Fallout from bad financial times: The Target store that was expected to anchor the Park Avenue development at Markham and University looks iffy. A store spokesperson said Tuesday that the company is “interested” in building a new store in Little Rock, and “looking at our options,” but that it didn't have firm plans. “Call us in a few months,” the spokesman said.
A representative for Strode Property Group has told the city, meanwhile, that Target has pushed the opening for the store to March 2010, a year later than expected.
The Midtowne Development Advisory Board will get an update on Park Avenue when it meets at 8:30 a.m. Friday in the City Hall board room and also look at design changes to make the Town Center component of the development more amenable to community events.
Park Avenue has company. The new Shackleford Crossing development isn't leased out and the Promenade at Chenal has lost a couple of tenants on account of the slowed economy. Promenade has delayed its grand opening until next spring.
You've perhaps read news coverage about Booneville High School Principal Steve Halter, a subject of some difference of opinion on the School Board, which recently bumped him to an administrative post in the district. He'd gained notoriety, too, for his practice of paddling misbehaving students. He proudly allowed TruTV to film episodes on his use of corporal punishment, complete with interviews with those paddled. No paddling was depicted on screen, but thwacking audio accompanied the board of justice at work.
Wouldn't you know it? Clips of the TruTV episodes landed on YouTube. And then, they were quickly picked up by websites devoted to paddling fetishists. One paddling fan even struck up an e-mail conversation with a Booneville girl who received a paddling from Halter. The paddling fan provided a link to the student's photograph. The talk of paddling of teen girls apparently sent a shiver through the sites visited by spanking fans, including readers of “Spanking Model Speaks: Musings on the science of artistic suffering.” That site includes ads for, among others, a website said to offer “the most extreme spanking caught on video!” Halter's reassignment, by the way, had nothing to do with the fact that his preferred discipline of Booneville teens produced worldwide web titillation.
Product placements are all the rage these days, sometimes with hefty sums being paid to get commercial goods prominently displayed in TV and movie productions. So, the Times is quietly proud to report that Arkansas's weekly newspaper of politics and culture may have a role in a movie under production by Warner Brothers. We've signed off on use of the newspaper as a prop in the production of a feature currently titled “Preacher's Kids.” It's a freebie and there's no guarantee that the Times will make the final cut. But we'll surely be adding the movie to our Netflicks list.
The Insider saw one of the final performances of the critically acclaimed revival of the rock musical “Hair,” staged this summer in the outdoor theater in New York's Central Park. An Arkie, Christopher J. Hanke, played the lead role of Claude, the conflicted Vietnam draftee, for the last two weeks of the run. His energetic performance was an audience hit. And when he removed his “gleaming, streaming, flaxen, waxen” long-haired wig for curtain calls, his resemblance to another well-known Arkie was unmistakable. He's the son of Kim Hanke, familiar to local TV viewers as the earnest spokesman for the Hanke Bros. siding company. The musical is headed to a Broadway run, it was reported recently, but no word so far on casting. His father tells us, however, that young Hanke is in contention for the Broadway lead.
Hook 'em Horns
Thanks to the Morning News of Springdale for drilling down into fall enrollment at the University of Arkansas's Fayetteville campus. Of the 3,010 freshmen, about a third came from out of state, with Texas supplying the most of any state. The Dallas-Fort Worth area has proven to be “fertile” recruiting territory, Chancellor David Gearhart said.