B. The drug is not an abortifacient, Nugent said, and the division is not opposed to making it available just because some opponents of the drug claim it is.