New eStem growth?
The old Federal Reserve Building at 123 W. Third St., a grand 33,600-square-foot affair with marble floors and vaulted ceilings in the lobby, is under contract, realtor John Martin said.
Martin wouldn't say who was considering purchase of the building. But its location — directly opposite the eStem charter schools in the old Arkansas Gazette Building — makes it a prime site for an eStem expansion. Elementary, middle and high schools are now packed into the Gazette building. Administration offices are in the River Market district.
Which makes the current rumor, that someone in the Walton family will be the buyer, sound plausible. The Walton Foundation bankrolled eStem's start-up and continues to donate to a foundation for the school. The list price on the building: $1.5 million. No callback from eStem at press time.
Circuit Judge Tim Fox told reporter Mara Leveritt this week that he has asked that “something be placed on the agenda” at a Pulaski judges' planning meeting scheduled for Feb. 10 about possibly relieving Judge Willard Proctor of his responsibility for hearing criminal cases while the state Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission considers allegations that Proctor violated the state's judicial canons. The Commission has a hearing on Proctor's case later this spring.
Fox stressed that his request had “nothing to do with the merits” of any of the “unsubstantiated allegations” that have been made against Proctor. Rather, he said, since judges are supposed to avoid not only impropriety but the appearance of impropriety, he proposed the “temporary amendment” to “relieve that potential appearance” until the matter is resolved. A reassignment of future Proctor cases, however, would not resolve a key issue pending in the complaint: whether Proctor is improperly punishing past offenders that he has assigned to the Cycle Breakers probation program he started that operates solely in his court.
Verizon on horizon
The word was that Verizon officials would be in town this week to meet with Alltel Arena officials about changing the name of the North Little Rock facility now that Alltel has been taken over by the larger wireless carrier. Alltel officials said, however, that Verizon officials had postponed the meeting. No word yet on the details, including what the cost of signage changes might be.